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5 Resolutions to Enable the Results You Want for Your Property Management Business in 2021

With the arrival of a new year, many property managers have resolved to make changes in their life or business by setting new year’s resolutions to make 2021 better than last year. While this is a good exercise and activity, most lack the resolve to stick with these newfound resolutions for a very long or consistent period of time. With all of the craziness of 2020, many have put their goals on hold until they feel things are going better.

How your new year’s resolutions go in 2021 will mostly depend on how you approach them, what you do to ensure implementation, and what you choose to do when you experience resistance and obstacles to what you’ve set out to do. Writing down goals and expecting the best isn’t enough.  Instead, you need an approach and strategy that will help you break through the clutter and climb upward to the success you’ve embarked upon accomplishing in this new year.

To assist you in accomplishing your goals, here are several resolutions that I hope you will carefully consider and implement in your property management business in 2021. If you’ve been experiencing struggles or disappointments, my hope is that your renewed focus on these areas can help you get back on track or accelerate the speed at which you accomplish your goals this year. This approach is so important because you are either doing things or not doing things every minute of every day that will bring you closer to what you have set out to do. You are either fighting for your own goals or are you surrendering your time to people and pursuits that are different than your own. At the end of this year, you’ll know how committed you were to accomplishing your goals by what you’ve done, not by what you planned. Here are five areas of resolve that you should focus on in this new year.

  1. This year, I resolve to sell more and sell better to every prospect who enters our property management marketing funnels.

There is no question that the dynamics of selling have changed as a result of the shifting new economy that is the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. These changes require that you have much more focus and that you work harder to overcome the resistance that your prospects have built up to why he or she can’t buy from you now.  The only way you’ll get better at your sales effort is to carefully measure it and work to improve the skills that are holding you back from successfully closing sales.

Often, this just means that you have to be more persistent. You won’t close sales if you don’t ask. Lately, you may have had a larger percentage of property owners say that they know they need help to manage their properties but they just can’t go ahead and hire you now (because they have to think about it) or any other myriad of reasons. They are very stubborn with going ahead, even though they know they like the option you’ve presented, want to get it, and need it. I’ve found the following question works wonders in getting to the heart of the objection or nudging the prospect to go ahead with what they’ve already decided to do:

“Now that you’ve decided this is the option you want, what (if anything) would prevent you from going ahead and getting this option that you love now?”

Are you and each of your leasing agents daily practicing the skills required to be exceptional at selling? If not, you shouldn’t be surprised when you aren’t as successful at closing as many leases and property management agreements as you would like.

In order to be excellent at selling, you have to continually prepare and practice. You can’t expect the preparation of six months ago to prepare you for the challenge of today’s sale. As an analogy, there is a reason why sports teams practice individual skills each day prior to the big game. They know that in order to be sharp in execution, they have to practice relentlessly for hours on end in order to ingrain the skills necessary for success when snap judgments are required. 

The same goes for selling property management services to owners and tenants. You can’t expect to be effective in closing the sale if you aren’t properly prepared for any and every objection that could come up. It is okay to let an objection stop you once or twice, but there is no excuse for letting an objection stop you more than that. It is your personal responsibility to figure out what needs to be said in order to overcome what is holding you back from hitting your goals. Making excuses or blaming the shifting pandemic economy isn’t something you see top companies doing. Companies like Apple are shining and succeeding in the same economy because they have become masters at marketing and selling. You must do the same.

Jill Konrath, sales strategist and author of two sales books (SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies) makes this observation about salespeople who refuse to analyze what went wrong after an unsuccessful attempt to close the sale. She says: “Only one out of seven salespeople will self-assess, and those who do are top sellers. They should constantly be in learning mode.” Sales trainer Blair Singer says: “Debrief every sale immediately. What worked and what did not—and write it down. You will correct faster, and it will keep you attitude high.” If you aren’t already writing down after each sale that isn’t made what you could have done to make the sale, you should start immediately. Doing so will help you see trends and which objections you need to overcome so you can rise up to be the most successful property manager.

To help you assess how well you are doing with your sales skills, consider the following classifications of objections from your prospective customers. Have you experienced any of the following in recent days?

  • A prospect who finds an option he or she likes that you offer, but just won’t commit to buy it now
  • A prospect who has the intent to use the process of finding a better living option as a form of entertainment and have fun on their own or with others (without an intent to buy)
  • A property owner who just has to ‘think about it’ and isn’t swayed by your most persuasive attempts to get him or her to sign a property management agreement now
  • A prospective tenant or property owner who tells you that they just can’t decide now because they have plenty of time

If you’ve experienced any of these scenarios, take heart. You are not alone. The marketplace has shifted and prospects have changed their approach to how they are looking for a place to live or for someone to manage their properties. That said, there are ways to overcome these objections and convert prospects to buyers now instead of later.

Resolve to master the art of selling. Tom Frese, author of the book Sell Yourself First makes this statement: “There will be very few times during the course of your lifetime when an idea gets introduced that is so new and innovative that it truly changes the way people think and do business. In mathematics, for example, long division has been around since the days of the abacus, and in much the same manner, the rules of proper English grammar have changed, but only slightly in the last couple hundred years. Meanwhile, the nature of the strategic sale continues to change dramatically, and it’s all happening right under our noses.” –Sell Yourself First, pp. 26-27.

Are you on track to hit the sales targets you set for yourself at the beginning of last year? If not, you need to change something to get the results you want before it is too late. If you aren’t getting better at closing sales now, then you have to ask yourself what will change between now and the end of 2021 to help you master the skills you need to make your goals happen. It’s not what you want to accomplish this next year that matters. It’s what you DO day in and day out. Learn what to DO and better utilize the tools you have to help you and each member on your team learn and do what needs to be done to make this year your best year ever. Review the sales training classes on the PMI Way web site to learn the best strategies being used to get better results now.

2. This year, I resolve to make decisions more quickly and to choose what’s right for my business over what’s comfortable.

I think this is such an important resolution because it is much easier to let things slide than address them (which usually involves conflict of some kind).

I really like what former CEO of Planet Tan (a chain of tanning salons bought by Palm Beach Tan in 2008) and the current CEO of Crunch Fitness says about this in his book Selling Sunshine:

“No one likes conflict, and most people will go to great lengths to avoid it. But running a successful business requires making tough decisions, and that’s often uncomfortable.  Our philosophy at Planet Tan was that you can be comfortable, or you can be right. In other words, you can either do what is comfortable at that moment—knowing deep inside—that you’re going to pay for that decision later—or you can do the right thing from the start. Doing the right thing creates energy and momentum.”

He continues: “In certain situations, you’ve got to make a conscious decision to do the right thing, even though that’s more than likely not the path of least resistance. This is where the ‘comfortable versus right’ choice must be made. The popular decision or the easy decision is not necessarily the right decision.” We adopted this philosophy from our COO, Nick, who had used a decision-making process when he had been COO at a major restaurant chain. Nick further distinguishes between comfortable decisions and right decisions: ‘Comfortable decisions create incremental degradation that kills an organization in small, seemingly unnoticeable chunks, until one day it is too late. It’s much like taking a tiny drop of arsenic each morning, which in itself would be uneventful, but will eventually kill a human being. Right decisions create a firm foundation of trust, deep belief in core values, and loyalty for all the correct reasons. Simply making the right decisions consistently raises the bar for everyone, because it becomes expected and indeed demanded, weeding out the imposters.’ –pp. Selling Sunshine, 117-118.

Conflicts where you must do the right thing instead of the comfortable thing this year will likely be:

• Letting an owner go who isn’t willing to fix things on their properties for their tenants.

• Accepting excuses from tenants about why they can’t pay their rent on time

• Letting a leasing agent consistently make mistakes that cost you money and not do anything about it (because he or she is a good salesperson)

• Accepting COVID mandates without actively implementing safety protocols to protect your employees and customers without compromising your ability to deliver your property management services in a sustainable and profitable way.

• Failing to eliminate advertising mediums that are no longer working to generate qualified leads. You have to stay on top of this to ensure that you are spending marketing money on the right things. Don’t just go with the flow. Decide and act.

Are you willing to do the right thing instead of the comfortable thing? Most of the problems that are coming to light in many local, state, and national government operations have happened for precisely this reason. Instead of having the guts to confront what isn’t working, they’ve continued with the status quo (what was comfortable) to the point that it has nearly bankrupted their state or local municipalities. Many government and business leaders that have postponed tough decisions are now finding that they are having to account for these issues now (when the decisions are much tougher and the consequences are much farther reaching than they would have been if they would have confronted the same issues much earlier). My hope is that you will make the tough calls this year in your business and do what needs to be done now, not later.

Steven Schussler, a serial restaurant entrepreneur made this observation about restaurant Yak & Yeti, which he opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in his book, It’s a Jungle In Here:

“In 2006, we opened the Yak & Yeti Restaurant…A family-friendly, Asian-inspired restaurant, it was divided into two parts: a sit down indoor area and an outdoor walk-up window. One of the advertised benefits of the walk-up window was the opportunity to get faster service.

“Several months after Yak & Yeti opened, I stopped by to see how things were going. I took a seat outside, near the ‘quick service’ outdoor section of the restaurant, and noticed people having to wait in line for up to fifteen minutes to place their food orders. In my mind, this was a substantial problem, and what made things even worse was the realization that an obvious solution to the problem existed, yet none of the staff had either seen the problem or had chosen to correct it in the eight months the restaurant had been in operation.

“The problem involved the placement of the menu boards customers used to make their food selections. They were on signs behind the serving counter, so that the patrons had to get close to the line before they could see what items were on the menu. This gave them precious little time to make their choices, meaning that when they reached the employee taking their orders, they weren’t ready to announce their selections. This, of course, delayed everything as the employee waited patiently for the customers to make their decisions. The way to fix the problem was simple enough: additional menu boards had to be posted farther back along the sidewalk where the customers were lined up.  That way, people positioned at the back of the line would have more time to make their decisions and, when they got to the front of the line, would be ready to place their order without further delay, speeding everything up significantly.

He concludes: “How can a restaurant advertising quick service expect to make significant money when people have to wait two or three times as long as necessary to get their meals? It can’t, and that is why it is important to monitor what services or products you have provided: to make sure things are going smoothly, and, if not, to make the necessary improvements to ensure that they do.” –pp. 82-83.

Yak and Yeti has had to enact numerous enhanced health and safety measures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They have adapted and serve customers every day even as conditions around them have changed dramatically in ways they couldn’t have even imagined a year ago.

Are there issues in your business that you need to face up to? How will you continue to adapt to changing conditions in your market?

Are there things that will cause conflict that you haven’t addressed that you need to? If so, you need to take action and do what needs to be done.

Resolve to make decisions more quickly this year. Choose what’s right for your business over what’s comfortable. Take action and do it now.

3. This year, I resolve to beat our greatest competitor, ourselves: by beating our own benchmarks and exceeding our own numbers.  At our business, we will seek to blow away averages and blow past the best previous best efforts.

To be the best, you have to be willing to learn from those who are better than you. You should be willing to share what you are doing to get your results and then seek to learn from those who can share what they are doing with you. Many entrepreneurs are afraid to do this because they fear their competitors will use this information to beat them. Never allow yourself to think that you are the only one that has great ideas. There are great ideas you can learn from other business owners and other great entrepreneurs in other industries. I really like the attitude that Tony Hartl has about this. He says:

“I never really worried about sharing ideas with the competition, as long as we could learn from each other. After all, if you take the best team in the NFL and give their playbook to the worst team in the NFL, the losing team isn’t suddenly going to become the number one team in the league. There are too many other factors at play: talent, discipline, execution, etc. It’s not the ideas—it’s the implementation of the ideas.”

He continues: “I always felt that there was something I could learn from everyone—competitor or not.  For example, just one simple idea from Suntan City’s Rick Kueber saved my company thousands of dollars….I was generous in sharing my knowledge and ideas because I knew I’d receive knowledge and ideas in return. So, when my competitors asked me how we were able to pull in such large numbers, I’d tell them, ‘We’ve got long hours to make it convenient for our members; we have fifty beds so people don’t have to wait; we’ve got three computers in the lobby for quick check-ins; we’re extremely selective about the people we hire; and we do a really thorough job of training those people.’  They’d always ask, ‘But what else?’ and I’d say: ‘That’s it! That’s what we do!’ I think they were always looking for some silver bullet or magic idea, but our success was due to one thing: a consistently developed plan that was executed well, day in and day out. The key, of course, was being completely diligent in a few meaningful areas that had the highest impact in business.” –Selling Sunshine, p. 168.

We have to overcome this adversarial relationship that many property managers have with one another in this industry. A lot of problems in many industries brought on by technology and utilized by prospects are far more dangerous than your competitor or competitors in your immediate area. Resolve this year to better befriend your competitors and offer information that can help them in their business and ask them questions that can help you. Find out who the best businesses are in your region or other regions are and seek them out and ask questions that can help you. Ignoring the great resources that we have in one another prevent us from expanding and learning what we need to in order to grow and become even more successful. The key to this is that we all have to be willing to share ideas for mutual benefit. Be the first to offer help and encouragement. Pick up the phone and make a phone call and see if you can’t sit down over lunch to help one another. This doesn’t have to be a direct competitor in your town, but can be a very successful entrepreneur in another state or area. Remember, the key is to share ideas for mutual benefit. No one wants to share solely without getting any kind of benefit in return.

4. This year, I resolve to celebrate my successes and have more fun and reward those who are an instrumental part of making our goals a reality.

I’ve mentioned Tony Hartl’s book entitled Selling Sunshine and how it features Hartl’s approach to how he grew his tanning salon business named Planet Tan. The book contains many great insights and comments in particular about how he rewarded his staff for great accomplishments. Here are five things he mentioned in the book that you may want to consider integrating into your property management business:

  • Celebrations for new hires – Hartl says: “Once we hired new team members, we welcomed them with open arms as part of the Planet Tan Team. They were greeted at the store with balloons and a huge cardboard sign that the entire staff had signed. The manager of their location would take them to lunch or for coffee to welcome them. We’d give each team member two picture frames and ask them to bring in pictures of people and places that inspired them.” –p. 32.

What do you currently do to celebrate those you have just brought onto your team? Recognizing those who will help you hit your sales goals will help them realize their importance to you and they will work harder to accomplish the goals as a result. Resolve to better recognize those you invite to be a part of your team from the first moments they are hired.

  • Rewards for your top salespeople each month – Hartl says: “In the early days of the company, we’d go each month to a restaurant to celebrate the top salespeople. We’d have a nice award made, call the top salespeople up to the front of the room, recognize them in front of their peers, and then hand them a cash bonus. Everyone had a blast, and, of course, every member of the team would work even harder for a shot at the ‘top grosser’ award the following month…One way we continued to acknowledge high achievers was to hang plaques with the names of our award winners on Planet Tan Wall of Fame at the corporate office for all to see. The wall was just one more way to publicly acknowledge our team leaders.” –pp. 33-34.

Do you publicly recognize and reward your top performers in front of their peers? Most people are motivated by recognition and this drives them to accomplish even more. Never underestimate the power of recognition and rewards for a job well done at your business.

  • Go to great lengths to create a positive, supportive work environment – Hartl says: “Encouragement, recognition, and rewards were provided as often as possible. Our goal was to ensure that our staff was motivated and inspired to achieve excellent results. We worked hard at finding reasons to celebrate. I maintained a personal goal of sending out at least five thank-you or encouragement letters every week. The letters were mailed to the employee’s home so that the person receiving the note could share it with his or her family. I’d even send letters to team members’ parents or spouses. In fact, I was at a long-time staff members home recently, and I noticed one of the letters from years ago. The note, proudly displayed on the wall, was further proof to me of the importance of demonstrating appreciation of an employee’s efforts.” –p. 34.

You can do better at this in your business. Do you tell people that you value their hard work and their accomplishments? Commit to write thank you notes to your team members or management team to thank them for the good work they do. I know that I treasure the Thank You notes I’ve received over the years.Your team will treasure your positive encouragement and feedback as well.

  • Celebrate business accomplishments or milestones – Hartl says: “To celebrate a store reaching a milestone, we began a company tradition of sending the team a cake along with our congratulations. Every year, I’d also send out a Mardi Gras King Cake to each store as another fun company ritual. Celebrations became a part of the culture at Planet Tan.”—p. 36.

Are celebrations a part of your business culture? If not, what milestones could you celebrate when reached? When you add a certain number of new doors in a month or quarter, what could you do to celebrate? What fun traditions could you incorporate at your business to make it an even more enjoyable place to work?

  • Offer contests for exceptional results – Hartl says: “After we had been in business for a few years, I launched an annual contest that we ran for three months during our peak season. Everyone on the staff had a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Cancun, Mexico. The team members loved the idea and got really excited about the possibility of winning an all-inclusive vacation with some of their co-workers. Most of the employees were young and Mexico was close by, so they were thrilled with the opportunity….We based the contest on sales, clean stores, and teamwork. Each store could accumulate points based on those criteria, along with ‘secret shopper’ scores. We’d send a secret shopper to each location to report on the experience at the store. This kept our team members on their toes and also helped us discover any areas that needed improvement. If individuals surpassed their numbers by thirty percent or more, they were also allowed to bring a guest to Cancun with them.”—p. 36.

Hartl makes this statement: “In your business, there are more than likely many reasons you can begin celebrating today. Think of someone who has gone above and beyond her normal responsibilities and write her a note—not an email, but a handwritten note. Also, come up with an idea for a celebration ritual that reinforces the values of your company and tell your staff it will be taking place at the end of the week. Remember: What gets reinforced gets achieved.” –p. 38.

Have more fun at your business by celebrating your significant achievements. Set targets and get everyone’s commitment behind their successful completion. Reward and recognize those who make significant contributions at your business in adding more doors, units, keys, or suites. Doing so will make working with you a place where others want to be and work hard.

5. This year, I resolve to better market and create more interactive experiences with our customers that will help us stand out from our competitors.

Tony Hartl makes this statement about his chain of tanning salons which I think has a lot of merit for entrepreneurs today. He says:

“We had the same equipment as the tanning salon down the road—the thing that made Planet Tan truly distinctive was the experience created by our team. The truth is that we could have automated the entire process with swipe cards, bar codes and technology. In fact, some tanning salons in Europe do just that. In effect, those tanning salons become self-serve facilities—high tech, low-touch. But our unique selling proposition was the polar opposite. Not only did we have the human interaction, but our team members also developed a real relationship with our members and created an emotional connection that enhanced the member experience.

“We were able to constantly exceed expectations because we provided a relationship and an experience, not just a transaction. Our team really cared about our members and showed genuine interest in them. We created a culture at Planet Tan that was designed to support our members and build rapport with them. We made sure that we knew our members personally and that we took an interest in their lives. We went out of our way to make sure that our members knew how much we appreciated them. Because we took the time and effort to build real relationships with our members, it became impossible for competitors to replicate the Planet Tan experience. Our experience couldn’t be commoditized or replaced by a ‘bargain-price’ strategy, because we offered something much more than a transaction based on price.” –p. 181.

Some ways you can work on enhancing your experience are:

  • Make sure your marketing and experience are consistent – be sure there isn’t a disconnect between what you are advertising and promoting and what you actually deliver. Conversely, having a great experience and not promoting it is a cardinal marketing sin.

What do your tenants and property owners tell you they love most about their experience of working with you? Seek to enhance this. When you have a great experience at another business, think about what happened to you that enhanced the experience, especially as you’ve observed how other businesses have adapted in this past year with the coronavirus. Look for ways you can incorporate the best of what you see into your business.

  • Enhance the atmosphere and cleanliness of your business – Do prospects feel like when they arrive that it is just like arriving at five-star hotel where they feel that everything is brand new and simply waiting for their arrival? Do they feel safe and secure?

Strive to have every prospect and customer tell you that their experience at your business has exceeded their expectations. Ask yourself, When was the last time a customer told you that their expectations had been exceeded?

Resolve that your efforts will help you achieve the results you seek in 2021. Each of these five areas can help you implement more this year. As this new year begins, take time to adapt the ideas I’ve shared with you here to help you set and achieve your goals for your property management business this year in 2021.

If you would like more information on how you can benefit from being a part of the PMI franchise and have help in achieving your goals this year, schedule a call with one of our franchise developers by clicking here to see how you could benefit from converting your existing property management business into a PMI franchise: https://calendly.com/pmifranchising


jamesb

James Butler

James Butler is Director of Franchise Development at Property Management, Inc. He has built four companies from the start-up phase to over a million dollars in revenue. He is the author of the best-selling book The System is the Secret and helps entrepreneurs take action in their businesses. He and his wife Heather are the parents of five children.