Little Surprises

An American Department Store Nordstrom in the US is certainly well known for little surprises.  In fact they have been known to gift wrap items purchased at other stores, iron shirts for business meetings that same day, deliver clothes for people in a pickle, and even refund customers for items that they don’t even sell! All of these surprises create clients for life, they are the little things that keep clients coming back, keep them engaged and get them talking.

Do you empower your team to provide little surprises to your clients? What are you doing to show your clients that you actually care? If providing a routine inspection or a rent increase is the equivalent of a surprise for your client – you’re in trouble.

A surprise can be simple, a hand written note in the mail, a call for no reason at all, through to the providing of gifts.

Surprises need not cost money, remember it’s the thought that counts…. 1% more service is simply showing you care…. How will you do this? How will you team Old fashion values with Modern Times to engage your clients, show you care and retain clients in tight times?

After all there are plenty more Property Managers in the sea.

Fiona Blayney

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The Great Generation Divide

Unlike ever before in history, we now have more generations working in the industry at the same time. We currently have four generations working together, or not in some cases. I recently had a millennial complain to me that they had a new employee, “a gen z” begin and that “they were just awful” following it up with, “if I had behaved the way she does when I started, I wouldn’t have a job!” To which I must argue, really, is this the case? Or do many of us have very short memories?

My argument being that I know when I was a young 20 something, I pushed buttons, I said inappropriate things and I made mistakes. I recently had a previous employer joke I had aged him 20 years in the almost 8 I had worked for him! I have an almost two year old that pushes boundaries every single day and while it is tiring, it is fantastic! Their job is to push the boundaries, to challenge the norm and is this not the case with the next generation? Hell I’m in my 30’s and I still push the boundaries where I can.

Psychologically speaking, the brain does not mature until the age of 25 and this benchmark has been argued to be the turning point from the adolescent brain to an adult. Now, I will get those from the younger generation who will argue the point with me that they are more mature and while I don’t disagree, the science is there. While it can be incredibly frustrating and challenging at times, it is a perfect opportunity to harness the energy that they bring and guide it into something successful.

One of the biggest challenges faced by employers is balancing the generations in their workplace and have them all on the same path to a common goal. Creating an environment that fosters mentoring among employees can assist in bridging the divide. Younger generations can learn from the wealth of experience that older generations have conquered, while older generations can learn more efficient and technologically advanced ways to carry out their tasks and learn something new.

It is also vital to deal with any conflict that may arise in the workplace. Rather than sweeping it under the rug, discuss the issues and foster an environment where employees feel that they can approach management with any issues that they may be having with their counterparts. It needs to be understood that all generations have something to bring to the table and it is important to deal with any conflict in a productive manner.

It is also a good point to remember that experience and the lessons can be learnt, enthusiasm cannot and while it can be time consuming to train someone the tricks of the trade, if they have the enthusiasm to make it then you are halfway home. Plus there is an abundance of great training like that on offer at REAL+ to help have your team hit the ground running in no time.

Each generation can learn from the one who went before in some way or another. Instead of complaining about them incessantly, how about work together as a team, harness the strengths, work on the weaknesses and build a better future for all.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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Do you Remember Being the Newbie?

This week I ran a training webinar for new starters to the Property Management industry giving them as many tips and secrets I could think of for a successful career in Property Management – from my own 11 years in Property Management. It really got me thinking back to when I started in this Real Estate game.

Like most of us who are now working in Property Management, I never really grew up thinking – “I want to be a Property Manager when I grow up”. I am not sure I even knew what a Property Manager was! After high school, while many of my friends were heading off to uni, I was feeling a bit lost as to what I wanted to do as my “career” and as cruisey as it was working at the local video store, I knew I wanted something more.

By chance I grew an interest in Real Estate, and after overhearing a conversation on a bus one afternoon from a girl who had gone for an interview at a Real Estate agent, I called my mum and said, mum I think I am going to do Real Estate. I proceeded to go for the same job (that I had heard the girl on the bus talk about) and made it down to the final two candidates. Sadly they chose the other candidate for having experience and so I decided to go and get some more knowledge and skills.

One Real Estate Diploma at TAFE later, I found myself bright eyed and bushy tailed, working as a Property Officer getting to go out on my own to show properties, send out my own letters, talk to all these new people, filing and preparing big important lease documents. And actually enjoying it!

Do you remember that first excitement you had when you started working in property? Before we got a little bit jaded and a little bit cynical?

Over the years and over several Property Management roles, both here and overseas, I found myself in charge of other young and eager team members, ready to learn and soak it all in. From my knowledge and experience, I asked myself – Am I able to provide these newbies with an exciting and engaging start to Property Management? Was I patient, understanding, encouraging and motivating?

After some reflection this week, I looked back at how I felt as a new starter in the industry and from the perspective of the leader, I thought of a few points I felt helped nurture those newbies to success. So whether you’re hiring, in charge or a team, or even just training a new person, take these tips on board.

  • Have empathy and patience Put yourself in their shoes, remember what it was like to be in their seat and remember they don’t know everything you know, or have all of the skills that you do.
  • Have a clear plan and set clear expectations People find security in structure. Ensure you plan their induction and training plans. Assist them to plan their days and weeks, and provide them with what your expectations are of them and what’s needed from them to perform to company standards and levels.
  • “Do as I say not as I do” This saying always confused me! When a manager is asking you to do things one way, but does things another way themselves. As a manager, if you are not going to comply with the method you are teaching you either need to explain the justifications and reasoning’s why (so they don’t try to short cut and make mistakes) or start doing things the way you expect them to be done…. monkey see, monkey do.
  • Make it fun, have a laugh There is no denying there will be tough days. On those tough days, instead of letting your stress reflect back onto them, find ways to have a laugh and show them not to take it too seriously.
  • Create a learning environment If you want your newbies to keep learning and improving, you need to as well. Seek out opportunities to learn together and improve as a team.
  • Let them innovate These new starters will be buzzing with ideas on faster and better ways to do things. Encourage them to bring their ideas to the table. You may just be pleasantly surprised with what they come up with.

We’d love to hear what other tips you have! So comment below so we can all learn from each other

Hermione Gardiner

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What’s Your Brand?

So it’s a new year and a new you right? Isn’t that how it goes? As the New Year rings in, we tend to have this innate need to make resolutions. You know the ones – I’m going to be fitter than ever before, lose ‘bajillions’ of weight, save more, drink less, do more and the list goes on!

As you make all these promises to the universe this New Year, take a few moments to actually stop and think about brand you. Now when I talk about brand you, there isn’t an error there, I’m not meaning something else; I’m talking about your own personal brand.

Have you tried to google yourself lately? Do yourself a favour, go into google, type in your name and see what comes up. You might actually be surprised with the results.

What you put out there on the internet will stick, no matter what the security level of your Facebook or Instagram accounts hold. A famous quote from that social media movie you may remember, “the internet’s not written in pencil, it’s written in ink”. That post you may put up about the weekend you’ve had or your boss or that photo of a wild night out, is up there forever and can be very difficult to remove. Think of it as your digital footprint, however unlike footprints in the sand, it won’t wash away as easily with water. It’s a good idea to think before you hit that post button. Ask yourself if it’s something you would want your client or mum to see, remember it could be a potential employer looking at it!

One great piece of advice I received is, “Don’t read the comments!”

You know the ones where something has been popped up by your favourite news publication and hundreds of keyboard warriors take to the battlefield throwing words and opinions around that in most cases they would never dare to say to someone’s face. Worse still, you take on the stance of one of these warriors and join in the battle like a scene from Braveheart, your hands at the ready to comment. These comments, regardless of your settings, will show up in google searches whether you like it or not. Keep in mind before you post that what you are saying is going out to the world and there are people waiting and watching. Remember, all of this is ‘your brand’ and what the public may think of that brand is a big part of your success and the best news is it can be controlled by you.

In the past branding has purely been to market corporations, however let’s face it the digital age is here and here to stay and you have two choices, ignore it and let the world create it on your behalf or pick up the ball, run with it and create your own digital destiny.

Fiona Blayney

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