Groundhogs, Apartments and the Definition of Insanity

By: Shad Bookout

insane 1Albert Einstein said it best when he declared that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So, as members of the apartment industry, why do we find ourselves taking that well-traveled path time and time again? We undergo the same routines, which lead to the same results, day in and day out. It is almost as if we are stuck in some cosmic loop like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. But, we do not have to relegate ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can rise above our wearisome challenges and find new successes by doing things a little different than before.

The Same Thing Every Day

insane 2Each day that we arrive at our communities we set forth a chain of events that creates both a series of challenges as well as a series of successes. Out daily routines enable us to successfully navigate the complicated ins and outs of fair housing law as well as corporate policy. However, the occurrence of these routines day in and day out mean that we often begin to lose sight of the world outside of these routines. As we cease to evolve our perspectives our actions (or lack thereof) mixed with the blinders that we have enabled begin a series of events that will begin to cause the successful customer service that we pride ourselves on to regress.

The Golden Path

insane 3Take the daily prospect tours we bring potential residents on. Each tour begins the same, when we sit with a potential resident who completes the guest card. Then, we take them through the same path we have always walked, showing them the same amenities and saying the same spiel. We try to be engaging and asking questions along the way. But, we spend more time talking – or waiting to speak – than listening to the true needs of our customers. Finally, we get back to the office, ask for the sale, and they go on their way to the next apartment on their list to tour. There, they go through the same routine as at your community. And, at the end of the day, your prospects will sort through a variety of a follow-up form letters that all basically read the same, leaving their choice to be based mainly on price and location, rather than on lifestyle and value. All of this because we are all caught up in a sinister routine that is leaving us as near carbon copies of our competitors.

Why be Different

insane 4Different is memorable. Different can also be meaningful. Even if you have more similarities to your competitors than unique selling points, providing a unique and memorable tour can bring new successes. Spend less time showing amenities, and talk more to the lifestyle of current residents. Learn the things that are important to the prospective resident, as well as the lifestyle factors that your competition is not providing. These are the factors that you can directly address in order to give your community a competitive advantage. It just takes breaking the cycle and taking the time to really listen to the stories your future residents want to tell.

When you can provide unique benefits to your residents, make sure to tout these at every available opportunity. Take packages, for example. If your competitor is one of the communities that has banned packages from arriving in their office, you can tell prospective residents that people who live at your community enjoy having someone ensure the successful arrival and distribution of their deliveries. In addition, if you have the PackageLog® package management tool, you can inform your future customers that you have the ability to instantly text or email them when their packages arrive. This is a fresh, new, valuable service you can provide that is kind to your budget. It will also help the mountains of packages you currently deal with disappear. Learn more here —->