TWLX 22: Winning Processes → Winning Experiences with Jordan Muela, Peter Lohmann, Wolfgang Croskey, Zach Berkompas, Sam Schwetz

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Air Date:
November 10, 2022

A broken process can cost your team and investors time and money. Identifying the cause can be difficult if you don’t know exactly where to look, and getting your team on board can be even harder.

In this recording from TWLX 22, Jordan Muela of ProfitCoach leads an incredible panel of industry experts, featuring Peter Lohmann (RL Property Management), Wolfgang Croskey (The Perfect Tenant), Zach Berkompas (LeadSimple), and Sam Schwetz (Mesa Properties). Listen as they provide real-world scenarios and offer actionable advice for moving your processes forward.

Check out the book Zach mentions, The Checklist Manifesto.

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Hosted by Jordan Muela
Featuring Peter Lohmann, Wolfgang Croskey, Zach Berkompas, Sam Schwetz
Produced by Andrew Smallwood, Laura Mac, and Carol Housel
Edited by Isaac Balachandran

Episode Transcript:

Jordan Muela
The difference maker is not the technology, it's not the platform. It's the way that you're approaching its level of conviction. It's the way that you're the conversation that you're having with your staff and how you're bringing them in. And along that conversation. And there definitely is a trail of bodies of folks that have tried and failed. And just give a little bit of context on why you're on the panel in the first place. Peter, let's start with you, my man. What's your background and relationship with process and property management?

Peter Lohmann
Yeah. So thanks to you and I appreciate you having me on the panel today. My background is in engineering, so I have a degree in electrical engineering I worked as a control systems engineer for about five years professionally before I started the property management company nine years ago and immediately started looking for ways to apply what I knew about processes and systems from engineering into the property management world. And so pretty early on were using what was available at the time, which was Process Street to create checklists and a little bit of automation around our core processes, like the move-in checklists, the new client checklists, and those types of things. And it just kind of expanded from there.

Jordan Muela
All right. Awesome. Let's go out and hear from Sam Schwetz. Tell us a little bit about your background.

Sam Schwetz
Thanks, Jordan. So I was actually in the nuclear navy right out of high school. And at 21 years old, was trained to operate a nuclear reactor. Not because I'm anything special, but because the process and system were so integrated into the Navy's culture, especially the nuclear navy's culture. So I came from a pretty young age, starting out in my career, just ingrained in the process of the way that we do everything. And so then coming into property management, joining the family business, after my time in the Navy, I've taken a lot of what I've learned there and implemented that first in the form of a paper checklist. And we were in a sauna and then processed down the street and then led a quite similar sequence of different software that we've used, I think, to the other panelists. And so right now I manage about 1100 doors which are fully implemented on processes through lead simple currently.

Jordan Muela
From the nuclear navy to property management. I don't know if that's an upgrade or downgrade, but it certainly is an interesting story. Wolf, let's hear from you.

Wolfgang Croskey
So Wolfgang Croskeyhere, from the Francisco Bay area, and our family has a real estate company and I’m the third generation into it. And my dad… paper forms, paper checks, everything paper, because then he knew that’s how it was done. And as I got older and braver and after finishing a career in education as a teacher, I said, you know, there's got to be a better way, Dad. Now, this is how we do it. And talking to friends, they're like, Oh, you should get Salesforce. All right, so I checked out Salesforce, and I was like, Yeah, that's going to cost a fortune. And you got to build it and everything. So I started looking for alternatives and did Asana, Podio, did process Street, trying to build our own stuff, and finally came to where we are now with lead simplicity and have built think in our processes, digitized them, and done a lot to really help improve the efficiency. But for me, the biggest point that I hope to be able to share today is that anyone can do this. It does not take you don't have to be an engineer and you don't have to be somebody in the nuclear industry. Like you can just be a common person like myself. And even if you, you know, have a little bit of experience, there is the ability for anybody to do this.

Jordan Muela
I feel like I should point out that I didn't finish college. That's helpful to anybody here. So no nuclear navy background undergrad. Zach rounds us out.

Zach Berkompas
Awesome. So good to see everybody. I'm Zach. Senior software engineer is really where I come from. That was my background. So I've been in tech my entire career, engineering specifically. But ultimately the only reason I got into tech is because of my belief that technology can help a lot of industries in ways that haven't been explored yet. So I was just kind of infinitely curious about technology and then got more and more interested in real estate over time. And those converged with my interest in workflow automation specifically focused on real estate and property management. Then I came and joined the fearless leader here, Jordan, doing that specifically for this industry and it's been phenomenal. So I worked with hundreds of property managers now related to processes and workflow and how to make that actually work with your team. And there are a ton of challenges that I'm sure we'll talk about today and a lot of opportunities as well. So excited to dive.

Jordan Muela
All right. So as we kick things off, I want to make sure that that panel has maximal context. So let's take a quick poll on chat again. Tell me one use case that you're interested in hearing about. If you're here, you have a vision for using process, technology, and automation. What is one use case? What is one process? What is one situation that you're interested in? Using processes to automate improvement, go away, refine the rough edges off of, just drop in chat. What comes to mind for your showings tonight benefits package? Interesting onboarding. Yeah, yeah. Networking Follow-ups and sending emails to applicants. The move ends, move-outs. Okay. All right. We'll let you guys keep running for the panel. That's some context of what people are interested in hearing about. What I would actually like to start with are the things that are very unlikely to be on that list. So I'd love to go around the room and hear from you guys what is one non-obvious process, i.e. not a move-in, move-out, not an application process. What is one non-obvious process that your company has gotten a lot of value from? It's been really impactful to you guys and to your customers. Peter, let's start with you.

Peter Lohmann
Sure. So the one that immediately came to mind is about getting Google reviews. So good reviews are really important to our business. And I think that it's important for the team to understand how the company is doing in the public's eye. So one thing I did, was just really quick automation, probably more than a process, but I set up in Zapier a trigger. So if we got a good Google review meeting with four or five stars only, it would publish to a Slack channel that we call feedback. So the team, everybody can see. When we had a great experience with a client or a tenant, we all get enough bad news and unhappy clients and tenants throughout the day. So whenever we get something that's positive, I want everyone to be able to see that right away so that it all happens automatically.

Jordan Muela
Love it. How about you, Sam?

Sam Schwetz
I would say our employee onboarding process. So just hiring new employees and the way that that would affect our customers is the better trained they are and the more consistently trained all of our employees are, then the better service that we're going to provide. So we have a process. Just make sure we don't forget all these different types of training that we like to do with them and around customer service specifically so that everybody gets that same amount of training in the first week or two that they're with us. I think that's been really beneficial and is kind of non-obvious awesome.

Wolfgang Croskey
For us. I would say that it's our weekly in our monthly process. So there's a lot of things that each, you know, your company does every week, every month that are on the same schedule. What is your process to make sure that those are always done on those same key dates? You know, like, for example, getting the bank statements over to whoever is going to start the reconciliation right. You know, it needs to be done. That's super important. But do you have a process for that? And do you have your week in your month mapped out? So for us, those two have helped us to be consistent in our operations, which then frees us up to do more to actually serve our customers.

Jordan Muela
Love it. How about you Zach? Round. us out.

Zach Berkompas
Yeah. For me, Sam's took it out of my mouth. It wouldn't just be employee onboarding, though. It would actually be non-obvious around recruiting. So tracking actually your application career pipeline basically and the flow and how your processes for actually hiring. And I think a lot of us don't have a great process for it and we end up kind of accidentally hiring some really solid people and then at other times not hiring maybe as high quality as we want it. And that process is super important and especially as you consider the kind of we're talking about the how today a little bit more process. But if you don't have a good person on the team, it's going to be a problem. So having a great hiring process would be where I would go. And that leads into Sam such as employee onboarding, post hiring, which is just as important.

Jordan Muela
Yeah, I love that. So what I find so interesting about this conversion process is that it's really easy to see the end state, to see ads, to see a car, to see a Lamborghini. And it's so obvious how attractive that is. But it's not obvious that one is built, right? So in the factory, in the background, it's pretty opaque. So I think it would be great to talk a little bit about the adoption process as each of you guys has thought pretty deeply and has had multiple staff members, and multiple iterations go through this adoption process and the change management conversation is the conversation to be having. I run a software company. I think what we sell is great, but at the end of the day, I could never tell you with a straight face that you could only adopt processes with our tech. There's a bunch of great software out there that you can have that process with. The difference maker is not the technology, it's not the platform. It's the way that you're approaching its level of conviction. It's the way that you're the conversation that you're having with your staff and how you're bringing them in. And along that conversation. And there definitely is a trail of bodies of folks that have tried and failed. So I'd love to hear from you guys on what your own journey has looked like, what some of our false starts have looked like, and what are the keys. What what? Some of the key lessons learned are that transcend the specific platforms and technology that you're using. Whoever would like to jump in there first, let's.

Peter Lohmann
I'll just start. So two things come to mind here. One is a lot of people get really wrapped up about what their staff is going to think, oh, they're worried that they're going to be fired or whatever. It's been my experience that the team gets really excited when I show them what's possible with processes, especially some of the automation and integrations. So I wouldn't let that fear stop you from moving forward. And yeah, everyone knows the whole thing. You spin out like, Oh, well, we'll be able to manage more properties with the same number of people. You don't have to worry about your job. I mean, surely, you know, your team isn't worried that you're actually going to terminate them after implementing a lease signing process. I just don't know. It's interesting that that comes up as a fear for people. I would encourage everyone to push past that. The other thing that we've had a lot of success with in terms of implementing is the tech is not a silver bullet. And in fact, technology is only going to enable what's clear in your own mind and ideally written out on paper. So if you have a chaotic listening process now adopting X, Y, Z, technology is actually going to make that worse, I can tell you that right now. So until you're clear and start with like literally when we started, it was a printed-out word document with a checklist like the little bubble that you can find in words that you can check off. That's what it was. We would print it off, use it, and as we were using it, I was like, I want you to mark the heck out of this thing. Cross off things that are irrelevant, markup the text the way you want to see it, and reorder things. The next time we have someone sign a lease, we print off a new copy. We worked it out for a while. And once that checklist is really, really good, now is when you bring the technology in and that's the unlock.

Sam Schwetz
I'll start with just a failure that we had in implementing them as I started building all of our processes and I realized I was pretty disconnected from a lot of the day-to-day of the business. And so then when we tried to roll it out, it didn't work. And people were like, This isn't really how we do this. So not bringing in the team and making sure that they have input on the process, the building portion itself was definitely something that I had to learn. And so just making sure everybody's first of all doing things the same way within your company is important to start off with. If you have, you know, teams or multiple property managers and maybe one person does it this way and one person does it that way, you have to understand what the best way to do it is put into a process, and now everyone's going to do it that way. So I had to learn that, and then getting the team to buy in was really helping them see how it's beneficial to them, both on a financial level and then just on making their job easier because it for us at least, the more a property manager manages, the more properties they manage, the more money they're ultimately going to make. So if you have a process system, especially an automated-based process system, that can help them make more money then I mean, I would be interested in that as a property manager. So helping them to see the financial incentive on their side is good. And then we just have weekly meetings where we get input on what we need to be changing in the process. You know, it's like, hey, should we, you know, what should we be doing differently? And the team gives feedback and then we're continuously improving those processes to make sure that they're happy with the system because the system should be working for them, not like they're forced to use some system that they don't want to do. It should really be there to help them. And it helps you bring in remote team members because one person can take an action. For example, a remote team member can upload a document that then causes an automatic email to get sent out from the property manager. So you can tell a property manager, hey, you know, you used to have to do this manually after this person told you they were done with their stuff. And now these things can happen automatically. So you're removing some of the tedious aspects of a property manager day to day, and they really start to see the value. So once they understand the value and you know, the financial side of things, it was a lot smoother for us.

Wolfgang Croskey
I think I saw a comment from Pamela. So I'm going to speak to the solo and the smaller companies out there. When I'm not speaking on these, I run the Chamber of Commerce here in Pittsburgh. So I have a place in my heart for the small business and the person that's in the grind. And the important piece to know about processes is that whether it's just you or a whole fleet of people, it is the same thing. It's obviously easier to implement a process when it's just you because you only have to convince yourself it's a good idea. But the important part is having that process. I'd put it in the chat box. Hopefully, this works, but here's a link to a Google search for a picture. It does involve poop just for warning, but if you don't have a good process, it's like a Roomba that finds the dog turd on the floor and just spreads it all over the place. And that regardless if you have one person or 200 people, it's going to be the same. And so if you're finding that you're constantly putting out fires, dealing with calls, dealing with whatever, and you can actually do your work, it's a process issue. It's not understaffed or overstaffed. It's usually a process issue. So coming up with your processes is critical. I actually think it's more important on the small side because you are building your company, you're establishing your brand. Every management company has to do move-ins, and move-outs, collect rent and serve notices. But what differentiates you is your process and the experience that it's going to create. And as you establish that, then people are going to want to do business with you and then you're going to have to start thinking about having team members, whether they're boots on the ground or remote. That doesn't matter. And when you get to that point, because it's going to happen overnight, all of a sudden you're like, Holy crap, I need people. And if you don't have your processes now, you have Roombas spreading stuff all over the place. So get those processes nailed down. As a small company, you may not have, you know, the hand-offs built into your process, but you are still documenting it and then getting it built. And I've seen conversations where people are like, Oh, I only have 50 doors, I'll stick to my Excel spreadsheets, and buy that bigger software. Now, you may not qualify for it, and you may not be able to afford it, but buy it now and get it implemented so that when you are at that point where you are at 200, 300, or 5000 doors, whatever it is, you already have it going on. You're not behind the eight-ball trying to play catch up. So I think that it's a plan for where you don't think you're going to be because eventually, you're going to be there.

Jordan Muela
Let's talk a little bit about templates because multiple people are asking that question. This is really interesting. One, because the short answer is, yeah, definitely there are lots of templates. Zach, you want to speak a little bit about templates that are there versus how much value can you get from a template right itself.

Zach Berkompas
Yeah, I'll, I'll kick this off and I'm sure Sam and all the rest of the panel will have thoughts on this as well. There is a belief that there's a shortcut when it comes to processes across the board to see it all the time. People believe that, well, if Wolfgang were to share his processes with me, that would save me a ton of time. There is a kernel of truth to that, but it will not save you all of the time. What I like to tell people, what I've seen in my experience working with hundreds of property managers and developing processes, is that one of the biggest mistakes that are made is not allocating enough time not just to implement, but also to train after the fact. So Wolfgang, Sam, and Peter Lead Simple have a set of best practices and templates as well. And we do that because we know it does save time, but it's in that 50 to 60% range. We're not talking about 90% or 99% time savings. You are your own business. What makes you unique is your experience, what you deliver, and how you do business. And that requires customization and that's the power of customizable software. It allows you to do a lot of things, but that's where your thoughts have to be involved. You can't just take Peter's process and say, Hey, this is going to work for me. The regulations are different. His timelines are different. There are a lot of even just regulatory differences between every single real estate market that you have to put into place. So please do not go away from this panel thinking that you could get Sam's workflows and it would be done for you. I would love it if that was the case, but actually, the thought that's put into it is part of the value that then ultimately gets delivered to the company. But I'll let the rest of the panel speak to that being boots on the ground. That's what I observed in helping a lot of property managers do it.

Peter Lohmann
Yeah. So I'll tell you something. You already have a process. Whatever you're doing, when a client, when a tenant signs a lease, that's your process. Now, you may not have written it down or it may be done slightly differently each time, but I would encourage you to start with that. Just start from like, what am I supposed to be doing when a tenant signs a lease? Well, I've got a deposit, the security deposit, and the first month's rent in the bank. I have to notify the owner. I have to upload the lease to the software. Right. Even if it's just three things, those are the only three things you're doing. Write that down. And then every time you do that process, reference that checklist and start to add things. Now, I love the templates for getting ideas for additional things. We can be doing stuff you might have been forgetting about powerful customer experience ideas like sending a follow-up email five days after moving in to make sure everything's okay, right? Like there are a lot of great ideas you can get from templates, but I think if you try and download the top five list signing templates and like start reading them all and trying to figure out how to incorporate them all to make the one rule them all. You're going to get kind of confused and frustrated. Just start with what you're already doing and build from there.

Sam Schwetz
I think your process is what differentiates you from other companies, because if we were all doing it exactly the same way, then we wouldn't have a lot of differentiation within our market. So if you do something that works really well one time, put it in your process. For example, if you send a handwritten thank you note to an owner after they sign up, put that in your process. So you do it every single time. And that's what differentiates you from the property management company down the street, who maybe does that once or twice, but they don't do it consistently every single time. And it's also going to bury your processes as far as templates go will vary based on the customer that you serve. So if you're really clear on what your ideal customer looks like, like for us, Southern California, it's like all accidental landlords. We have very few investors. Our property-to-owner ratio is 1.3 or something like that. So I'm going to have a very different process and someone who's in a market like I think, Peter, you're in a market where it's a lot of investors. I'm going to have way more communication touchpoints with my owners probably than Peter Will, just because I'm doing a lot of education and training and trying to get them to understand how to be a landlord and not just be an owner who happens to rent out their house. I'm trying to train them in doing that. And so my process does that because there are phone calls and emails and, you know, different things that happen at various points in a move-in process as an example, as I'm trying to bring them along. So my process would want to do that if you have investors because your investors are like, yeah, I get it, I have like 50 doors, I understand. So I think that based on who your customer is going to drive, what your process will look like. And so it'd be hard, to template that completely. But I do like the idea of looking at other people's processes and getting ideas to add to yours.

Jordan Muela
Love that. Let's talk a little bit about the purpose and the end state here. I think a lot about efficiency versus effectiveness. And in practice here, that would look like a mountain of tasks that are somewhat low-level. And you can do it faster, you can do more of them with less effort. That would be really useful if you have a bunch of tasks that don't feel like highly skilled labor and you can just make them faster. That would progress. At the same time, if you could find a way to make those tasks go away, that would be even better than doing them faster and more effectively. What is y'all's experience been on the end state, going through all this process, all of this effort on the other side of it, are you seeing more efficiency, which is doing things faster, or are you also seeing instances where you're able to make certain repetitive tasks or comms just go away by virtue of providing a better experience and customer interaction?

Wolfgang Croskey
I think for us, we've definitely seen both, you know, by eliminating certain tasks then it allows and I actually get to keep myself accountable here. I have some of our team members in this chat room, but it gives them the opportunity to then do something better, right is good, better, and best. And so if your day is spent doing all the good stuff, you'll never get better and you'll definitely never get to the best. And so what we've identified in our company is that the best is being able to call an owner and just say, Hey, how's your day going? Because if the only call the owner gets is when something breaks and we need a check, that's really not going to create a very healthy relationship. So we've looked at what we can automate and have a computer do so that now we have the opportunity to just have, Hey, how's it going? Conversations with our owners and now also with our tenant. So we set it up so that in our weekly process, certain people are asked to make five calls a week to owners and to tenants and it's ranked by when was their last touch. So we can just hey, how's it going? How's life? Because trying to play that long game of building a relationship so that when that tenant wants to buy a house, who are they going to go with? When that owner wants to maybe buy another or sell, who are they going to go with? And they're also going to give hopefully better referrals and more referrals because we're not just calling when there's a problem because they hired us to fix the problem and to solve problems, not, hey, owner, this happened. What do you want to do about it? So we're trying to free up staff members so that we can spend more time on building relationships. And that's only been available to us because of what we've been able to just have a computer take care of, you know, for example, setting up new folders when there's a new transaction, right? Why? Why has somebody done that? The computer can do it for you automatically and do it consistently. That 3 minutes right there is now save that can be applied to something that's better or even best.

Peter Lohmann
Something that gets clear for me every time I dove into the process is that as you develop the process and you work with your team to document how they're currently doing things and update the process to match that or vice versa, you end up uncovering a lot of opportunities and some of these opportunities come from advancements in the process technology with the software that you're using. So for example, we were in the process of migrating from processor to lead simple. There are a ton of things that weren't possible and processes that are now possible. The other thing that happens is you end up finding out exactly what your team is up to and you get to make decisions on whether those are still an efficient and effective use of their time. So some of those things maybe are just not worth doing at all because they're going to take your team X number of hours a year to do some step every time you sign on a new tenant. But you're just trying to address some edge case that only happens 1% of the time. And even when it does, it only costs you $25 to fix or whatever. So you should just stop doing that altogether. Every step has a cost and you need to run a cost-benefit analysis or an ROI for every single step within your processes. Um, the other thing is you're able to start moving tasks down the stack, and by that I mean maybe your head property manager isn't the one who has to be doing X, Y, and Z things on the lease signing process anymore. And because your team has changed and grown since you last looked at this process, you're like, Oh, this is great. Half of these things can be done by a remote team member now, and you're able to reassign those and free up tons of time for your higher-level team members.

Sam Schwetz
I'm always looking for instances in our business where we're having repetitive issues. So for example, on applications before we had a good application process, people would just like to call every day to get an update on what was going on with their application. And in reality, we're doing all the things we're calling their past landlords. We're trying to get a hold of their employer and verify stuff, but we didn't have a good process that notified them. So it's like, man, why are we getting so many calls on our applications line? Let's look into that. And so, you know, reviewing call recordings, people are generally asking the same thing: what's going on with my application? And so what we started doing through the process and this is, you know, without automation, we've since automated it. But once you call a landlord and you can't get a hold of them a pass, one email the tenant, and the applicant and say, Hey, we just called your past landlord and we have been able to get a hold of them. You know, could you help us? Could you tell them we're trying to get a hold of them so you have them call back? And so now, you know, we started doing that annually. So we call the landlord, email the temp, and the applicant says, Hey, we just reached out. Now it's automated. So there's a task that involves calling a past landlord to verify their rental history. And you do that. And as soon as you check it, an automatic email goes out to the applicant saying we just called but didn't get an answer. And so just so they know and that cuts our application call by and way down so those additional people are really burning out that are having to answer the applications line all the time. And so we were able to remove work, so to speak, just by bettering our process and our communication during the application process.

Zach Berkompas
I want to tag on to that. That's exactly the angle I was going on when we look at the work, the thousands of tasks that are piling up within an organization, particularly in heavy, heavy, busy seasons. So we look at that and rather than trying to ask the question of where is the work coming from, why is it happening? We just look at, okay, how can we get a body to help with the work? And so the example is an applicant call going through the roof. A lot of people say it's like, okay, how do I get a virtual team member trained on my team that they can handle this call volume versus looking at why the call volume is spiking? Why like what's the category breakdown of this now massive call volume that we can no longer support? And it turns out everyone has the same question: where's my application? And frankly, that's what we're all trained to do, right? Like e-commerce, every platform we all interact with and think about this the other day, how long would you guys wait if you did not get an order confirmation email from Amazon after making an order before chatting or giving them a call? All right. So for me, I said one hour. That's what I would actually do. I would reach out via chat because their chat is good. But the first response time on the application, if I want to ask, you guys are posted there. But if you're honest as well, where would that be? And that's why people call and they kind of think that's a pretty well-established customer experience metric. It's called Phantom Calls. And I won't go too deep on it, but calls that shouldn't have happened. Phantom calls or calls that shouldn't have happened if you had a good process in place. So I like to point people out like, okay, where's work piling up in your organization and why? And that might be the right place to start. That might be the place to actually streamline, and automate, rather than focusing on a process that you really want to do but you can't do because you're getting pulled away by all this unplanned work every single day because you're just getting roped into fires.

Peter Lohmann
The other one where you get a lot is Where's my security deposit? Right? And we have 30 days in Ohio, so they start calling on day five and it's like, oh, my gosh.

Sam Schwetz
Yeah.

Jordan Muela
Let's talk a little bit about growth and what else your journey has been like in how your relationship with the idea of growth has changed. One observation that I've seen is that sometimes there's dysfunction between the BDM or the sell side of the organization and ops people doing the onboarding joy on the sell side can be heaviness or burden on the upside, and that's not great. It's not a good feeling when it feels like there's tension between the people that are excited to close the deal and somebody else that has to deal with the reality of onboarding. Has your close relationship with the idea of adding units changed at all as you've gone through this journey? And if so, what does that look like?

Sam Schwetz
Scaling is definitely easier with processes built out. So if there are a bunch of steps that have to happen once, obviously there are when a new property is onboarded and it just kicks off automatically. So when sales do a handoff to ops, there's a whole bunch of things that can happen automatically on the op side of things, you know, introducing to the new owner and scheduling when the initial inspection is going to happen on the home and all that. So it does take the burden off a little bit, I think from the property managers, which should be ops because all the steps are just going to generate for them automatically. So there's not this like, okay, what did I do last time? Yeah, that's right. I got to do that and you forget to do something and then it's just this major kind of everything's up in the air when you get a new property like that. So I think our ops team has been a little bit more optimistic when they get new properties because the processes are there to help streamline things for them.

Jordan Muela
And before I hear from the rest of you guys in chat, give me a number guys. How many doors, how many new doors per month is the point when it starts to really feel stressful? How many doors in a given month is like, if we were at that, I'd really be sweating it. Drop in a chat about what that number looks like from you, Peter, and Wolf. How about you guys?

Peter Lohmann
Yeah. So as I think about onboarding, I've actually noticed that there's a certain personality type where once they really are on board with the processes and the checking off of tasks in a software, they become very focused on checking off those tasks. And if there's something where they're waiting on somebody else and they're not able to check it off, they get frustrated and they feel like, well, the BDM didn't give me all the info I really needed. And so I'm frustrated because I can't proceed with onboarding this corner of this property. So that's been interesting and it's kind of forced us to get really clear with our BDM on. Hey, here's exactly what we need before you turn this over to Ops. Don't just count on them to clean up your messes, but vice versa. Like, Hey Ops, we're here to make the thing work for this owner. I know they didn't give you every single detail, but let's try and make this happen for them. So that's been an interesting observation and I think the team's resistance or excitement to growing and adding units is like a barometer of how great your systems and processes are to a certain extent. So that's been interesting as well. When I sense hesitation or frustration from the team like it's great when something pops up in Slack and it's like ten units are coming in two weeks and it's like dead silence. Like no one gives a thumbs up, no one's excited, like, oh, we got a problem. We got to figure out why the ops seem not excited about this, right?

Zach Berkompas
Peter, You also have a cool incentive because it ties an incentive structure too, right? Like, yeah, that's how you incentivize ops. What's your opinion on that?

Peter Lohmann
Yeah, we do have an incentive. I put in place maybe a year ago that where every 50 units we add, we give everyone at the company an extra PTO day. So if you were hired when we had 605 doors and when we hit 650, you and everybody else get an extra PTO day, it's immediately available and you have it every year. And then when we hit 700, you get another one. It's immediately available. Now you have two extra days every year and so on for every 50 unit increments. We'll see. We'll see what happens as we get bigger. But for now, it's just a way to get everyone excited about the fact that we're growing. Wolfgang Croskey, I think I'll I'll keep wearing the hat for the small guy so maybe you don't have a BBM and you're like, holy crap 50 new doors in one month. That'd be like winning the lottery. So how can your processes help you with that? So if you're the one, you know, unplugging the toilet, you're also taking the order. You're doing all those things. You're not going to have time for sales. You know that sales are your lifeblood, that that's the oxygen your business needs, but you're so caught up in the crap that you can't get to it. So how can your processes bring systemization to your marketing? So like one thing that we do, is we use a service that goes every day and it looks for properties that have just sold and that are listed as absentee owners. It looks like that. It pulls that information, creates a letter, and then sends that letter out. So it's consistent. Is it the best piece of marketing in the world? Probably not, but it's consistent. You know, I have you have these ideas that you want to do for marketing. How can you make it consistent so that it's getting done? Because that idea is great as it is. If you don't put action, it's not going to bring you doors. So as somebody who's maybe wearing all the hats or you just have a team of like two or three, how can you use processes to also bring to your marketing, not just to your operations so that you are getting to that point where now you need a business development manager, you need other people to help you bring on on door. So you can do that for letters, postcards, putting in, you know, steps to remain to call all those things so that they don't get forgotten. Because I'm sure we've all been there, right? The whole day goes by, we're drained, we're tired. Then we sit back, and you're like, What did I actually accomplish today? And it's because we probably, you know, we could get in the time blocking and all those other things, but having a process with some automation, it's going to protect you. It's going to make sure that you're at least getting reminded to do things. And they're not just stuck in that world of, Yeah, if I have free time or wouldn't it be nice to send a welcome package to every new landlord in town or, you know, whatever it is, build a process, put some automation to it, and have it start doing it for you automatically.

Jordan Muela
Pamela asked a great question that was related to this, this kind of wave you bring on your clients if you are overwhelmed, and then you start onboarding them and you can't do any sales marketing and it can feel really lumpy. I think that's emblematic of why I think about business in general, which is what's the bottleneck. There's always a constraint, and there's always a limiting factor, whether it's sales ops somewhere in the organization. And I think that's germane here because a lot of people are wondering, where do I start with processes? Is there some is it specific to me or is there some universal logic of what process I should probably start with? What feedback do you guys have?

Wolfgang Croskey
So for me, where I started is which ones were costing me money or getting me in trouble. And I don't mean trouble like the police are coming, but owners are complaining or, you know, just there's this high friction and we started there and for us, it was around late rent and lease violations, very simple processes. And I still when I, you know, help people, I have them start with those because they're easy. That's a quick win. But I would start with what are those processes that are costing you money because you're having to write shut up, go away checks, right? You know, oops, we screwed up. How much is it going to cost you to go away or, you know, not take us to a court or whatever? So look where you're having to write those checks and then start with that process and then go from there. In my personal opinion, if you don't have processes and some type of tech format, I would not start with your moving or your move out because it's a beast. There are a lot of steps. And I would argue and say that those are actually made up of multiple processes that I would take some small ones that are causing a lot of friction and get those quick wins.

Sam Schwetz
I was going to say I started processes just on things that only I did before I went to the rest of the team. So things like running payroll, publishing a blog post, you know, those are things that I realize as I'm doing them. I would forget. How did I do that last time? And I'm having to relearn it when I go through and do it. So I just started making processes for myself on all these little weekly things that I did, and so I could save that mental energy of trying to remember how I did it last time. And I got to go to that help article again and put it into a process that told me what to do. So that I didn't have to think about all those little things. And then we roll that out obviously to everything else. And the team has agreed as well that not having to think that hard about all these steps that you have to do that you have to remember to do is very beneficial, even just for mental energy.

Peter Lohmann
Yeah, I love the idea of starting with something very simple, the simplest process. I mean, Wolfgang had a great point about like, what's costing you money, right? My, sort of metric that I use for where to start is what's the easiest possible process that I can start with? Because for me, and this might not be for everybody, but for me my familiarity and comfort with the tool are paramount. If I log into the software and I feel confused and I don't feel confident and excited about the power and what it's doing for me, I just have this resistance to it and I'll, I'll like not to log in, I won't use it. So what I like to do is start with something really simple that gets me excited. I get very comfortable with the software I get. I understand how to add processes, add tasks, how update them, and maybe a little bit of the very, very basic automation stuff. I use it myself and then I take it to the team and I'm like, By that point I'm excited. And that comes through when I'm showing them. I'm like, Oh, look, we can do this, we can do this, we can do this. The team has to feel that from you, right? They have to feel your confidence and they have to feel your excitement. If you go and show them and there and you're like, oh, we can do this and like, oh, and they're like, Oh, well, what about this? You know, like, oh, I don't really know. Like, like you have to drive it, right? You have to be excited. You have to be that leader, that champion internally because just because you're the owner if you are the owner, that doesn't that's not it. Like you need to actually show them the power of what's possible and that you're excited and confident in the solution.

Zach Berkompas
Mm-hmm. I couldn't agree more at this point. Guys want to make sure everyone goes away with some really actionable steps related to how to get started. But those of you that like to read and want a really short book that basically summarizes this entire panel with a much more in-depth understanding. There's a book called The Checklist Manifesto, and I'm dropping this in the chat. If you text processes to that number that I just posted in chat, we'll get you a copy of that book actually sent so you can get that takeaway from this and a really great place to start in the short book as well. If you're not a heavy reader, I'm not one, so hopefully, that's super helpful.

Jordan Muela
That's a great resource. Love it, guys. Hope you get some value out of this. I'm glad we're able to work with, work with and hear from some people that have actually done it and are living it. So I love that you guys are able to share in that. We're able to have this conversation and I know these guys are available as a resource if you ever want to reach out to them and have some further conversations. So with that, we'll go ahead and wrap and head back out into the main room. Thanks for being here with us, guys.

Andrew Smallwood
That's all for today's Triple Win Property Management podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your life with us. We do not take it for granted. I also want to give a shout-out to Carol Housel for everything she and our team does to make this possible. It's crazy to think about. Over 5000 professional property managers have press plays on episodes and season one and season two now, and we really want to encourage you to keep giving feedback because more and more people are listening. It's getting better and better and better thanks to everything that you're sharing with us. If you liked this enough to listen, I want to encourage you to share it with other people. You can give us feedback directly on the social media channels, Facebook, LinkedIn, and wherever you're hanging out, you can also send us an email, at triplewin@secondnature.com we just want to give more we're there's no sales pitch here just want to offer more resources that help you find and stack your next triple-win and become a triple-win-driven property manager. So where can you find that? You can find a private Facebook group. You can find our blog and find our newsletters and find more resources at RBP.secondnature.com to search for what you're looking for there and every time we see you, we want to see a better version of you and your business. To that end, keep it going, feel inspired, take our encouragement and we'll see you next time.

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