Sheehan Properties Caters to Potential Renters with Better Communication – The Bridge Podcast

By: Kristy Esch

Known for her many years of writing long and short form articles for the multifamily industry. Her amazing writing continues to shine in other industries.

In the premiere episode of The Bridge, Andy Medley and Fabian Rodriguez speak with Katrina Greene, the senior regional manager at Indianapolis’ Sheehan Properties, about consumer rental habits. Changing communication norms have created the need for companies to evolve in the way they engage with customers: how has Sheehan Properties embraced technology to cater to each and every potential renter? Listen to find out.



Katrina Greene: It’s the equivalent of having thousands of people come in my store and they don’t even talk to me. You know, they don’t even say, Hey, can you help me find this? Or Hey, can you help me find that? I said, that is the equivalent of that. My doors are wide open and I’m open 24 hours a day and they’re just walking on my store and walking back out.


Andy Medley: The bridge is a podcast for all businesses where the consumer purchase takes place at a physical location, but those same consumers are shopping in narrowing their choices down online. That jump from online to in store is where most businesses struggle. Each episode we’ll focus on real strategies and examples from industry experts on how to dominate this complex and competitive environment by sharing the latest trends in technology and process. Hey everybody, all those listeners out there, um, this is the bridge. Uh, I’m Andy Medley. I’m your host. We are for this week’s episode, we are going to be speaking with Katrina and Katrina is the senior property manager at Xi Han Properties in Indianapolis. Um, it says here on mine, my little sheet that you’ve been in the business for 17 years. So what we’re going to be really diving into in this episode is a lot around the consumer journey for, uh, renting an apartment and, um, how those consumers are spending more time online. Um, and what that world kind of looks like and the challenges that, uh, Katrina’s facing. Before we get too much into that, um, what’s, uh, what’s a senior property do you manage or do Katrina?


Katrina:  In our organization, because we are a bit smaller, I suppose it ends up being a nice hybrid between somewhat of a, somewhat of a director or someone that’s, you know, regularly making the top level decisions for the company in terms of, you know, policies, procedures, handling legal, insurance claims, you know, all the really, um, mundane things to be truthful. And then I oversee some regional property managers that are under me and then they are the ones that are directly overseeing the property. So I manage the people that manage the people that manage the properties.


Andy: That makes a lot. So in a, in a synopsis though, if you’re talking to your boss, um, you do a really good job if what is happening?


Katrina: I do a really good job if we are meeting goals as a company meeting the goals that the owners have laid out for us and that can be different property to property. And then for me personally, you know, success is, is when we see progress, when something gets better, whether that’s a system or um, you know, we implement a policy that wasn’t written down before. We joke a little bit about having urban legends instead of policies because we’re sort of in our infancy as a management company. We’re only 12 years old and there are some out there that are 40 and 50 years old. So in, in that regard, we have, um, a lot of opportunity to continue to decide how we want to run our business going forward. So progress is success.


Andy: So you’re building the ship as you’re a, as you’re sailing. That’s awesome. I know a little bit about that. Um, and what leads a person, um, maybe not all the way back to birth. Uh, but from a, a little bit of history leading up to being a senior regional property manager. Well, how’d you get there?


Katrina: I mean I have an interesting, maybe not interesting past — that sounds really bad. You can infer a lot from that. But when I was really young, my dad bought a house and ran a bed and breakfast for awhile. And so I’ve always kind of been a bit of a social bug, but in an arena where I had to be somewhat professional and somewhat friendly at the same time.


Andy: So you were growing up in a bed and breakfast?


Katrina: Yeah, I was, um, 12, 11, I think it was when he bought the house. And so between 11 until I went to college, uh, we had events at the house. We had guests, we had some that were, you know, somewhat permanent guests. Like they stayed there every single week and then just went home to their families on the weekends. They worked in industry. And so, you know, I would sit in my cheerleading uniform and eat fruit loops across from some, probably like CFO of a manufacturing company that built chassies or something. Um, so, uh, you know, not, not that I would ever say that that was the beginning of me knowing that I wanted to be in the housing industry. By any means, but I fell into a leasing associate position and I enjoyed the fact that we, I enjoy it. You hate it and you love it, right.


Katrina:  You have to be really good at a lot of different things. You have to be, I’m an attorney part of the day, an accountant part of the day, a counselor part of the day at HR person part of the day and that’s every day. Um, but I, I started as a leasing associate and was fortunate enough to, to be promoted a few times. And do have a few years of being an account executive for a digital marketing company. And honestly, I would have never known how strategic that would be at the time. But because I learned so much from that organization, from the people that I worked with at that organization, it really prepared me to be in a role like this.


Andy: It’s awesome. It is super interesting. And I feel like when you’re talking to me about, I was thinking of Forest Gump, right? His mom ran a bed and breakfast. That’s where he met Elvis. True, right? Yeah. So he was meeting all these interesting people while he was growing up. And you probably do learn a tremendous amount of, um, skills that you wouldn’t even think about. Like the fact that like talking to strangers on a regular basis and just being totally comfortable with striking up a conversation out of nowhere. I mean, that is super valuable and all walks of life and seriously. I mean, my, my oldest right now is, uh, scared to talk to people. You know what I mean? Like you got to learn and so there’s a, that was just normal for you.


Andy: So if, if we’re switching gears a little bit and we’re jumping into, when I say consumer journey, I mean, um, from the time that a renter enters the market to find an apartment to the time that they sign that application or that lease and they’re living there. Um, every step of the way, there is an engagement with your brand and that engagement, um, ideally is leading them down a path to being excited about choosing a Sheehan property about, um, giving them reasons that they should choose you over somebody else that’s not only from the collateral or the marketing that they read, but the people they interact with. Right. And, um, with you and your responsibilities, uh, really kind of, we talked about the, not only the breadth of it, but as well as the depth. Um, I’m curious, I’m curious if you were articulating, um, how you think about that from a, from Sheehan’s perspective and what your goal would be if you were saying if, if you were talking to somebody on your team about what you want the customer to experience throughout that process. Um, how do you think about that?


Katrina:  I mean, I think every interaction or sometimes it’s not an interaction. Sometimes it’s just something they’ve received or you know, have, have seen, it all has to be a building block to, to confidence, confidence in us. You know, sometimes we, even in a sales arena, they get so far down the sales funnel and then they stop and we’re like, why? And it’s because we missed something there. They aren’t confident that they’re making the right decision in us or they’re not confident in the decision in general. So I think for me, you know that that involves a lot of different things that involves, you know, what I have on my website, how my website looks. Is the information clean, is it grammatically correct? Believe it or not, we have, I still will find some things. I’ll find a misspelling. And I, you know, I don’t, I don’t get my hair on fire about it necessarily, but I think that all of that, just like when I’m evaluating something, I’m looking at it and it’s just how do I get myself to a level of confidence. And so, you know, from the interactions on the website or a business card that they might have picked up somewhere, a flyer that we put on a bulletin board at the vet’s office because we’re pet friendly, you know, it starts there, but then the human enters and, you know, we, we want to maintain again that we’re just adding building blocks to getting them to that position of confidence and the brand and confidence in the decision.


Andy: Okay. No, that, that I think that’s super smart and easy way to articulate it. And, and, and you talked about, I think, which is what this podcast is all about, is the idea that at some point it goes from digital to human and, um, that’s super hard, right? Uh, so can, without me projecting onto you or what I think that means. Can you, can you articulate to me what a, um, what that handoff looks like today? Maybe roughly when or how, of what different phases that takes place. Uh, and some challenges with that.


Katrina: You know, in our world, the handoff actually happens really quickly because we trained them to respond to the lead. You know, we want them to be first. You want to be the first and at the picnic you’re going to get the most food. So, so it’s a blessing and a curse because we have a lot of things working for us online. You know, the part that we can control the brand, uh, the language, etc. But the moment that they contact us in some way or provide some way for us to contact them back, we tell our people to pounce like hungry hippo, get there, call them. Um, and then, and then obviously their responsibility at that point is to be the best at what they do. Continue the building blocks, um, you know, represent the brand in a way that just continues it from what the person has already seen or already felt.


Katrina: And that’s not a perfect system always, you know, because as soon as you hand it off to the leasing associate, then, uh, that, that’s when you lose control in a sense. Now, I’ve got some outstanding, outstanding leasing associates. I’ve got some salespeople that, you know, have been in the industry for a long time and boy do they, they’ve got it, they’ve got it figured out and they have their own sort of scripted way to communicate things. But unfortunately we can’t, we can’t script those conversations. So again, we’ve lost a little bit of control at that point. And then we just count on the person to carry the brand. And I’ve got some that do it really, really well. And I have others that have some, have some work to do.


Andy: And, and, it is, it’s super frustrating when you see the ones that are awesome at it and you’re like, can I just clone you and you just do it all. Do you say that regularly? Yeah, I’ve, I’ve never said that about our staff.


Katrina: I mean, we’ve even gone to the, we were at a place now where we have what we call the buddy system. So every, everybody needs a buddy. Yeah. And we have strategically paired up some of the ones that are like that, that have those strengths because I think they get tired of hearing it from, from me or from their manager or from their regional manager. I think they need to hear it from a peer at some point and kind of measure each other. Um, but, but yeah, we’ve got a couple of, we have some really outstanding ones that I use as an example, but unfortunately osmosis, does it always work?


Andy: No, I tried it in college. Um, so talk to me about if you’re a customer, um, for your customers or your prospects or your prospective customers, um, what do you want them to do when they leave the website? What do you want them to know? Uh, where do you want them to be in the phase so that when that rep calls them a, what should their mindset, how far down the funnel should they be?


Katrina: I want them to the place where they know that they want to come and see it, where they know that they wanted to or you know, where they’ve received enough enticing information. Um, you know, I want them to be done with the appetizer and ready, ready for the meal. I want them to have received enough information that they know that we’re a fit for them. And then that really the only missing piece becomes, you know, maybe a touch of customer service in the way that the person said, look, let’s make an appointment. What time can you come and keeping that appointment and doing a good job. So I think I just want them, I want them to be ready to physically see it because they already feel like they have enough information to know it is worth their trip.


Andy:  Yeah. And, and so for you, that includes, um, I know if I can afford it.


Katrina: Uh, yes. I, no one’s ever called us affordable.


Andy: I got ya. Yeah, I got ya. And I think that’s, you know, that’s the difference. Um, you know, we talk about Amazon for example, where, uh, when I buy dog food online, I don’t need to see it right before I give you the money. Um, but I know that that’s the dog food I want. The only difference is that, uh, when I buy from you, um, what I’m hearing you say is that I know I want to buy it, I just need to make sure I want to buy it. Yeah. And that making sure that everything I saw on the website or from every touchpoint before that, um, is telling me that yes, this place is pretty awesome. Uh, there’s some cool things around it. Um, I think I can afford it. Uh, and yeah, now I’m going to get in my car,  just like you said, and make that treacherous trip to the actual location and walk in there and see it.


Katrina: Yeah. To, like statistically in this, I’m getting quote some numbers that may or may not be 100% on point. I recall in some of my sales training, uh, years ago that they said that people looked on average of seven apartment communities. And this is a, I’m gonna go back to like let’s say 2011 or so, so seven or eight years ago. And now if we ask or get to ask and they communicate it to us, they’re usually only able to articulate two or three. So we know that they’ve, they’ve put themselves further down the funnel for us and we’re not necessarily competing on a large scale by the time they get in our door. We compete on a much larger scale before they get that far because A. there are more apartment communities and they’re popping up just like monopoly houses everywhere where we contribute to that ourselves. So I can’t really complain. Um, but you know, in an online world also because everybody’s fighting for the same traffic. Somebody who might say, okay, I’m going to live in Greenwood because we’ve done a good job. You know, we might have a property that’s not quite in Greenwood but close enough that pops up. So we ended up, you know, we’re, the funnel is wider at the top, but by the time they get to us, I think they’re further down.


Andy: Yeah. Um, and, and, and, and that’s where, so from the evolution perspective and you know, uh, here we do a lot of research on the consumers and I’m curious from your, from your perspective on… how do I ask this, how much influence does the leasing agent actually have by the time that lead gets to them? Is it more about not screwing it up or is it more about winning the deal? You understand what I’m asking?


Katrina: I do and I, I would have to say that it’s, um, I’m going to air on this. I’m going to air on the side of, they have to seal the deal because there are, there are four for every bad one. There’s probably in my bad, I just mean somebody who maybe needs some development. There you go. I’m going to this isn’t everyone. Yes. For every one of those, you know, there’s two that are rock stars and so you just have to be a rock star with them. I think they have a lot of influence. In fact, I know they do because you know, we do some automatic surveys on unclosed traffic. So if we haven’t closed on them by the end of the week, they get a survey and oftentimes we’ll get those surveys back and they might, they might say, well then, it’s too much for me, but so and so did an amazing job, you know, so, so we know that it, but we also know that people close the eye closed on people because of me.


Katrina: I know that my product wasn’t the best product. Toot my own horn a little bit. Leasing was my favorite job ever. So I feel like it’s okay to say that I was good at it, but um, I know for a fact that, that a large part of that decision making was me. But I also know that it’s not truly me. It’s confidence. It’s all, it’s always by our confidence. It’s, what did I say to them that that made them understand that I am intelligent and that I know my product, I earned their trust and then I sell to them. And so, you know, that’s what we kind tried to teach our people in that process is that you have to earn the right to sell to them and then they’re going to be confident in you and confident in the sales process.


Katrina: But yeah, sometimes we mess it up. Sometimes we don’t call somebody back when we said that we would, and sometimes there’s variables that are that explain it, but it doesn’t matter really. Like you’ve already lost them at that point. Yeah. I also think in our industry specifically because reviews and testimonials are there, I mean they are, they are loud and proud and they are placed upfront even on websites. We know that and we know why it is. Yup. You know, all of that influences out there. We’re supposed to either prove them right or prove them wrong. You know, if we have some, I mean we’ve got some wicked reviews out there. It is what it is. Sometimes people are mad and it doesn’t have anything to do with us. Um, but some of the leasing agent’s job is to posted then be either proving those right or proving was wrong in the service that they provide in the way that they interact with the person. And I, and for the most part I think that they do, they are, they are supposed to be kind people building rapport, earning trust so that way they can sell. Um, no idea if I answered your question.


Andy: No, you totally, you totally answered it. Well, anyway, you talked a little bit about, you know, when you were leasing, um, it was also when they were visiting seven properties, right? All the time in the world and all the patience. And so, you know, I think, knowing your strategy a little bit about how you try to engage, and we can talk about that here in a second of how you do that on a website. Um, but it sounds like you capture a lot of data about the consumer before they get to the leasing agent. Um, maybe what they’re looking at maybe a, how much they want to spend and maybe, I don’t know when they’re gonna, when they’re actually gonna lease. Um, how do you use that data?


Katrina: Uh, well they should be very prepared when they’re making that hungry hippo call that I talked about. You know, they shouldn’t be just jumping on the phone because it’s like, oh, I found a phone number. Good. They should be sitting there and they should, you know, do the best they can with what they have in terms of moving date, sometimes reason for moving, do they have a pet, etc. And they, you know, at that point we are armed with what we should be using to make a very tailored sales presentation. We should be calling that person and saying, I have exactly what you need. I have a two-bedroom. It’s on that day. You can even see the actual one. I’ll show you a model to cause it’s beautiful, but when can you come? Yeah. They should be using all of that.


Andy:  I think, I think that’s the, that’s the part that’s frustrating from the consumer’s perspective is when that information isn’t used and because the consumer doesn’t know. Right. And we think about that all the time. Um, and you know, we work that and we know the data we have and we know how hard it is to translate that from, um, maybe what I’m learning about them on the website to how that actually translates to when a leasing agent is talking to them. But, um, from the consumer’s perspective, they don’t know the process. They just know, I just, I just told you a bunch of stuff and now I, and we’ve all experienced those, right? I mean we get in that robocall hell where we’re like, you know, talking to somebody and then we go to the next one and they ask you for your, your social security number.


Andy:  You’re like, dude, if I answered that one more time. Um, and I think that’s how consumers feel and I think, you know, when we think about, uh, the new way of kind of bridging that world, it’s making sure that um, they know that you’re being listened to, they’re being listened to definitely because of their time. Who has time for that anymore? I already, I already gave you my time to tell you who I am and what I’m going to look at and how much I’m going to spend and what I’m going to move in. And I like for me that’s one of the most important parts is that when that handoff from the online to the, to the physical takes place, it’s like make sure you don’t ask them the same question you already asked them. Like if there was one rule, know what’s a couple of rules.


Katrina: Yeah, exactly on, I mean, oftentimes too, the reason that they’re moving is difficult or can sometimes involve some sadness or some trauma or you know, whatever. Moving’s terrible and moving is just terrible. So, um, if you have to repeat that story at all, I’ve got one team in particular that they crush it in this what you’re talking about, they take great notes, they communicate with each other really well. They’ll send an email out to, to the whole team and say, Hey, I’ve got so and so that’s coming in. It’s an appointment. I’m going to be here unless I’m touring. But to, to the point where that person will walk in and in somebody, anybody will say, oh, are you Sally? And like nothing. There’s nothing that feels better than that. From a customer service standpoint, there’s nothing that feels better than knowing that the entire team cared enough to, and then it starts to build confidence.


Katrina: They know that we communicate, they know that we’re prepared. Like all of that is what gives them the confidence to buy. Because you know, reviews are usually service related typically. Oh, you know, they never showed up to do this and maintenance that and blah, blah, blah. And so to get them over the hump to be, you know, from a prospect to a resident oftentimes is how confident they are in service and what’s going to happen after I get there. Because obviously everything’s sunshine and roses. It’s kinda like dating everything, sunshine and roses and everything.


Andy: Right. I love that. Right. Um, so you guys have a pretty advanced strategy and we’ve talked a lot about what you’re doing online. How do you measure success? I mean, obviously you can say like occupancy rates, right? But there’s some probably some ways leading in


Katrina: I can have high occupancies and not have a lot of rent growth and not necessarily feel fully accomplished at the end of the day. So, um, you know, success for us is seeing reasonable closing ratios, pushing rents, you know, seeing that we’re able to get more.


Andy: Do you measure closing from, um, from a tour a, from a lead online where my tour from a tour?


Katrina: From a tour and I’m sure that, I mean somebody will probably say that’s, that’s antiquated because you know, there are, there’s a large group of people now that are making every attempt possible to never speak with us if they can. You know, there’s a demographic that, you know, if I had a, if I had a lockbox on the door to the unit that they’re interested in and I was able to just give them a code and they self show and then sign a lease online, like there are some out there that would be okay with never meeting us.


Katrina:  And that to me that’s a double-edged sword because then boy, do you have to be great with your, with your online branding, with every piece of that. You know, with technology you can’t really have any blips. They can’t show up there and it not work. I can’t imagine how awful that would be.


Andy: Sure.


Katrina: Um, you know, and also many of our properties will on just multifamily in general, it’s a dumbbell or a barbell I guess effect in terms of who’s renting. You know, you have this bulk of people that might be from 22 to 35 or something and then you get the other bog of people that might be 45 and up. And then you’re trying to figure out how to make sure that your marketing and your strategy works for both ends of that spectrum. And I think that it is possible because, you know, we don’t want to make suppositions about the behaviors of either group of the barbell but also analytics don’t lie.


Andy: Yeah.


Katrina: Um, you know, so, so I would like, I do think that part of our strategy has to be where we can get to a place where it’s like choose your own adventure. If you are this type of consumer and you don’t ever want to interact with us as a human because that’s your choice. I have, I have a solution for you and I can get you to, I can get you a to z that way. But then also make sure that if they choose something else, I’m fully prepared and ready to do that the best that we possibly can.


Andy: Yeah, no, and I think, um, you’re speaking our language because ultimately what that’s about is the consumer has control, right? And they are 100% able to determine whether or not they want to talk to somebody. Um, these guys hear me joke here at work at that the, the app I hate the most on this thing is that little green square with the phone on it. Right? Every time someone’s calling me, I’m like, why? I don’t understand. Yeah. What, what could this possibly be? Um, and otherwise it’s like, couldn’t you just text me? Uh, and I think that, um, I don’t know, I’m probably on the extreme end, but to your point, um, if you want to capture the people that are on that end, there’s gotta be a process for being able to get that done. And, uh, you know, the core foundation starts in the website and how you start to communicate and kind of have that conversation.


Andy: Then as you drive down that process, it’s like, um, what are the steps that allow them from a technology perspective to keep them in control, but allow you to be the leader, um, bringing them down that sales funnel so that they understand, uh, where they’re headed. Because the balance is the fact that I want to be in control, but I also want to be led. Uh, yeah. You know what I mean? Like exactly like, Hey, I please tell me where to go, but don’t tell me where to go. Right. Is that a, that I’m Winston Churchill saying that’s a, um, I love to be taught, I hate to be led, right. It’s the same thing. And I think that’s how we think about consumers here is that very prospect. And what I’m hearing you say is there’s a point where it’s like, oh, there’s a fork in the road and I’m going to go left cause I want to talk to Katrina and, um, she’s gonna show me around, are those going to go right? Right? And it’s like, don’t go, wait. Talk to me. I’ll let you know. I’ll let you know. Right? Yeah, absolutely.


Katrina: Actually Andy and, oh, sorry, my Andy, there’s Andy in my office. He’ll come in to ask a question and I’m like, are we, is this a live email? Are we doing this, live this email? Are we doing this live otherwise known as a conversation? So I feel, yeah.


Andy: I’m going to steal that.


Fabian Rodriguez: I mean, and that’s really something that like comes into place. Like you’re always going to have questions, right? Like I don’t think that the human portion of things will ever disappear just because like inevitably there’s not a thing that will answer every specific question that you have.


Katrina: Correct. Yeah. There are things that we’ll try, you know, there are bots that make me want to lose my mind, actually. Yeah, I’m with Ya. Yeah. But what we are talking about is we’re talking about how do you bring in different forms of communication that are alternative to, uh, me walking into your door and shaking your hand and then you leading me up the steps and, right. And doing the Vanna White. This is a kitchen for la. Yeah. I kind of got that.


Andy: I understand that. Um, oh, you’re going to show me the gym next. You know, I, I saw the gym, I stuck my head in there. All right.


Katrina: To tailor that presentation that you might have somebody that hates a gym that’s terrified of it, that doesn’t want to be reminded that it even exists because they’re never going to work out and they don’t like being told that they need to work out. And we literally, we get in our, we get in a pattern and a habit of not tailoring the presentation. Like you should ask that question or are you interested in fitness? Is that something you enjoy? No. Okay, let’s go somewhere else.


Andy: I love it. All right. Well, we talked a little bit about that. I think that kind of, we usually dive into the future here a little bit about what you’re after and it sounds like that’s, that’s very much what you’re after as a further down the funnel. More control for the consumer, but still providing optionality for them. Should they choose to engage with a human or not engaged with the human.


Katrina: Yeah. You choose your own adventure.


Andy: That’s right. Tell me what you want. All right. We’ve got a couple of fun questions here.


Fabian: Can I ask a question real quick? Jump in, man. What are the things that you consider when you want to invest in technology? Like what was the catalyst that even made you think that you needed the help of technology with, with your properties?


Katrina: I think it, it, I, I literally looked at myself like, how do I want to do things? How do I want to communicate? How do I want to evolve? You know, I’m not, I’m,


Katrina: I mean, I could maybe be a millennial. I’m like, yeah, I’m on the edge. We’re just going to say I’m on the edge, right? So I like to, I like to pretend I’m all demographics, I think, but I really, I take cues from myself, from my daughter. I mean, she’s only in seventh grade, but whatever she’s into now is what I better get into soon in a sense. And so I think that, um, I think it’s my own triggers that make me go, okay. Whether I’m searching for a car or an apartment or new shoes, a lot of that process is the same. A lot of it is the same whether I’m, you know, do I go to or do I go to DSW? I don’t go to DSW until I’ve been on a couple of websites and I know it’s there and you know, etc. So it really ends up being very personal.


Katrina: And like with The Coil, for example, that was a property in Broad Ripple that we built and that was one of the, um, that was one of the first sites that I was surprised that I needed more help technologically. Not like, I feel like we have it, you know, not like we feel like we know everything, but that was the one where it was just like, you know what, I have to do better. We have to get, and it’s not traditional for leasing offices to have a cell phone where they’re texting people consistently. Um, you know, there’s FCC guidelines and things like that and we have software that will do it. So we’ve got an environment where we can, you know, type on our computer and it goes to their phone. But what we’ve found at that property was that it had to be more instant than that.


Katrina: And, and, and because we knew that we were going to have a lot of people that were, you know, 22 to 35, 36, 37 if we can’t be, if we’re not texting, we don’t exist to Andy’s point, like, why aren’t you texting me? Don’t call me, don’t ever call me. And, and so we had to really, um, I wouldn’t say we had to switch gears necessarily, but we had to say, you know what, don’t fear it. You know, don’t be afraid to let those girls communicate on a cell phone just like they communicate with their mom and their friends. Because honestly, that also trained that consumer to feel like we were friends. They text their friends, they text their friends all day long, they text their mom, they texted people that are in their core group all day long. So if we can mimic that environment for them.


Katrina: And I know we leased departments because we did that. I know that we beat our competitors sometimes because they could at two in the afternoon while they were at their cubicle, you know, seemingly working. Um, they could be texting us questions as they came up, off and on all day long. And it wasn’t another email and it wasn’t a phone call, which is uncomfortable and weird. Um, so I think I just always, it’s always a trigger, whatever I’m doing and whatever my seventh graders doing that, that becomes like, okay, we need to, we need to be doing this cause we’re the same as everyone else.


Andy: That’s pretty awesome. And I think, I think I skipped apart too, cause you were, you had talked earlier about the fact before we kind of started here on this, this a new property called The Coil that was getting a ton of press in Indianapolis. Um, and your website was beautiful, a bunch of good ones, a bunch of great content on it and you were getting, your traffic was super awesome. Good. Yeah. And you knew you knew who nobody was coming to that website


Katrina: Yeah we were converting squat. I mean, not, not really. And I was trying to, I remember when I was, you know, looking at other solutions and talking about why we needed to spend some more money. And I was like, I said, Chuck, I said, it’s the equivalent of having thousands of people come in my store and they don’t even talk to me. You know, they don’t even say, Hey, can you help me find this? Or Hey, can you help me find that? I said, that is the equivalent of that. My doors are wide open and I’m open 24 hours a day and they’re just walking in my store and walking back out. I shop a lot. So everything comes back to some form of retail. Um, and so that’s where we knew that we had to, we really had to pivot and figure out, you know, what, what needed to happen. But I mean, you can’t build a more beautiful website and convert more. Like there wasn’t really anything that we were missing on it.


Andy: No, I mean I saw the site. Yeah, it was awesome in the properties. Super Cool. And you had all the free advertising


Katrina: Broad Ripple in like a million years. I don’t know. I don’t actually know the number of that, you know, the a million.


Andy: Yeah. And we, you know, that’s, that’s one of the main tenants I think from our perspective is that for that bridge to exist, regardless of what a market you’re in is the fact that, um, if you don’t look at your website as your, your number one store, um, which ultimately means because it’s your number one store, uh, it’s also, um, your number one lead source. And it’s also, uh, needs to be your best leasing agent. It has to be all of those things, you know, because like we, we, we talked to a lot of our customers and depending upon what industry you’re in, um, we have some customers that are in the furniture industry to get 300,000 website visitors a month. Both, right? Tons. Yes, please. Yes, please. Right. And we get, uh, or in multifamily we hit 2000 website visitors. And it’s a very simple question of saying, are there 300,000 people coming in your store every day?


Andy: No, I don’t think so. I don’t know if there’s 2000 people showing up at your property. No, but those are 2000 people that are interested in your property. 90. Exactly. And your website helps determine how many people actually end up showing up. And I think what you’re articulating is such a great use case from the perspective of how, how it made you recognize like, holy cow, something is not like, I don’t know what else to do here because I also have all this tailwind, all this, all this tailwind pushing me forward and I’m still not any better than if I didn’t have any of it.


Katrina: Um, then, in the end, it was an easy, it ended up being an easy sell using that metaphor with the store because I said, it’s like there’s no salespeople in there, you know. So we’ve got this store, the doors are open, there’s merch, they’re loving and they’re just like floating through the aisles. But there’s no one ever to say, Hey, can I help you? You know, be very, pretty, pretty basic, but real. All right.


Fabian: I love breaking stuff down like that. Just like it’s a distillation of just ideas is all good.


Andy: We wouldn’t go out there man, if you didn’t bring it up, dude, why I’m here. Okay. Um, what are you currently obsessed with? Game of Thrones. It’s time to start watching it again. I have you watched every season?


Andy/Fabian: No, no, no, no. You answered it correctly. You answered it correctly. Um, have you ever, have you watched each episode more than once or just once?


Katrina: I have watched all episodes at least once and there were a couple of seasons where I decided to rewatch because I realized that there were some details I was missing. Like there would be people and I’m like, who is that again? So hard.


Katrina: And I still can’t, I mean, I can name the main characters of course, but every now and again I’ll get with like a super fan and they’ll start saying names and I’m like, I don’t, I don’t actually know who you’re discussing.


Fabian: Do you take in any supplemental information? Like, do you read a blog on it or like listen to podcasts or anything? Not typically breaks down the episodes.


Katrina: No, I’m too scared of spoilers. That happened to me one time was shameless and then it’s like I’ve never forgotten it. So, um, no, I like to just, I like to just absorb however I absorb it during that hour on Sunday night. How’s it end? How does Game of Thrones end? Oh my God, I don’t want anything about it. I don’t want to think about an ending. I think that’s part of the problem.


Katrina: Um, but I’m a John, I’m John Snow and always shape or form. So any, any ending that has him alive is fine with me. My, my wife’s there too and the White Walker guy has to go away. He terrifies me. Okay. It’s cool though, right? Oh cool. Actually, though I did see something about the prosthetics, you know, like the, um, you know, just the time that it takes to take that man from actual normal human to, you know, the White Walker. It is nuts and it’s uncanny and it’s like, I feel like those people are the unsung heroes of that show. Like if you’re not really, you’re not really thinking about the work and the art in that piece of it. So I kind of appreciated, but yes, obsessed.


Andy: That was awesome. All right, last question. Least favorite activity.


Katrina: Oh, oh. I think waiting on anything.


Andy: Like, oh, that’s really good. Yeah. Traffic lines and stuff. Yeah.


Katrina: At the dentist office. Yes. Lines. I struggle a lot. Like I don’t, I am a shopaholic, but I don’t enter, um, a retail environment really from like November 15th on ish because not everybody knows the rules.


Fabian: Rules right there. People. Yeah. Right.


Katrina: Yeah. Retail. I don’t know if that’s what you meant by activity, but exactly. 100%, least favorite activities.


Andy: Yeah. All right. Katrina, this has been awesome. Is there anything we didn’t ask you that we should have?


Katrina: No. I feel really comfortable that we, that we hit it all.


Fabian: We, we covered a lot in a little bit in my time and I do one closing question and it’s going to be very fast. Awesome. Um, one thing that people can take away, I think that you’ve got a lot of experience in your industry, so presumably, there’s going to be other people within your industry that are listening. What is a best piece of advice or a tip or a trick that they can use to make themselves successful?


Katrina: I mean, my mom has always told me to be the hardest worker in the room, you know, so it may be, that’s part of why I can’t relax. I have no idea. But I do just think that there’s a piece of it that says, if you’re like, there should never be downtime, whatever, whatever feels like downtime should be time to learn or time to ask a question. I actually maybe, okay, let me go change my answer. I’m not gonna change it. I’m just going to answer it. Um, I think asking a lot of questions every time I’m on the phone with someone who’s an expert in their field as it relates to mine, whether that’s my attorney or a claims adjuster or something, you know, they don’t, no one gets off the phone easy with me. They just don’t. Um, so, so if like I had a, I had actually had a claim specialist call me yesterday and he’s with our insurance company, you know, our carrier and we have normal things happen. Nothing crazy, just normal things. But at the end of anything that he tells me, I’m like, why? Tell me why. And I mean, that open-ended question. I learn, I learned so much just by absorbing knowledge from the people that are around me that, you know, they’re in my little orbit, if you will. And so I’m going to, I’m going to use them and I always have.


Andy: I love it. That’s awesome. Thank you so much.


Katrina: Thank you. This was fun. All right. Do it again.


Andy: Alright. We’ll do that.


This podcast is available on a number of platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and all other major podcast platforms. You can see all of the platforms and link to the latest episode by visiting this link.