You’ve reached the final stage of the sales journey; the closing. There are several important factors to keep in mind when working to close the prospect and earn a lease, but this is only the beginning of a bigger process. Ultimately, you’ll want to navigate the closing in such a way that you’ve secured a loyal resident.
Consider the Close a “Commencement”
The close shouldn’t be considered the end of the road with the prospect. In fact, it is the beginning of a brand-new leasing relationship!
What a Closing is NOT!
- Handing out rental applications.
- Waiting for prospects to say, “Yes, I want it!”
- Giving your prospect your card and asking them to call if they have questions.
- Being very careful not to be too pushy.
Remember, the prospect called or visited you; you did not cold call. It would be abnormal, inappropriate and rude NOT to ask them to lease!
Relationship First, Leasing Second
If you can think of the sales journey like starting a new relationship the result will be more leasing and more new residents!
If the sales presentation is the courtship, the closing is the “marriage proposal”. A cardinal rule is to be nice! Remember, it is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. Your enthusiasm will be what makes you memorable and trustworthy to your new resident. Always remember to be genuine and focus on the resident, not the lease.
ABC – Always Be Closing!
Getting the lease signed is just the “engagement stage”, not marriage. At this stage, the resident has not moved in yet. Be sure to continue your closing behaviors even after the lease is signed.
Develop the YES Habit
Ask the prospective resident questions about the weather, time of day, how the parking was, etc. The purpose of these questions is to elicit “yes” responses to get them in the habit of saying yes.
Ask questions such as, “How do you think you will arrange your furniture?” or “Where do you think you’ll put your flat screen?” If they answer the questions, they are warm prospects. If they do not entertain these questions, they are not very interested.
If the prospect picks up the application, asks about the deposit, or leans forward, they are interested. Watch their body language and adjust your sales strategy to respond to this.
Know When to Shut Up!
If the prospect said yes to the lease and has signed the lease, shut up and stop talking! There’s no need to sell the community any further. Instead, focus on welcoming them into their new home. This may be a place to ask some of the temperature-taking questions as well.
Where to Close? Anywhere!
Ideally, choose a place with minimal distractions.
Ask for the Money!
Your prospects know the apartment is not free and that it costs money to lease an apartment. Don’t hesitate to go ahead and tell them the fees and rental rate.
Start to view objections as buying signals and act on them. Objections show interest. Remember, the prospect would not bother to object if they were not interested. Below are two types of objections:
- Easy Objection – Is Not True: Listen to the prospect’s objections, re-state their concern and show empathy. From there, state the truth around the answer of their objection. For example, the prospect objects that the bus stop is too far away. The leasing professional can state that there are two bus stops on each side of the road and that the bus rides alongside the community.
- Difficult Objection – Is True: Difficult objections can be around something that is truly not present at the community. For example, the person wants a 24-hour gym, but the community does not have a gym yet. You could note there is an LA Fitness and a Planet Fitness less than two miles from the apartment complex that are 24 hours and that residents receive a discount when they join either gym.
This is the easiest way to overcome objections.
- You know the obvious shortcomings of your property, so have your answers ready in advance.
- It is easier to educate the prospect on the advantages of a possible objection than to defend it after the prospect objects.
Handling the Put-Off
- “Let me think about it.” – This is a valid “put-off” from the prospective resident. Your response can be, “You should think about it! It is a very important decision.” Then ask them, “Would you mind telling me some of the things you will be thinking about?”
- “I really want to look around some more.” – For this, you could reply, “Would you mind telling me what other places you are thinking about visiting?”
“Closes” to Use in “Commencing” the Lease
“How do you think you will arrange your furniture?”
“Where will you put your flat screen?”
“Joanna, I know you would love this apartment home. Let’s go back to the office and take care fo the paperwork. Then I can hold this very apartment for you!”
These questions are great as it is reminding your prospects of their options.
“Which apartment home do you like best? The luxury one-bedroom study or the really cool loft overlooking the pool?”
“It has everything you were looking for. Best of all, it is ready for an immediate move in since your current lease is up.”
“While you are completing this rental application, I will be preparing the lease. That way you will be all set to move in this weekend.”
Follow Up and Follow Through!
You’ll solidify the deal when you follow up with the new resident and follow through on anything you need to do. This will let the prospect know you care. If necessary, attempt to make a second or third appointment. Be sure to determine remaining concerns and level of interest and address those accordingly.
Remember, leasing is just the beginning. It can take up to 14 “touches” to make a sale. Ultimately, the most important task is keeping the resident you earned!
Rick Ellis, CPM
Ellis Consulting Group