Recent times have brought about unprecedented change in the multifamily housing industry! Many of us are finding ourselves “relearning” the job we thought we knew so well. From virtual tours to self-guided tours and back around to reintroducing guided tours, we’ve had to get outside our comfortable routines and adapt to frequent change. This can really prove to be a challenge, so let’s discuss some ways to stay on the ball and successfully roll with our evolving professional world.
A great starting place is to be aware of your thoughts first thing in the morning as this can set your tone for the rest of the day. You may find yourself helping other people (residents, teammates or employees) work through problems each day and that can negatively impact your state of mind unless you deliberately change your way of thinking. How do you do that? Here are some tips:
- Avoid Blame – Instead of looking for reasons you can’t be successful, look for ways to operate within your current circumstances. Focus on solutions.
- Choose Positivity – When you start your day and also when you encounter challenges during the day, take a moment to stop and CHOOSE to approach with positivity.
- Seek Resources – There are some great resources available for changing your way of thinking, including two books by Dr. Joe Dispenza titled Becoming Supernatural and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
- Create a Vision Board – A vision board creates a good visual of what you want your future to look like. It can help you stay focused on your end goal.
Another effective area to work for change is in how you approach your competition. Instead of trying to actually compete with your competition, push past and set yourself apart. It’s helpful to know what communities in your area are offering, but don’t use a direct comparison as a sales pitch with prospects. Instead, understand what your competition is offering and then determine how your community can innovate and set yourselves apart. What do you have that makes you unique? Focus on that in your leasing presentation.
The process of apartment rentals is changing. Right now, more and more consumers are looking to find out about products, including apartments, online and with video. Most consumers would rather watch a video than read a brochure. Keep this in mind as you create and modify your online marketing. When it comes to taking prospect calls, avoid sticking to a script and instead engage in a real conversation. This will allow you to get more useful information as well as make the rental prospect feel genuinely heard. Once your prospects come to visit, remember that there’s no reason to rush the leasing presentation! Allow the prospect to take all the time they need to see everything they need to see to make a confident leasing decision.
Creating video marketing content and providing video tours may still feel very new for many leasing professionals. Take some time to look at the video content of other apartment communities for inspiration, not just in your area but across the country as well. When you have the opportunity to provide a live video tour or webinar/online meeting, remember you are making a connection with another person. Don’t approach the interaction in a disconnected way just because the rental prospect is not right in front of you. Here are some techniques to help you give a great virtual presentation:
- Treat any virtual leasing presentation in the same way you would handle an in-person tour.
- Make sure to turn the camera around to yourself periodically to allow for face-to-face interaction to keep that connection.
- Give a full tour and show all the areas of the apartment, even the hallways, laundry room, cabinets, etc. to help the rental prospect fully visualize the space. Don’t forget about the community amenities!
- Remember to engage the prospect and ask questions along the way to encourage participation by them in the leasing presentation.
- Allow yourself to have fun with it!
- Always keep in mind Fair Housing.
Maybe your community has decided to introduce self-guided tours. These provide unique benefits. You may decide to ask the prospect to give you a call when the arrive so that you can go open the door for them to allow for some human interaction. Maybe you’ll ask them to speak with you by phone as they tour so you will be available to answer questions that come up as they take their time to look around. The best procedures will depend on your specific community.
No matter which leasing presentation format you use, don’t forget to close! Below are various closing techniques you can use, depending on the overall presentation:
- The Assumptive Close – This type of close assumes the prospect will complete the application. You’ve spent time setting up the leasing presentation and you’ve engaged the prospect through visualizing furniture placement or other community living scenarios, and you close out the tour with an assumptive statement rather than asking if they want to apply. “You’re going to love it here!”
- The Summary Close – Remind the prospect of all the ways the community meets their needs and then follow up with an assumptive closing statement.
- If I Could, Would You Close – This close entices the prospect with an incentive, asking if you could provide that incentive, would they lease today.
- Overcoming Objection Close – Practice ways to address objections and turn them into benefits or minimize into palatable pieces. For example, price objections can be broken down to the costs per day.
- Creating a Shortage Close – Remind the rental prospect that there are only a limited number of that floorplan or only one on their desired floor level, etc.
- Look & Lease Close – This offers a discount or other incentive if the prospect applies during that visit.
- The Bandwagon Close – This technique implies the prospect should lease because everyone else is doing it. This creates a fear of being “left out”.
- The Ben Franklin Close – This lists out benefits versus cost for the prospect to help them make a decision.
What happens when everything has gone great in the leasing presentation, you’ve made a strong close, but the prospect isn’t ready to lease today. The presentation isn’t over! You have to make time to follow up to close that deal. Follow-up is often one of the more uncomfortable parts of the leasing game, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions to make it easy:
- Ask Permission – During the initial presentation, be sure to ask for permission to follow up later.
- Become a Better Storyteller – Look at your community and create a story! Sometimes you’ll find a prospect will fall in love with the story and choose to live there.
- Stop Using the Same Words – Try new words like “This just in”, “Guess what?”, “You’re not going to believe this”. Using better, more compelling words will more strongly engage your prospect in follow-up.
The most important thing to remember is that change can be a major asset! Don’t get stuck in a rut with the same old routine for your leasing presentations. Work to innovate and give your rental prospects something new and different and that will give you the edge over your competition.
Donna Hickey Presents