I have this friend who is my muse and who just so happens to not know a single thing about the apartment industry. Some of the conversations that we have just turn into good, no great, content. This friend also has a running joke with me about my Jewish family and his Mexican heritage (how true that is, I don’t know, but I’ll let him claim it). But how do we relate to one another as friend’s based on our backgrounds, on our heritage?
Which brought me back around to being relatable and my stint at Ruby Tuesday’s about a year or so ago (shocker, I know…more on that in a minute). But how relatable are we to one another? How relatable do we make ourselves? The standard defintion of relatable is:
enabling a person to feel that they can relate to someone or something
Our job as property management professionals requires us to be somewhat relatable. Now in all instances can we relate to the individual that we are renting an apartment home to?? No. Trust me, I have always worked on blue collar properties. Even my prior lease ups, the rents were typical middle income rents.
Now, where I’m working now? Luxury apartments…..I assure you, not relatable. I wasn’t raised wealthy, did not marry wealthy, and didn’t divorce wealthy either (HA!).
But I do have a very funny story for you, about me. I think most of you know, if you’ve read my blog or known me, I’ve been doing this for about 11 years. Since I was 21. I knew immediately I’d found my niche’, my passion, and worked hard to move up quickly. I had a confidence about me. A somewhat cocky air of confidence. That can be troublesome, regardless of how good you are at what you do. Humble gratitude for finding what you love is important.
I digress, as always. Ok, so funny story about me.
My forte is lease ups and new construction. Love, love, love it. Now, when I moved to Alabama, this particular region was hard to get into (refer to prior post regarding Bubba Boy Country). So I worked about an hour and a half away in Alabaster. On a renovation property. That had been renamed. (We all know what THAT means). They had changed management and management was building a new image, a new brand. All while also doing a renovation.
Hardest property I have ever worked on. If it hadn’t been for my assistant, Christy Swann, who is now the much deserving property manager, I wouldn’t have lasted even the 8 months I did! Anyhow, so I left that property (gladly!) and was in a place and moment where I needed to back off property management, regroup and refocus. And hope like hell I got my passion that I’d lost back.
So, I decided it was time to knock myself off my high horse. More so than the inability to run a renovation property had already accomplished for me.
I had never once worked in the restaurant industry. Through school I always had office jobs. Then I found property management. I was never relatable to those that worked in that industry. I’d never done it. So, along with taking some humble pie for myself, I also was attempting to make myself more relatable to others. To get a reality check on the struggles of working in the restaurant industry.
Now mind you, I was offered two positions. Hostess. Or dishwasher. What do you think I chose to ensure humble pie was fully digested??? Bingo! Dishwasher.
OMG. It lasted two weeks. Two weeks!!!! I have the photos of the bruises, scrapes, cuts, etc to prove it. And my memories. Bless you all that work in the industry. Smelling the food that you used to enjoy daily, dealing with rude diners, dealing with rude team members, struggling to make ends meet with that pay.
I was never rude as a diner. I’ve always been a gracious tipper. Now?!?!? Oh, yea, if they’re awesome sauce, I’m offering them a job to get them the hell out of there, if not, they’re still getting a tip from me!
I say all that to say that our experiences as people make us more relatable to our prospects. To our residents. To our team members. You have to be relate to get along with anyone in the human race. And even on a luxury property….guess what? They’re still relatable to me. I may not have been afforded the same luxuries, but life has afforded me experiences and stories. And everyone has one. So put a smile on your face and relate to those walking in your door.
It’s the experience a customer seeks, whether consciously or subconsciously. When you’ve related to them, they feel that feeling…..what is it?? The “warm and fuzzy”. You’re not just selling four walls. You’re selling your service….your amenities….your team and yourself. And you’ll never sell any of it if you can’t relate to them.