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Adapting Operations Quickly and Strategies for Success

Patrick Antrim December 9, 2020


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Todd Katler, CEO of Anyone Home talks with Patrick Antrim, CEO of Multifamily Leadership on operational strategies for success post-pandemic.

The pandemic led the industry to evaluate the way they adapt. Not only did operators need to pivot their strategies to accommodate for social distancing and health and safety precautions, but they had to adapt new technologies, processes and procedures. The most successful operators have adapted while making the consumer the point of focus. From various technologies to creating future leasing strategies in an unpredictable market, operators have to shift quickly to accommodate for new and changing conditions and sometimes fake it till they make it. This episode will cover the various levels of adaptation among operators, how operations will continue to evolve and discuss specific strategies for success.

All right, today on the show we have Todd Katler, founder and CEO of Anyone Home. Todd has a great depth of experience as a 25-year veteran of multifamily on both the management and operational sides of the business, but also implementing innovation into multifamily and his goal and vision for elevating the rental housing experience. For both the prospective and existing residents,  the perspective and experience that onsite professionals have is something that we’re really tuned into.

He has successfully graduated Anyone Home from a startup to more than 300 employees and doing more than a million contacts per month. We’re here to talk to you today, Todd, about what’s next for leasing and multifamily. Thank you for having me, glad to be here. Listen, I just want to talk to you a little bit about what’s different now and what’s the role of leasing?

Where are we going with all of that? You know, it’s interesting. Multifamily, historically, is very, very slow to change because there’s really not a lot of existential risk for the most part. If you’re an operator, you didn’t make a lot of money, or a little bit less than a lot of money, but you’re not going to not make any money.

I think with the onset of the pandemic, what we saw is changes that were already happening by early adopters that the whole earlier adopter curve just sort of moved to the left a bit where people who were risk-averse are saying, geez, we got it. We can do something or nothing. You know, let’s do something, but we’re seeing a lot of companies that otherwise wouldn’t have changed changing quite a bit now.

Yeah. So a question on that, let’s go into the fears. Let’s go back before the forced innovation with a forced change. You know, you mentioned something very interesting in that success can sometimes be the biggest issue for multifamily and we saw that with the hotels and auto industry.

You know, I’m looking at industries like that, seeing massive change in the intermediary areas and in that customer experience. And so what do you think the fears are? I think in bringing on something that maybe it’s not just the early adopters getting involved, but really everybody should just because of the customer experience.

I mean, self-guided tours are probably the easiest one to show as an example of that. So we started Anyone Home to serve institutional loans, single-family operators and people that have 10,000 plus units of single-family homes. They adopted self-guided tours in seconds because they had to to survive. It was the only way they were going to be able to operate with a margin even remotely similar to multifamily. 

So if you’re trying to attract that same institutional capital, you don’t have much of a choice. We launched self-guided tours for multifamily from a technology perspective a year and a half ago and it took almost a full year just to get the first properties to finally commit and say, okay, let’s start testing this. I’ve been in the industry a long time and never have I had so many discussions about what happens if Antarctica melts as I have with self-guided tours. Like, what if someone leaves the door open? Or what if someone steals a pillow off the couch? And you know, then I guess you’re gonna lose it. I mean, they’re like six bucks at home goods.

There was just so much of, “this is the way we do it.” It doesn’t fit in this box. So you saw a lot of this, you know, geez, “can we have someone on our property without being escorted?” Which, you know, people kind of forget that’s multifamily, one-on-one, you don’t have control over who’s on your property.

Even if you have controlled access, people are coming and going all the time. It’s not like you have tour retina scans. And then we also saw a lot of fear of what happens when it’s not our agent doing this highly curated tour asking and answering these questions. And what we saw is that for the people that gravitated towards self-guided tours, they actually converted to a lease at much higher rates because they got to spend more time on property and didn’t have someone waiting on them and had more time to start visualizing their own experience moving in. 

And a lot of times a product, you know, you’re talking about leasing agents and the turnover, having a new leasing agent talking about the product from the human aspect. I mean, we make a lot of errors as you’re aware. Sure. Right. And technology sometimes makes less. I don’t know if you’re seeing any benefits to having a more consistent brand experience than having, you know, constantly retraining and training people and hoping that not only they’re going to keep you in a minimize risk standpoint from even fair housing and all these other elements, but also to really talk about the community in the right way. 

Yeah, I think consistency is a big deal. As you know, we operate a 24-7 contact center as well, actually with about 400 employees in there now. And you know, I always say, your best leasing agents are always better than our contact center because they live there or they live in the neighborhood and they know the property inside and out. They’re always going to be better. But our average is always better than our customer’s average because of that consistency because you only have to train someone to do something one way. 

So I think this, what you just talked about as like, how do you be consistent on every encounter to make it predictable? It’s certainly something that, that really presents itself in that you can start to say like, okay, we’re going to have a thousand inquiries this month. They’re going to go about like this. You’re gonna have some really good ones. You have some really bad ones, but they’re going to go about like this. And it allows you to forecast in a much more efficient way and advertise a much more efficient way.

Cause you understand how your leads are going to convert. I always wonder about that consumer because even now with the acceleration of the customer is still needing a place and people were forced to not do tours because of social distancing and things like that. And the customer has now come to expect even a virtual tour or self-guided tour, or something of this sort.

Right. And I always just think about, you know, how much sales is really involved in the process of customers starting to sort of decide. Like, I know this is a location, I’ve seen this property. I’ve been driving by it for a long time. I’ve heard of some people that have already lived there.

Like, are people coming in a little bit more educated and do we even need to close as much in terms of being more consistent on things? I think across the board, consumers are more educated than they ever were. And that changes sales in every environment, right? Not just at leasing apartments, but you know, B2B sales and whatnot.

People are more educated. That being said, I like to kind of compare to Zappos all the time, who in most of our opinions is probably one of the best service companies in the world. And one of the reasons why Zappos is so successful is because they’re agnostic in how you get to interact with them. And that’s really important. 

Some of us are gonna say, no, no, I don’t want to talk to a human. I want a self-guided tour. I want an online app. I want an online lease. And frankly, if there was something I could do to get my key or code and move in and never speak to a human, that would be great.

And you would have someone on the other end of the spectrum say, actually, this is where I’m going to live. This is home and home to me is about who I’m surrounded by. And I want to know, Hey, if I’m having a bad day, are there a couple of smiling faces in the leasing office that are going to sit and chit chat with me for a minute?

You know, I’m a dog lover, are there other dog lovers here? Things that are not necessarily about, you know, where’s the fridge and is there a walk-in closet, right? Stuff, that’s more expository, like what is it going to be like to live there? And that’s a little less binary. So I think the, you know, kind of taking the cue from Zappos rather than try and say, okay, well leasing is going to be this way forever, or we’re going to use AI for this, there’s a certain number of leases we want to transact. We want people to be happy because if we minimize turnover, it really pays off in the long run for all of our financials. So how are we going to give people choices and let them communicate in their own currency and the way they want to so that they can say, Hey, I’m all automated, but you know, I just hit a stumbling block. I don’t want to talk to a human now and allow them to transition. However they want to talk to that human in real time. That’s a good point. You have emotional buyers and logical buyers and they make decisions off of different information. And those are some really powerful points.

And, you know, it’s interesting. How do we have the tech stack, I guess, to fully do something like that? Can you talk to us a little bit more about what you’re doing with your platform on how to solve some of those, even in the forms of automating the tasks so that maybe when someone gets to that stop point, then you have really a concierge, maybe the role of leasing changes. Talk to me a little bit about what you guys do. Yeah. It’s funny you use concierge. We actually launched a product last year called concierge for how to attack that exact purpose. 

So we look at it and I think, you know, if this interests you, if you’re viewing this, you should look at everyone out there and decide who’s best for you. But we look at it as there’s a combination of automation and human interaction that work together to do that. So, you know, kind of looking at the different channels, you know, obviously you need to be able to have,

you know, SMS and web chat and phone and email slash kind of web forms, but you also need to be able to have consistency in how those are responded to. So for instance, when we look at how many inbound SMS are not responded to by the customers or people who like to try and do web chat, but have the properties responding to it,

where those webcasts sit there for 20 minutes unresponded. So it’s not just having a technology, it’s having a catcher’s mitt. And when you set the expectation that, hey, if I SMS you, my expectation is I’m going to get a pretty quick return. If I say, I’m ready to web chat, my expectation is 30 seconds, maybe 45 seconds.

If it’s 10 minutes, you just completely let down that prospect. And you actually set the stage that if I don’t care enough about you to respond now, how much am I going to care about you once you’re living here, when you have a service request that you need. So setting the stage up front, that your interaction is important to me. So therefore 24-7,

whether you call, email, webchat or SMS, do one of those because you want to book a tour using a widget or a chatbot or a self-guided tour using, you know, those same interactions and then having automated follow up that compliments the physical follow up. And those are those, you know, I actually just kind of described our company in a nutshell, it’s all those things. 

That’s great. You know, Apple Figured that out early with the bubbles. You know, if you’re on an iPhone, you know that you send someone a text, she’s like, okay, they’re on it. They’re, you know, they’re gathering the response and it puts that customer at ease like, hey, you know, that expectation of responses is different in really that these are like little cultures or atmospheres, depending on how they engage. What are you seeing in terms of, I mean, you’re spending a lot of time with a lot of executives, innovation and, you know, people that are onboarding a process like this when you’re getting a new client.

I imagine what’s changing in the role of who identifies all of these things and how do they bring them actually into an organization, what’s that process? Well, prior to COVID, it was very similar to how it’s always been, which is, you know, depending on the size of the company, it’s either something led by operations or something led by either marketing or it depends on the structure of that company now, you know, with or without COVID. The attention on operations is different than it was six months ago. So you’re seeing a lot more C-level people get far more involved than they used to because there’s some quick investment that needs to be made or some stuff regarding the real estate, particularly with self-guided tours that might make people uncomfortable.

So we’re seeing a lot more with that, but I think the most interesting part of it is the shape of the industry. There’s been a lot of companies dabbling with what I would call inside sales, and we’ve been powering that person’s customers for years and now we’re starting to see more and more customers understand that, geez, you could take some folks, centralize them, or in COVID de-centralized them, but nevertheless, make them work and make them effective over a larger number of properties and really change the way you think about how you lease and service your customers, your residents and your prospective residents that way. In fact, geez, 10 years ago, when I was at BRE, I was trying to do this and there just wasn’t any software to do it.

You know, everything was very property centric. So it kind of goes back to accounting. You have a management company, you have a property, and then you have people associated with the property. So when you have density, like all real estate has, you know, you keep duplicating prospects and you’re trying to get them to lease over here, but they already leased over there.

What are your sister communities? So you kind of sound like an idiot. So having a prospect centric architecture was key to that. And it was something that was really near and dear to us. When we started the company, it really has enabled people to say, hey, I can work all of a sudden California, or I can work, you know, out of Dallas, regardless of how many properties there are. 

Yeah. Let’s dive into really how you ventured out. What inspired you to start that company. Obviously, you mentioned a little bit about BRE and things, times have changed since then this prospect centered, you know, network or architecture, whatever that might be, how do we really get to that? 

So it was a really interesting opportunity for me to go on the property side and probably not the best fit for a serial entrepreneur to go work for a public REIT. But it was R and D, because over half of what we built at Anyone Home came out of that experience.

So you know, when you’re on the vendor side, the supplier side, you tend to see what’s going on and say, oh, here’s an area of inefficiency that I can build a product around. And that’s really how you look at it, right? Or here’s something I can solve a problem with once you’re neck-deep in it.

And I would, really for anyone who’s only been on the vendor side or supplier side, see, what you learn by going to the property side and understanding how challenging the job is that a leasing agent has and just how chaotic it is. It’s very humbling because you know, when you’re only on the vendor side, oh, properties never do this, or they never answered their calls,

or they never respond to leads. And then you go spend a day in their shoes and go, I don’t know how to do this. Like, this is really hard. And so it really inspired a lot of innovation for us. And we continue to try and advocate for that baseline team. Cause that’s, you know, that’s really, what’s going to move the needle the most.

So I was just watching people spend 15 minutes deciding how they can spend five. Right. I mean, I’d watch it all the time. I spent about one day a week on site and I’d be like, okay, so what’s timing look like? Well, I have another appointment at two. Great. What are we gonna do now?

I got to figure out maybe some follow-ups to do. I’m like, okay, how are we going to go do that? And I would watch the system going, oh my God, like, you should be able to do what everyone does. And B to B sales, which is loaded up on a dashboard. And it has prioritized for you what the next three things you should do is and if you can get to all three, great. If you can only get to one, okay. But I would watch them spend 10 minutes and actually not do anything because they took 10 minutes to figure out what to do. And that’s, you know, so I wanted to build something around that. And then I realized, oh, well, they’re never going to get to everything. So how do we automate that?

What they would do, when they are going to get to it. So at least there’s some air cover. So it was really interesting to watch that. And then how much stuff did we put down onsite that shouldn’t be onsite. It should be centralized. So that was, you know, we did a lot with that. I looked at our long-tail leads.

I remember saying, okay, a third of our leads are looking more than 30 days out. So we’re calling them and saying, Hey, do you want to come in to tour? Oh, can I see the unit I’m going to rent? No, well do know how much they’re going to be? No. Like, why are we telling you to commit to a tour?

So what we did is we took two people off-site, put them in the corporate office and said, I want you to nurture these leads. And our conversion rate on those leads doubled instantly because we would say, Hey, it looks like Patrick, you want to move October 1st. I’m going to call you around September 10th. I’m gonna have you come in.

And then we’ll be able to show you the unit you can live in, or at least something very similar to it. But if that’s what you’d like, we can lock it up for you. Meanwhile, your VP or regional is saying, Hey, we gotta rent today. So get them in here and do what you can. Right. But they’re not renting from you right today.

Like if you could read to a hundred percent of people, the job will be easy. All right. So AI did a study a while back about, you know, you go back in the day, they had the home shows or even like the bridal expos and home improvement shows. And if you remember, you’d go to these shows and they’d have these like cards you’d fill out and they’d give away things.

And then somebody would call them back while they researched the company that sort of administers all of those. Where are all those cards, the data warehouse, it’s where all those cards go to. And in the first place, you know, most sales are done like in the first 90 days, like, they’ll follow up.

And then after 90 days, they’re like, they’re not a buyer. Right. And someone comes in at some point, fills out a card for, I don’t know, shutters or something, you know, in their new home. And they’re not really wanting to buy it now, but the sales team sort of aborts after that 60 days, 90 days.

And they said something like, I think, 50% of them will buy something within the next 18 months,or it was a longer period of time than most would focus on following up. But they had a system where every six months they would just send an email like, Hey, you were looking for shutters.

Did you buy any? And that simple email, just a check-in, you know, converted substantially more just by, you know, having a process to say, Hey, look, we’re not going to give up on the lead because they didn’t, you know, rent now as we want them to, because we have some financing event going and we need to, you know, rush the process. But they had a system, automation that said, look, this is somebody that showed interest at some point in time. And the numbers, the data just doesn’t lie, you know, on that process. So we believe in that very deeply, we believe that you should deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

And the biggest, one of the biggest mistakes I see our customers make, or another that they used to make is if a lead was created today, we’re going to follow up every three days. We’re going to follow up five times and it’s a kind of a fire and forget way of going about it, where the reality is it should be Mr or Mrs. Prospect. When are you planning on moving? And the cadence of your sales process should be dictated on the, on the Delta between today and when you’re planning on moving and how far you are in the sales process. So we built our system around that, so that the engagement for each prospect is cultivated rather than kind of fire and forget. Yeah.

It’s interesting. You mentioned earlier in the show about concierge, that was something I hadn’t heard about this. Will you talk to us a little bit about what you see for the future of a leasing agent? Let’s say there’s somebody leading their teams. What does the future look like for them? And how can they make an impact? 

So, concierge for us was really a chatbot. We were looking at the user experience and saying, there is a chat icon here, and a phone number here, and an email here, and a self-scheduled tour here, and a self-guided tour here. And it was like widget overload. And there could be duplicative stuff. So we wanted to combine every way.

Prospects and residents should communicate into one interface. But you know, when you go past that, when you talk about the role of the leasing agent, not the role of the technology, I think what we’re going to see is the centralization and our industry’s ability to get comfortable with people being off site is going to allow for a bifurcation in skills. You know,

if you talk to any great regional manager, they’ll tell you that, you know, a lot of the great recruiting they’ve done is at the shopping mall, right. You know, where they met someone at a clothing store who just had that one of those great personalities and you were able to recruit them, or you met someone at a Starbucks and they’re like, Hey, you don’t have to wake up at 5:00 AM anymore. Come work here. You know, they just have one of those things that you can’t teach someone, but that’s because our industry has always looked at sales as a four-letter word. So once you bifurcate, like, Hey, these are people that are going to be responsible for selling.

And these are people that are going to be responsible for service. While we have been able to do that in the past, unless you’re over four or 500 units, you just don’t have enough staffing to bifurcate responsibility and provide coverage. So now once you centralize a lot of this, now you can, because all your appointments will be by, Oh, excuse me,

all your tours will be by appointment or self-guided. And maybe that you get to walk in, there’ll be somebody there that can help, but that’ll be the minority of what you do. So much of what we do in multifamily is just about coverage. Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. And in some cases, maintenance is the first point of contact because the whole process has,

you know, automated and that’s the first contact that they’re seeing in many cases. It’s very interesting. So let’s talk about, I guess, where are we, where are we going from here? I mean, I think there’s, we’re coming out of this pandemic, this forced way to think differently. And we’ve added new ways to even work and collaborate with teams.

You were getting involved with, you guys have a lot of units in your ecosystem. And so now I imagine things are even accelerating, but where do we go from here? So first, I think we’re going to see a bit of a metamorphosis and how executives look at success. So if you historically look at multifamily and you look at any C-level person, when they’re looking at a box score or whatever management report they’re using, it’s how many leases did we do last week? And how many tours did we do last week and yada yada, and it’s all a derivative of a financial metric. And the comparison I like to draw is if you were talking about how do I go win a football game?

You could say, well, we gotta go score four touchdowns. Sure. Right. That would be great. But what a winning football team really does is do really well on third and six, right? So it’s those core competencies that you have that allow you to consistently move the ball down the field, get first down conversions and a touchdown or a field goal. 

It’s the natural evolution of that consistent way to move the ball. So if all you’re doing is measuring points on the board, you’re actually measuring past tense. If you’re measuring or managing activities and the right activities, you’re actually putting yourself in a position to produce success. So slowly, I’m seeing more C-level executives start to look at, okay, what percentage of our leads are managed?

What percentage of our tours have dispositions that allow me to say, how did this go? How are we doing quality analysis on our inbound contacts and evaluating them for what the likely outcome or the desired outcome that we would like to have will be? What percentage of our tasks have been completed? And when, so these are all metrics that, you know, on your Yardi or one site or MRI or whatever report would never show up because of their CRM metrics. So it’s this true adoption of CRM, not that software that tells me where I should advertise, but software that helps me manage my teams forever. We would see you would deploy CRM to the properties. Sometimes even the regional managers would want access. 

Now, it’s, you gotta have, if you can have the CEO have access, that’s fast. If it’s such a big company and they just don’t look at that stuff fine. But the highest person in operations needs to, that’s going to be the biggest driving change of everything else. Because once you start looking at all those levers as a C-level person, you start to adopt,

Oh, I see what will move this dial. Boy. I really see changes. And by the way, when this dropped did we have to advertise a whole lot more to make up for poor sales skills? So it really gives you a deep understanding of how to predict rather than respond. It’s sort of like measuring exposure versus measuring vacancy. Biggest is a past tense measurement.

Exposure is telling you about that bus coming down the street that may run you over. That’s great. That’s right. And you know, you’re talking about even the leading indicators, good asset managers are now having some of that data at the same time, the property managers have it. And so we have to be even faster to move those levers. As you say,

I love the sports analogies. You know, they matter so much because you know, the athletes, aren’t looking at the scoreboard, you know, during the play, right. They’re there, they’re looking at the scoreboard, maybe for a replay of a great play they’ve made or something like that, but it’s already happened. 

Right. So if you’re doing all those great things, you’re moving those levers, then you know that four touchdowns as an outcome of the things that you do versus the, yeah. I love that. And I know when we think about it, you know, sports gives us that perspective of they get it investing in the process that allows you to put better people in the winning positions, because everything’s at stake, the beer contract to the signage. And now if you had TV contracts, you’d still be showing something, but all of that matters to the whole customer. You know, you’ve got investors as customers, you have employees as customers, you have the real customers. 

So the ones that make all this happen, the residents, and it sounds like you’re giving people their time back, but also the ability to sort of look forward in an industry that’s always looked back. Yeah. And be able to increase the professionalism of our industry. Our one thing that our industry has an abundance of is people who are kind of salt of the earth. And good-hearted, I think in the nature that we provide housing,

I think we tend to gravitate towards some of the best people. And I, you know, I just think about all the people I’ve met and I’m sure as you have over these decades and they’re lifelong friends, and I’m always impressed by the quality of the humans. So I think taking and adding, Hey, you know, this is the way a professional B2B organization would operate.

You can actually do that here and do it more efficiently. And you mentioned fear a couple of times, is staffing going to change on-site? Yeah. Now, you know, when I see people get up and say, there’s not going to be a need for leasing agents, let’s go back to Zappos when you’re really having an issue. And you’re upset, you’re going to do web chat or phone. Both of which involve a human. You know, some of the web chat maybe AI at first, but when, you know, when on your forehead, there’s crinkles cause you’re pissed. You’re going to talk to a human to try and help you. Is the staffing level going to be the same as it is today?

Probably not. But you know, every time I hear people say you don’t get leasing agents anymore. I’m like, this is a people business. Those people may change. They may evolve. There may be fewer, but that’s not going away. Yeah. And you know, there’s so much, there’s been a lot of study around even AI and even going back to conversations outside our industry about how, you know, AI is eating jobs and all these things. And you know, you look around us we were watching an old office space. I think it was the movie. And you look at one of those scenes and you look at like all the things on that little cubicle as no longer, you know. And it’s essentially been eaten by technology and allows them to essentially do more important things than, you know, entering data and printing data and things like that. But as time goes on, you look at people who are behind the cloud, you know, technology. You look at even Uber, they’re using the technology, but you still have a driver doing the things. And so it’s interesting when I think of the role of the leasing agent.

Do you see somebody that has different skill sets? Like, hey, listen, there’s no doubt about that. The world’s changing and the customer expectations are changing and the platforms that you use or, you know, will, will evolve. maybe it’s if you’re a leasing agent today, you training them, like let’s get involved.

Let’s figure out how to engage in messaging people in written form and sort of the Zappos approach, you know, by the time they get to a conversation they’ve been through those steps. Like, what are you telling people to tell their teams about how to sort of prepare people for the future is that they just need to know how to use the platform, you know, not be curious about new tools, how to move swiftly through them, you know, how to be patient, how-to, you know, communicate in different ways. 

Well, I think it starts with, are you hiring for the right skill set? Right. So if you start to think about it as I’m going to have outside sales, which is how we would look at the leasing agent role today inside sales customer service roles, right. And I’m going to leave service out of it. And then really go into the assistant manager role, right? So there are really four distinct skill sets there. So working backwards, the assistant manager role is more of an admin role, right? It’s a lot about collecting rent and processes, right? When you get into customer service, it’s really just about being friendly and competent and organized. Inside sales and outside sales are somewhat similar forms of skill sets, except that outside sales persons, you know, couldn’t be in front of a computer all day. They’d go crazy, they need to have that human contact. 

Versus inside sales might have a good phone voice and whatnot but actually is comfortable with that little bit of anonymity that the computer screen creates. So if you’re hiring for those four distinct core competencies, you know what we’ve done historically, as we hire someone to be leasing cars, that’s the baseline role, and then promote them into assistant manager if they were really good. So we took someone who actually probably had decent sales skills and made them a junior bookkeeper, and then wonder why we have high turnover. So, you know, if you have someone who’s apt to be a people engager, like let them do that. The problem is, you need better leverage of your folks in order to give someone a career path. So I think once we start with hiring for those skill sets, this is going to present itself easier.

You know, when you look at who we’re hiring today, for the most part, the people looking for the jobs that we’re offering, you know, if you grew up in the last 15 years, you’re somewhat adapted to technology. 

Anyways, you’re used to working on a mobile device and whatnot, even if you’re not, it’s upon all of us to make sure we’re producing software, that’s fairly intuitive and not super hard to use. And then from there we see where it goes. I saw, you know, like for instance, Avalon Bay, I don’t even know how long ago, took all of their assistant managers and centralized it, I think, in Virginia Beach. So they took that role and made it far more efficient. So there’s going to be a lot of centralization.

So it’s not necessarily that jobs are going to go away. It’s where they are that are going to change. Very interesting. We are tracking other interesting either technologies or trends outside the industry, but we try to keep a really good look on what a consumer engagement looks like as a whole and what applies to our industry and what doesn’t. The thing to remember about our industry is the transaction volume is very low.

So when you look at, you know, a 250 unit building, and let’s say it’s 6% exposed, that’s what, 15 leases a month. It’s not going to change. There’s just not a lot of transactions. That’s one every other day and let’s face it, two or three of those happen on Saturday. So the transaction volume is really, really low.

So it’s hard sometimes to take things from other industries there is some comparisons to like the auto industry. Cause you don’t go buy a new car every month, but something you buy infrequently and is an expensive purchase. So auto translates well in some ways. And it’s an important personal acquisition for most people. Just like where you live.

Yeah. No, that’s a great analogy, I guess, or explanation there, because you still have leases that come due and if, if the dealer’s on it, right? You know, then they’ll know like, Hey, this person’s going to be in the market at this point in time, but you’re right. That the dollar amounts in those transactions are significant when you calculate like all the rents and stuff, but certainly not like at an in and out or something where, you know, they’re just thousands of customers coming in. Yeah. Or even Amazon, like, where am I going to order this from this week? Or do I like going to the same supermarket to buy detergent? Or do I like going to Costco?

So you don’t, you’re not going to have this high transaction volume where you look at a typical brand marketer that can say, Oh, okay, like I’m Coca-Cola and I’m going to do this. So when you’re thirsty, you think of like beautiful white polar bears that doesn’t translate as well in our industry, which is, Oh, every time I think about renting an apartment, I’m going to think about XYZ company. And I think there’s some good examples of that. Like, you know, where I live in Orange County kind of hard to miss here, Irvine company, you know, back in the day, if you lived in Atlanta kind of hard to miss posts, right. So where you are in Phoenix, you know, it was hard to miss a Mark Taylor sign. Right. So there’s been good examples of a brand identity within a market. I think nationally it’s a little harder to achieve that. Yeah, no, absolutely. Those are some great points.

Well, listen, this has been an amazing conversation. We’re coming up towards the end of our time together. Are there any final thoughts you want to leave our viewers with? You know, to be bold, out of this adversity comes a lot of opportunity and we’re seeing customers really just sort of, you know, where before is.

Oh, well, we can’t implement that because of this Microsoft word document that we’re holding, you can choose to put the Microsoft word document down and say, what has worked for us before may not be the best way to work in the future. And it’ll make everyone uncomfortable because people like that safety blanket, but that’s okay. You know, I would say,

learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And it’s amazing how much you’ll be able to achieve. Some of the stuff that we’re seeing. Some of what our bolder customers do is just really exciting to watch. That’s great. We’re in a time of innovation and change, and that’s a time for leadership. Obviously our industry is growing. We’re still building.

There’s a demand for more units and more solutions and leaders. And when we think about things that have happened in the past, you look at the automobile, you look at, you know, when the automobile came along, it was defined as a horseless carriage, right? Something had to define it as something old to really talk about, even something new.

Like that’s just the way we did it. Cordless phone, same thing. Like why would you ever have a phone that didn’t have a cord? So we have to just talk about it as a cordless phone. Even in the movie industry, it was a motion picture. It’s like this picture actually moves. And so in a lot of ways, we’re at a time where people can really be part of where things are going a step up and lead.

We want to bring on guests like Utah, because not only are you excited about things, but you’re getting it done, helping people solve big problems in multifamily. And you know, you’ve been through, like we talked about earlier, their R and D of multifamily and taking some of those things and getting excited about really, truly helping people. And when you can help people, it’s really remarkable how they will at the end of the day, want to work with you. And so thank you for all your service in, and for multifamily and all the things that you guys are working on. Likewise. And thank you so much for having me. It was great to be part of this.

Yeah. Very good. Well, we’ll see you on the next show then, we’ll love to have you here.

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Patrick Antrim

Patrick Antrim is the Founder of Multifamily Leadership, LLC, a thought leadership platform providing streaming content around technology, innovation, and leadership. He also produces two of the highest level events in the Multifamily Apartment industry. The Multifamily Leadership brand is preparing Multifamily Leaders for the FUTURE. They honor the Best Places to Work in Multifamily®️ at our annual leadership Innovation summit.

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