What is the secret to property management promotion to regional manager, vice president or CEO?
By Matt Easton
As Executive Vice President at MultiFamily Traffic, I have worked with thousands of property managers, regional managers, marketing managers, CEO’s etc. I have seen them come and I have seen them go. Recently my friends at Rental Housing Journal asked me what the number one trend is in our industry is. My answer is this, management companies are desperate for rock-star talent and when they find it they will promote that person as high as they possibly can.
So, what is the secret to being promoted in our industry? The answer may surprise you, it’s not hard work and it’s not who you know. It’s all about how well you can manage the asset and how profitable you can make it. If you can outperform the other managers in terms of leases and lowering occupancy rates and show leadership your abilities are scalable, get ready for an amazing career, you are now in line to be CEO.
So let’s breakdown what it means to get leases, increase revenue and scale. Let me start by telling you what it is not.
First, you will not be promoted to management if you bring in leases by:
No. 1 – Giving away the farm
Out of this world promotions that bring in unprofitable leases may improve your occupancy rates short term but it’s a sure fire way to get yourself locked into the role of assistant property manager for life. Giving stuff away tells your leadership that you care and can think outside the box but you are also telling them that you better be monitored by someone with experience or you will bankrupt the company. Not a good label to have associated with you.
No. 2 – One-one-selling
So you are the best at closing prospective renters? Awesome. You can show a unit, explain the benefits of living at the property and close the deal. These are all good skills to have. But, if this is what you become famous for, you have now made yourself a leasing agent for life. At best, you can hope for a “new title” and the added responsibilities of a “trainer” with little or no extra pay. Sales rock-star, get used to now doing your job and teaching the slackers how to do theirs with all hope for promotion quickly fading. Why would they take you away from the leasing office when talking to prospects is where you add value?
No. 3 – Being a shopaholic
You know the type, you may be the type, its ok. The first step is admitting you are a shopaholic. You have banners, you have balloons, you bake cookies and whenever a ILS rep comes into the office you buy whatever they are selling. If you want to be promoted, you need to show leadership you have the ability to make tough decisions. Saying “yes” to everything is not making decisions its going on a shopping spree with the company’s money.
3 ways to get promoted in property management
You will get promoted if you bring in leases by:
No. 1 – Getting the community in front of qualified renters looking to sign a lease without having to use promotion after promotion
The best way to do this is to make sure your property is on the first few pages in Google for as many of the top searched terms that renters in the area are typing in.
Additionally, by using Google AdWords campaigns. The bottom line here is, if you are the first property a prospect finds, you don’t need promotions to try and change their minds about other properties they have visited. There are enough renters that sign a lease at the first property they visit for you to get to 100% occupancy without having to use promotions. You just need to be FIRST.
No. 2 – Show leadership you are a leader, not a seller
Imagine meeting with the CEO, and telling him or her that you are terrific at talking to renters, are you going to be promoted? No.
Now imagine that same conversation but instead you say, “I researched my community and discovered that we were over-spending and underperforming because we were constantly playing catch-up due to the fact that prospects were not finding the property when they looked first. We were battling to win the war of “lookie-loos” who required the best deal to sign a lease."
Then explain you fixed the problem by:
- Evaluating our online presence
- Isolating the issue and fixing it and ranking the property for the top searched keywords organically
- Ran a Google AdWords campaign simultaneously.
"These actions placed the property first in front of prospects allowing me to close all of the potential renters who signed a lease on the first visit, leaving our competing properties to waste resources fighting over the tire kickers.”
If you are able to say this, welcome to the big leagues, you are on the path to CEO.
No. 3 – Show management you can make tough decisions rather than spend your way out of problems
If you get to 100% occupancy but you have shown leadership a laundry list of expenses needed to get there, you are not ready to lead.
Real leaders make calculated decisions.
Imagine this conversation with the VP of Operations, “My strategy to improving the properties numbers was two fold.
- First, I wanted to increase occupancy
- Second I wanted to reduce waste and overspending
You tell management, "Both numbers have an equal effect on the bottom line. I found success by boosting the properties visibility with the best renters and reducing unneeded or redundant expenses. For example, I used Google AdWords, a compressive $499 a month SEO plan and our top performing ILS (Internet listing service). I systematically cut out all other unnecessary tenant acquisition expenses."
You just earned yourself a promotion!
About The Author:
MultiFamily Traffic is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. They have been in operation since 2003 and have helped thousands communities see great success in driving low cost leases to their properties. Most clients are so pleased with our service that they end up eliminating most other forms of lease-up services including expensive ILS subscriptions, saving the property thousands per month in apartment advertising fees. Matt can be reached directly at 303-803-7372