• Kristin Hahn

Learning in a New Market

Picture this, you just applied for a new position yesterday, and you get a call saying they want to interview you! You can’t control your joy, you coast through the interview but, you doubt yourself and you think you bombed it. You do major market research about the new market you may be entering. Then you get the phone call, you got the job, 1000 miles from your familiar market that you know, that you’ve grown in.

This happened to me. I was scared beyond belief to learn a new market. I stressed I got quieter than I usually was, and I stopped talking to my wife for a bit while I worked through the jitters. Learning about a new market can be challenging, especially when you have never been close to it. But here are some tips that can help guide you through.

Take it one day at a time:

No one expects you to come into a new market and immediately know who to speak to, or what apartments are your serious competition or “comps”. They do however expect you to do your research when you get there. Take it one day at a time, obviously coming into a new environment you are going to be learning new staff, new residents, new vendors, at least new to you, and be focused on this plus more. Take 10 minutes at the beginning of each day and breathe before tackling it.

Ask questions:

Dedicate 30 minutes around 9 am every morning to call the apartment complexes that are around you. Call and introduce yourself, speak to the person on the other line with care. Everyone hates doing market surveys over the phone, so make it enjoyable but also, don’t take up too much time. Don’t make the questions sound like you are reading them off the paper, but rather make it a conversation about your new environment. “So, how many students do you usually have around this time of year?”, “Do you have any space in your apartments for someone to come sign a lease?, “What is your favorite amenity at your apartments?” simple questions like these allow for questions to be answered and not feel like a burden.

Shop your competition:

Get up, go on a shop the first free Saturday that you have! Check out the digs that are around town. So many people forget that you have to understand how to outsell the competition, especially if you are providing a similar product as them. Go with your family, your friend, one of your co-workers, create a persona, and run with it.

Use your resources:

This one is probably my most favorite and the least thought about. First, the internet is always a great resource. Research your competition and look at all of their websites. Ask the students, most of the students have not lived at your property the whole time they have been a student. Hold a “get to know the new staff member” focus group with the offering of food and pick their brain about what they like about your property and what they like about others in the area. YouTube it! Research the area, watch videos all about the area you are headed to. Your market is not just your competition, it is also your environment and your students. See what there is to do in the area, where the “hot spots” are for future marketing ideas.

Stay confident in yourself and your ability to be amazing. You were chosen for this position in this new market for a reason. You are going to be fantastic.

-Shaun Kettle

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