Si No Puedes Leer Esto, Contratar a Alguien Que Puede! (If You Can’t Read This, Hire Somebody Who Can!)

Todos sabemos la población de hispanos en los estados unidos está creciendo exponencialmente, pero, ¿cuántos de nosotros, especialmente en el Medio Oeste, han hecho un punto para acomodar las perspectivas y los residentes por contratación habla español empleados?  Con frecuencia surge como una idea en su apartamento reuniones de la asociación o cuando un orador nacional da una presentación, sin embargo, muchos de nosotros elegir a ignorarlo.  ¿Por qué?  No cuesta más dinero para contratar a un agente de arrendamiento que hablan español como segunda o incluso un primer idioma.  No es que es difícil encontrar calificados agentes de arrendamiento que también habla español.  Casi el 15 por ciento de la población total de los Estados Unidos es hispano, según la Oficina del censo.

Recientemente, yo estaba asistiendo a una casa abierta en una comunidad de apartamentos y uno de los residentes estaba hablando a uno de los agentes de arrendamiento en español. Afortunadamente, el agente de arrendamiento también habla español.  Desde las lágrimas son un lenguaje universal, hice mi camino a ellos para ver si podía ayudar.  Lo que aprendí fue este residente había estado tratando de conseguir una cuestión resuelta por varios meses, pero debido a la la barrera del idioma que se estaba retrasado sacrificar. El agente de arrendamiento habló a la propiedad Manager y resuelto la mayoría de la confusión. Los residentes estaba feliz, obtuvo su problema resuelto y terminó por renovar su contrato.

Esta historia también ofrece un gran ejemplo de otra ruta que puede tomar para acomodar su habla Español residentes. Uso empleados de otras comunidades para ayudar en estas cuestiones.  Programar una llamada en conferencia y utilizarlos como intérprete.  Muchas comunidades uso residentes como actividades sociales directores y proporcionarles un descuento.  Si usted tiene una creciente población hispana, puede que desee utilizar uno de sus residentes como intérprete y darles un descuento para estar disponible cuando estas situaciones.

TRANSLATION

If You Can’t Read This, Hire Somebody Who Can!

We all know the population of Hispanics in the united states is growing exponentially, but how many of us, especially in the Midwest, have made a point to accommodate those prospects and residents by hiring Spanish speaking employees? This often emerges as an idea at an apartment association meetings or when a national speaker gives a presentation, however, many of us choose to ignore it.  Why? It does not cost more money to hire a leasing agent who speaks Spanish as a second or even a first language. It is not that it is difficult to find qualified leasing agents who also speak Spanish. Almost 15 percent of the total population of the United States is hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Recently, I was at an open house at an apartment community and one of the residents was speaking with one of the leasing agents in Spanish.  Fortunately, the leasing agent also spoke Spanish.  Since tears are a universal language, I walked over to see if I could help.  What I learned was this resident had been trying to get an issue resolved for several months, however due to the language barrier it was being delayed unnecessarily. The leasing agent spoke to the Property Manager and resolved most of the confusion. The resident was happy, got her issue resolved and ended up renewing her lease.

This story also provides a great example of another route you can take to accommodate your Spanish speaking residents.  Use employees from other communities to assist in these issues. Schedule a conference call and use them as an interpreter.  Many communities use residents as social activities directors and provide them a discount.  If you have a growing Hispanic population, you may want to utilize one of your residents as an interpreter and give them a discount for being available when these situations arise.

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If You Can’t Measure the Results, Then Don’t Do It

There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “We know that half of our advertising is effective, we’re just not sure which half.”  If you are saying that today, then you need to reevaluate your marketing and advertising strategies.  If you can’t specifically measure the results of a marketing initiative or advertising campaign, you probably shouldn’t do it.

So here are  some thoughts to consider:

Don’t just put your home page in print/billboard advertising. These leads cannot be measured specific to that advertising.  They will just get lumped into your overall traffic.  Create an alternative landing page specific to that advertisement and only use it for that particular advertisement.  That page may then be directed to your home page or a community page.

Do imbed google analytics into every page on your website. It’s a simple process with tremendous value.  It will also help you  measure the hits to those alternative landing pages mentioned above.  You can also see how deep into your site prospects are going.

Don’t use your local phone number in ANY advertising. Even in your Craigslist ads use a call tracking number.  You might discover that certain properties don’t get any leads from Craigslist or it might be sending unqualified traffic.  Even though it’s free, you could determine by tracking the calls, or lack thereof, that you don’t want to waste time posting or dealing with unqualified traffic.

Do record your leasing calls. This is a subjective form of measurement, but probably one of the most important.  We all know the difference between a good leasing call and a poor one.  After only a day of listening to phone calls at a particular property, I discovered they weren’t asking for the prospects name, taking control of the conversation or even asking the caller to come tour the property.  The calls were long and awkward.  Now the leasing staff at that community is doing all of those things and more.  They are even getting email addresses to confirm appointments and listening to each others calls and providing feed back.

There’s another old saying to “inspect what you expect“.  This is hard to do without consitently measuring results.

Get Zing’d

padzing.com

padzing.com

I just received a personal tour of Padzing.com from Mike Mueller and my first impression is that Padzing.com is to market surveys as Wonder is to sliced bread.  If you are a numbers and data junkie, then you will definitely want to check this out.  Padzing is a compilation of data from Rent.com and Vaultware.  Simply put, the data has been gathered from communities advertising on Rent.com and the users of Vaultware.  “We developed it with the idea of going to one website to see what your peers are charging for their apartments,” says Mueller, CEO of Realty Data Trust.

A quick search on Padzing by zip code or city and state provides the user with current vacancy information, average rents, and average rent per square foot by Nationally or by, State, County and where available Zip Code.  It also breaks it down by unit type.   Graphs provide a snapshot of the history of those numbers so you can follow trends.  Mapping options allow you to gather the same date by radius.  Reports can be exported into MS Excel.  With all of these different options, the number of ways to review the data are countless.

If you decide to use this information you will have to take into account the number of properties that are being used to compile that data.  The great thing about it is they disclose that information on every page.  So if 5 properties in your Zip Code reporting data isn’t enough, then you can research the other 5 on your own, but your analysis is halfway complete.  If your top 3 competitors are listed on Padzing and your analysis is based on them, then a great deal of your information is collected for you already.

While this tool is truly in it’s infancy, with support and cooperation from the industry it can only get better. Enhancements are already being devoloped including a feature that will send an email or a text message if pricing is changed at a community you are following.  Take advantage of this tool while it’s still free!

“It’s where the industry is heading,” says Mueller.  “Padzing.com puts transparency into pricing.  It’s a poor man’s revenue management.”

Things I Learned on Twitter about Apartment Management

Here’s my first blog for the National Apartment Association.  Let me know your thoughts or comments here or at NAA’s website.  Thanks!

If You Haven’t Heard, Craigslist and Google Analytics are FREE!

Craigslist:  If you aren’t using Craigslist yet, start.  If you were using Craigslist and decided to stop, start over.  It’s a great resource, it’s easy to use and best of all it’s free.

For many of us, this is old news, but for those who aren’t on board the results speak for themselves.  Just make sure your ads are strategic and smart.  For example, if you are a high end community, don’t boast your lowest prices.  You will get unqualified prospects, especially given the current economy.  Advertise your standard and competitive rates.  Even people with money to spend are using Craigslist to find a deal!

If you are an economy community, make sure you are advertising your lowest rate for apartments that you have available.  Check your inventory.  If you only have one available, make sure you advertise that and create a sense of urgency.  If you rent that unit, pull the ad immediately.  You will continue to get calls and Craigslist users are savvy and penny pinchers.  They will demand you honor your ad.

Google Analytics:   This has to be the coolest free thing I have ever seen.  Even if you already have tracking software for your website, you should check out Google’s technology and compare.  The reports are in depth and will confirm how well your advertising sources are working in terms of hits to your website.  If used properly you can get as detailed as how many users are visiting your community pages, viewing rates and floorplans, and maps and directions.  This is excellent information.   I will post more about this in the future, but I just wanted to get it out there to anyone who isn’t using it currently.