DeNyse Companies & Paulding County Chamber of Commerce

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Denyse Companies project managers, Lynn Ratel & Stephen Elliott  were in good company Thursday night. They got all dressed up for a good cause. The Paulding County Chamber of Commerce had their 51st Award Ceremony. The annual gala honors businesses and residents in Paulding County for their service. The event was presented by LGE Community Credit Union, and sponsored by companies such as Greystone Power Corporation and WellStar. Neal Boortz was the Keynote Speaker, and entertained the audience as usual. It has always been important to DeNyse Companies to support local community associations such as this. DeNyse is currently proposing many different  sign and lighting projects for businesses all over Paulding County. As Paulding continues to rank high in growth for GA, DeNyse Companies hopes to continue to support the growth with creative and cost effective sign projects.

East Point Gateway Signage Project

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Late last month representatives from East Point staff contacted B+C Studio with the news. Of approximately five qualified firms (teams) three were short listed and interviewed for the project to design and install monumental gateway signage for the growing City of East Point on the southwest side of Atlanta. After the interview and a vetting process with the City, B+C Studio came out on top and was recommended by staff for approval to go under contract. The contract also authorizes demand services for landscape architecture for a two year term. This makes the second demand service contract win for B+C Studio in 2011.

For the request for proposal, B+C Studio was required to produce concepts for the signage program proposed by the City in the RFP. City representatives explained that the selection was made on both the merits of the concepts as well as the experience and reputation of the firm.

The main concept was created by staff Design Director – Sean J. Murphy with assistance and guidance from team members including Joe Ballew and David Kaplan of DeNyse Signs. Southeastern Engineering (SEI) rounded out  our team in providing survey and GDOT permit assistance.

With any luck East Point will solidify its selection of ‘gateway’ locations and authorize the work in January of 2012. We look forward to working with East Point on this and many future projects and thank them for this vote of confidence.

Curb Appeal: Made You Look! Amy Kosnikowski

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What exactly is Curb Appeal?

Curb Appeal is all about the “power of the visual first impression”. If the customer does not like what they visually observe — they will simply move on to the next community. The customer’s “drive-through” is a reality in the multifamily business plus it is a proven fact that a property’s appearance can either make or break the success of any real estate asset. The better the appearance of the community is directly correlated to a higher value of the investment’s return.

The exterior of community should positively attract, draw-in, create an interest, influence, grab attention and pull in future residents with a sense of declaring, “Welcome Home – We are glad that you are finally here!”

Once the potential resident arrives it is ideal to extend this desired “appeal” beyond the front entrance to continue to build a positive experience throughout the community’s grounds, paint condition, building exteriors, amenities and features. The initial draw along with the customer’s appreciation of the property up-close-and-personal will result in a memorable encounter that they will want to call home.

The easiest way to advertise your community in through the largest billboard readily on hand: Your abundant landscaping, maintained exteriors, lighting, and various types of signage. Whatever the chosen curb appeal approach, it should align with the overall style of your community whether it is urban, residential, natural, tranquil or tropical.

The community grounds require a sharp eye and an on-going focus to keep all efforts fresh, tight and at optimal performance. Communicating the importance of the customer’s first impression of the community to the leasing, service and grounds keeping team to broaden their understanding of the marketing goals and reasoning behind it. Such as explaining why it is a team effort in trash pick-up on the model tour route and tightening the banner daily is a critical task for a positive customer experience. Consider a monthly Curb Appeal Inspection and annual property contest motivating a crisp and well maintained community.

Trends & Ideas To Improve Charm

 Signage: 

  • Graphic construction skirt on fences and trailers for new development highlighting URL
  • Utilize unused prime-time space to stretch exposure opportunity on construction fence, walls, rooftops, barriers and other high traffic areas.
  • Vertical boulevard sign mounted from building or light poles or attached to aligning fence
  • Maximize your fence space by attaching signs to improve viewing
  • Starburst statements on Buildings, etc
  • Place visual graphics in windows such as enlarged floor plans or fresh photo lifestyle photos highlighting community amenities and features

Monument Sign:

It has been demonstrated that the customer’s perception of the quality of the community is determined partly on the type, condition and quality of the sign. Ensure lighting is bright highlighting community name and location.

Landscaping:

  • Utilize bold colors and use different elements in landscaping such as large garden stones, tropical and distinctive flower colors or plants.
  • Use sculptures & artwork to catch attention and create memorable moments. It is common for local artists to search for locations to display large pieces.
  • Water features such as “creeks” or waterfalls generate a tranquil surrounding and produce a remarkable focal point.
  • Arbors & trellises allow landscaping to take unusual forms and take the eyes vertically or even follow a length of property along a walkway or major entrances.

Lighting:

Good signage illumination adds a whole new dimension to the grounds plus extends the appeal into the evening hours to further the attention of your community.

  • Up-lighting on trees and buildings will create a sense of height and drama by shining lights upward.
  • Focal points focusing on elements at night such as artwork or usual architectural elements.
  • Pathways and steps provides better vision at night and charming walkways for further appeal.
  • White lights on trees always create a festive and classy atmosphere year around.
  • Solar walkway lights is an easy alternative with no need for wires or cords plus great for the environment.

The Last Word on Curb Appeal…

When considering the use of signage and flags:

  • Consider who will see the signs, banner and flags. Will your current resident appreciate the message?
  • Where are the sign or flags positioned? Do they maximize attention and meet your area’s sign ordinance?
  • What is the message on the sign? Will people be able to read it at a quick glance? Don’t forget your community website address as it is easier to remember than phone numbers for a future reference.
  • How will you maintain optimal performance of the tools such as a tight banner and balloons? Who is responsible for the ownership of the quality and curb appeal?
  • Ensure bandit signs that are straight with strong stakes to keep them grounded to maximize effect.
  • If an A-Frame is an option for your community contemplate one that can be interchanged or the panels swapped out to highlight supply of certain floor plans, events, holidays or themes.
  • Consider switching signs and flags out frequently to maximize “pop” effect and keep viewers interested in new messages or your latest offering.
  • Be unusual and unique to set yourself apart with colors, clever messages and memorable display methods.
  • Look around to see what other industries are doing and how you can twist it to make it work for you.
  •  Amy Kosnikowski, principal of Quintessential Marketing and Training based out of Charlotte NC, is a national speaker, industry educator and marketing solutions expert focused on improving performances of multifamily real estate assets. Contact Amy at 704.846.8210 or via email at Amy@theQstandard.com. theQstandard.com

You Can Count on Me! Terri Norvell

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Sign of AccountabilityAccountability is a hot topic right now as the economy is strengthening. No more crutches and excuses allowed.  It goes right along with the thinking, ‘people most often know what to do but are just not doing it, or not doing it well’.  Does this sound familiar? So where does accountability come into play?

Accountability simply means I can count on me, you can count on me, I can count on you.

It’s a willingness to rise above ‘reasons and excuses’ and get done what needs doing so that revenue flows, margins hold and the business goes forward effectively. Only then can everyone in the organization have a shot at thriving.  Simply surviving is no longer an option.

People today will tell you they have: too much to do, too little time, too few resources. Accountability to themselves and the team often takes a back seat as a priority.  Why?  There‘s lack.  Lack of understanding, expectation, involvement and feedback.  So accountability gets a bad rap.  And too often gets abused.

Accountability really is positive and thrives by setting people up for success in advance. People want to know what’s expected to achieve the organizational goals.  Really. It’s not an extra activity, it’s doing things right.

For example, let’s take getting my 17 year olds to be accountable for their weekly responsibilities. I can:

  • tell them what to do (will they hear me?)
  • bribe them (will they do it more than once?)
  • force them (will they resist?)
  • or involve them (gaining mutual agreement for desired results works!)

What style is most prevalent in your organization regarding accountability for results? Involvement is key. Think about it, without clear direction and expectations people are being paid to guess.

In my recent research it’s become clear that prioritizing accountability is a real game changer for the teams and organization.  Here are 3 specific reasons why you care:

  1. Makes your job so much easier
  2. Saves you so much time
  3. Makes your bottom-line so much more money.

All good!

In upcoming articles we’ll delve into specific action steps to create a culture where ‘people can count on you and you can count on people’ to do what needs to be done.  I’ll share specific strategies and tactics that really work in bringing out the best in you and your teams…..everyday!

Terri Norvell is a personal and professional change agent.  From management to leadership development, enhanced sales/leasing performance and team building, Terri teaches how to achieve critical results with greater ease and more fun. She brings over 20 years of corporate office to the front-line management and leadership experience as VP of a $1.2 billion dollar property management & development company and GM of a $9 million dollar temporary housing firm. She demonstrates that succeeding wildly is good for everyone…including the bottom-line. Contact Terri for information on her keynote speaking, corporate workshops and professional coaching at 303-439-0077 or Terri@TerriNorvell.com.  Or visit www.TerriNorvell.com.

How to have a Difficult Conversation – Bill Nye, Ph.D.

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One thing we all have in common is the struggle to have positive conversations when emotions are high.  Whether it is a conversation with a loved one or at work with a customer it can be very frustrating to stay on point and resolve the real problem.

It is always easy to have a conversation when everyone is in agreement, but when sides are at odds it becomes increasingly more difficult.  Listed below are 10 tips on how to have a difficult conversation and keep everyone on topic.

 1.     Focus on solutions and not on feelings.  This is much easier said than done for some people.  We can’t ignore our feelings but if we start to focus on how we feel we are no longer focusing on solutions to the problem.

2.     When you don’t agree, start with something on which you do agree.   Usually both parties can agree on the fact that they want to resolve the problem.  Once you can get everyone to agree on something you are on your way and making positive progress.

3.     Always avoid silence, sarcasm or self defeat.  These techniques never solve anything so avoid using them and remind the other party that they are counter-productive to resolving the issue.

4.     Before starting an important conversation always know exactly what you want.  This will save a lot of time and help you to avoid the trap of chasing rabbits and not focusing on what really needs to happen.

5.     Remember that the only person you can control is you.  No matter how the other party behaves you need to stay focused and not allow their emotions or actions influence you.

6.     After stating what you really want support it by behaving that way.  Don’t tell your spouse that you love them and want to make the relationship work as you are throwing clothes out onto the front yard.  If you say you want to fix the problem then you need to behave like someone that really wants to fix the problem.

7.     There are always more than two choices in a conversation.  It isn’t just winning or losing.  This is called “the suckers bet”.  The idea that everything is black and white just isn’t true.  There are typically a lot of ways in which a problem can be solved.  Do the work and find the right solution.

8.     Don’t be afraid to state what you don’t want.  This can be just as important as stating what you do want and by stating the things that you don’t want or won’t accept can save a lot of time.

9.     Learn how to “contrast” during a conversation.  This is the “don’t” and the “do” in a conversation.  “I don’t want you to think that I am angry, but I do want you to know that this problem needs to be solved.”

10.   Seek mutual purpose in a relationship.  We might not agree on strategy but we must agree on the outcome.  No matter what happens you must stay focused on the purpose of the conversation and that is finding a resolution.

I don’t want you to read this and think that I am saying this will be easy because it won’t.   Obviously some people are better equipped, by nature, to control their emotions than others.  Once emotions spike these ten tips will be tested but if you can stay focused and get back to these tips you will become a skilled communicator and problem solver.

Written by Bill Nye, Ph.D.

 Bill Nye Training • (919) 449-2421 • www.BillNyeTraining.com

Who Are Your Advocates? Kathy Banker

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Looking to increase your business with a marketing strategy that is easy to implement, gets great results with a relatively low investment?  My business coach, Mark LeBlanc, taught me this strategy several years ago.  Once I started seeing the results, it was obvious this marketing tool could increase my business and my clients’ business as well.  I now include it in every marketing plan.  The idea is simple and requires just three steps.

First, identify the 25 most important people in your life who are in a position to impact your business.  They can be people you currently do business with but more importantly, they are people who have the ability to tell other people about your business and make referrals.  Your advocates care about you and want you to succeed.  They will go out of their way to say good things about you and initiate some type of connection on your behalf.  Keep your antenna on high to identify your advocates.

Second, make sure your advocates know what you do and can repeat your “elevator pitch” with accuracy and ease.  The best way to convey this message is to personally tell them, and include it in all of your promotional material, business cards, website, email signature, and social media.

Finally and most importantly, keep in touch with your advocates monthly through email, mail, phone call, social media, fax or in person.  Be creative in your communication.  For example, request their opinion in a survey form about a new service or product you are researching.  Send holiday cards, but not the traditional end of year kind.  Think Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, or Thanksgiving.  There are numerous websites that offer e-cards with a personalized message.  Write an article and send copies.  Share a link of interest on Facebook in a personal message.  Pick up the phone to keep in touch or take an advocate to lunch.  The strategy should cost on the average no more than $100 per month.

Applying this strategy to the property management industry is easy to do.  For suppliers, your advocates are current clients, managers, maintenance techs, association members, committee members and other industry suppliers.  For apartment communities, your advocates are often times the people we come in contact with on a daily basis; your residents who already love you (you know the ones!), suppliers, association members, local businesses leaders, law enforcement agencies, housing commission employees and even the mail person.

Keep it simple, creative and gracious and keep your list of advocates to 25 max.  This is a manageable number of people to keep in contact with each month.  Review your list periodically and remove the names of people who have moved to the status of regular customers to make room for new advocates.  So start your list of 25 advocates and watch your referrals increase!

 Kathy is a Speaker, Trainer, and Marketing Consultant in the property management industry.  She serves the needs of the conventional, affordable, and senior housing markets throughout the country.  Lease UP!  conducts mystery shops in the Midwest, Texas and North Carolina.

“Working with owners and property managers to increase traffic and lease more apartments”

Kathy Banker

29193 Northwestern Highway, Suite 779

Southfield, MI 48034

Phone/Fax: 248-855-1975

Cell: 248-613-5088

KBanker@leaseupnow.net

www.LeaseUpNow.net