Building your property management business and team can be challenging. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you are wired to fix problems. So, get out of the way, and hire people who have different skill sets to solve them.
Today, I am talking Melissa Prandi of PRANDI Property Management. Everybody in the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) knows her name. She helped establish it and has been in the property management business for 37 years.
[03:13] Brand new baby, brand new company, but no bank loan.
[04:23] Beginning of NARPM and best practices for property management software.
[05:25] Solopreneur Sandtrap: Can only handle 50-60 doors before getting stuck.
[05:48] Team Sandtrap: Bottleneck of 200-400 doors when building a team, creating a culture, and systemizing processes become painful.
[06:33] How to build a team: Different personalities and skill sets.
[09:15] Success comes with your willingness to change.
[12:15] Good at growing the company and letting people grow or go.
[14:50] End-of-the-day (EOD) Report: Rate your day, workload, challenges.
[15:50] Working from home: Nobody can touch you; a physical disconnect.
[16:44] Modes of Communication: Basecamp, Voxer, and email. Analyze styles to know what tools to use.
[21:10] Entrepreneur’s Ego: Nobody can do it as good as me.
[24:57] It’s not always about business. Something’s going on. What can I do to help?
[28:42] Face-time and morning connections to catch awesomeness and say thanks.
[31:30] Making mistakes and ‘aha’ moments; what did you do/should have done?
[34:15] Be a student and fan of what works, and be willing to fail. Never stop learning; speak and teach. Share your knowledge because people soak it up.
[38:20] Keep yourself well to be a good leader. Health is #1 thing to impact productivity.
[44:40] Reach out and lean on others who have been through the same things.
[bctt tweet=”Success comes with your willingness to change.” via=”no”]
[bctt tweet=”Be a student and fan of what works and be willing to fail.” via=”no”]
[bctt tweet=”To grow your business, you have to build a community. You can’t do everything.” via=”no”]
Jason: Welcome, DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrow Show. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker.
DoorGrow hackers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it, you think they’re crazy for not, because you realize that property management is the ultimate high-trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income.
At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change perception, and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. I’m your host, property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show.
And today, I have a very special guest, Melissa Prandi. Melissa, welcome to the DoorGrow Show.
Melissa: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.
Jason: Melissa, you are practically synonymous with NARPM, you helped found NARPM, you have everybody in NARPM knows you, and you have been involved in property management for how many years now?
Melissa: Thirty-seven years. March 27.
Jason: Thirty-seven years which is almost my entire life, right?
Melissa: You have to say that, yup.
Jason: Which is amazing. You have tons of experience, you are this phenomenal character and charismatic person. Everybody’s been telling me I have to get Melissa on the show. I’m really excited for you to be here. Maybe the place to start would be to why don’t you share with everybody your story? How did you get started in property management all that time ago? What crazy idea popped in your head to make you decide that […]
Melissa: There’s a lot of crazy […]. I have to say I started in my company March 27, 1982 as a receptionist. I came in, all of my friends have gone off to college, I said, “I’m not going to afford to go to college. I’m going to work three jobs.” So, I came in, that was one of my three jobs, I was a receptionist at a property management company. I worked there 5½ years. This is great because women love this part of the story. When I went out on maternity leave on a Wednesday at five o’clock, I went grocery shopping Thursday and Friday morning I went into labor. If you know where I live, I’m in Marin County just north of San Francisco and I had to cross the Golden Gate bridge. I got to the hospital at 10 minutes to eight in the morning, I […] 10 minutes to nine in the morning, said, “Okay, give me my […] I have things to do with backup,” went home the same day.
Melissa: Yeah. I had this new baby boy, Matt, many people know Matt, and Monday morning the owners of my company called and said, “We’re going to sell this company. If you don’t buy it, you’re going to be out of the job.” I didn’t take too long. I said, “Oh, you know. Hmm, I have a new baby. Hmm,” and I’m going to have two new babies.
Sure enough, I made arrangements. I went to my dad and said, “Dad, I want to buy this company.” He goes, “Really?” and I said, “Yeah, I want to buy it.” He said, “All right,” and I said, “Well, I need a loan.” He goes, All right, I’ll give you $3000.” But the […] you can’t do is go to a bank and get a loan, so I had to get very creative with this brand new baby and a brand new company. That was 37 years go.
Jason: That was quite the adventure. When an entrepreneur personality type is given a challenge like this, you had a clear outcome, clear objective, you were going to get that company and you had all of this pressure. Entrepreneurs in those moments, like we, light up and something magical starts to happen, right? And it work out for you.
Melissa: I guess so. […] I’m still sitting here and […] NARPM, still doing property management.
Jason: Great. Maybe share a little backstory on how did NARPM come to be? How this this come about?
Melissa: It’s an interesting story. I wasn’t one of the original 100 that were in the charter of NARPM. A handful of people got together and they were actually exchanging software challenges. […] own a software company at the time which is no longer, and they started talking about their best practices. They all kicked in money to start NARPM. I’m 25 years in NARPM, so you can imagine that’s pretty much a part of my life.
Jason: Quite a while. Our topic today is building your business and team. At your business, Brandi Property Management, I would imagine that you have a pretty awesome team after all this time. A lot of people this is a big challenge. I’ve talked about this on the show before but there’s these two sand traps I’ve noticed in property management.
The first sand trap in growth is around 50 or 60 units. This is the solopreneur sand trap. That’s about as many doors as they can handle on their own and they get stuck. Sometimes, they back themselves into a financial corner, they don’t have enough revenue to hire their first person, they’re managing as much as they can handle, they’re losing doors as fast as they’re getting on, and they’re stuck.
For those listening, if you’re stuck in that, talk to me. We can help you get past that. If you break past that 100 door barrier, I found that by default they end up in the next sand trap, which is the 200–400 door category. This is where it’s the team sand trap. This is where they’re not building a team, they’re trying to create culture, they’re trying to systemize processes, they’re trying to wrap their head around what they should be doing, and as they approach maybe 400–500 units it gets really painful because everybody’s asking them for everything and they start to realize they are the number one bottleneck in the entire business, that everything they got them there they have to give up.
I’m excited to talk with you because you’ve dealt with this stuff and you’ve seen this. Maybe you could share your perspective of what does it really take to build a business and how does the team really play into that from your perspective.
Melissa: You touched on little bit of my message is getting out of the way. I’m not the tech generation, the paperless generation. I still use paper. I still like to print and read. It doesn’t work in today’s market for everybody. I would say the number one thing as you grow is to get out of the way. Get out of the way and hire people that have different skill sets.
In our company, we always do personality tests. Tony Robbins offers it for free.
Jason: The DISC?
Melissa: Yeah, the DISC test. It’s free on his website. We do that, find the personality styles. For example, in a bookkeeper, you want someone who is very good, very high, and procedural. You want to make sure you find that in any of your staff mates. In our chain we have a big diversity, age, and skills. You can’t remember everybody have personality when you want to be like me. I never met a stranger and I’m a visionary. I’m the person who’s up with the ideas, tell us the way I wanted results and then gets out of the way.
Jason: I love it. I’m a big proponent of using the DISC as well. In fact, Tony Robbins recently switched his DISC assessment, if you’ve noticed, from the inner metrics, which I actually used to have a connection where I would get the full three-part inner metrics, which is even better than the Tony Robbins one which gives you the first two portions. But then, it started getting watered down and smaller. They just recently switched DISC providers and it changed, but I find it’s better than what it was even though it’s not as pretty. You can do that free DISC assessment.
You’ve got people on you team that are high C’s, they love compliance, they are rigid, they’re probably not the best friendly communicators, you’ve got high I’s that are great communicators and really great maybe with people, maybe high S’s that are great with customer service, maybe DC’s which are like unicorns that are really great at operations, maybe high DI’s which are great at sales and closing. Understanding that gives you a lot of power in being able to understand people.
Melissa: […] when you get ready to hire, looking at that needs assessments. Looking that what diversity is in your team, but I want to go back to something you test on again because this is where […] out, which is change.
Success comes with your willingness to change. That’s what basically you’re talking about as you’re training your team and also speaking to the property managers, as you said, they reach out to you. They have to be willing to change and I’m willing to change. That’s why I take a lot of classes even after all these years. I get into classes and I think of these aha moments that’s like, “Oh, I used to do that.” I cannot just go back sometimes and do things I used to do, but I also wanted to say, “Oh, we can’t do that.” “Why not?” “Well, we tried that.” Don’t have this theory of ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ because that […] stuck.
Jason: Right. Any of us who have been in business long enough, we’ve probably forgotten more than we’ve learned. There’s so much and it’s great to get those reminders. You have mentioned early on that they need to get out of the way. How does somebody consciously do that? A lot of times when we’re in the way, we can’t see it. It’s almost like telling somebody, “Look at the back of your head.” It’s how they feel. You’re saying, “Get out of the way,” and they’re like, “I don’t even know how I’m in the way. How do I do that?” How do you help […]
Melissa: I’m sitting upstairs in a private suite away from my entire staff. My son, Matt, and let me just tell you I started the way I got the business when Matt was born, right? My son used to say, “Mom, nobody grows up and wants to be a property manager. Matt just celebrated his 11th year in property management and he’s our […] Business Development Manager.
Jason: Over a decade.
Melissa: Yeah. But he didn’t. He went to college. He didn’t think, “Well, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. Nor did I. I don’t […] thought you’re going to be servicing property managers.” But Matt sits in my original office. Therefore there’s a different skill set and, guess what, I’m not in the way. I’m down there and there’s something like walking by the office to go fix it as it get me out of the way.
Jason: You’ve physically have gotten yourself out of the way so you’re not hearing the auditory things that you would normally trigger a response and cause you to go into fix-it mode as an entrepreneur because we hear problems, we’re wired. We want to fix it. We also see a problem, we’re like, “I can make money solving that problem.” That’s how we think.
Melissa: And I tell you, I still go down, I’ll sit there and they want to see. Remember, I’m the face of the company. I’m the visionary. So, I […] in the morning, I start down there, good morning to everybody, “Good morning, Frank. Good morning, Christine.” I go through my good mornings, I say hello to everybody there, and that’s […]. I find out if there’s anything they need, me but I […] work for the first couple of hours at home. What difference does it make? It allows me to actually stay home.
Let me tell you that my role, I was a property manager as I said when I started in the business. Got my license and my broker’s license, went to California State, got into real estate, and then I helped grow the company. And I’m very good at it. I really think if you want to grow your business, you have to be in community. You can’t be in community and be in the office operations and running everything. You can’t do everything.
I have gone out of the way by not being physically in an office downstairs where everybody can come to me. Now, I have a really good team. Christine Goodin who has her RMP with NARPM and her MPM. That’s a Residential Property Manager. MPM is a Master Property Manager. She came to work for me 18 years ago and she didn’t even know what property management was. And she’s now the Vice-President of Operations.
So, you hire right, you bring them to educational courses. Don’t stand in their way growing, either. That’s another really key factor. Don’t let them get stagnant. I say, “How do you keep somebody happy for 18 years? Give them new challenges.” You give them new roles. Let them grow right along with you.
Jason: Yeah, if you find somebody that has a growth mindset. Not everybody wants to grow. There are certain personality types that love growth, they love learning. On DISC they would have a high theoretical score typically, for example, on the Tony Robbins DISC profile that we have mentioned. But if they love learning, they have a growth mindset, and that’s a priority in their life is personal development, then you got a feedback. You feed them that and you have a team member that, just like fine wine, accrues value over time.
Melissa: […] I want to go back, though, because it’s not without mistakes when you hire someone that doesn’t like the business. I think oftentimes with property managers and our groups and our friends come to me and they ask questions.
I think some of the hardest thing we had was letting go. We hire someone that doesn’t fit in the team, doesn’t fit in our culture, and we hang on. I think […] over the years. It took me a while to get there. But I can tell you that if you’re mostly have a 30-day, a 60-day, maybe a 90-day introductory period, if it’s not working in that first month, it doesn’t usually change.
So, if I […] in the States because I’m nice and I’m a fixer, then I hang on. […] wait too long. Again, if you’re going through and adding to your team, you need to really make sure that you’re checking in. I want to give you a tip because I’m talking about that. I love to share.
Melissa: In the first 90 days of a new team member come in to work at Prandi Property Management, we do what’s called EOD, an end of the day report. They actually write down things they learned, the challenges they found that day, and just some sharing. At the end of that, they rate their day a one, a two, or a three—there could be 2.5—based on what they feel their workload, three being, “I can’t handle any more and I’m full.”
I have a new employee coming on and she’s been with me, let’s say, 20 days, and she gave me a 1–1½, we’re not giving her enough work. If you’re going to bring somebody new onto your team, again I don’t have to check on them, I don’t have to call on her, I don’t have to sit with her, somebody else is handling all the training, but as the owner, the CEO, and the visionary, I need to know how I’m doing with the team’s giving her information and what she needs from me to make her the best Prandi team member.
Jason: You mentioned a couple of things that I think are really important to point out. One, you mentioned that by not just having your office separate or segregated but also being able to work from home and working from home. I run a virtual team and a virtual company. Nobody can touch me and I’ve always had that advantage that there is a physical disconnect. I will probably go on saying that if my assistant could walk in every 10 minutes and say, “Hey, what should I be doing now?” I would go nuts, right? Having that, that’s another option for those that are listening, there is a trend with some people that they’re moving towards more virtual teams and digital offices and that can also create that disconnect.
Melissa: I want to ask you a question so I can also […] and teach the audience. How do you communicate best with the person since you are virtual, and we all love the virtual part of it, how are you best communicating with your team member that’s even your assistant? What’s the best way you all communicate?
Jason: Our main modes of communication, we use Basecamp as a communication platform. What that allows us to do is to post messages, to think about things, to get clarity and put it, and then we allow team members to respond to those, rather than throwing it all out real-time in a meeting where everybody has to react, because I find the responses are big-time wasters and it’s not as helpful. We usually post memos or post a to-do and then people that are need to be looped in will be looped in and can comment on that. That keeps things really quiet and makes people think. It creates a very calm workplace. That’s our foundational mode of communication.
For quicker communication, we use the app Voxer and that is a walkie-talkie app. I don’t like typing and texting all the time. It takes too long. I’m quick. I want to send a voice message so I hold down a button on the app and I say, “Hey, Adam. Can you check on this client? They have mentioned this and do this and blah-blah-blah.” And then he’ll take care of it. The cool thing about Voxer is if you’re really impatient as an entrepreneur, if you listen to the messages, if you’re in the chat with somebody, the messages are real time. But if you’re not, it works like voice messages, like voicemail. And you can play them at high speed so you can speed up if they’re already done talking and the recording’s there, then you can play it at high speed. So, I’m listening to chipmunks all day long, telling me what needs to happen.
There’s a lot of communication even through Voxer or a situation like that that I just need the details, so I can just listen really quickly and we can consume information cognitively and auditory-wise much faster than we can speak it. We can usually do it at almost twice the pace very easily.
Melissa: It brings another point of communication. A good team member and a good team lead […]. People need to know you’re supporting them. That’s what I […]. But I was thinking about it, we did a lot of team-building last year. We hired […] consultants to come in, and one thing I’ve learned about myself was delivery of email. Don’t stand […] similar. Send […] information and what the fact is, what the need is, send it to me in a delivery form.
If you have team members and that you’re on a call today and the podcast, I think it’s really important to know your style, what you want. They also said that I was sending the exact […] that said, “Well, I send it after the company email and no one responds,” and they said, “Send me a few of those.” The guy came back and said, “You’re not asking for anything. You’re sending information but you’re not asking.” “Okay, I need this back but […]” It’s not that we do a campaign to get you. This is where’s the call-to-action. […] entrepreneur and you’re on the show today and you want to learn. Ask somebody from the outside to come in and analyze your style and your teams and they’ll help give you tools. I’ve done that. I’m always learning.
Jason: One of the hacks that I learned when I worked at Hewlett-Packard is that we were told to have certain subject lines if we were sending emails. If we needed some sort of response, you always had to say, “ACTION REQ’D:” at the beginning of the subject line in all caps. So, we would do ACTION REQ’D: if there’s an action required, or FYI was for your information only, you don’t need to do anything on it. So, there was kind of this code with subject lines.
Now, I’m beyond email. I don’t even look at my email. If anybody emails me, I’m not going to probably see it. My assistant handles all of that for me because I don’t like email. I don’t want to communicate through email. So, I set up a system in which somebody else can go with that and she just tells me the four or five emails I need to deal with and the other 100 or 200 I get a day are […] somebody else.
Melissa: She’s a very good communicator and she is very responsive. If she doesn’t get a response, she page me again, making sure and not […] very positive way. She’s patient, when I’m really busy, I’ll be a couple of days […] she’s right back checking in with me. You’ve got someone watching your back and helping you grow, I’m sure.
Jason: Oh yeah. It’s a huge help and that’s the thing is with hiring, I think one of the big constraints of those with entrepreneurs is this myth that if I have somebody else do it, it won’t be done as well. It’s such an egotistical thing that people need to get over. This belief that nobody will be as good as me. As long as somebody believes that, it’s true. They make it true and they create a situation which they’ll never be able to offload things.
But I can speak with total confidence that every single person on my team is better at what they do than myself. They’re all better at what they do. India, way better at email than me. I don’t want to deal with email. I’m short with emails, I don’t pay attention, I miss things. Email’s not my thing.
Melissa: […] going back to the strength of the team and knowing your strength as the owner/CEO of your company and knowing my strength. You put me in a room with 200 people, you put me in a room with 1000 people, I try to meet every one of them. I know that my strength in the world growing my business, is to be the face of the business, to be in the field.
I was in a class this morning. I’ve been taking classes at the local university on hiring teams and developing teams. Yesterday, I took a great workshop at Dominican University from a […] a little bit about,job descriptions, position statements, and what’s the end results. They really teach us to have things in place and what our expectation is.
So I’m always taking courses to try and figure out how can I be better at things. I’m never going to be the techie person that knows how to set everything up. I hand it to my son. I don’t have to be, right? He’s 31 years old. I can hand it to Matt and say, “Matt, I don’t understand this. My phone is doing something. Here, can you just fix it?” I can hand it to Christine and she’s going to help me. So just not trying to waste time, I […] come at me. And don’t forget, part of […] today is also life balance. Being able to turn it off, take care of ourselves because we have a good team.
Jason: I think the more that an entrepreneur focuses on self-care, the more they have to give to their team and the lower the pressure noises. One of things I’ve noticed with entrepreneurs is that when our pressure noise gets high—it can be high in property management or in any business, but we deal with a lot as business owners—all of the worst attributes you share about business owners come out. People could perceive us as controlling or angry or frustrated because we get into this preloaded state where we’re in a stress response.
If you lower the pressure noise for an entrepreneur, our genius comes out. Our best attributes come out. The visionary comes out. We’re able to see the future. We’re able to make decisions about things. If an entrepreneur does not have the team that they are in love with right now, then they’re not the person yet that should be running it. That’s the sad truth. They haven’t become that person yet, that can have a team, that instead of them having feeling like they are trying to control, it’s instead a team that they’re able to just inspire.
Whenever we fail to inspire, we always control and we get into that stressful place where we’re trying to manipulate and get our team to do stuff and we’re trying to force KPIs down their throat or trying to push them to do things because we feel like, “Why can’t me team just do what I need them to do?” We shift into a calm space of, “What does my team need from me in order to be as successful as possible so they can keep helping me the way that they’ve been helping me?” and that’s a much more comfortable place to be. It’s a calm, quiet workplace.
Melissa: I actually have never been accused of… I don’t yell, I’m a very calm-natured person, I deal with and respect boundaries, so I’m very good about how would that person feel if they were in my seat, how are they want to be treated.
I do that a lot. I know their personal. Something’s going on. You want to know if something’s going on, it’s not always about business. Those people that have lives […] out the door. So, I’m really in-tune with that. I called someone in yesterday and said, “Look, I can tell something’s going on. You just not coming work with that bright smile. What can I do to help?” So, even though I’m not downstairs, still sense the energy and pay really good attention. I try to make sure they know that I really care and I do care.
The other thing is really working with an outside business consultant. Don’t get stuck. Have somebody come in and help build your team by doing team building. We had a lot of fun doing team building last year at the end of the year in October. Last year in October, we went out and went off site, we prepared everything so we can all leave, and we had one person […] kind of helped out while we work on all day. We worked on what I think the success in my company is very strongly if we’re not communicating with each other, and we’re not respecting, getting along, and taking our own blinders off from our busy property management day, then the outside world is getting that same message.
So, if I’m not really happy doing my job as a property manager and I’m not having a good day because my team members not […] and the other team members not doing something, that equals out to the public and that’s when one of those one-star reviews come in.
You can ask the team to let them know they’re supportive with each other, give them the tools, working with that, and let them get to know each other and […] each other, that goes out to customer service.
Jason: There’s this great book by a gentleman. I believe his name is Steve Sims and the book’s called Bluefishing. He basically talks about how his whole goal with his team members or even with clients that he wants to work with is they have to pass the chug test. It’s like, “Would I want to have a beer with this person?” and it’s just a simple gut check to say, “Do I like this person? Do I enjoy being around this person? Does this person makes me feel safe? Do I feel comfortable?” because if anybody on your team doesn’t make you feel comfortable and you’re always worried about them or you’re concerned about them or there’s some sort of weird disconnect in rapport between the two of you, they’re adding to you pressure and noise. I think that it is important to like your team, to actually like them.
Melissa: […] company. Sometimes when there’s one person who’s not […] team, they go and they grab other people.
Jason: Oh yeah, they’re a cancer.
Melissa: You have to be really careful with that. But I really […] week after our last retreat work and that was they wanted. For somebody […] it’s not the most positive […], so we started a Positively Prandi board. We got that big board […] coffee and our tea is, and people are […], “Congratulations on your three-year anniversary.” We write riddles. […] while the sun is shining now, how happy we are today.
And that doesn’t cost money. It’s just a little more positivity and always share a five-star review. We always celebrate a good review, and if it’s not […] we could get there. That’s another […] about growing your business is really you have to work on your teams, inside the walls of your team before you can really start wanting to grow and double or triple in size.
Jason: You have mentioned early on that you make sure you have this morning connection with your team. My team’s virtual and we’ve done the same thing. I felt like it’s absolutely critical that you get FaceTime with your entire team.
Those that have virtual teams that are listening, or virtual team members, one of the things that we do at DoorGrow is we do a morning huddle. It’s 15 minutes, we set it at a weird hour so that people know that time matters. We set it at a weird time, like it’s not at a half-hour mark or hour mark and people have to show up for that.
It’s 15 minutes, we just share stats openly in the company, here’s how much revenue we’ve made so far this month, here’s how many people on our Facebook group, all that different stats that matter, and then we do ‘caught being awesome,’ when we say, “Anybody catch anybody being awesome in the last day?”
Sometimes it’s a little awkward if it’s a small huddle and not everybody showed up and people are like […]. But I always comes up with somebody that we can point out or highlight somebody.
Melissa: […] for us at Prandi Property Management, I have a weekly team meeting. I get copies of the notes so I can look at what’s going on with the teams, and the at the very bottom it says, “Did you write a thank you note to them?” because still old-fashioned handwritten thank you notes go a long way.
We have Prandi custom beautiful notes cards, it works in all industries, and who did you thank today? It’s similar to what you’re saying because a team, I like that. I want to go back and say that, “Who did you catch being awesome today?” That’s kind of we’re doing to Positively Prandi board, but in this case, acknowledging their credibility at the end of it, the weekly team meeting notes […] really good […] everybody’s formats is the same, so we’re looking at the same numbers, same things, and when it says, “Oh, that’s so nice,” they wrote the gardener a thank you note. They wrote the plumber a thank you note. They wrote […] a thank you note for the inconvenience. We get a bunch of $5 Starbucks cards, we […] and say, “Have a cup of coffee on us. Cheers to you.” Just saying thank you is really nice.
Jason: I love it. In our huddle, at the very end we just go around and ask each person, “Are you stuck on anything? Really simple, is there anything you’re stuck on?” and there’s always somebody that’s stuck. When we didn’t used to do that and we would just have a weekly meeting or just throughout the day, it makes me wonder what were they doing when they were stuck all of these previous times because there’s always somebody stuck on something. “Oh yeah, this client had this question. I didn’t know how to deal with this, or this.” We can tackle those things really quickly and if it’s something that takes a lot of time, we’ll just say, “All right. Let’s schedule a meeting for that.” But we just tackle that in our huddle so everybody feels unstuck, which is also helpful.
Melissa: It’s not just stuck. I myself have made mistakes in this business, that we have aha moments as well. I can say, “Well, is there anything you want to share that you have an aha moment that you might teach us how to do our job better?” […] offers I do like I’ll start an example. I’ll say, “Matt, my son, now is the Business Development Manager, who is out there in the field. Sometimes we get three, four, five, six clients a day,” who knows how many are coming. They’re coming fast and furious because we’ve been there a long time. He’ll say, “Hey, can you take care of this duplex? The co-owner’s called in and they really wanted a response today, but I got so many things on my plate. Can you handle that?” which is okay because I know how to do it. Only, he gave it to me at 10 in the morning and I didn’t make that connection with that client until two in the afternoon and it was too late. He had already hired someone.
I can use that as my team example as my aha moment. What I should have done the moment he gave it to me, I should have stopped, I should have looked at what is it important, not checking my Facebook, my email and everything else. I should have made that a priority. Because I didn’t, he signed up with another management company. I want to share that as the owner because what will happen next time is I’ll make it a priority.
I try to […] those aha moments and life lessons. What can we do, how can we have done it differently, and we had different results, because we can all […].
Jason: We do a weekly team meeting. In our weekly team meeting, we share wins from the previous week, personal or business. That gives the team members opportunity each Monday to share, “What were your wins for last week?” so that we can point her out.
As entrepreneurs, a lot of us are economically driven, so if we take a DISC profile and turn on all the insight, we’ll see that we have a pretty high economic score typically. The mistake we make is that we assume everybody else likes money as much as us. Look at that economic score in your team members, those that are listening, if the economic score is high, bonuses work great for them. If the economic score is low, they want recognition.
Most of my team members, that’s all of my team members with the exception of people that are involved in sales, usually their economic score is low, which means they want recognition. So, creating opportunities in these meetings where they get to show what they’ve done the previous week, where they get to show that they’ve had wins and we look through our objectives for the week, and they get to say, “Yes, I got these all done,” this is an opportunity for them to feel recognized by the whole team. I find that that increases motivation and accountability, significantly.
Melissa: And I think it’s interesting because you and I didn’t rehearse this and we didn’t talk about what was most important, but there’s a lot of similarities in what we’re doing as entrepreneurs, owners, and visionaries. I think that’s really important for the audience to hear that some of these things that we’re talking about are simple, and it can be done by anybody.
Jason: What I’ve noticed in business and life is I’m just a student and a fan of what works. That’s just what I get excited about. And really, every system, all the different coaches and mentors I’ve worked with, they so many similarities because truth and/or reality is what works and everything gravitates towards that.
You’ve been in business for 37 years. You’re going to have figured out a lot of things that don’t work. What that leaves less on the table is a lot of knowledge about what works. I think also I’m very willing to fail. I’ve had lots and lots of failures. I think DoorGrow’s been built on thousands of failures and that’s how we learned. I think that goes also to my team because I’ve had so many failures. I think also I’m very conscious of the fact that my team needs to be allowed to screw up and fail. They need to feel safe failing. If they don’t feel safe failing, then they’ll never be able to learn.
Melissa: Or they could hide it. We don’t want them to hide it.
Jason: Exactly. They become hiders. They start hiding stuff from you the first time they screw something up and they feel reprimanded or shamed or put down, they’re going to hide that from you forever. They’re going to hide everything in the future and then having team of hiders is absolutely catastrophic to the growth of the company.
Melissa: That’s true. I think that always attending workshops and now we have things online, you talk about being able to teach people like you’re doing right now, that is great. I think just because you have 10 in the business or 20 years or in my case, you never stop learning.
And I think it’s really important for people to use their resources. I love to read. People can share books. They can go on your website and your Facebook page, and share a good book, and share stuff they’re learning. I find that people soak it up. I love to speak and teach. I love to walk in a room and share my knowledge. There’s not one person I’ve ever said, “No, I absolutely will not share that with you.” I usually, “No problem. You want that form, let me send it to you.”
You’re going to laugh, I taught a class in Palm Springs. I’m not paperless and I’m proud of it, because I’m not and people love it. They’re going to be people that still touch things like I do. Let’s give them […] and eventually that does change. My son doesn’t print […] anything, but I do. So, we have to have a diversity and we have to be able to give people the tools they need to be the best whatever the way it is in the year 2019 or the way we used to do it.
When I first got in business, the screen was literally the size of a small […]. We didn’t have cell phones. Technology is good. I think I’ve been able to travel, I’ve been able to leave my business. Now, I check my email but I schedule my time. I’m going to the beach because I’m sitting on a beach in Hawaii. I’ll check my information but I don’t check it like I do when I’m sitting on my desk working.
Time management it important. I allow myself a lot of time because even last week, I was running hard. I was struggling early in the morning, facing the company, lots of meetings, going to Rotary, going to community events, starting the morning with my classes over at the university or whatever I’m doing, and I finish at nine o’clock at night. So, I just take it to Matt because I was going the State of the City Dinner with the Chamber of Commerce. By Thursday last week, I hit a wall and I was tired.
So you have to find the balance. Everybody, not just the entrepreneur or owner, of how you’re doing with your whole life balance because you have to keep yourself well in order to be a good leader.
Jason: Absolutely. My recently added for our C hackers, a health secrets training, simply because I found that health is the number one thing that impacts the productivity. An excuse that we get from entrepreneurs a lot was, “Oh, I just don’t have time.” They have almost doubled the amount of time if they’re taking care of themselves properly. Their brain is just that much more effective.
Melissa: If you go to yoga for an hour, you’re not on your phone, you’re not on your email.
Jason: You’re right. You’re disconnected.
Melissa: You […] can read the phone in your car. You just take your phone if you’re going out in an easy hike, if you’re going distance in that thing, but to be able to go and listen to music, too, on […], people say sound and meditation. If you can do music meditation and it works really well.
I just spent some time with a good friend in […] and we had so much fun playing our playlist and singing the songs, and then how did we remember the words to this song? But your mind is doing so much. What music does is it kind of steals your heart and soul. If you ever are going through something, get yourself to music and let the music take you to a different […] and property management. That happens a lot.
I always tell my staff, “Get out from your desk, move or walk around the block, change your environment. Grab your iPhone, put on a song and walk around the block singing the words. It changes your whole intake of how you’re going to treat the next customer or the next co-worker.
Jason: I love it. Let’s connect this to science and here is why that stuff is so effective. I’m a huge audiophile, I love music, I had a band in college, I bought […] songs. I love music, but when you play instruments, when you play music—there’s videos on this—your entire brain lights up. Both sides of the brain are like fireworks when you’re playing an instrument or really engaged in music.
When you connect your right and left hemispheres in your brain, when those sides of your brain are both firing, it significantly lower stress. In fact, I went and did EMDR therapy on the recommendation of my business coach, for a year. EMDR therapy is an eye movement therapy. The idea behind it is they use it to eliminate PTSD in soldiers and stuff like this.
As entrepreneurs, my coach is saying, “You have some PTSD, Jason. Let’s be honest. You guys deal with a lot of stress. You’ve got some of this. Go get an EMDR therapy and talk about you assistant, they quit or talk about this, get this stuff taken cared of.
What is cool is that EMDR therapy is based on the idea that there is bilateral stimulation, so stimulating both sides of the brain back and forth while tuned in to an idea that causes stress or PTSD or some sort of issue. I’m not making light, by the way, of those who have legit PTSD, but the stress that we have as entrepreneurs, it will tone that down and it kills that. It helps you see it with a fresh perspective and helps correct and eliminate that emotional stress response.
Here’s what’s magical about walking. Walking is bilateral stimulation. Exercising increases the stress response in the body. It just does. That’s part of exercise. But walking oxygenates the body but does not increase the stress response. It actually lowers it because it’s causing bilateral stimulation. Left, right, your body keeps moving, and each step causes bilateral stimulation. So, if you have anxiety, if you have a stressful call or whatever, going for a walk until that goes down is really magical and amazing.
So I go for a walk in the evenings if I had a stressful day. I start my day usually a lot of times with a walk, making sure that I walk around. It help digestion, it seriously helps cognitive function by getting your brain to lower its stress response. It’s like a serious hack and walking sounds so simple.
Music more than any other thing can directly impact emotions. That’s why in movies, they’ll manipulate your emotions using the score of the movie because it makes you feel what’s going on. So, if you want to change your feeling, you can use music because different songs can help you lean into sorrow if you need to feel that sorrow, music can help you lean into positivity or shift out of…
Melissa: Brings back memories. But […], somebody having a bad day because in property management we done have all positive days. And sometimes, especially because where we are now in Northern California, we had a lot of rain. […] when we were getting ready to set up, it’s not really our friend.
Property management, rain, leaks, putting people up at hotels, you’ve got a lot coming at you and nobody wants to be displaced, especially if it’s the holiday season, we have bad weather and it rains then. So, I […] “Okay, what have you done for a time out? What are you doing? Because you need to go have a time out. Just go.”
We do fun Fridays, ice cream socials, aloha Fridays because we are actually […] together in an office […] downstairs, so we do see each other everyday. I may not but the staff works together […] and works in an office. Having seen this which Christine’s been really good about it.
Matt, last Friday […] his dog is a new rescue. She’s adorable. Her name’s Mia and she’s a very […]. She’s a very good dog and he said, “Hey, do you mind if I bring her out in the open? I don’t have any appointments.” People actually brought some really […] good, fun Friday and made them feel really good by having a dog there. Who knew?
Jason: Almost like one of those service animals.
Melissa: Yeah. I was waiting for his to say, “Mom, I can bring the dog to work because this is a service animal.” I said it was okay.
Jason: Yeah. I love the idea. Walk and talk is my own personal therapy. If I have something I need to talk through, I talk to somebody about it while I’m walking. I’ll just walk around. It’s magic.
These are all really cool ideas. Melissa, it sounds like you have a phenomenal team. You’ve got a wealth of knowledge. For those that are listening, that maybe are struggling to achieve their growth, they’re really stuck in a rut, they’re having a difficult time maybe with their team, they’re just having trouble seeing over the weeds, so to speak, what sort of advice would you give them, maybe a first step to take, some step towards all the […]
Melissa: I would say don’t be afraid to […]. Pick up the phone and call another property manager. Call you, check-in with you. People forget the touch of the voice, too, and someone knowing. Most people have been through the same thing. When you […] the NARPM family or you or your users together share one thing that’s going on, it’s amazing when I see the post that goes on in your Facebook page and the solutions people are willing to offer.
But sometimes picking up the phone and saying, “Look, I’m having a really hard time with this. I have a client doing it.” I’ll tell you to fire them. But if you have […] a really hard time, then maybe you just need to […] another professional. NARPM has over 5000 members.
Don’t think you’re going to take the world on your own. If you’re going to grow, you have to be willing to change, to be willing to have a mentor, somebody you can lean on. You got to use the research that you’re offering as a national vendor and the research that you’re offering, we have to use those resources so that we can actually learn to grow because you’re going to give us tips from the outside of property management looking in at what we’re doing. You’re already doing that just sharing with me. So, if you’re willing to make the change and to reach out for growth ideas and ask how to implement because I’ve already done it. I’m willing to share. Why reinvent the wheel?
Jason: I love it. You mentioned be willing to change, find mentors, reach out and get a mentor, reach out to other property managers. I think the crux of all these things, kind of energetically that you’re talking about here, underneath all of this, I think a property manager or anyone listening to the show, they need to recognize that the power being able to do these things come from vulnerability.
It takes a certain amount of vulnerability as an entrepreneur to say, “I have a problem and I need support.” Whether you are reaching out to a mentor, it takes humility or vulnerability in order to be willing to go out and learn more like you’ve talked about. I think sometimes we want to put on this facade or we think we need to be the one that we’re always okay. I think it’s okay to not be okay. I think there’s power in that and I think there’s connection in that if we’re willing to be vulnerable, because I don’t have all good days.
I have sent messages to my business coach or my mentors and saying, “Hey, I’m really struggling. This is hard for me dealing with this.” Sometimes, it’s all we need is just to be able to tell somebody that and acknowledge and be vulnerable, but I think when we’re vulnerable with others.
Those that are inside the DoorGrow Club Facebook group, I encourage you to be willing. Lots of people have been willing to share vulnerably like, “Hey, I’m dealing with the situation. I’m in over my head,” or, “I don’t know what to do with this,” or, “I’m stressed out and it’s been a really a rough day. What do you guys do or recommend?” or, “Could somebody talk to me on the phone today?” I think there are so many people that because the way we get momentum as entrepreneurs, the way we get fulfilled, is by giving it to others.
Melissa: Helping others. That’s right. I was national president of NARPM. My team was sharing a vision and I’m still sharing a vision. Our visions can open up a lot of doors and windows for a lot […].
Jason: There’s nothing that’s been more powerful for me when I’m having a rough time in business or as an entrepreneur or in life than to reach out and be able to help or support a client or help somebody else. I look for those opportunities when I’m stressed […] somebody an opportunity to support you because you’re helping them by being vulnerable and allowing them to do that.
Melissa: That works with our staff, our team members, to reach out and say, “Okay, I’m actually having a really hard time. I’m overwhelmed, I’m tired, I’m going to take […] refill my bucket up. […] keep that to your team. They’re only human, they understand.
Jason: Absolutely. That’s the entire team’s job. My team’s job is to lower my pressure and noise. That is their whole purpose for having a job. But they can’t do that unless I’m honest.
Melissa: Yeah and it’s working well.
Jason: Yeah, it does. It works really well. The bigger my team gets, the bigger my company gets, the easier my life gets. I know that sounds backwards for a lot of people, especially those in the 200–400 doors sand trap because as they’re approaching the 400–500 units, their life gets crazy and hectic and it’s probably because they’ve built the team the wrong way. They built the system in which it’s transactional leadership and they’re throwing tasks at people. Everyone has to come to them for feedback instead of giving them objectives and trusting them. It’s something that takes work to shift out of.
Melissa: It goes back to where we started […]. The key to success […]
Jason: Full circle. Get out of the way. Sometimes we can’t see it. As entrepreneurs, I think no matter how evolved we are or how effective we are or how much coaching we’ve had, we always have our own blind spots and we always need that outside perspective. I need it all the time and your team can provide some of that if you ask them for honest feedback. I ask my team all the time like, “Hey, I’m thinking of sending this email out to all our clients,” and my writer, Adam, who’s very diplomatic, will say, “Let we reword that for you.”
Melissa: That’s a good point. […] I do that, too. If I’m about to send an email, or I end up firing a client or put them on a ‘this isn’t working,’ someone else on your team to say, “How does it sound as if you’re just receiving it?” That’s it. That’s a good point, too. Rely on that for that.
Jason: This has been an awesome conversation. I’m sure we could talk for hours. It’s just really fun to connect with you. I appreciate you coming on the show. What takeaway do you want to leave people with and how can they get in touch with you if you like them to do that?
Melissa: I would say to rely on the vendors yourself. You light up when we started the very beginning of our just getting ready for the podcast. When you started getting ready to do this, to share with your listeners, you light up.
I think we need to rely on our resource with you and what you can bring to us property managers. I think that the other takeaway would be to be really in-tune with ourselves to know when we’ve had enough to take that break, and then to really take a hard look and maybe today or tomorrow, go down and really be grateful, and come within gratitude to thank the people we work with everyday. Together, I would say we can make a difference. So, keep that attitude and really respect for your team, the clients, the people you work around.
Jason: Love it. How can people find out more about Melissa Prandi or get in touch?
Melissa: My email probably is best. I am an emailer. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m great with […] resources, I’ve written two books, and I love to share ideas. Let’s just keep going. Let’s keep growing and making our industry bigger, better, and more respected as we all become better at property management.
Jason: Absolutely. I fully believe in the philosophy of the I mindset that the industry’s number one challenge right now is not your competition. It’s awareness. The industry’s second number one challenge is just perception of the industry as a whole. By helping your local competitors level up, you’re helping yourself. You’re helping the whole industry.
Melissa: Raising the bar up to what one’s expecting the quality of what we’re providing out there, people on rental property.
Jason: Absolutely and good property management can change the world. You guys get to have such a massive ripple effect. You’re impacting hundreds of thousands of tenants, homeowners and their families, and that ripple effect keeps going and that’s big.
Melissa: I’ve seen how much that actually NARPM complement people, how much we give back into our community because we do that every year at charity. We’re giving back in more ways than just that.
Jason: Absolutely. The ripple effect is big and I’m grateful that really awesome property managers like yourself allow me the opportunity to be part of that. That’s inspiring and exciting for me.
All right, Melissa. It’s been great having you on the show and we’ll have to have you back soon.
Melissa: Absolutely. See you in NAPA, the […] NARPM conference […].
Jason: We’ll see you in NAPA. All right.
Melissa: See you soon. Thank you.
Jason: Okay. Bye-bye.
All right that was a phenomenal interview. Really fun to talk about that stuff, all things I’m very passionate about and Melissa is obviously very passionate about as well. If this episode was interesting or useful to you, please give us a feedback in iTunes if you’re listening there. We would love if you like and subscribe to our channel on YouTube. That would be awesome if you’re watching us there. If you’re seeing this on Facebook, then share it. We appreciate you.
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