Q. I am a leasing agent for a third-party property management company with a sizeable portfolio of large multifamily properties; some in lease-up and others undergoing major renovation. I have been in the industry for 2 years and with the same company. During my tenure I have been moved throughout the portfolio which has expanded my experience. Here’s my question: Why the inconsistency between properties? Qualification criteria, leasing presentation protocols, tour route priorities, even the file documents can vary from property to property. My training seems to emphasize consistency, but my experience seems to be telling me every property is different. What gives?
A. I can understand your concerns about consistency because much of initial training in our industry revolves around fair housing. You’re told how you answer the phone and greet those that walk in. What you should and must not ask. You’re given a tour route to follow and how to meet objections; just to remind you of a few.
The reality is that while basic consistency is imperative the ownership can be different at every property. Sometimes the ownership has different priorities that get reflected in the operations of the property. Perhaps, the history of what has worked in the past is reflected in the leasing presentation. The leadership of a property and/or the lender might dictate the personalization of reports and that gets translated into priorities. Every property acquires a personality that seems to be reflected in the communication style of the leasing and/or management team. Maintenance practices can reflect a longstanding team. These variations are more noticeable to a trained leasing specialist as they move from property to property. My career of countrywide market exposure as a consultant and educator certainly validates your experiences so far. Now what is your take away? First, treasure the value of your observations and use for your benefit in two ways-
1. Understanding the differences between properties can help you to learn the “why”? Often delving in to why helps you personalize your leasing presentation; the ability to differentiate helps you better describe and deliver superior customer service.
2. Your observations can create valuable feedback to your internal communication style. By putting your observations in writing to your direct report you can shape and sharpen your support. Some of your observations might help property and/or company leadership ask hard questions, train differently, and/or incorporate needed changes toward desired consistency.