Property Management & Communication: Science-Backed Ways to Talk with Clients

Property Management & Communication: Science-Backed Ways to Talk with Clients

Technology is huge. With emails, Facebook, Skype, and other platforms, it’s easy to lose the art of face to face communication and interpersonal communication. People can hide behind digital technology. That means communication and relationships are more important than ever. If you can master how to communicate correctly and develop relationships, your destination is only limited by your imagination.

Introduction to Warren Tate

Warren is a trainer and a coach and has worked as an estate manager for one of Australia’s largest property management companies. He is also the Warren Tatebest-selling author of “I GET YOU: How Communication can Change Your Destination.” He worked in the real estate industry for over 20 years, and as a franchise manager doubled the size of a boutique management business. He loves helping people, which is why he decided to focus on training and coaching.

Warren doesn’t deliver anything that isn’t proven in science, so he does a lot of research. All of his work is backed up by the latest data in biology and psychology. In today’s interview, you’ll learn the four different personality types that will help you better connect with clients, how to diffuse difficult situations with clients, and telling more engaging stories.

Personality Types: How to Identify and Communicate with Eagles, Peacocks, Owls, and Doves

There are hundreds of personality tests you can take and if you take them all, you’ll start to feel psychotic. What you really need is a basic understanding of yourself and the people you deal with. If you don’t understand your personality type and their personality type, you could be on opposite ends of the communication spectrum without even knowing it. That can cause clashes and misunderstandings.

As a property manager, the best way to identify personality types is by asking a simple question:

Can you describe your home to me, and what do you love most about it?

Personalities can be introverted or extroverted. Extroverts are The Controller, or the Eagle; and The Colorful, or the Peacock. Introverted personality types are The Compliant, or the Owl; and The Comforter, or the Dove. Let’s break those down.

The Controller |The Eagle

The Controller or Eagle is your smart, sharp person who wants results. They are usually quick talking and they are often managers. They want results and outcomes. They want the facts, and then they will make decisions and move on. These personalities talk fast and make decisions fast. They will know if you’re not telling the truth, and they will lose patience if you don’t get to the point fast enough. You might write a detailed email about maintenance and the response will be a clipped, short response of yes or go ahead. You might worry there’s something wrong, but that’s just their communication style. They made a decision, and they’re moving on. You can tell someone is an Eagle by the way they are short and sharp. They won’t waffle. They’ll tell you how it is, and that might seem rude or blunt. But, it’s how they work.

If you find yourself having to communicate a conflict or a difficult situation to these people, it’s best that you simply provide the facts. State the problem, the resolution, and your plan for follow up. Then, ask if they agree with you or if they’re comfortable with your plan. Be short and sharp, like they are. Don’t provide extra details and don’t share a long story about the tenant not paying rent because a dog died or someone’s Aunt Sally got sick. They don’t want to hear the sob story. They want to hear the facts and your solution.

When you ask the Eagle to describe the property, he or she will give you a short, specific answer: it’s a townhome with four bedrooms and three stories and city views.

The Colorful |The Peacock

The next extrovert is The Colorful or Peacock. These personalities love to talk. They will tell you about their weekend and the movie they saw and the friends they went out with. They will talk until they run out of things to say. It’s obvious that they’re social and they love to name-drop. They are good, fun people. They are the ones organizing social events, and they know where the parties are. They need to communicate with a lot of description and detail. They love everything about themselves, and the best way to communicate is to let them speak. Don’t cut them short. Compliment them. If you’re meeting with them face to face, they probably put a lot of effort into their appearance or their property. Acknowledge and validate that. These people want to stand out.

If you have to deliver bad news to a Peacock, you approach it with feeling from their side of the issue. Maybe a tenant has damaged a garden, so you can spend some time talking about how you understand the importance of the garden to the landlord, and how she worked so hard on it and the plants look so beautiful. Then, you’d explain that the tenant has not maintained it to her standards, but has agreed to hire a gardener to come every two weeks to keep it looking great. It’s a long-winded answer, but Peacocks love that. Offer to send them pictures of the improved garden. They are very visual and they will relate to what you’re saying.

The Compliant |The Owl

The Owl loves statistics. When you ask an Owl about his or her property, you’ll hear exact measurements and perfect details. You’ll know it was purchased on January 20, 1988, and that the living area is 4.2 square meters. They love talking with precision and figures and actual facts. They do not want any ambiguity. If you say maybe to them, they will discount you and move on. These personalities need and expect accuracy. If you have a potential client named John and he is an Owl, ask him if he spells his name with or without the H. He will immediately appreciate that.    

Communicating with an Owl or a Compliant means doing your research and being prepared. If you think your Owl client is asking too much rent, don’t just tell them they need to lower the rent. You need to back that up with math and statistics. If you are having trouble getting a tenant into that property, show the owner that your average days on market is 12 days but you’re now at 14 days. Explain that statistically, this shows you that the property is overpriced for the marketplace. Maybe present data on 20 other properties in the marketplace that are $20 less per week. Then, you can suggest matching that price. Provide facts and give numbers. Owls will relate to that because of their statistical mindset and need for precise numbers. 

Owls will read everything in your agreements and contracts. So, make sure you know them. Be able to quote your lease agreements and any acts. Show them you have done the research and you have the knowledge to match theirs. If you’re unsure of anything, they will lose confidence in you.  

The Comforter |The Dove

The Dove is an introvert who takes a lot of time to build trust. They are often soft-spoken. They are the last to speak in any situation because they’re listening and observing. They are taking in information, understanding everyone’s point of view, and acting as peacemakers. Doves will try to come up with solutions. These personalities want to trust you before they commit to anything. If you’re trying to get a Dove as a client, listen to them and build trust. Until they trust you, they won’t do anything with you. But once they have your trust, they are your client for life. They will love you forever until you break their trust. And, Doves won’t come back if they do lose you.

You can identify a Dove by the way they speak. They speak slower, and they are deliberate in their words and how they choose their words. They may pause and think a lot, and it takes a while to get them to speak openly. Be clever with your questions and keep them open ended. Use words like feelings and comfortable and peace of mind. Tell your Dove client that it’s best to get the right tenant in place so they have the peace of mind that their asset will grow. Don’t try to get a decision immediately from a Dove, because they won’t do it.  

If a Dove hires you and you let them down, you need to be extremely apologetic. Show that you understand the impact on the client, and express your wish to change things. Instead of an email, send a handwritten card or letter. This will make them feel honored that you took the time and effort for them. It’s powerful with Doves.   

Communicating with Personality Types on an Enterprise Level

There’s a spectrum, and no one is 100 percent one style. There’s usually a mix of at least two of these personality types, but one will always dominate. The ideal way to use this information is to put a person’s personality type into your property management CRM system. This way, you know who you’re talking to, and you’re notified. That’s the Ritz Carlton brand of service. At the Ritz, they know who you are. They know you and your preferences. This has to be part of your culture of service, where you are consistently delivering.

When you’re managing 150 different properties, you’re coming across lots of personality styles among your landlords and tenants. You want to understand the person you’re talking to before every conversation. Whether you’re in a networking environment or you’re meeting someone for the first time or talking on the phone to a tenant or a landlord, you need to try and get who they are and what their view of the world is. Then, your connection will be quick. If you’re on the go and not thinking about this, you’ll get a lot of disconnect.

This is a simple thought pattern, but it does take some time to develop. Once you’re attuned to it, you can work through it easily and change how you communicate immediately.

Using The Echo Effect to Connect With Your Clients

The easiest way to prove that this type of communication matters is with the echo effect. Have you ever spoken to someone from another country who has a strong accent? You might have noticed that you’re suddenly talking to them slowly, and you might even start to mimic their accent. That’s a subconscious way that you’re trying to adapt. Humans do that automatically. Your brain kicks in and your cognitive subconscious takes over. Tribes were built this way. It’s very primitive, and it happens on a subconscious level. You probably don’t notice it until about 7 seconds in. You should concentrate on doing this with everyone you speak to.

Bring it down to a word level. If someone says that a property is beautiful, and you call it fantastic, there’s a very basic disconnect. But, if you mimic what they said and call the property beautiful as well, a connection is formed without either of you knowing how or why. Mimic, or echo, your words. When you ask someone for a description of the property, echo it back to them. That repetition provides an instant connection and they don’t know why.   

This comes from our primitive brain, and it hasn’t changed. Technology has taken over, and people are forgetting how to have a conversation. But, if you can mimic your words, your tonality, and your body language, you’re going to be amazed at the transformation. If someone is speaking to you in a monotone, speak back that way. That’s an instant connection. Match and mirror everything.   

Communicating Through Difficult Situations

Property management is full of conflict and difficult situations. Most people will tell you to stay calm, but that might not be the best way to handle an escalation. When someone is angry, the last thing they want to do is be told to calm down. That’s adding fuel to the fire. You need to match their outrage, their voice level, and their tonality. Get to their level and echo it back to them. That connects you quickly. It can feel confrontational and uncomfortable, but it works. Raise your voice. Get the pace right, and always ask what the person wants you to do.  

Repeat everything back, and communicate at the angry person’s level to show that you’re listening to them and understanding. This is very powerful. The vital step is to ask – is that all? This is the most important part of the process when it comes to navigating conflict. It will tell you whether the situation is resolved.

So, when you’re dealing with a hot situation in your property management business, remember to:

  • Match the tonality and intensity of the person you’re talking to.
  • Dig around and understand the problem in multiple ways.
  • Repeat what the person says to show you understand.
  • End with, is that all?

Storytelling to Overcome Objections for Property Managers

Multiple stories are happening every day in real estate, but many people fail to use them. The biggest key in telling a story is telling it with dialogue and not narration. When you tell a story, don’t fall into the trap of narrating what happened and what you did. With dialogue, you can set a scene and let your characters speak. Use dialogue. Say, I understand what you are going through because my clients Bill and Mary recently went through it, and this is what they told me…. You can use dialogue from prior conversations to show how a problem was resolved. This brings it to life.

Make sure that you tell these stories to overcome an objection. If someone is deflecting or not agreeing with you, tell them the story. I understand you want this much rent, but Bill and Mary were in exactly the same situation, and this is what Mary said once we lowered the rent and quickly found the right tenant… Go into the story and carry out the message. Remember that you are not the hero of the story. Your clients are the heroes. You can say, I’ll always remember Mary saying that she was glad we were managing her property instead of their previous management company. You’re not giving yourself the credit; Mary is giving you the credit.  

Be authentic. You hear this all the time. People know who you are and what you’re about. They’ve Googled you. Now, you have to be you. Everyone else is taken.

You can find Warren at Or, you can buy his book on Amazon.

A Note about Our Sponsors:

PM Grow Summit

The PM Grow Summit is the only conference in the U.S. that is laser-focused on growth strategies for property management companies. We bring world-class speakers and thought leaders from around the globe. It’s the best place to network with other successful property management entrepreneurs, and we have 5 reasons to attend in 2018:

  1. Education. We have doubled our speaker budget, and we buy top talent.
  2. Comfort. Our venue is a top tier San Diego luxury hotel with an exceptional rate.
  3. Depth. The information is at the next level. Some speakers are teaching workshops on sales and video marketing.
  4. All inclusive. We’ll take care of food and drinks and entertainment. We’ll also provide videos, slides, and study materials for later. You’ll get all the content so you can spend time re-watching talks with your teams once you get back to the office.
  5. Surround Yourself with Success. You’ll meet the top professionals in our industry.

We’re providing a discount code for this conference that’s taking place January 31 – February 2, 2018. Take $100 off by registering at, and typing in the code ALEX.

Alex Osenenko, Marketing Coach

Alex Osenenko is offering strategic consulting to property managers for constant growth and progress. Most small business underspend on marketing because there’s too much out there and it’s too easy to make a mistake. Alex will help property managers move away from indecision and take a streamlined, intentional approach to marketing. He’ll help you create a blueprint and build the plan brick by brick. You’ll remodel your fee structure and complete a competitive analysis. You’ll map out the sales process and develop training resources for the BDM or whoever is responsible for sales in your organization. This isn’t cheap, so you need to be at a certain level of success already. But, email if you’re interested. You’ll be asked to fill out an intake form and see if you’re a good match for this unique opportunity.

If you are looking to find ways to grow your property management business, reach out to us and we’ll set you up with a marketing plan that fits your business at

Alex Osenenko

About Alex Osenenko

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. Alex is the President and CEO of and a Co-Founder of the PM Grow, Inc. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex's deep commitment to entrepreneurship and improving the lives of small business owners everywhere empower him to host “The Property Management Show” bi-weekly Podcast and speak internationally on the subjects of Growth, Marketing, Sales, and Entrepreneurship.

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Alex Osenenko
President and CEO

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. He is the President and CEO of and is serving his 5th year on the Board of Directors for CALNARPM.

After spending 9 years in the trenches with his property management clients, Alex draws on his experience to host “The Property Management Show” Podcast and co-authors a weekly Property Management Blog on Alex has extensive experience speaking for various NARPM events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Alex is a graduate of San Francisco State University with an Electronic Commerce Systems Degree. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex serves on the Board of Directors of CALNARPM (California Chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers) and hosts a Podcast “The Property Management Show“, available on iTunes.


John Bykowski
Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a film degree, John proceeded to do everything but. During his career, John has specialized in operations and has developed processes for small companies in diverse industries, such as bleeding-edge marketing technology, social networking, trade shows and exhibitions, and cloud software. John and Alex had worked together previously, and when he needed someone to help take Fourandhalf to the next level and beyond, Alex brought in John as his first employee, and later, business partner.

In addition, now that he’s using his film school know-how to help property managers look their best in their blogs, his mom no longer feels his degree was a complete waste of time.

Danny Morris
Director of Account Management

Born in Australia and growing up in Israel, Danny has spent a lot of time traveling the world between those two places. After completing his military service in Israel, Danny began following his biggest passion, writing, which he discovered while backpacking South America and publishing his first book.

When it was time to unpack, he returned to Australia to complete his Journalism studies amongst the beaches of sunny Perth. Danny is a huge online fan and after working in a number of related jobs, he finally gets to combine his two favorite things, working with media and people.

Marina Osenenko
Product Manager

Marina draws upon her real estate, business operations and customer service expertise for Fourandhalf. Her favorite part of being with Fourandhalf is the opportunity she has to really get to know our clients, build professional customer relationships and truly be part of a team that assists in their success.

Her time away from work is happily spent watching her children grow up and attempting to keep up with them! Any spare moments beyond nurturing her children are filled with hiking, spending time with friends, exploring the Bay Area and squeezing in a non G-rated movie every now and then.

Marie Liamzon
Product and Marketing Manager

Before joining Fourandhalf, Marie worked for one of the largest banks in the world. She took on different roles, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. She pursued a variety of side projects until she finally decided it was time for a career change.

Marie is very passionate about helping people and learning new things. In her spare time, you might catch her exploring new places and taking far too many pictures.

Kyle McLean
Customer Success

Born in San Diego County, Kyle McLean has since migrated to the Oakland woods. A fan of tall trees and tall tales, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the creative writing program at the University of California, Riverside and is a licensed California Certified Shorthand Reporter.

After a few years as a freelance court reporter, Kyle has joined Fourandhalf for an opportunity in sales and digital marketing. In addition to reading and writing, his hobbies and interests include gardening, hiking, soccer, coffee brewing, and craft beers.

Karen Wyle
Account Management

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Karen moved eight times in seventeen years all over the East Coast and to the Midwest before settling here in Northern California six years ago. She is an alumna of Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and earned a MBA in Marketing Management from Indiana University in Bloomington. Karen’s business career has been well-rounded, with experience including advertising, direct marketing, corporate retail, product management, new product development, and new customer generation. Beyond an office setting, she has been thrilled to volunteer her time giving back to the community with KPMG’s Family for Literacy, at her daughter’s school, and as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. Karen enjoys music, good food, traveling to new places, completing jigsaw puzzles, meeting people and making connections.

Karen became a part of Fourandhalf’s Account Management team in 2016, relaunching her marketing management career after a pause to raise her family. She is excited to rejoin the business world and to work with such a strong marketing management team.

Paige DeRuyter
Account Management

Paige graduated from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. Her favorite part of working at Fourandhalf is helping clients create and produce educational blog content to grow their business. She is an avid sushi enthusiast who enjoys riding her bike and watching college football and in her free time.

Nissim Boozaglo
Web Hosting Support

After working as a Radioshack store manager, Nissim decided to change his career path and pursue his passion for music production by getting his B.A.S. from Expression College for the Digital Arts. Nissim has a beautiful 8-year-old girl and loves cooking delicious homemade food and going camping with her! At Fourandhalf, Nissim is responsible for the implementation of the clients’ Landing Pages and Google Adwords campaigns.

Theresa Barnes
Campaign Director

Theresa Barnes was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Communications Studies at San Francisco State University. She worked in aviation at a private FBO for 3 years, and other industries, before joining the Fourandhalf team. She finds a balance between being a young mother, work, and living a healthy lifestyle outside of work by staying as active as possible. She is dedicated to customer satisfaction and having a great work ethic.

Brittany Stephens
Campaign Director

Brittany recently moved to the Bay area after graduating from California State University Chico with a degree in Business Marketing. She is known for her excellent communication, customer service skills, and shameless nerdyness. Her passions include: music, tabasco, Lord of the Rings, and the Golden State Warriors.

Logan Jones
Business Development

After graduating from CSU Chico with a Degree in Business Marketing, Logan moved back to the East Bay and pursued a career in sales. With an attention to detail and a relentless drive, he strives to improve himself and his passions each day. When not at work Logan enjoys playing guitar and writing songs, and occasionally performing around the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan keeping up with everything SF Giants, 49ers, Cal Bears, and Golden State Warriors.

Hope Lumbley
Account Management

Hope recently moved to the Bay Area after graduating from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. She is coffee crazed, dog obsessed and hopes to visit all National Parks. One of the greatest times in her life was when she lived abroad in Costa Rica and hopes to travel more of Central America in the future. She feels blessed to work for a company who supports her love for travel and the need to learn more about what the world has to offer.

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