Multifamily: The Social Age Evolutionary Workplace

March 22, 2014 in Apartment Internet Marketing, Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas

The 5 C’s to Recruit, Engage and Retain Staff


Mutlifamily MarketingThe war for talent is over and talent has won. Technology and globalization have dramatically changed the way we work over the last 20 – 30 years. However, very little has changed in how we hire and manage staff – which has led to low employee engagement and productivity and high employee turnover.


Instead of doing the routine, tactical and predicable work of yesteryear, the Social Age requires us to be more strategic, creative and innovative – more solutions oriented. Yet, for the most part we are still hiring for skills and experience and using the same levers we have used for decades (if not centuries) to motivate and manage staff.


We must evolve our business practices to remain competitive in our digitally connected, globally oriented economy.


With any evolutionary process, a guide or roadmap proves invaluable. When your company decides to take the leap and join the Social Age, there are 5 C’s to adhere to so you can maximize employment efficiency and effectiveness, retain your staff and ensure that your employees are fully-engaged on a daily basis.


Correct Hiring


We must start this evolution with hiring the right people – without them, efforts to engage and retain staff become moot. The Industrial Age paradigm emphasized hiring for skills and experience.  But skills can be taught and in today’s rapidly changing world, experience is far less important than agility and the ability to learn and adapt.


To not only survive, but thrive in the Social Age, companies need to hire for both culture fit and competencies – those innate abilities that can’t be taught but will make them successful in the job.


Proper interviewing technique is essential to guaranteeing you get the right hire. Unlike the stock market, when it comes to potential job candidates, past performance is indicative of future results. The majority of interview questions have to be answered with past examples of how the candidate actually dealt with real-world scenarios.


Do not fall into the old trap of believing what a candidate would do is what they did do, or more importantly, will do.


Classify and Manage Appropriately


Even when you do everything right during the hiring process, you may still be surprised once the employee comes on board. Team dynamics or changing personal circumstances can affect individual behavior and performance.


You must continually keep your finger on the pulse of your staff – a daunting task to many managers who either try to devote equal time and energy across the board – or who spend time with the wrong people.


Employees typically come in three ‘flavors’: Critical People, Squeaky Wheels and the Fat Middle. Most managers end up spending most of their time trying to grease their Squeaky Wheels, which perpetuates poor performance or behavior. Counter-intuitively, by devoting the majority of your attention to your Critical People, you will bolster the productivity of the whole team. Squeaky Wheels? Train, motivate or move them on. Quickly.


Compensate Fairly


Many companies diligently strive to create attractive incentive programs in an effort to engage and retain staff. Unfortunately, these efforts actually may be counter-productive to accomplishing these goals.


Studies have suggested that rewards can narrow our focus, innovation, creativity, strategic thinking and problem solving – the very things needed from a Social Age Workforce. Higher pay does not necessarily equal higher productivity. Managers should set their salary benchmark at or a little above market rate for individual functions. Even more importantly, managers should ensure that employees feel they are being adequately compensated for the work they do, and this can only be accomplished by speaking to them directly.


Currencies of Choice


Once your staff feels well paid, real productivity and engagement can be unlocked by tapping into your their internal motivators or Currencies of Choice. What your staff really needs to be fulfilled and to ‘go the extra mile’ is to:


  • Work for someone they trust and respect in a company they support
  • Be appreciated and have their voice and opinions respected
  • Have a firm career path that allows them to grow and develop
  • Realize their underlying motivators
  • Be able to do what they do best every day


By understanding and acknowledging your team’s individual Currencies of Choice, you can help to keep them engaged and decrease turnover.


How do you recognize which Currencies of Choice will motivate your staff? By talking to them.  Unfortunately, many managers don’t talk to their staff enough, don’t know what to talk about, or how to structure their conversations.


Communicate with FOCUS


FOCUS is an acronym that describes the best practices in leadership communication. Communication between staff and managers should revolve around:


  • Feedback: Ensure your team is updated on company information, initiatives and new hires. Give praise when it is due, and maintain an open door for their questions, concerns or comments.


  • Objectives: The heart of sterling performance management is structuring specific and measurable job objectives and holding staff accountable for achieving them.


  • Career Development: Many studies list career development as a main factor that employees gauge to determine whether to stay with their current employer or seek a new position elsewhere.


  • Underlying Motivators: What does your staff need to go the extra mile, and how do they respond to motivational techniques and rewards?


  • Strengths: According to The Gallup Organization, those innate abilities that make them unique and good at what they do is the #1 predictor of success.


The process of changing the way you hire and manage your staff may appear daunting at first, but experience shows that by taking it step-by-step, you can make significant changes quickly. The result will be a lifetime of more engaged, happier and more productive staff, as well as more free time, less stress and higher job satisfaction for yourself and your team.


Are you up for the challenge?


Kim Seeling Smith is an international human resources expert and author of the forthcoming book, Mind Reading for Managers: 5 FOCUSed Conversations for Greater Employee Engagement and Productivity. With her expansive knowledge of human capital practices in today’s market, Kim helps companies build healthy work environments and increase employee engagement and productivity in our digitally connected, globally oriented world. For more information on Kim Seeling Smith, please visit

Time For Action: Listen and Learn

November 2, 2013 in Apartment Leasing Ideas, Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas


Time Multifamilypro's Brainstorming SessionsBy Tami Siewruk

When a New Year rolls around, it generally brings with it an amazing seasonal opportunity to nose around in other people’s business.  We go around asking each other what our resolutions are, like it’s a simple question that anyone should be able to answer freely at the drop of a hat.  Think about it — what you’re really asking is “In what areas do you find yourself to be so horribly deficient that you’ll need to place special emphasis on them for an entire year in order to bring them up to par?”  Talk about a personal question!!!  Okay… so maybe that’s a bit rough.  Sharing resolutions really is a good thing — it’s a little humbling, and reminds us that we have room to grow and evolve, and voicing our goals gives us a chance to strengthen our resolve.  Face it — once you’ve said it out loud, you might as well commit to following through, because you won’t even be able to count the number of times you’ll be asked personal stuff like “how many inches have you lost on your thighs so far?” or “aren’t you pregnant yet?.

Before I’m even asked, I’ve decided to share my biggest resolution for 2014 with all of you — all several thousand of my readers.  How’s that for commitment?

This is my problem:  I am stupid (and I do mean stupid).  I listen attentively to what other people have to say to me because information is power, and the more information I receive, the more empowered I am to be the best person I can be.  This is the line of b%#!s*%+ that I was more than happy to believe about myself for pretty much all of 2013. I am stupid because I do listen — at least for the few seconds that it takes me to decide whether I agree or disagree, or whether or not the information is useful to me.  If I agree or if the info means something to me, I listen some more.  If I don’t agree or don’t care, I don’t listen.  It’s that simple.  It only gets complicated when I realize — usually way later — that I should have listened a little further before I shut my ears off, because that bit of information really was important to me, whether I agreed with it or not.  Lots of times, I probably don’t ever realize that I missed out on some pretty good stuff — and ignorance may be bliss, but I can promise you that it certainly isn’t profitable.

Here’s a fine example of my stupidity in action in 2013, and the driving force behind my 2014 resolution to focus on what others are trying to teach me (and hopefully, become less stupid in the process).  My friend, is the Executive Vice President of a major Property Management Company, and he has a real talent for marketing.  This should have been reason enough for me to listen, but it’s no secret that I know everything already. Now, even if I’m not really listening, I’m rarely rude about it — I said “Yeah!  That’s a great idea!” and then apparently quit listening, because as great a suggestion as this was, I didn’t do a thing about it.

The fact is, I had no idea what a great suggestion it really was until four months later when I bothered to check it out even further. The bottom line is that I, finally listened, and it immediately clicked that if I’d taken his advice in the first place, I could have saved myself and my community staff loads of time and effort.  If I’d listened, learned, and taken his advice, this valuable tool could have delivered instant information about our community to anyone who wanted it.  There are at least a million ways I could have used this to benefit my community, but I wasn’t listening or keeping an open mind.

I know I’m certainly not the only one who has this problem to overcome.  We’ve all experienced the frustration of saying something important to someone whom we know isn’t taking it as seriously as we wish they would.  We’ve all experienced the frustration with ourselves that comes with realizing much later that we should have been paying closer attention to something that was told or shown to us in the past.  The indisputable fact is that we all have something to learn from each other, but we can’t learn unless we allow ourselves to.  It’s up to us to listen attentively and keep our minds open.  That’s exactly what I resolve to do in 2014 — to listen carefully and keep an open mind — to continue listening even when I’m not immediately certain that the information is of value to me.  Why is this important to me both personally and professionally — and why is absorbing new information important to us all?

Because as we enter a new year, knowledge and information is an increasingly powerful commodity.  The more you know, the more valuable you are to others, and the more valuable you are to yourself in your ability to become a better, more effective, more skillful, and more “positively charged” person!

Because knowledge has a strong positive inertia.  The more we know, the more we understand.  The more we understand, the more we can do.  The more we can do, the more effective we become.  The more effective we become, the more successful we become.

Because sometimes what you learn determines what else you can learn!  Someone once explained it to me this way:  certain kinds of knowledge — especially the increasingly technical information that’s just plain part of our lives today — requires a sort of foundation upon which to sit… a “frame of reference” within our heads.  You would never have been able to learn to read without first learning the alphabet, right?  Keep listening, because you never know what key bit of information you’ll need in order for a future revelation to fall into place for you!

Because, “Ideas are portable.”  They are your ultimate resource.  They go everywhere that we go — and the more of them we have at our disposal, the better equipped we are to face what life has in store for us.

Because a closed mind is a limited one.  There are only so many solutions that we can come up with on your own, but when we let someone else’s ideas or suggestions in — whoa!  One of someone else’s ideas added to one of your own is usually all it takes to start a chain reaction.  Let in a couple of others, and you’ve got a full-blown solution riot on your hands!  I’ve seen shared ideas practically take on lives of their own, multiplying all over the place. If you want to see it for yourself, join us at the Annual Multifamily Brainstorming Sessions!

That’s all a bit on the philosophical side, but it’s tough to discuss keeping an open mind without getting philosophical about it.  If you want the very best, plain-old-common-sense reason to listen to what other people have to say to you, it’s this:  we all have a great deal to learn from each other.  It’s a lesson that took me a long time to learn, and I hope that I can make it take root in my life this year.  If we cross paths this year, and you have something important to say to me, I’ll be listening!

 Tips For More Effective Listening & Learning


Remove distractions, or remove yourself from them.  It’s difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying to you if you’re occupied with something else, or in a crowded, noisy room.  If you’re occupied, either finish what you’re doing, or put it aside for later.  If there’s too much going on around you to pay attention to what’s being said, ask the person if they’ll follow you to a more quiet place so that you can continue your conversation.

Ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions when the information isn’t completely clear to you.  The only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.

Take mental notes.  It might seem silly, but when someone tells you something important, make a mental note of it.  This can be as simple as stopping when the conversation is over to repeat in your head the important points of the conversation.  You’ll be surprised what your brain is capable of retaining when you make just a little extra effort.

Finally — network, network, network!  The stronger your personal network is, the more other brains you have to rely on when you need a little help or more information.  You may not remember that important thing that someone told you a few days ago at the critical moment that you need it; but if you remember who told it to you, and you can call that person up and ask them for more information, you’re off to a great start!

Well, now you know at least one of the important things that I’ll be concentrating on in 2014.  I wish you the very best of success (and successful listening!) for the New Year!







Apartment Leasing,Marketing and Management Made Predictable!

August 21, 2013 in Apartment Leasing Ideas, Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas

We are all predictable!

Apartment Leasing, Marketing and Management made predictable.

Don’t miss Eric at Multifamilypro’s Brainstorming Sessions and Executives join him for a hands on workshop

Brainstorming Interviews

August 10, 2013 in Apartment Leasing Ideas, Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas, Brainstorming Sessions, Brainstorming Sessions - Executives, Brainstorming Sessions - Main Event


Over the years we introduced you to a national industry event that’s like no other.  The Annual Multifamily Housing Brainstorming Sessions™, now in their twenty sixth year, will occur in November, Las Vegas, Nevada; and we invited Tami Siewruk, the Chief Imagination Officer of the Multifamilypro and creator of the Brainstorming Sessions to sit down with us and share more information about the event and what attendees can look forward to this year.


Q:  We’ve heard a lot of “buzz” about Brainstorming over the years, and one of the things that we hear often is that it’s completely different from the industry’s other national events.  What’s so unique about it?


A:  I love to see and hear people talking about Brainstorming because they just light up all over.  We’ve heard so many people say the words “I’ve never experienced anything like it” that it’s become our motto.  They use words like life changing, and in the same breath, they say the thing that I hear most often, that “Brainstorming is the one industry event that you just can’t afford to miss.”  I certainly don’t mean to disparage our industry’s other national events and conferences because they are outstanding also, but I’ve never heard anybody refer to them as a life altering experience at the same time that they’re talking about the professional value; and that’s what I think sets Brainstorming apart the most.  It touches attendees’ lives both where they work and where they live.


Q:  So, would you say that comparing Brainstorming to other national apartment events is an apples to oranges proposition?


A:  Yes, that’s probably a fair observation.  As an example — and I say this having participated in other national events as a vendor, presenter and attendee – the other national events that serve our industry have far more in common with each other than with Brainstorming.  There are two big reasons for this.  The first is that we don’t just focus on sharing information with our attendees – though we do that very well through a broad variety of seminars, workshops, and panel discussions – but the overall focus is on getting our heads together to come up with workable solutions.  That focus represents a whole added dimension to information sharing that nobody else offers.  As a result, Brainstormers walk away with some really unique tangible benefits, including a year of exclusive access to all of the ideas that they bring to the event to share in our Brainstorming Tools, Forms & Ideas Exchange™, and the ideas that they come up with during the event.  The ideas that they Brainstorm at the event are gathered up, translated wherever feasible into usable tools like ads, campaigns, plans, forms – you name it – and given back to them in a private website, so they receive ideas and tools that they can use immediately to bring in more traffic and sign more leases, retain residents and manage their properties more profitably.


Q:  And the second reason?


A:  Well, I’m not so sure that I can do this justice in words, but it’s probably where all of those stunned “I’ve never experienced anything like this” reactions come from.  The second thing that sets us apart in a big way is the “personality” of the event.  The entire Brainstorming environment is worlds apart from anything else out there.  It’s the thing that, when it’s all over, you wish you could bottle and take home with you.  We give certain parts of the event a fun new theme each year, and we really go all out to make Brainstormers feel like they’re spending a few days in a new and different reality than they’re used to. One Brainstormer called it “brilliantly organized chaos,” and another said to me once “I like the way you kind of shake things up to shake things out of us.”  Was it Oscar Wilde who said all progress is made by unreasonable people?  Sometimes you have to separate people from their everyday reason and reality in order to bring out their best ideas.  It works remarkably well… so well that the registration fee comes with a money-back guarantee.


Q:  You just talked about bringing out people’s best ideas.  How does that relate to the Brainstorming Tools, Forms & Ideas Exchange that you mentioned a couple of minutes ago?


A:  The Brainstorming Ideas, Tools & Forms Exchange is one of the absolute best benefits of Brainstorming.  One of the first things that we ask Brainstormers to do after they’ve registered is to send us one of their best ideas.  The idea can take practically any form, as long as it’s something that other apartment professionals will find interesting or useful.  They can submit the idea in narrative form – just tell us all about it via a form on our web site – or submit a tool or form by sending us a computer file containing, say, a spreadsheet or ad layout or marketing plan or anything else they’d like to share.  So, by the time everyone has registered and sent in their submissions, we have hundreds of amazing pieces of information from all over the country… traffic generation ideas, retention tips, leasing exercises, training event plans, low-to-no-cost marketing tips, etc.  It’s like some kind of a magic treasure chest that just refills itself every year… but there’s a catch.  The only people who get the key to the chest are the people who put something into it.  We compile all of the ideas, tools and forms that we receive for each event, and only the people who contributed something access to this area of the website.  I can’t tell you how many times I returned to my desk after Brainstorming to find voice mail and e-mail messages from attendees saying that they just got home and went through the special section of the website and realized that the ideas on it would more than repay the cost of their entire Brainstorming participation.  I love the calls that say that just one idea alone made it worth the trip.  My favorite calls are from people who say, “I just showed my Idea Exchange to my boss, and not only am I definitely coming back next year, but they’ll be coming with me too!”


Q:  So, what are some of the best ideas that have come from the Tools, Forms & Ideas Exchange?


A:  Wow, where do I begin?  Actually, I can’t begin any sooner than Brainstorming 2011 because that’s part of the deal – we agree not to release the ideas to anyone other than the contributors for a year after each event so they stay somewhat exclusive before we share them with our customers and subscribers.  These are a few attendee favorites from among the most recent ones I can share:  give your new residents change of address postcards that feature one of your floor plans.  Create a sister community referral binder with information for residents who are being relocated to an area where your company has properties.  Leave behind nice photo frames as corporate call gifts with your leasing team’s photo and your business card in them.  Stamp the back of your business cards with “Pass this on to someone who’s interested in an apartment, and when they lease, we’ll mail you $250!”  Use a Polaroid sticker camera during the community tour to ad snapshots to your brochure for follow-up.  Use window decals that read “Leased!” or “Last One Like It!” during lease-up to create urgency.  Add electronic gift certificates for little things like free coffee or movie tickets to your follow-up e-mails.  Put up a “Quiet Time” sign at poolside every night to keep noise under control.  Use “Getting to Know You” surveys at lease signing to find out what residents like, and make a customized move-in package just for them.  Ask residents to sign an agreement at move-in that if their account ever goes to collection, they’ll pay the collection agency fee along with what they owe you.  Create Customer Service Zones matching residents with a specific leasing professional or service tech for more personalized service.  Recruiting?  Advertise a free seminar on what it takes to become a leasing professional.  Marketing to students?  Put up flyers on campus advertising a free seminar on how to budget for an apartment and still have a life. Try the ““One Extra Thing” Maintenance Program, where the service technicians always look for one extra thing to change, check, or fix in each apartment while they’re completing a service request. We have also heard a lot of ideas for saving carpets, like the Carpet Amnesty Program.


Q:  What are some of the best ideas that were created at Brainstorming?


A:  I can tell you that the first time I heard anybody say that one-day people would use the Internet to find an apartment, it was at Brainstorming.  A lot of concepts that are commonplace in our industry now became “implementable” solutions at a Brainstorming table, such as renewal rewards and frequent referral programs, kids clubs, recycling, submetering and resource conservation, custom home options, home buyer programs, concierge services, revenue sharing, business centers and cyber cafes and SO many more. After 26 years, it’s fun to see ideas that were created at Brainstorming, that were originally considered unrealistic, come to life and work in today’s markets. Some of my favorites are the ones that are forehead-slapping, brilliantly simple. Create new positions for “floating” experienced managers to help get new communities off the ground.  Offer flexible lease terms that are staggered to keep the unit mix consistent through the year or scheduled to expire in peak traffic months.  Sell “insurance” against lease breakage.  Sponsor coffee breaks at large corporate employers, teacher break rooms, and your local police and fire departments.    When road construction cuts into your traffic, make your own “Detour” signs leading people right to your door.  Reinvent slow-to-lease two-bedroom, one-bath apartments into “one bedroom plus den” ones.  Each new group of Brainstormers brings something new to the table, so even the classic ideas get a fresh twist every year.


Mark your calendars for November 13th – 15th in Las Vegas, and sign up now at  Chances are, there’s at least one idea in this article that’ll get you one new or renewed lease – and that would more than pay for the cost of your trip.  Tell me all about it when you get there!



We interviewed several well-respected industry leaders and asked them to share why they consider Multifamilypro’s Brainstorming Sessions  to be the one national industry event that Apartment Professionals can’t afford to miss.  We also asked them to share the very best idea they’ve ever taken away from Brainstorming.  Here’s what they had to say!


Tracey Hopkins


Don’t Miss It:  “Nowhere else can you find such well-rounded education and strength skill building, and all-around mental aerobics.  Brainstorming has literally catapulted my career.  It’s a ‘Must Do’ for everyone who’s interested in apartment marketing and training!”


Best Idea:  “My favorite of all of the ideas that came to me at Brainstorming is Kiddie Collateral; the idea to provide marketing collateral that’s especially for children.  Kids love the special attention and feeling of involvement that it gives them.  While I’ve taken away literally thousands of ideas, Brainstorming has also afforded me the opportunity to get my own mind working on my own challenges and solutions.”


Debbie Davis


Don’t Miss It:  “One word sums it up, opportunity.  Opportunity to network, share and receive ideas, gain knowledge in a surrounding of your true marketing and training peers.  And to have fun while learning is the icing on the Brainstorming cake.”


Best Idea:  “If there is one idea I use year after year and it really originated even before the conference began was Tami’s Networking Directory.  This has been a tool to use both on a corporate level and onsite.  Business cards have their place but putting a face with a name has been a lifesaver year after year.  I network with it, write notes by contacts I have made with details or an idea shared while networking. We are even developing an internal network directory for our own company.  Do I have a favorite idea, that would be hard to pin point.   But what about a tried and true, meaning you know it works cause you tried it. This was shared at my table two years ago that proved to be a huge traffic generator. Post It Notes.  We overprinted the notes went out and stuck them on car windows (with a tickler to bring it in for a lease special) and I promise our traffic increased by over 30%.  And the cost was minimal.”.


Sandy Avery


Don’t Miss It:  Brainstorming is the only event that allows everyone to openly discuss real problems and real solutions in an exciting and stimulating environment.  Rather than spending several days sitting and listening to others speak, Brainstormers become active participants in the creative solution process and as such, revolutionary ideas are born.  The opportunity to learn from and share with others as well as the unique position of learning about and participating in cutting edge ideas before they reach the general population cannot be found anywhere.  Anyone who misses Brainstorming is definitely behind the curve.  Brainstorming provides the best return and is the one industry event that Apartment Professionals truly can’t afford to miss.”


Best Idea:  “Wow! How do you chose just one?  My favorite best idea from Brainstorming would have to be the concept of ‘live models.’  We have created a entire campaign around this idea and each year we hire actors to ‘live’ in our apartment homes for few days.  Everyone loves to work on this campaign and the public response continues to grow.  Each year produces a new best idea and I am anxiously awaiting the best of 2002.”


Esther Bonardi-Basden


Don’t Miss It:  “There are a few things that make Brainstorming the one conference you shouldn’t miss.  First of all, Brainstorming creates an environment that is truly conducive to learning.  I’ve heard people who haven’t been say that it looks like a big party.  It does look like a big party, but all of those crazy costumes and room decorations serve a real purpose. They tear down people’s barriers–barriers to learning, barriers to creativity, and barriers to each other.  At most conferences, we carry our professional baggage into the classroom to a certain extent.  At Brainstorming, all of that is peeled off, and we are left with hearts and minds that are excited about learning something new.

Another reason not to miss Brainstorming is the opportunity for networking. The entire conference is pretty self-contained within one hotel.  Other conferences lose their attendees at 5:00 to the entertainment throughout the host city.  At Brainstorming, people stay together hours after the sessions have ended for the day.  There are a number of networking receptions and dinners built in to the conference that help facilitate relationship building.  And once you have seen each other dressed in silly costumes, it is easy to find something to talk about.  I go to several conferences a year, but the only one I have built lasting business relationships—and friendships–through is Brainstorming.

Finally, Brainstorming gives you the opportunity to recharge and remember why you love this business in the firt place.  It is inspiring and invigorating–a religious experience without the religion!  Believe it or not, the motivation can last throughout the entire year!”

Best Idea:  “It’s hard to pinpoint one ‘best idea.’  There have been so many!  I can say this – often I am so inspired by Brainstorming that I come up with some great ideas after the sessions are over.  Something I hear during the day will spark a new train of thought, and I will come up with my own idea later… built off of a seed planted during a Brainstorming session.”


Sharon Ruttenbur


Don’t Miss It:  “Property management professionals cannot afford to miss Brainstorming because of the fantastic networking opportunities! You have the chance to share ideas in an inhibited environment with career-focused professionals that would pay for the conference out of their own pocket, if they had to!  You can run an idea, or ask a colleague if they had ever tried a product; and get real feedback, immediately. I’ve been attending for nine years, and always mark the next year dates in as the event comes to close.  It’s the energy boost I always look forward to year after, year!”


Best Idea:  “From the idea exchange, I adapted a version of a Superior Shopping Spree that I still use today to inspire excellence in our Mystery Shop Program.  Believe it or not, I learned PowerPoint at Brainstorming 1998.  It was amazing.  I was able to create a presentation needed the following week for my Company.  Brainstorming focuses on the issues of today and tremendously keen eye on the future of our industry. Very exciting stuff!”


Lisa Klinglesmith

Don’t Miss It:  “First of all, there is nothing in the industry like it!  Almost 1,000 of the top “industry minds” together, not just listening and learning from speakers, but SHARING their common knowledge.  As an industry we all experience virtually the same challenges each and everyday.  However, Brainstorming is the only industry vehicle that affords us the opportunity to not only discuss these common issues, but to actually find and share solutions.  If you cannot take back solution concepts after actively working with so many professionals of all levels and geographic experiences, you’re not listening.” 


Best Idea:  “WOW!  So many ideas and concepts come to mind.  I really do not know where to start or end.  In general, some of the most powerful ideas I have taken back have dealt with handling personnel issues.  I have picked up a few tricks that have bolstered my efforts towards staff motivation, instilling loyalty, and getting staff, as well as, supervisors to buy into the training and marketing efforts.  There are many amazing ideas out there.  But, the coolest thing about this is, the ideas have already been tried and by the time you get them most of the wrinkles have already been ironed out!  That works for me!”

Jennifer Nevitt


Don’t Miss It:  “Every sophisticated owner is looking for new ideas.  Even a single new idea that has been proven by a colleague in another region of the country could be worth the entire trip!”


Best Idea:  “We’ve picked up a variety of ideas for working with ‘latch key’ kids over our years of Brainstorming, and they’ve been among the most successful we’ve tried.”


Terri Norvell

Don’t Miss It:  “There are so many benefits to attending Brainstorming, but I think the bottom line is that it imparts the valuable skill of applying creativity and resourcefulness within one’s position.  The business advantages of being able to do that are enormous.  More than any other conference in our industry, Brainstormers learn how to ‘outthink’ their competition by using innovative resources, and to be more creative in developing solutions to their challenges.  That’s why attendees keep coming back year after year…they learn, they grow and they get energized to perform at higher and higher levels!”


Best Idea:  “The most valuable thought I’ve taken away from Brainstorming is that we each have SO many resources that are readily available to us.  It’s a forum of new ideas and solutions that we can turn to when we need solutions to any challenge!”


Claire Collins


Don’t Miss It:  “There is no other event that offers attendees the opportunity to rub elbows with the best in the industry.”


Best Idea:  More valuable than any of the great ideas I’ve culled from Brainstorming is the attitude it’s given me.  Before Brainstorming (BB) my approach to training and problem solving was much different.  BB, I was much more closed-minded.  Much of what I did followed a cutting-the-roast-in-half thought process:  ‘we’re not really sure why, but we’ve always done it this way’ was the rationale behind everything.  After Brainstorming (AB) I became much more innovative.  Challenges are met with more creativity, and AB I have a network of peers throughout the country who can help.  I’ve brought much back to my company in the form of productivity and ingenuity, which I feel I’ve sparked in others too”


Douglas D. Chasick


Don’t Miss It:  “Brainstorming is the ONLY national conference/event/meeting/gathering where everyone has the complete freedom (and responsibility) to fully participate in determining the outcome of our three days together! We invent, imagine, create and share any and all ideas, regardless of their initial practicality or feasibility; and, as a group, we discuss, mold and shape these often outlandish thoughts and ideas into practical, easy to implement tools that we can take home and use immediately! Think about it – where else in our industry does that happen, year after year, EVERY year, without fail? Simple – NO WHERE ELSE!!!”


Best Idea:  “The best idea I’ve taken away is even more valuable than any specific ‘How to lease more…’ idea, rather, it’s been a complete shift in my attitude toward my team.  I completely reinvented the way I related to my staff, conducted meetings and solicited their ideas, opinions and criticism based on the incredibly powerful interaction model practiced at Brainstorming. While I still have my preconceived notions, judgments and “brilliant” ideas, I’m SO MUCH more open to everyone else’s ideas and, due to my training and practice as a facilitator, I create and maintain an environment where ideas are grown, nurtured and fine tuned, instead of listening to people because it’s the “right thing to do” and then doing what I wanted to do regardless of what my team said!”


Kathy Lane


Don’t Miss It:  “brainstorming is an opportunity to re-energize yourself, your team and your company with new ideas in marketing, management and training.  The idea exchange has the most valuable tools, ideas, forms, policies, etc, that can be immediately implemented and used by your entire team.  As professionals it gets difficult to constantly come up with new ways to keep our companies and communities “cutting-edge”.  Brainstorming is a group of hundreds of committed individuals that help you solve your challenges and improve with NEW ideas.  It is like hiring 200 top consultants at one time.”

The Future Of Multifamily Property Management

May 27, 2013 in Apartment Management Ideas

Multifamily Management IdeasIf we ever thought we had control over business, it’s gone now – it belongs to customers and employees. Therese S. Kinal discusses how business leaders will need to rethink management to adapt to a changing organizational environment.

Modern business leaders are facing employees and customers who demand engagement, transparency and responsibility. One billion people are now on Facebook, and 500 million Tweets are sent everyday. Customers don’t want to be sold to; they want to connect with your brand and play a role in the development, sales and marketing of your products. If we ever thought we had control over business, it’s definitely gone now.

Read this article and gain insight into apartment management of the future. Let us know if you agree!


Also you won’t want to miss The Future Of Multifamily Property Management

How Is Your Apartment Management Team Thanking Your Residents?

April 25, 2013 in Apartment Management Ideas, Resident Retention Ideas

Tanking Multifamily Residents6 Times You Should Thank Your Residents

Every attempt at giving thanks must be relevant and personalized, noticeable and sincere. These simple requirements will ensure your show of gratitude hits home with your residents.

1. When they pay their rent … every time.

2. When they complement you, your company or apartment community.

3. When they offer comments or suggestions, tell them that you value their opinion.

4. When they refer a friend or associate … not just when the referral leases, either!

5. When they complain. Residents who tell you that they are unhappy are giving you a second chance to get it right. How valuable is that?!?

6. When they turn in a service request. They are making life much easier for you. Thank them for it!

Can you add another way to thank our residents?


Multifamily Trends: Gen C – The YouTube Generation

April 17, 2013 in Apartment Leasing Ideas, Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas

Multifamily TrendsCheck out what I just found on Think Insights:

Introducing Gen C – The YouTube Generation

Gen C is a powerful new force in consumer culture. It’s a term we use to describe people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection, and community. It’s not an age group; it’s an attitude and mindset defined by key characteristics. 80% of Gen C is made up of millennials, YouTube’s core (though by no means only) audience.

See more at Google Think Insights

April Ideas For Marketing Apartments

March 14, 2013 in Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas, Resident Referrals Ideas, Resident Renewal Ideas, Resident Retention Ideas

By Tami Siewruk

Multifamily marketing

Apartment Marketing Ideas

It’s time to start thinking about April’s apartment marketing and media communications calendar! As the weather starts to improve, we are all looking forward to the spring holidays, spring weddings, spring break, vacations, and prom. Here are a few ideas that I hope will get those wheels turning!
Spring Savings! (No, I am not talking about lowering rents and offering a special.) Read more on these apartment marketing ideas here

Do YOU have a super special spring Apartment Marketing idea?  Let us know by sharing it on our Facebook wall or tweeting it to us today! National Survey What Is Driving Renters In 2013

February 5, 2013 in Apartment Management Ideas, Apartment Marketing Ideas, Brainstorming Sessions - Executives, Brainstorming Sessions - Main Event, Resident Renewal Ideas, Resident Retention Ideas provides the top five reasons previous homeowners are choosing to rent in 2013, and compares these results to its 2012 survey. The statistics indicate that within the past year, economic struggles may have been a more significant factor in previous homeowners’ renting decisions than in prior years:

  1. Renting is a more affordable option: 22.2% (down from 26.3% in 2012)
  2. Flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live: 15.7% (down from 21.2% in 2012)
  3. Can’t afford to keep up with the expenses associated with homeownership: 14.2% (up from 10.5% in 2012)
  4. To relocate for employment: 13.3% (down from 20.5% in 2012)
  5. Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 11.2% (up from 5.9% in 2012)

What is the primary reason people are moving in 2013?

As unemployment continues a slow but steady national decline and the U.S. economy stabilizes, survey respondents indicated they are moving in 2013 for reasons primarily having to do with economic situation (31.5 percent) and personal preferences (23.5 percent). Reasons related to family / family situation (16 percent) and education / graduation (11.3 percent) also played a notable role. details the primary reasons respondents said they are moving in 2013:

  1. Relocating for employment opportunities (economic): 15%
  2. Shopping for a less expensive apartment (economic): 13.2%
  3. Looking for a bigger apartment (personal preference): 11.2%
  4. Change in marital status (family-related): 10.8%
  5. Wanting to live in a different neighborhood (personal preference): 9.8%
  6. Relocating for educational reasons (education-related): 6.7%
  7. Other family reasons (family-related): 5.2%
  8. Recent college grad moving to their own place (education-related): 4.6%
  9. Looking for a smaller apartment (economic): 3.3%
  10. Wanting to live alone (personal preference): 2.5%

What resources do people use to search for their new apartment?

Renters continue to tap multiple resources during their apartment search. While all respondents rely on as the survey was conducted to current website visitors, other online apartment listings websites (such as Craigslist), search engines and review websites are also popular tools for finding a new apartment.

The opinions of others seem to play a more important role in searches than in previous years. More than half of respondents said they use review websites during their apartment search versus 32.6 percent in 2012, and 45.1 percent relied on word of mouth versus 31.5 percent in 2012.

Who will renters share their apartments with in 2013?

One area that seems to be a constant is renter living arrangements, which is nearly identical this year to the results of the 2012 survey:

  1. Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 49.6%
  2. Living alone: 40.3%
  3. Roommate(s): 10.1%

As part of its What Renters Want series, surveys renters on various topics throughout the year. For more information on these surveys or to receive a copy of the results, please contact Matt Miller at

About ( is a leading national apartment Internet listing subscription service with more than 50,000 unique addresses representing millions of rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties. By incorporating the most relevant products to reach renters including personalized searches and highly visual ads featuring live chat, real-time rent, online video walk-through demonstrations, professional photography, a mobile website and iPhone and Android apps, creates easy access to its listings. Providing unmatched exposure to its advertisers through an intuitive name, strategic search engine placements and featured partnerships and more than 120 newspaper websites and innovative emerging media, reaches millions of renters nationwide, driving both qualified traffic and highly-engaged renters to leasing offices nationwide. is a division of Chicago-based Classified Ventures, LLC. The network of apartment rental websites includes Apartment Home Living (, a leading social media apartment website distinguished by a “live for fun” community experience, proprietary lifestyle matching and local living guides to help renters find their perfect place to live; Rental Homes Plus (, an online destination where house hunters who prefer to rent can choose from a robust inventory of houses, condos, town houses, duplexes and apartments from around the country; and Rentfish (, a national apartment website offering customizable searches by neighborhood, favorite coffee spot, sports arena, famous landmark and more.


Revenue Optimization Through a Committed & Connected Onsite Force

January 27, 2013 in Apartment Management Ideas, Brainstorming Sessions - Executives


Multifamily Management Ideas

As Multifamily leaders focus increasingly on building revenue and retention efforts, many are coming to a fresh realization of how important onsite team members—often thought of as operational employees—are to revenue optimization. But the full benefit of turning your onsite team into a top-performing revenue machine can only be realized if the team is committed and connected to the company in the longer term. This session is designed to deliver a formula that will turn off the tendency toward transience at your onsite organizational level, and lock employees into a performance plan designed to: build focused awareness of the company’s revenue goals and their role in achieving it; build a culture that connects them to each other as a fully-engaged team; communicate and connect them to a path for achieving the company’s vision and mission as a long-term career goal; provide incentives that offer recognition, appreciation, and opportunities for higher achievement (the rewards proven to increase performance and retention); and more. You’ll see benefits across the board from improved customer service to increased employee satisfaction, and higher revenue as the ultimate result!

Do you agree?