Revenue Growth Strategies for Your Multifamily Community – Part 2: Referrals

We are back with part TWO of our series with The “R’s” of Revenue: Growth Strategies for Multi-Family Communities. In this series, we are examining multiple strategies to increase revenue growth patterns.

We can define the 5 R’s of Revenue Growth as:

Residual Income
Reinforcement Marketing
Resident Screening
Today, we are discussing one of the most important areas of revenue growth: Referrals.

In an ideal world, we would have multi-family communities, packed with residents who always pay their rent on time, with zero turnovers, and an A+ rating. In reality, every community has its challenges, and it takes long term effort to earn the loyalty that garners a resident referral. Many property managers are getting creative when it comes to encouraging referrals.

Referral Strategiesbuild relationships, red rubber stamp with grunge edges

Cultivate Relationships. The single best way to increase referrals is to build a solid relationship with each of your residents beginning with Move-In day! There is no better time for residents to begin bragging about their new apartment than the excitement period around moving. Although the relationship process ultimately begins before the resident moves into your community, it is never too late to maximize your efforts in this area.

Give a small gift or make a gesture on the tenant’s “move-in” day. Encourage emotional ties to the community by taking a photo of the resident when they move into the community and attach it with a note when their lease renewal time comes. Place a simple gift card to a pizza delivery restaurant or a gift basket of necessities in the apartment of a new renter. All of these will foster good will and often earn you a post on social media! (Be sure to have your hashtag ready for their use!)

Don’t drop the ball. In relationship building, you must always remember that it is a process. A relationship is not created overnight. The quickest way to lose referrals or to injure the reputation of your multi-family community is to “drop the ball”. All contractual promises should be adequately fulfilled and as efficiently as possible.

Following up is of the utmost importance. Check in with calls and notes. Be available to your tenants as much as possible. Communicate often and clearly. Ensure that your maintenance team is responding to calls promptly and that your amenities are in good working order.

money conceptOffer Incentives. Incentives are still one of the most valuable tools for gaining referrals. In the grand scheme of a multi-year lease a few hundred dollars seems insignificant, but to your tenant, this could be extremely motivating. It may seem commonplace to offer a monetary reward for referrals, but this is likely because it works.

Get creative with your incentives. While money is great, incentives like upgrades to their home (new refrigerator, dishwasher) can not only offer a perceived value to your client but will increase the value of your property. When planning an incentive campaign anticipate spending up to 20% of the first month’s rental cost on a per person incentive.

Make it easy for your residents to refer. The key to any successful referral program is to spread the word so that every resident knows about the incentives you are offering. For many budget-conscious residents, a cash incentive will be more than enough motivation to fill out the paperwork. For a younger generation of new renters, they may tout your name on social media and never put effort into making sure they get “credit” for their referral.

Do all you can to make it EASY for your residents to complete the referral process. Advertise the program well with signs, flyers and in-person visits to each resident. Make sure that there are multiple modes of communication including a button on your website to refer or a tab in your community mobile app.

Think outside the standard referral box. If you have residents who do not directly refer new leases, give them opportunities to contribute to your revenue growth in other ways. Make sure to be in communication with residents often about the unique amenities and services offered by your community and offer alternative methods of “referring”. Ask residents to review your community on popular review sites such as Google,, Yelp,, Yahoo and many more.

Referrals don’t just come from residents. Referrals don’t just come from residents themselves. Networking amongst other industries can give a boost to your revenue and increase your leasing. Brainstorm areas where you could network with other providers to offer advertising to their clients.Business Deal

Newly married couples, college students, and new retirees are all in phases of life that include big change. Find local wedding planners, college groups
or social centers in your community that would be willing to join in a campaign with you. Local stores and restaurants such as coffee shops, home improvement stores, and even grocery stores are great avenues. Reciprocal referrals are a great way to both increase revenue and cement your brand in the community.

The most important reminder for any property manager is to always follow through with any marketing plan or incentive program. You do not want to promise a $100 bonus to a resident and never fulfill that promise. Remembering all the small tasks that are required to complete a successful incentive program can be tough for property managers who are already strapped for time. Remembering these tasks can seem overwhelming, but with you can efficiently complete your daily task list. Check back next week for ideas on capitalizing on the hidden income already inside your community! We will give you helpful ideas for increasing Residual Income in part 3 of our Revenue Growth Strategies Series.

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