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Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

5 Steps to Get To and Beyond The Close

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

 

How many times have you worked your way through the leasing presentation, convinced the prospect to commit and sign a lease and then felt satisfied the job was done? Have you ever thought about the fact that once the prospect has signed the lease, their relationship with you is really only beginning? If you can reframe your perspective to look at “closing” as the start of a long term relationship, you’ll find yourself with less resident turnover and greater resident loyalty in the long run. We present 5 steps to get to and beyond the close.

 

1. Focus on Where it All Begins.

After all, you can’t dive into a commitment without first navigating the courtship! When it comes to leasing, the courtship is the sales presentation, and the closing is the proposal. Here are four main reasons you may strike out on closing:

1. I do not believe in what I am selling. Remember, what you are trying to sell doesn’t have to be something you want for yourself! Maybe you would not choose to live in the community you work for, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for the prospects who are coming to take a look.

2. I am afraid I am going to be turned down. If you’re doing a good job of leasing and you’re priced right, you WILL be turned down sometimes! If you were able to lease to every single prospect that visited, it would mean your pricing is too low or your requirements are too lax.

3. If I try to close, I will look dumb. Even if you feel uncomfortable at first, the techniques we’ll share today DO work and will feel commonplace with time.

4. I perceive “pressure” as a negative approach. Your prospect came in to see you; you didn’t call them in! Many people need help deciding to lease with you. It’s not “pressure” if they qualify and want somewhere to live!

At the end of the day, leasing success is measured by actual move-ins, not showings or applications or deposits. Did you know that 70% of sales decisions are based on the prospect’s perception of the leasing professional? For this reason, it’s vital to make sure you are FEP! What is FEP? Well, that’s someone who is Friendly, Enthusiastic and Professional! Be aware of your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice to ensure you’re conveying a FEP nature.

2. Avoid the Non-Close

We’ve talked about reasons people fail to close. Now let’s look at actions you may think count as closing, but actually don’t:

  • Handing out rental applications.
  • Waiting for a prospect to say, “Yes, I want it!”
  • Giving the prospect your card and asking them to call if they have questions.
  • Being very careful not to be TOO pushy.

Most of these are great to work into the overall presentation, but you have to ASK for the close! In fact, it would be abnormal, inappropriate, and rude NOT to ask them to lease. Here are simple steps to get to and beyond the close:

  • First Contact – ABC (Always Be Closing). Consider every prospect who walks in your door as potential to close and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success from the beginning and throughout the interaction.
  • Develop the YES Habit. Nod your head while you ask questions to encourage a positive response from the prospect.
  • Two-Word Questions. Use two-word questions to get your prospect nodding along with you!
  • Temperature-Taking Questions. Ask the prospect questions about how they’ll set up the bedroom or where they’ll put the TV. Get them to visualize living there and give you subconscious feedback.
  • ASK FOR THE MONEY. Every prospect knows they’ll be spending money for an apartment, so you won’t surprise them!
  • A NO Does Not Mean NO. The first “no” you get from a prospect is just a reflexive response; keep pressing. Look for an objection you can overcome!
  • Body Language. Don’t read too much into body language but look for positive signs like picking up the application or brochure or leaning forward.
  • Know When to Shut Up. If the prospect tells you they’re ready to lease, STOP! Go on back to the office and get started on the paperwork instead of continuing the presentation.
  • Where to Close? Anywhere! You can close anywhere you want! Close in the apartment, at the pool – wherever you can get the application right now!

3. Never Fear the Objection.

Don’t be afraid of objections; they are just buying signals made to look like a “no”. Take advantage of the opportunity to overcome the objection to get a “yes”! There are two main types of objections you’ll likely encounter:

  • Easy Objections (Not True). These are easy to address because they are based on misinformation or a misunderstanding. In these cases, all you have to do is provide the accurate information!
  • Difficult Objection (Is True). First, repeat the prospect’s concern in question form and then minimize the concern by stressing other relevant benefits of the community or reasonable and effective workarounds if available.

You have probably already heard all of the objections you’ll hear for your community. You are aware of the shortcomings and you’ll have your answers ready in advance. It’s easier to educate the prospect on the advantages of a possible objection than to defend it after the prospect objects.

Sometimes you’ve done everything right and you come down to the close and you get the standard put-off. It’s not a no, it’s not a yes; it’s just a delay tactic. Here’s how you can address these answers:

  • “Let me think about it.” – “You should think about it! It’s a very important decision.” Or “Would you mind telling me some of the things you will be thinking about?” (This may reveal an objection.)
  • “I really want to look around some more.” – “You should look around. You want to find exactly the right place for you.” Or “Would you mind telling me what kinds of things you will be looking for?” or even “Where else are you planning to look?”

4. 5 Simple Steps to Get to the Close and Beyond.

1. Trial: Ask about how they will arrange the apartment. This is a bit of a pre-close.

2. Direct: Directly instruct the prosect to come back to the office with you to complete paperwork and take the apartment off the market.

3. Which: When you’ve shown two apartments, you ask which one they liked best. You can also ask in terms of the move-in date. When would you rather move in?

4. Summary: Review all the things they liked about the apartment and all the ways the apartment meets their needs and preferences.

5. Assumptive: When you’ve received positive buying queues, you can take the prospect back to the office, give them the application and let them know that while they’re completing it, you’ll go get them a drink and then leave them alone with the application!

If the prospect gets out your door without completing an application, don’t give up! You need to keep reaching out. It can actually take up to 14 extra contacts to close the deal!

  • Let the prospect know you care.
  • Try to make another appointment.
  • Determine remaining concerns and true level of interest.

Once you’ve made the close and have elicited that commitment, the real work begins – keeping the relationship alive.

5. Know the Ingredients for Long Term Relationships.

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Genuine concern

How do these components or positive behaviors translate from a romantic relationship, for example, to a leasing relationship?

  • An Engagement that Equals or Surpasses the Dating. Follow up after the rental commitment. During that time period between signing the lease and moving in, we need to be in touch with the new resident.
  • Best Wedding Ever! Create an incredible and memorable move-in experience.
  • Quick Recovery After First Fight or Misunderstanding. Ensure a prompt and appropriate response to the first service request or complaint.
  • Daily Reinforcement of Marriage Commitment with Loving Acclamations. Offer continued acknowledgement and appreciation from the onsite team, especially the office personnel.
  • Never Forgetting an Anniversary. Be prepared and anxious for the lease renewal.

You have a passion for your prospects and residents, and using these 5 steps to get to and beyond the lease will help lead to an ongoing positive relationship.

Presented by:

 

 

 

Rick Ellis, CAM, CPM

President
Ellis Consulting Group, Inc.

 

About Ellis

Since 1984, Ellis Partners in Management Solutions has specialized exclusively in helping our multifamily clients measure and improve the customer experience by teaming with customers to develop professional skills and behaviors in each team member. We evaluate customer service and performance of onsite leasing professionals through comprehensive mystery shopping reports, our multiple touchpoint resident survey program, and training. Our turn-key integrated customer experience program, backed by outstanding customer service, sophisticated technology, and ethical business practices, has made Ellis one of the multifamily industry’s most respected and sought-after providers of training and consulting services.

5 Keys to Making the Most of Telephone Leads

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

Whether you’re brand new to the multifamily industry or are a seasoned veteran, you understand the telephone is a major tool of the business and making the most of telephone leads is key to your success. Today, there are a variety of methods to receive and process the telephone calls received by your community including:

 

  • Conventional on-site office phone
  • Calls forwarded to those working from home
  • Answering services or phone trees
  • Resident services or concierge
  • Hired call centers

No matter how you’re receiving your telephone business, 5 keys to making the most of telephone leads

1. Set Your Morning Up for Daytime Success

Work to set yourself up for success starting as soon as your day begins. How does your morning go as you prepare to go into work? Are you snoozing the alarm? Are you switching on the news while you brew your coffee? Think about what sort of headspace your morning routine is putting you in. Strive to arrange your routine to help you find a calm, focused and positive outlook for the day. Avoid the continuous stream of stressful news. Wake up early enough so you’re not in a rush. Prepare what you’ll need the night before so your morning will run smoothly. As you arrive at the office, are you still thinking about yesterday? Allowing your focus to be on the past instead of the present will end up creating a repeat of the day before. Instead of dwelling on what happened yesterday (good or bad), let it go and start with a blank canvas for today.

2. Time Management and Organizing Your Day

What is the first thing you do when you get to work? Are you easing into work-mode or are you jumping in feet-first? Consider dedicating the first hour of your day as a focused administrative hour. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish! During this hour:

  • Decide on Your Goals – Before you even arrive, decide what your goals for the day are.
  • Set Up Your Knowledge – Review LRO and availability, make a ready board, review upcoming dates and appointments and walk vacant apartments for a quick inspection.
  • Learn to Tolerate Distractions, Interruptions and Customer Service – Understand that distractions will always be a part of your day and learn to continue to work in spite of them. Discover to identify how and when you may need to multi-task. You may be busy taking a call when a prospect or resident walks into the office. You can continue your call and non-verbally acknowledge them with a smile or wave.
  • Decide When to Do Follow Up – The best times to reach out to your leads are between 8 AM and 10 AM and between 4 PM and 6 PM. Remember that follow up isn’t just about “checking a box”. If you want to close leases, you need to provide genuine follow up to help your leads decide on your community. You may have to reach out multiple times; many agents are not successful closing until the 6th call!

3. Slow Down

Be mindful of how fast you talk on the phone as this is a factor in making the most of telephone leads. Slow down and make sure to listen! Just because your caller may be talking fast, it doesn’t mean they’re in a rush. Sometimes you can modify the speed or tone of the telephone call just by slowing your own pace. When the caller is talking, take the time to listen to what they are actually saying rather than trying to jump ahead and assume before they’ve finished.

4. Do the Hard Thing First

Knock out the hard jobs first thing in the morning while you’re fresh and have a good momentum. After you’ve completed your administrative hour, reach out to confirm your appointments for the day. After all, you’ve already put in the work on the call, so don’t allow your visits to fall through the cracks. Try to make it original so your prospect will take notice and your community will stand out, even if you feel a little corny.

5. Squeeze Out Every Drop

When your day is in full swing and you’re taking calls, be sure you are making the most of telephone leads by taking everything from the call that you can!

  • Ask the prospect about what they’re looking for in their home and then give them time to answer on their own. This will give you a better, more customized idea of how to sell what you have.
  • Create a sense of urgency! Let them know other people have asked about their apartment today. Emphasize limited inventory, if applicable.
  • Really sell the features and benefits. Don’t just list the features in the apartment; relate them to the benefits associated with each feature. Even though it may feel like stating the obvious, it’s worth the extra few seconds to really get the prospect to imagine living at your apartment community.
  • Be prepared to effortlessly address objections. Take some time to talk with your team about ways you can address objections that may come up about your apartments.
  • You need to ask the right questions to get the right answers. Ask why they are moving and really listen to what they have to say for hints about what you need to provide.
  • Become a storyteller! Don’t just run down a plain list of the features. Talk about what it’s like living there and paint a picture of what life in your community or in their apartment will be like.

If you use these 5 keys to making the most of telephone leads, you will surely be successful.

 

Presented by:

 

 

 

Donna Lytle-Hickey

General Manager
Brookfield Properties

 

About Ellis

Since 1984, Ellis Partners in Management Solutions has specialized exclusively in helping our multifamily clients measure and improve the customer experience by teaming with customers to develop professional skills and behaviors in each team member. We evaluate customer service and performance of onsite leasing professionals through comprehensive mystery shopping reports, our multiple touchpoint resident survey program, and training. Our turn-key integrated customer experience program, backed by outstanding customer service, sophisticated technology, and ethical business practices, has made Ellis one of the multifamily industry’s most respected and sought-after providers of training and consulting services.

7 Key Things to Consider When Deciding on Leasing Specials and Incentives

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

The multifamily industry is experiencing a unique climate as it navigates the challenges of this COVID-19 marketplace. New constructions continue even as demand is decreasing and rental rates are on a downward trend. What does this mean? Well, it’s the perfect time to consider and thoughtfully implement concessions and specials to continue to drive a lackluster market. Right now, the apartment leasing market is facing challenges including:

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6 Steps to Keep Mystery Shop Success Simple and Straightforward

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

If you’ve worked in the multifamily leasing industry long enough, chances are you’ve been the subject of an apartment mystery shop. This experience can elicit an array of responses from stress and defensiveness to excitement and pride. Everyone wants to perform well on mystery shops and receive positive feedback, and when this doesn’t happen, you may feel upset and judged. However, the truth about mystery shops is that they are a tool you can utilize to your advantage! An Ellis mystery shop will show you what you’re already doing great as well as the areas you can improve upon. This will benefit you AND your rental prospects and residents and will make you more likely to get the lease. Read More

Virtual Leasing: Your Success Depends on It!

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

The leasing office is open and we can conduct in-person tours! But wear a mask, social distance, use sanitizer, and the list goes on.  So, we are open but for the customer and employee it is now a much different experience. There are still many customers who will choose to do a virtual tour before deciding which communities to even visit.  Which means virtual leasing is not going anywhere anytime soon and continued measurement of the effectiveness of virtual tours will be key to our success. Read More

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Leasemakers Part IV: Closing – The Bottom Line!

By Sales & Leasing Techniques: Tips and Tools to Get the Sale

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Leasemakers apartment sales training series! As we’ve discussed in the previous three installments, there are two major components of a sales interaction: the telephone presentation and the on-site presentation. You’ll remember that each of these two components include four parts: greeting, qualifying, demonstration and close. This discussion will focus on the on-site close portion of the sales presentation. The goal of the telephone closing is to get the prospect to the community right now while the goal of the on-site closing is to secure the lease. Read More

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