For a Community Association Management Company, there is one metric that is especially important to your success, but hard to quantify. Let's call it Stickiness. Stickiness is the ability of your management company to retain communities, but it's more than just retention.
Sticky management companies have a portfolio full of engaged, satisfied communities that understand the value that their management company is bringing to the table, and actively choose to stay. Additionally, these communities will tell other communities about how great your management company is, and help you gain referral business in the process. Essentially, these are your dream clients.
So how can you achieve stickiness in your management company? There are a lot of techniques that we have discussed in the past, such as showing your worth, nurturing your relationships, and ensuring smooth transitions - and you can and should do all of these things.
But I want to talk about a shortcut. An easy-mode way help your communities become more engaged, to help them understand what you do and appreciate you for it, and to help them to want to stay with your management company for years to come.
The shortcut (drumroll, please) is AWARDS. Not awards for you; awards for them. Here are 4 ways award-winning communities will help make your management company more sticky:
1) Winning an award can raise property values
The perception that this community is simply a better place to live in because of awards they have won can actually contribute to increased property values for homes in the community vs. homes in nearby communities. Who wouldn't rather live in an award-winning community?
2) Winning an award proves to all homeowners in the community that you are doing your job
Here's a common lament I hear from CAM Professionals: "Homeowners have no idea about all of the work we do for their community!" But if their community wins an award, they instantly know. Not only that you are working hard, but that you are doing it well - well enough that the community was rewarded for it. That is value you cannot buy for any amount of money. And of course the community stays with your management company because they want to keep on winning awards, and you have already proven you can accomplish that for them.
3) Homeowners become engaged as their competitive instincts are put into play
We all get a little competitive from time to time - it's in our nature. Pitting communities against each other for the purposes of winning an award is a great way to raise the competitive nature of both homeowners and board members, causing them to be more engaged and active in bettering the community, both to win the initial award, and then to retain their winner status going forward.
4) Winning an award for your clients provides brand recognition for your company
Believe it or not, gaining an award-winning community in your portfolio is good for more than just the community members. It also provides free advertising and brand recognition for your management company.
5) Winning an award for your clients proves that you are great at what you do (for prospects)
New prospects looking for a management company are more likely to choose a company that has proven their effectiveness. Not to mention the unspoken promise that you may be able to help their own community win awards.
In all, community recognition is a great way for you to elevate your clients and to make your management services more sticky.
Want to start winning awards for your community associations?
A number of options are available in the industry for community awards. In Florida, we are particularly fond of the Florida Communities of Excellence awards, a program that provides awards to communities in one of 12 categories, such as green practices, community engagement, safety, financial innovation, and trendsetting. (Full disclosure, TOPS Founder Jeff Hardy is on the Advisory Council for this event.) If you're not in Florida (or even if you are!) There are a number of other opportunities for communities to receive awards. Check your local CAI chapter - they frequently have award programs for high performing associations.
Also, if you are interested in awards for your own company and team members, check in your state for specific state organizations like FLCAJ in Florida (of which TOPS was a winner in 2014), AACM in Arizona or CACM in California to see if they provide any award programs you can take advantage of.