I’ve been writing a lot about how to keep going and growing in spite of the COVID-19 crisis: what I’m doing (How Will I Make Money?), what I recommend to my clients (Be a Victor, Not a Victim; Are You Ready to Reopen?) and other ways that you can tackle the challenges we’re all facing (Succeed—and Stay Sane—While Working from Home; Finding Clarity in Chaos).
Nothing is as powerful and inspiring as a personal success story, though, which is why I am so thrilled to share with you the story of one of my clients who is totally rocking it right now.
I’ve known Krishna for a couple of years; we met when I spoke to her NARPM Chapter in Dallas. She owns a PMI franchise with about 50 doors, and she currently serves as president for NARPM Dallas. What she wants for her business is to be able to buy more properties and to hire an assistant to support her as she grows. What she wants for her life is to have more time to spend in her garden.
Krishna is an organized, ambitious person, so she was well on her way to making those things happen for her business and life—and then the virus hit.
We were all knocked for a loop, and I’m sure Krishna was no exception. But Krishna doesn’t like to sit around and worry. She acts—and her action has paid off. She has not only stayed the course, she’s actually brought in new business. Let me share how she has managed to not just survive but actually thrive in this challenging environment.
Krishna sees herself not just as an expert in her field but as a listener. It’s so important to her that she put it on her website: She describes herself there as “someone who has the skills to listen to their clients’ needs.” She has always understood the importance of reaching out, but in the past couple of months she has upped her game. She makes three to five calls a week and sends email updates to tenants, owners and realtors.
Some of that is business, of course, letting tenants know about payment plan options and sharing links to city resources for utilities forbearance and rent assistance. But serving your customers isn’t all about business; it’s also about caring. Krishna knows everyone is struggling. She says, “We sent a compassionate note to our tenants and owners, letting them know we are here for them.” She and her team are also reaching out to realtors, checking up on how they are doing and seeing if there’s anything she can do for them.
That compassion helps pull people together. It builds relationships. It’s also good for business. We all prefer to do business with people who care about us, even when times are hard. Especially when times are hard.
Keep Doing the Basics
Even when most everything else changes, there are some things that stay the same. Volume may have changed, but in the property management industry leases still end, people still move in and out, things still break. “We’re still working hard,” Krishna says. “We don’t want to drop the ball with our current business.” By staying on top of maintenance orders, getting properties ready for new tenants and managing renewals, Krishna is keeping the heart of her business strong.
She also continues to focus on marketing and networking. “We are a bit more intentional and strategic with networking,” she says. She and her team are starting to do more videos and more specific posts on social media.
Though this downturn is different in certain ways, Krishna knows that the way businesses have survived previous downturns is by continuing to deliver for current clients and to keep working on bringing in business.
But Also Adapt
Of course, not all of those basics can be done the way they always have been. Some occupants are naturally concerned about people coming in and out for showings, so re-leasing doesn’t go as quickly as it used to. Krishna also says there are a lot of scammers out there now. “We are more vigilant and have stricter screening policies,” she says. Those policies include having more discussions and running detailed background checks to make sure an applicant is genuine. All this takes more time and energy and has to be built into the process, but doing that enables Krishna and her team to work as efficiently and effectively as possible under the circumstances.
Krishna is also adapting the way that she markets. Part of the videos and social media posts she’s doing as part of her strategy to keep bringing in business is to reach out to a new market: self-managing landlords. “We want to be a source of information for them,” she says. That’s not traditionally one of her markets, but by positioning herself as an expert resource, Krishna is reaching the kind of people who might decide now is exactly the time they need help doing what they’ve always done on their own.
This adaptability is a central part of the success Krishna is seeing. When all the rules change, that kind of flexibility enables her to take advantage of any opportunity that comes her way.
Share Your Successes
I’ve talked a lot—in this blog and others and in my social media posts—about how important it is to reach out and offer support to others in times like these. Reaching out is also a great way for you to get support and keep yourself accountable. Krishna has used social media to share successes like adding three more doors to her portfolio. People are hungry for good news, so posts like that bring a little brightness into their day. I know that hearing about Krishna’s accomplishments made me feel more hopeful about my own business and inspired me to pump even more energy into what I’m doing.
That motivation works both ways: All the likes and congratulations messages Krishna gets encourages her to keep doing what she’s doing.
By the way, sharing your successes also impacts current and potential clients. They see that you’re positive, that you have momentum, that you are dedicated to serving your customers and getting things done. People are looking for any certainty they can get right now, and a business that has successes to share is a business that can deliver. Success breeds success.
I asked Krishna what advice she had for anyone who is struggling to bring in business right now. “Don’t get discouraged!” she said. “Don’t give up!”
And take care of yourself. “Find ways daily to recharge: Walk, meditate, connect with your family, watch a silly TV show.” Get out and garden, like Krishna. Be intentional with how you recharge. Don’t just sit mindlessly in front of your screens. Find activities that refresh and energize you, activities that make you feel good about the world and the people around you.
What I love about Krishna’s story is that she shows us that keeping our businesses on track isn’t impossible. It isn’t even necessarily complex. Of course it’s hard work; we have a lot to overcome right now. But by sticking to the basics, adapting to changing circumstances, making caring connections with others and taking care of ourselves, we will survive, we will overcome and we will thrive.