Once you’ve successfully completed the telephone potion of the sales journey, the prospect will make a visit to your community. When they arrive, you will be setting the scene and making a first impression with your greeting, so be sure to make it a positive impression! You’ll then spend some time getting to know the prospective resident through the qualifying process. Remember, the IDEAL leasing professional is FEP: Friendly, Enthusiastic and Professional. This is how you establish and sell the relationship.
Greeting – Sincerity is the Key!
Below are 4 areas you can work to polish to make sure your greeting sets the best tone possible to begin your on-site interaction.
- Smile – Make sure your face says, “WELCOME!”
- Tone of voice – You will want to sound warm and friendly
- Focus – Give the prospect your full attention when they arrive
- Attitude – Never let the prospect feel like an interruption!
The Five S’s of Greeting
- Stop what you are doing
- Smile – the best nonverbal communication
- Stand – to show respect and appreciation
- Shake the visitor’s hand
- Salutation – your first words are important
QUALIFYING: Relationship Building
Qualifying the prospective resident may be the most important part of your leasing presentation. Engage in natural conversation as you discuss their needs and wants and ask questions that show genuine interest in the person sitting in front of you. This open interaction builds trust and creates a positive relationship. Trust is the most important factor in relationship building.
The Qualifying Process
- Qualifying Time – Keep it short and sweet. This is the time to ask open-ended questions encourage a two-way conversation.
- Listen for Needs and Wants – Most prospective residents expect the basics (the needs), so especially focus on what they want. Listen diligently to the things they say and to the things they imply and be sure to convey interest.
- Guest Card – basic qualifying tool. Be sure to record the information you collect from the prospect on the guest card.
The Guest Card
The guest card is your way to stay organized and to remember all the important points of each prospective resident you assist. You should complete the guest card, not the prospect. Also, remember to take the card with you, attached to the leasing notebook, so you will not have to remember all this new information. The guest card serves as:
- A road map of their specific wants/needs
- A cue card for you to use during the tour
- A tool to help create the relationship
You can also use the guest card to place follow up notes, such as why they did not lease, what you showed them and what their objections were. Write the information in real time during the tour and then enter it into the computer system later. This ensures you do not seem disengaged to the prospect by focusing on the computer screen during the conversation.
The Initial and Critical Qualifying Questions
To get the qualifying conversation started, there are some important basic questions you’ll want to begin with.
- Who – You’ll need to find out who is looking for a home. After introducing yourself, ask for their name, who the apartment is for (how many people) and if there will be any pets. (If there are pets, remember to highlight that information.)
- When – Identify when the prospect is looking to move.
- What – Find out if they are looking for anything special or have any specific needs. This will allow you customize your presentation of what is available.
- How Much – Determine the prospects intended price range or budget. Keep in mind that most of the time, they will think the price is too high, so do not worry about this.
- Where – Ask about their geography; where their work is located and where they are moving from. This is also a good time to find out how they heard about your community or where the found the telephone number.
- Why – Talk about why they are moving; you can ask in the office and again during the tour to make conversation. This is also a good time to obtain their contact information (phone number and email address) so that you can keep in touch.
Probing Questions: Going Deeper
As a leasing agent, you can and should ask more probing questions that allow you to collect additional information from the prospective resident. These questions help you to better understand the prospect’s needs and wants from their perspective. This information can be useful in overcoming future objections and dislikes stated during the rest of the visit.
The more information you collect and the stronger connection you make, the better equipped you will be to really tailor the sales presentation to the individual prospect. When the tour is personalized to the individual, it will help him or her feel more at home in your community and be more likely to close the deal.
Rick Ellis, CPM
Ellis Consulting Group