The Demand Solutions Blog

Gross Potential Rent: A Case Study in Wrongheadedness

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 22, 2019 8:54:05 AM

In recent weeks we've been both thinking and writing about two things: pricing and revenue management (PRM) skills and the possible impact of an economic downturn.  A recent conversation reminded me of another related topic: the metrics we use to measure performance.

Given the importance of pricing and business analytics to our success, the metrics we choose to measure performance matter.  Yet while the industry has made great strides in employing ever-more sophisticated software, many processes and rules of thumb remain that have not caught up to where the technology is.

There is perhaps no better example than the metric "gross potential rent" (GPR). This metric is so ubiquitous that many property management systems (PMSs) embed it in their data model and standard reports.

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, financial performance, Leasing Performance

Why Grouping Floor Plans Is Like Selling Shoes

Posted by Trachelle Spencer on Feb 26, 2019 9:12:51 AM

Last week we were talking about the experience of leasing up big projects, and it reminded me of something that I’ve advised companies against doing for years.  It’s to do with the setup of pricing and revenue management systems (RMS) – a set of tasks that do not always receive the attention that they should.

When companies set up new properties on an RMS, one of the most frequent missteps, even for experienced revenue management departments, is the execution of floor plan groupings.  It’s an essential set-up step, as it determines the level at which the system will forecast and make pricing recommendations.

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Topics: multifamily sales, Leasing Performance

Ten Questions You Should be Asking Yourself about Leasing

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Feb 6, 2019 12:16:48 PM

Recently it's been my privilege to interview 20 senior multifamily executives to get their viewpoints and understand their priorities for the next few years. (The interviews were part of our research for a new white paper that we'll be publishing soon - you can pre-register for your copy here.) Through the interviews, one thing was crystal clear: most companies see sales as a top training priority for 2019.

Readers of this blog will not be surprised by this finding - we have long been calling for a revolution in multifamily sales. Multifamily leaders seem to agree, and there are good reasons for that: after a decade of growth in multifamily, the sales muscles have perhaps not received the most rigorous of workouts lately. It makes sense to strengthen them before markets start to soften - whenever that is.

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Topics: leasing associates, Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching

Why A Re-Think of Leasing Should Be Your 2019 Resolution

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Jan 9, 2019 10:07:41 AM

In the closing weeks of 2018 I had the pleasure of interviewing 20 leaders in multifamily operations and technology about the outlook for 2019 and beyond. The content of those conversations will be discussed in detail on this site in a few weeks’ time, but in the meantime, one theme emerged that seems to be a 2019 priority for everybody: leasing.

That’s right folks, as the hangovers wear off and the post-holiday diets wear on, it’s normal to think about new year’s resolutions. And for many in multifamily, plans to re-vamp, re-focus and in many cases re-think their companies’ sales processes are top of the list.  There are several different reasons for this. The now seemingly perennial question mark over whether the bull market on rents will add yet another year to its already historic trend provides a natural motivation for operators to get better at converting leads.

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Topics: Leasing Performance, New Year's Resolutions

Is Your Sales Process Creating a "Buyer-Beware" Environment?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 25, 2018 4:40:37 PM

Fall is upon us. As usual for multifamily operators, Halloween preparations and pumpkin spice treats provide the backdrop to the main event - next year’s budget. As we grind through the seemingly endless iterations of revenue and cost numbers and reconciliation between properties and central teams, at some point the light will appear at the end of the tunnel. At that point, we will get to turn our attention not merely to the goals, but how we will achieve them.

We will bring 2018 to a close with a decade of growth behind us. We will enter 2019 facing what is now an annual question "is this going to be the year when things slow down?"  Of course, nobody knows the answer to that question, but there are good reasons to take our preparations for next year as an opportunity to revisit sales. A decade when demand has outstripped supply more often than not has delivered spectacular returns but in many cases, less-than-spectacular sales performance.

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Topics: property management, Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching

Allowing Short-term Rentals in Multi-family Buildings: The Benefits and the Risks Based on Real-world Data.

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Sep 27, 2018 9:16:13 AM

Just yesterday, Pillow Homes released a white paper I authored, “Allowing Short-term Rentals in Multi-family Buildings: The Benefits and the Risks Based on Real-world Data.” Though in full disclosure I was compensated for my work, I am particularly proud of this piece of analysis as it’s the first time I’m aware of any comprehensive case study of what really happens when buildings actively allow residents to sublet their homes out for short-term rentals (STRs).

The paper was made possible by data collected on the Pillow Homes platform and the courtesy of two management teams of Denver multi-family communities allowing me to interview them to bring their experiences into the analysis along with the “hard” numbers. The study was made all the more interesting as one of the communities was a stabilized property and the other is going through lease-up, thus giving different perspectives from different operating imperatives.

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Topics: multi-family housing, Leasing Performance, Short-Term Rentals

7 Tips to Help Leasing Associates Make Sales Faster (And Delight Residents)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 9, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Over the last 20 years, the multifamily industry has gotten better at managing the core elements of their business. Companies are smarter regarding where they're building or buying their properties, and how they're operating them. The use of pricing and revenue management systems has become the norm, not the exception. Utilizing sophisticated property management systems, online marketing tools and so forth--again, the norm. That means we're operating more efficiently than we ever have before.

With all of these improvements, there is still one area that has been (and often still is) overlooked: sales. As the demands of customers continue to evolve and liquid expectations impact their expectations, experience and buying journey, smart operators know this needs to change. At these companies, sales acumen has begun to “earn its seat at the table” as a key driver to operational performance.

It's important to note that selling today isn't like what selling used to be. Daniel Pink, noted author of the book To Sell is Human shared, "Most of what we know about sales comes from a world of information asymmetry. Sellers had far, far more information than buyers did." That was certainly true in multifamily. Sellers could manipulate buyers and force them to play the game that salespeople wanted to play. That is no longer true.   

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching

More Insights from A Millennial (and my shortest blog ever)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Apr 10, 2018 2:00:00 PM

A week or so ago, I blogged on my daughter’s reaction to a study allegedly sharing insights into how you need market to millennials differently than everyone else. I got so many responses to the raw honesty and insight, I thought I’d go back to the D2 Demand Solutions Millennial Focus Group (again, really just my 23-year old daughter who is a renter) and ask her what she thought about the buzz around micro units and co-living concepts.

The good news is that, unprompted, she’s heard plenty about both of these. The not-so-good news? Just read her response:

Literally every millennial I have seen comment on them thinks they are glorified college dorms, and no one wants to live in them over a normal apartment. People just have to in places like San Fran because rent prices are ridiculous. There is a lot of grumbling about how baby boomers screwed over the housing market and now they think we want to live in dorms forever. Seriously, no one wants a communal bathroom and kitchen.

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Topics: Millennials, Multifamily Trends, Leasing Performance, Customer Experience

The 3 Points that Make a Leasing Sales Process Great

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Mar 2, 2018 3:30:00 PM

Selling is a lot like hitting a baseball. If you watch any Major League team play, you’ll quickly see two things: first, you’ll see some highly talented athletes on the field, and second you’ll see a wide variety of approaches, batting stances and swings from batters.

While a batting stance is as unique as the player employing it, if you study hitting, you’ll discover that despite the variety, effective batting swings have quite a lot in common. In hitting, there are three key points with the swing (where the hands are at the “load” position, where they are when the hands enter the “swing zone” and where they are at the point of contact) common across all good swings that enable a hitter to maximize the probability of making strong contact with the baseball and getting a hit.

Leasing is similar in this way. Leasing associates all have different styles and personalities. Additionally, the communities and buildings they’re leasing are quite different, and prospective residents bring their own unique personalities. The result is that every leasing opportunity is a unique experience.

Yet, in our study of top leasing associates and great leasing sales processes, we’ve identified that, like hitting a baseball, the great ones have three key elements that separate them from all others and maximize the likelihood of a positive outcome.

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Topics: Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching

How to Know it's Time to Improve Your Leasing and Sales Process

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Feb 20, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Over the years we’ve reviewed quite a few multifamily sales processes and training programs. The number one thing they’ve all had in common is (to put it nicely) they’re old. They’re built for a time that no longer exists. The impact of this is twofold:

  • It puts a drag on leasing performance and pricing while increasing lead generation costs.
  • It creates a negative customer experience, harming word-of-mouth and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

With leasing season just around the corner, now is a great time to give your leasing/sales process a check up. If you’re wondering whether yours needs improvement, here are five signs that the time to improve your leasing and sales process has come:

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Topics: Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching