The deal fell through, so why should I thank you?

I'm very lucky in the fact that after moving out here years ago, I found/developed an amazing group of friends.  They've taught me the differences between college friendships and adult friendships, (Biggest difference being that when you throw a party in college, people bring beer and there's major clean up.  As an adult, they bring wine and your furniture stays inside the house) and in this day to day living thing, I don't know what I'd do without them In the last year, I have "convinced" many of my friends move in to the community where I live.  I'm VERY persuasive, and it's much more convenient for all of us.  When someone needs a pet sitter, or someone to pick up a package off their doorstep, or someone to chase off the neighborhood small children from playing on a friend's parked motorcycle, there's always one of us who can lend a hand.  That, for me, is the greatest benefit of having all my friends move in.  The referral bonus wasn't to shabby either.

It's normal, I would say, almost expected, in the property management world to thank those residents who refer friends or family to rent with us by granting them a referral bonus off of their next month's rent after the move in. Many communities around the Seattle area are playing with the amount that they're giving for referral bonuses, some properties even going up to $1000 per move in!  It's great incentive to evangelize, but what are we doing for the residents who make the referral and, for whatever reason, their friends don't lease with us?  Obviously, you can't hand out $250 off the rent just for someone talking their friends in to taking a tour, but there are some things you can do.  

Starting with the no cost options, there's always the old standby of a handwritten note.  I know I harp on this, but you've got to believe me when I say that as far as a return on your investment, the cost here being TIME, the 5 minutes you spend here will yield higher results.  If I send someone in to tour with you, and they don't rent, but as a leasing consultant, you write me the thank you note for the tour after you write my friend one, I'm at least going to know that you cared and were thankful for my good words.  If I don't hear anything, then I'll just assume it didn't matter to you, and seeing as how we ask every piece of traffic the magical question, "How many ways did you hear about us?" we know that it matters.

Building on sending the note, you might think about enclosing a gift card either for dinner ($25 for a pizza place works pretty well here, or you could barter a better deal with a local merchant, where you pay them $25 dollars for a $35 dollar gift card in exchange for using only their gift cards with your residents) or for gas (prices are on the climb again out here!).  People have to eat and most people have to drive, so those are two things that are almost always appropriate choices for gift cards.  Even a card to your local superstore (Target, Fred Myers, Walmart) would be a nice touch here since they can buy anything they might want there.

A public thank you is always a nice touch, too.  Think about setting aside a section in your community newsletter, or on the sidebar of your community blog, to thank those people who have been kind enough to spread the good word about loving the place they live in.  That way, not only do your resident evangelizers get recognition, but others are inspired to take action as well.

What sorts of things are you doing on you properties to thank the residents for their referrals, even if their friends and family don't rent?

Going from CYA to "C Ya"'

5 "Spooky" Suggestions for Property Managers This Halloween - Printed at Appfolio's Property Manager E-zine