What do you do, and why do you do it? As a property manager (or as any person with aspirations, especially those involving business) it is important to understand the full breadth of the answers to those questions. Ultimately, if you run a business (and if you manage property, you are managing a business – even if you don’t own the property management company), then you need to understand why your customers chose to do business with you. So why do your tenants do business with you? That answer is likely to be close to why you do what you do.
Let’s say you do what you do in order to generate an income. This is not an unreasonable thing to do. After all, society is built such that each person (ideally) has a job, there are various levels to corporate structure, people make money in order to live, pay bills, raise a family, etc. It’s difficult to look around the income as the reason for doing things.
What does this have to do with property management?
If your goal as a property manager is to earn a paycheck, or perhaps to generate the greatest possible profit, or the greatest return on investment, then I would wager to guess that your tenants are likely to reflect in this philosophy. That is, you will find tenants who are simply fulfilling the need to have a home – they are looking for the best deal for what they get. This doesn’t mean they are looking for the lowest price, but for any property manager a tenant who is looking for the best deal is going to be a pain to deal with. They will want concessions at every point, they will want free parking, they will want new carpet before they move in – this is because they only perceive value in terms of the need to have a home, and to fulfill their personal desires as far as that need goes.
How can you tell if you have these sorts of tenants? Take a look at how you “sell” your vacant properties. Do you talk about what you have? Do you talk about the value that it can present to a person? I have mentioned in the past that, what you sell is not important – the experience of the person you are trying to sell to is what is important. People only buy experiences, they don’t buy things – things are incidental, as they are the conveyors of experience. So if you try to fill a vacancy because you are desperate on the platform of value – then you will get tenants who are only interested in a living space from the point of view of having a place to live.
Is there another option? You might ask.
Why do people looking for places to live? In general, whether people realize it or not, they are looking to establish a home – and a lifestyle. Much of the time this lifestyle get’s haphazardly thrown together – possibly because they were sold on renting a unit because it was a good value. Take a step back though, and look at why people want to rent – it is a lifestyle. Whether you or they like it or not, what you are ultimately providing someone is a home and a lifestyle.
So stop selling people on renting your vacant unit, and offer people a lifestyle – frame it in this way. Remember, it’s about the experience.
What happens when you change the ‘why do you do it’ from making a paycheck, to providing people awesome lifestyles? You end up with tenants who truly want the lifestyle that you provide. You end up with people who are invested emotionally in what you provide, not just financially. You end up with tenants who don’t try to pull every last cent out of your pockets in order to get what they want – because they got what they wanted when they signed up in the first place.
You can take this concept and teach people about the lifestyle they can have when they live in your units on your property. You do this instead of trying to sell people on the great deals that you have, or the new building that has been constructed. You don’t need to sell people on new – that’s something people certainly desire, and they can tell if something is new or not. You waste your time by focusing on what you have, instead of why you do. You also don’t end up with the people that you really want to be your tenants.