The overall on-site sales presentation can be broken down into 4 steps: greeting, qualifying, demonstrating and closing. Once you’ve already made a great first impression through your greeting and have created trust and a positive relationship through the qualifying, you can move into a successful demonstration.
Remember, everything has a ‘better’ angle, so how can you show your property from its best angle? For starters, be sure to take a tour route that shows off the best views and scenery of the community. You will also want to try to avoid areas that need some work or are still in progress. Your best bet is to have a tour plan before you head out.
When you are giving a demonstration, you are on stage! You want to be rehearsed and give a great performance. Make sure you know your lines and remember the strategic stops along the way to highlight important or interesting areas of the property. Don’t forget one of your most important presentation props – your leasing notebook! Attach the guestcard so you stay in charge during the demonstration.
One important goal of your demonstration is to create interest and urgency. This process begins during the telephone conversation and carries over into the on-site presentation. Some great ways to create interest and urgency through the demonstration are:
- Word Pictures – Before heading out to start the tour, discuss what you’ll see using descriptive wording to help them visualize the benefits and features as well as life in the community.
- Emotional Words – Use emotional words to move the prospect to action. Words like comfortable, peaceful, inviting, friendly, stylish, luxurious or economical are great to inspire action.
- Sell a “Specific” Apartment – Use the “Focus Units” sheet to narrow down to a couple of specific apartments rather than giving a generic floorplan description. This helps maintain urgency by avoiding the impression that there are many apartments available. It also allows you to use the information you have gathered from the prospect to find the best fit and sell the advantages of the specific apartment and its location within the community.
- Sell Value – Positively quote rental rates and incentives. Avoid using the word “thousand” when quoting the rate – instead of “One-thousand-five-hundred-fifty”, say “fifteen-fifty”. Also be sure to list what is included with that rate: water, electric, trash, 24-hour fitness center, free Wi-Fi in common areas, clubhouse access, etc. Try Googling apartment descriptions in other countries for ideas.
- Create Urgency – Mention items to instill a sense of urgency to lease TODAY. Reference limited availability either of a specific floorplan or of a particular feature. “This is the last apartment we have in this floorplan you said you liked” or “This is the last one with wood floors/tile backsplash/stainless steel appliances/etc.” Remind the prospect the prices can change every day.
In order to provide a well-thought-out tour, keep these factors in mind when staging your demonstration.
- Property Tour Strategy – Walk the property to discover the best tour path to take. This will help you go into the tour with a pre-decided plan on which way to go and what to say at the right moments. A great example is to walk around the pool area and decide which angle is the best. Then, during the tour when you pass that area, you can exclaim, “Isn’t this a beautiful area?”
- Continue Qualifying the Prospect – You’ve brought the guestcard along, so use it to continue making conversation and learning more about the prospect. You can also find out about what other places they’ve seen and use that information to sell the advantages of your community.
- Sell the Prospect on Management – Make sure to sell the property management company with enthusiasm, even if the management isn’t perfect! (After all, who is?) Find the best parts and make sure to shine a spotlight to build confidence in the prospect.
- Stress Value – Again, make it a point to mention everything that is included with the rental rate. Keep in mind you can also sell the exceptional staff at your community as a point of value!
- NEVER – Never discuss your personal life or gossip about other employees or residents. Don’t walk too fast or make promises you aren’t sure you can keep. Overall, avoid making negative comments or using profanity or slang.
Now you’ve developed the most effective tour path and you are prepared to show your community from its best angle, but it’s time to show the apartment itself! Let’s discuss some ideas to give an outstanding apartment tour:
- Have an exciting and enthusiastic “Opening Statement”
- Open the Door for the Prospect – You should walk in first and then invite the prospect to enter as if they are a guest in your home. This helps you keep control of the tour.
- Have a strategy for showing the apartment
- Maintain control of the demonstration – This allows you to make sure the prospect doesn’t miss any important features.
- Feature/Benefit Selling – Point out benefits of the features to let the prospect know how they’ll make their life better.
- Get the prospect actively involved – Encourage them to open doors or step into rooms to look around.
- Know when to back off – Step out for a moment if they seem the need a moment to speak privately.
- Begin making closing statements – Ask how they’ll arrange the furniture or where they’ll put the TV.
Once you have developed a solid demonstration plan, rehearse and prepare so you can give your very best demonstration performance. This will set you up for a slam dunk when it comes time to close!
Rick Ellis, CPM
Ellis Consulting Group