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Top 10 takeaways from the 2023 NARPM Annual Convention & Trade Show

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A group of people sitting and watching a speaker on stage at the 2023 NARPM Annual Convention

When you bring together top property management experts from across North America for a week, sparks are sure to fly.

The 2023 NARPM Annual Convention and Trade Show was full of valuable lessons and insights, and PayProp is excited to share some of our favorites.

1. Self-care is essential to effectively managing your business

A panel of seasoned property managers – Peter Hernandez, Karen Jordan, Nicolle Crim and Brad Randall – took part in a vital discussion on “Mental and physical health and property management.”

Property management is a demanding field. It’s important for professionals to maintain good mental and physical health to keep on top of demands and remain productive. Be intentional about prioritizing overall health, and take steps to keep yourself accountable.

2. Your team is your greatest asset

Nick Scarabosio from Jackson Group Property Management taught us that the key to scaling your property management business is your team.

Ensure that people are in roles that match their skills, don't rush to fire someone who may simply need to be reassigned to a more suitable position. If they still struggle to meet their KPIs, ask how you can support them, be it through training, a virtual assistant, time off, or something else.

A happy team is more productive, efficient, and effective, which ultimately results in improved business performance.

3. Technology creates efficiency; efficiency drives profitability

Chuck Hattemer, co-founder of Poplar Homes, highlighted the necessity of harnessing the "technology tsunami" that is currently sweeping the rental industry, with AI, automation, and mobile-first solutions quickly gaining favor.

These innovations help property managers streamline their operations, which can in turn boost their bottom line, making it crucial to watch emerging tech trends and promptly embrace the most promising ones.

4. Plan your retirement exit strategy early

Whether you’re 25 or 55, Mark Kreditor MPM® RMP® wants you to start planning for retirement today.

He suggests structuring your business in a way that makes your eventual departure as smooth as possible, which includes determining whether to sell or pass the business on to a trusted employee or family member.

Kreditor also encourages property managers of all ages to make a bucket list. According to him, when you reach 60, life becomes about executing all of the exciting plans you made when you were younger. The sooner you lay the groundwork for these dreams, the less stress you'll have when retirement finally arrives.

5. Set an action plan and stick to it

Robert Chiang is a property management expert with over 25 years of experience. He is author of 7 Step Blueprint to Passive Wealth, and a respected industry coach and speaker.

Chiang uses his own experiences to help others grow their property management businesses intentionally while keeping good mental and physical practices at the forefront. He urges professionals to prioritize and stick to intentional work strategies, minimize manual labor with the help of other industry experts, and upgrade their technology to increase efficiency.

6. When dealing with problem tenants: listen, analyze, and provide a solution

In her 20+ years of property management experience, Dr. Shenetta Malkia-Sapp, CEO of The PMs Of The City, has learned a few tricks for working with uncooperative tenants.

The most important one is active listening. More often than not, problem tenants are frustrated about something else in their lives and take it out on the property manager. Malkia-Sapp finds that most of their anger dissipates when you give them an opportunity to vent.

Listen to problem tenants without judgment, read between the lines to determine their real concerns, and you’re much closer to finding a solution.

7. Embrace generational diversity for workplace success

Despite its negative connotation among younger generations, business keynote speaker Karen McCullough is proud of her first name.

This is one of the reasons she is so passionate about moving beyond harmful stereotypes and instead capitalizing on each generation's unique strengths and perspectives to create a more harmonious and productive work environment.

Karen outlined strategies for getting people of different generations to not only get along, but also to empathize with and learn from one another.

8. Follow SEO best practices to get on Google's "nice list"

There are currently 1.11 billion websites on the internet and Marie Tepman, Director of Marketing for Fourandhalf Marketing Agency, knows how to make yours stand out.

The key is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is Tepman’s number one strategy for getting her content in front of prospects.

But it's not about churning out lazy blog posts – Google (and other search engines) values quality more than quantity. As well as using keywords, your content should meet Google’s E-E-A-T criteria by demonstrating your expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

9. The most effective way to get positive reviews is to ask

Tepman’s presentation was so enlightening, we had to include it twice.

Look for strategic moments within your client interactions to request a review, such as when a tenant has a smooth move-in experience or an owner praises your service out of the blue. They’ll be more likely to follow through while their confidence in your business is at its peak.

Be consistent when seeking reviews because long gaps give negative feedback time to pile up and overwhelm your business.

10. Use AI to your advantage, but be sure to fact-check

The many benefits of generative AI were discussed in more than one session.

Property managers have found a valuable time-saver in ChatGPT, which helps them write property listings and social media content, develop business strategies, analyze housing market trends, and more.

However, AI’s biggest weakness is accuracy, so it's a good idea to carefully review all the output generated by ChatGPT before publishing.

Inspired by the knowledge and connections forged at the convention, PayProp is committed to supporting property managers in their journey to thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

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