The world of sales is constantly evolving as technologies and social mindsets change. As consumers gain access to new avenues of information and new generations enter the market, you’ll find new demands to meet. Keeping up with this evolution in your marketing infrastructure is essential for the longevity of your success.
Consumers and Why They Buy (A Journal of Marketing)
- The first number shared makes everything else relative. – The first apartment quote received is what prospective residents use to compare all the other pricing information you offer.
- Emotion overrides logic. – Consumers generally make their decisions based on their emotions, so be sure to focus on how your client feels about the deal.
- Consumers are hurt by transaction costs. – Your customers are drawn to subscriptions and bundles rather than a one-time large cost. That means your challenge is to think about bundling apartment leasing costs. When possible, focus on creating a single transaction cost rather than adding new cost lines to the price.
- Rebates and Warranty – Consumers have come to expect concessions. The Journal of Marketing says to focus on providing a lower cost upfront rather than charging more and offering rebates and warranty.
- 65% of Retail Prices end in the number 9. – Focus on ending your rental rates with the number 9 or 7. For example, instead of $1, 350, price the unit rental rate at $1, 347.
Three Roles a Leasing Professional Must Play During the Leasing Process
You will likely have to embody all three of these roles with the same prospective resident throughout the leasing process, so make sure you understand each role and the best way to portray it.
- Order Taker – The job of taking the prospect’s order is rather straightforward. Simply identify the facts around what they need, i.e. apartment size, move-in date, special preferences, etc.
- Salesperson – Once you assume the role of the salesperson, you will need to be upbeat and positive in your interactions. Your property has something to offer your prospective residents and you are the ambassador in charge of sharing this information with them.
- Subject Matter Expert – This is the most important role of the three. You must have the expertise and knowledge to build trust with your prospective residents. Representing yourself as the expert goes beyond simply being a salesperson. In this role, you will show how your housing, experience and lifestyle fits your prospective resident’s needs and wants in their new apartment home.
Essential Sales Trends
- • Your consumers may be better educated than you are. – Your prospective resident may know more than you do about the market and what it has to offer, and they will definitely know more about their own preferences. Keep listening and respect what they have to say as it will help you meet their needs.
- • Consumers have a lower tolerance of generic presentations. – More and more consumers want the presentation to be tailored to their unique needs and wants in an apartment home. You must offer information about your product and its competitive edge in a manner tailored to the individual prospect. (Think trade secrets and insider info.)
- • FaB (Feature and Benefits) -> Solution -> Insight – This shows the trend changes in the type of information a consumer wants when looking at new apartment communities. Keep in mind, solutions are not emotional, they are physical facts which lead to insights. Selling insights takes knowing both your customers and your product. If you can help the prospective resident reach the insights for themselves, it will increase their desire to buy.
- • Sales vs Marketing – Customers have easy access to your marketing messages and they have looked at your ratings and reviews. In today’s market, they also know about your competitor’s marketing. The message in your marketing must be saying the same thing as your sales message. In other words, to be successful, you have to embody what you want success to look like and where you want to go. You should strive to brand and message your sales to reflect what you want to be.
- • Old Sales Model vs New Sales Model – The old sales model was face-to-face and on the phone, but the new sales model includes virtual interactions. Therefore, you must align your sales with marketing. Any disconnect can cause your consumer to lose trust and connection with you. Any email or text that is not answered right away will be ignored or forgotten.
- • 70% of the minutes spent in a day are spent on mobile devices. This means you need to anticipate what they are looking for and give it to them through their desired channel to show you understand who they are!
- • In 2016, 21% of all commerce was done on a mobile device so your website and leasing portal must be mobile friendly.
- • Use Multiple Marketing Avenues – Omnipresent social media is a must. Make intelligent contributions to these social media sites as customers will share your information. It is vital to monitor these social media sites daily; it is analogous to walking your property daily.
- • The Customer Decision Hub – Data and statistics are ruling interactions more than ever before. We must continue analyzing what this means to our operations. Information is provided to show decisions are being made and you can ask for this data and results. Right now, psychographics is more important than demographics. Interests, attitudes and opinions are driving sales opinion.
- • Multi-Generational Sales – Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) is understanding where your customer is in this cycle, not by their demographics, but by their psychographics. You have to build relationships to understand and learn this information.
- • Global Society – You need to pay attention to the multi-cultural and multi-generational backgrounds of your prospects and residents. Listen and customize with all these factors in mind.
- • Training – Integrated training is important and critical to your growth. The instructor led PowerPoints are not nearly effective as short bursts of information.
In closing, understand and implement advanced marketing so you can use the information and take action to make the leasing process more tailored to your prospective residents. Use this information to capture the experience in numbers and trends so you can make thoughtful changes to your system and identify what is working in your market. Decide, commit and succeed!
President, The Sue Weston Company