Posts Tagged ‘Rommel Anacan’

People ARE Strategic!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

business-peopleWhen I was a kid I was a huge fan of the television show Tour of Duty which chronicled the life of a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. The show made no attempt to glamorize war, to justify the war or even to provide an explanation of why our nation was there in the first place; it’s goal was simply to tell the story of the often forgotten people who were charged with fighting it.

In one episode the men of Bravo Company were assigned the task of relocating villagers to a new village that was considered more “secure.” Some of these people had lived their entire lives in that village and were now being forced to leave the only life they knew. The journey to the new village would take a few days as they all crossed miles of jungle.

In the middle of the relocation process the soldiers came under enemy attack. When the fighting seemed heaviest and escape seemed remote, the men received an order to save their lives by “leaving the villagers” where they were and to get out. The young lieutenant turned off the radio, told his men the radio was “broken” (so the order couldn’t be confirmed) and the soldiers finished their mission of getting the villagers to their new home safely.

Reality Check

When the men arrived at the village, one of the higher officers ripped the men a new one for their “stunt” of turning the radio off and disregarding the order to ditch the villagers. The colonel said something like, “You don’t risk your life for something of no strategic value!” To which one of the privates in the platoon replied,“People are strategic … sucka…!”

The colonel demanded to know who said that and one by one, the men of the platoon said “I did, sir!” and they all closed ranks, looking at the colonel (with a ton of disdain) as the show faded out.

Love it!!

People Are Your Biggest Asset

I just did two corporate training events for clients on both coasts over the past few weeks. (In fact I’m on an airplane right now coming back home from one of them!) And I can tell you that both companies are intensely committed to their people; and not just to train them so that they’ll make their companies more money (which of course, is a goal…and a good one!) but because they were genuinely interested in helping their people succeed.

I could tell the difference. Big time. 

The people I interacted with and spent time with all seemed excited, engaged and really into what they were doing. I met someone today who was with his company for 20 years! And when he spoke of the people he worked with and worked for, he glowed.

How much do you think his company has made from his efforts, just by investing in him both as a person and an employee?

People Are the Difference

Did you watch the Super Bowl this past February? The Seattle Seahawks beat up the Denver Broncos in a way I think few people imagined. Were the Seahawks just that much better from a personnel perspective? I don’t think so—but I think the Seahawks were more inspired.

Inspired people do inspiring work. Uninspired people do uninspired work.

Which one would you rather have?

And you can’t inspire (most) people with only a spreadsheet, new software or a bunch of fancy algorithms and analytics. You inspire people by engaging and pursuing their hearts. You may think that’s a bunch of “feel good” fluff but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. I encourage you to try it…and when you do, you’ll experience that people really ARE strategic…and can be YOUR secret weapon.

RA picture 1A Rommel Anacan | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |Rommel is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm.  He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.


Why You Need a Digital Detox!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Digital Detox

When I managed an apartment community I frequently had the urge to check my email at nights and on weekends. I told myself that I was trying to reduce the shock on Monday morning of having 100 email messages waiting for me. So I’d steal myself away from my personal life for a few minutes and “log in.” Do you do this, too?

I thought I was helping myself-but in looking back I’m sure I was actually hurting things. Let me explain more…

A few months ago, I recently attended a men’s retreat in the moutains of Northern California. One of the basic principles of the retreat was the importance of unplugging from the outside world for a few days; so we were discouraged from using technology like cell phones, computers, and tablets and our rooms did not have a television or telephone.

Get off the Grid

At first I found myself in technology withdrawal! I wanted to keep checking my phone. It’s amazing just how addicted I have become to my smartphone. I mean, just the other day I realized that I was checking my phone while waiting in a line at McDonalds. (What was my wait, 15 seconds??)

On day two I decided to leave my phone in my room. As the day progressed I realized that the need to check my phone went away! I used the time I might have spent “on the grid” hiking, relaxing and just savoring the peace and tranquility of the moment.

At night I would head over to the campfire, looking to connect with the men I had met and/or to make some new friends. Even though I was physically tired at the end of the night, I found myself completely energized from meeting and having incredible conversations with men from all around the country. It was a great experience.

The Benefit

When I came back home I was pretty reluctant to plug back in, to be honest. It felt really freeing not to be checking my phone every five minutes. Unplugging meant I had time to think, reflect, refresh, renew, restore and connect with people and myself; which made me better equipped to handle all of the realities of daily life.

How Can You Unplug? 

When you get the urge to call the community or pull up your work email for the millionth (and not necessary) time:

  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk/hike
  • Spend more time with family
  • Have a conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile
  • Pray
  • Enjoy relaxing and being “still”

I know how time consuming your career can be…but it’s amazing how just a little time away from the grid can make such a big difference. Your community, your department, and/or your company, will be just fine if you don’t routinely check emails or consistently call to see “how things are going” over the weekend and you may feel just a little bit better come Monday morning.

Oh-and your people may appreciate not having your checking in during their times when they’re free from you. (You know it’s true.)

Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information please visit

The Power & Importance of Likeability

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

People do business with people they like

It seems obvious doesn’t it? Don’t you automatically gravitate towards people who you like? Don’t you just find yourself attracted to people that you perceive to be friendly and nice?

Think about it…if you walked into a store and one associate smiled while the other had a snarky smirk, who would you ask for help?

So I ask you…why do so many apartment communities still insist on hiring people who aren’t all that likeable? I bet right now you have an image of someone in your mind who you worked with, or worked for or managed that just decided s/he didn’t need to be nice to anyone-except maybe for the cute residents in the community.

Less Than Half

According to an white paper (Preferences of Today’s Renter) less than half of prospects who visited a community left with a favorable impression. Is it just me or is that just unacceptable? Why do we tolerate this?

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a client’s community to begin a video project. I went up (wasn’t greeted) to the leasing consultant, introduced myself and let her know the reason I was in the community. She did not introduce herself and just gave me the vibe that she wasn’t all that interested in helping me. There was really nothing about her that gave off the impression of warmth or friendliness.

Later in the day we had to film in the office, so we were around this leasing consultant quite a bit for about a half-hour. I don’t remember her smiling at all, incidentally. Once when I tried to make conversation with her, she pretty much ignored what I had to say. In fairness, I will say that she wasn’t overtly rude to clients or residents. She just wasn’t friendly, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and the negative vibe around that associate.

That’s What Friends Are For

The following week I was working in another community managed by the same company and what a difference! The assistant manager called me the day before to offer her help. When we arrived both the assistant and the leasing consultant were friendly, welcoming, engaging and went out of their way to help. They were also a lot of fun to be around!

I noticed that residents and clients seemed to genuinely enjoy being around them as well. (As a former community manager I always eavesdrop on what the onsite teams are doing and saying!) There was such a different feel and vibe to this office as compared to the other one; and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a prospect visiting both communities would feel the difference too. According to the white paper I quoted from earlier, only 47% of prospects rated their overall experience as excellent or very good. I know we can do better…and it starts with better people.

The next time you have to bring on a new associate, or if you’re currently evaluating whether to retain an associate remember these things:

  • You can train sales skills.
  • You can train closing techniques.
  • You can train how to answer the phone in the most effective way.
  • You can’t train “nice.”
  • You can’t train “friendly.”

Multifamily housing is such a people-driven business … doesn’t it make sense to have associates who are good around people?

Rommel Anacan | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Rommel is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm.  He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.

Before You Hit ‘Send’-Three Reasons to Call Instead!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan |

E-mail imageSome of my favorite things to read online are the things people say when they’re commenting on stories! I am always amazed at how ugly, mean-spirited and downright awful some people can be when they communicate behind a wall of anonymity provided by the computer.

Here are some comments I found on a few sites:

You are a FOOL–with a LOT of company.

3 crap articles in a row.  You’re on a roll Doyel.

Obviously Ravens fans can’t speel, no surprise.

Do you think any of these people would actually make those comments if they were standing in front of the people they directed them to? I don’t. (And BTW-I love that the comment about someone not being able to spell has the word “spell” spelled wrong.)

When I was the customer care manager of a property management company in Southern California, I discovered very quickly how making a phone call could be the best thing you do in resolving a complaint! I usually had a practice of communicating with people in the same way they first contacted me, unless they told me otherwise. So of course I loved it when people emailed me or wrote me a letter because I could respond back without having to actually talk to them! (Admit it, you feel the same way!)


But sometimes I’d notice that an issue that should have been resolved would keep going; or sometimes I’d see that my email back would trigger another email that seemed more angry and frustrated and the first, which of course, was not my goal!

Here is the funny thing…when I’d see these escalated emails or letters, I would then pick up the phone and reach out to the customer personally. In a majority of the cases the residents would typically be very nice and sometimes apologize for how they communicated to me in their writings.

It seems that the one-on-one connection was often enough to defuse a customer’s anger. Sure, I often had challenges that still needed to be resolved, but I found that residents were often more willing to work with me and see my point of view when I spoke with them personally, instead of relying on email or letters. I can’t count how many I’ve spoken with who thanked me for calling them and working with them, even when I wasn’t able to give them what they wanted!

Why You Should Consider Calling Instead of Writing

It’s Easier to Sound Like a Jerk Over Email


This one works both ways. I’ve seen many emails from associates to residents that made me cringe and fear for the job security of the associate who wrote them! As I talked about earlier, when you are safe and secure behind your desk, it’s easier for you to say something you shouldn’t say, or to say it in a way that you shouldn’t. It’s also easier for your upset resident to do the same thing.

When you are talking in person (or on the phone) there is a tendency for people to want to find some type of common ground, because not everyone is comfortable being combative or aggressive in person.

It’s Easier to be Misunderstood Over Email

There is no way around this one, letters and emails often read harsher than they are intended. This is why you’ve probably heard that you should never use email to correct or discipline or chasten someone. The other issue with written communication is that it can be looked at and stewed over again and again, further inflaming an already upset resident. If you must send an email read and re-read it from the customer’s point of view~and have someone else (who is generally level headed) to read it for you if you have any doubts!

Personally Connecting is Powerful

Personal ConnectionWhile technology allows us to communicate in every way possible, it also seems to isolate us from people as well. In today’s world where we text more than we call, where we Facebook more than we meet for coffee, there is something emotionally powerful when you pick up the phone and say,

“Hi Roger. This is Kimberly from the Quail Run office. I just got your email and I am so sorry about your experience and wanted to talk to you right away about it…”

Before you click on the “send” button, would you be better off picking up the phone instead?

RA picture 1A

Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information visit his website at

Are Your People Ready to be the Face of Your Brand?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog


By: Rommel Anacan | The Relationship Difference

Until they merged with United Airlines I made a decision that I would NEVER again fly Continental Airlines. Ever. This was all because of one bad experience I had with a member of the Continental flight crew while traveling.

After this experience whenever I saw a commercial or marketing piece for Continental, I thought of this crew member and how she treated me. No amount of colorful airline livery or fancy marketing would ever replace the fact that to me that flight attendant was Continental Airlines. And since I didn’t like my experience with her, I didn’t like the company. Period. End of story.

What does this have to do with your company?

I don’t care if your CEO has degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford; or if your executives have every certification given in the multi-family universe; or if your regional managers are the most intelligent and articulate groups of regionals the industry has ever seen . . . to the average customer, they are not your ‘brand.’

The people sitting behind the leasing desks are your brand. The people answering the phones at your community, responding to emails, monitoring your social media spaces and taking clients on tour are the face of your company to the average customer.

Remember your first day?

My very first property was an ultra-luxury community in Newport Beach, California. Rents for a one-bedroom home started at $1,860 and went all the way up to over $4,000 per month. Now how much time and effort do you think was spent preparing me to be the face of this mega-multi-million dollar community and of the company’s brand before I met with my first client?

One hour!

On my first day I was given the tour, handed the keys to the model and golf cart, showed where my desk was and given the book of 23 floorplans and a site map. I shadowed the business manager on one tour and then was then let loose to help customers and become the face of this iconic community.

How good do you think I was in my first 30 days? Not very. The adjustment to the property management industry was tougher than I expected. While I was a “nice guy” to everyone, I just wasn’t very good as a leasing agent in my early days. Our office was very busy, with everyone having multiple things on their plates, so I was really expected to figure things out on my own until I received my formal training a month later. Thank goodness the senior leasing agent showed me some of the ropes!

When I got the chance to manage my own community I didn’t want my people to go through what I went through. I didn’t want someone to become the face of my community and company (and me!) without preparing them for the role.

Here is what I did:

  1. I developed a leasing on-boarding program. I walked my people through all aspects of the leasing process, giving them all of the tools, techniques and secrets that I learned during my career. (Eventually my company adopted some of these ideas and created an on-boarding program for all associates.)
  2. I didn’t allow my new hires to help clients until they went through the program and felt they were ready. This period lasted anywhere from one week to two weeks, depending on the person.
  3. I personally worked with and trained my new team members because I wanted to be the dominant influence in the early stages of their careers.

I’m not going to lie, doing these meant more work for me! There were times I thought I was nuts to do this. But when the first shops came in at 90% or above, I knew it was worth it! When my leasing agents achieved things in their first couple of months that took me much longer, I knew it was worth it.

When the office could essentially run itself and I didn’t need to be involved in the minutiae, I knew it was worth it!


RA picture 1ARommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm based in Orange County, California.  He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way.

You can reach Rommel at and on Twitter @rommelanacan