Author: Heather Palmer
Before I purchase most things, I take the time to read reviews of customers who purchased the item or used the service. Even if you don’t read reviews every time you make a purchase, I am sure that prior to a large purchase, you would take
a moment to see what others thought. This is no different for our prospects who are looking for an apartment.
I read an article from Inc.com recently that stated “91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews.” The article went on to say that 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend!
The biggest take away was that 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.
How well do you stack up to the competition when it comes to your online reputation? In our industry one of the most popular sites is Apartmentratings.com. Unless you are soliciting reviews from residents consistently, the odds are against
you in that most reviews posted without a request are negative in nature. Sometimes we are afraid of asking for reviews for fear of negative feedback but there are two amazing things that can happen when you have a process in place to solicit reviews and customer feedback is monitored.
FIRST- Happy residents will absolutely post a positive review which will help you to make a positive impression on future residents who are reading your online reviews.
SECOND- Residents who have had a less than pleasant experience are speaking out which gives you an opportunity to repair a damaged relationship and unfavorable impression that you most likely didn’t even know existed. These are the true
GIFTS. When you have knowledge of a problem, you can create an action plan to resolve an issue. Most likely, if one resident has the issue, others share the same experience.
While you cannot please everyone, it is important to strive for customer satisfaction in every way. Your online presence depends on it. The customer experience is up to you… Make it a great one!
Fair housing is an important part of what we do daily. There are many instances when we are interacting with a resident or prospect where it would be easy to make a mistake. It is important to remember that Fair Housing isn’t about intention, but rather impact. You may have the best of intentions however, if a person feels that they were treated differently, a lawsuit may follow. What can you do to stay out of harms way? Remember the protected classes! Be sure to take Fair Housing training regularly, at least once a year to stay informed. Learn about local laws and local protected classes. There are federally protected classes and then there are protected classes bases on counties and localities. Treat each person the same regardless of any protected class. Learn more about how your company accommodates ADA policies within your organization. This includes reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications as well as service animals. Stay clear of lawsuits! Learning is a life saver! When I was a kid I didn’t have cable and watched only basic television. The PBS station would also end a show with a quick snippet that said, ” the more you know🎵 🎵.” This snippet holds true today. – Heather
The difference between a good salesperson and a phenomenal sales person can be seen in how they engage the prospect. The phenomenal salesperson asks powerful questions to create healthy dialogue with their prospects. These powerful questions help to determine the needs of the prospect. The phenomenal salesperson then uses this information to show how their product meets the needs of the prospect. The conversation will transition from the open ended questions to the closed ended questions as the sales process progresses. Asking questions allows you to probe for information, and to uncover additional sales opportunities or needs of the customer. Think about open ended questions for your product or service. These should start with: what, why, who, where, why or how. A one word answer doesn’t work for these as they are designed to acquire information. Make a list and build them into conversation. Remember, you don’t want the discovery phase to become an interrogation so be sure to make it conversational! – Heather
As a sales person, when you believe in your product or service your are destined to be more successful than a salesperson who lacks the belief in the same. You are able to increase your bottom line and your persuasion by as much as 50% when you “buy in” to the vision of the organization, your product and your role. It is important to have a passion for your profession! Remove the barriers that can influence your sales negatively and incorporate positive self talk and affirmations into your daily routine.
It’s not easy to work in a role where rejection is a constant, however the goal should be to get as many “No’s” as possible instead of being focused on the “Yes!” Last year I read a great book titled, Go For No. The book was written by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz. The message talked about pushing ourselves as sales professionals. A very powerful statement it made, ” Yes is the destination, but No is how you get there!” A great lesson for any sales professional! Check it out! – Heather
Have you ever tried on a pair of jeans that were labeled “One Size Fit All?” Did it really fit? Would you eat at a restaurant that had only one item on the menu because the chef believed in the One Size Fit All theory for meals? So why do we sometimes treat our prospects as if they are all the same? ? In my experience the one size fit all approach does not work. How can we create unique experiences for our customers? The goal is to provide a unique customer experience for each person we encounter. We are not order takers. Think about what you can do to set yourself apart from the next leasing professional. Do you start every tour in the same room? Why not ask the customer which room they spend the most time in- and then start there? Do you ask about their Pets- take it to the next level, ask the pet name and refer to the pet during the conversation. Invite them to bring back their furry friend. Do you invite them to the next resident event to get a preview of “life at your community?” Try this- other companies offer free previews all the time! Do we ask customers what things are important to them, and then use those items as Hot Buttons to discuss during the sale? How is your follow-up unique after the person has left your community? Can you send photos, or a video instead of a boring 4 line email? Dare to be different! Dare to be memorable! – Heather
When was the last time you told your maintenance team how much you appreciated them? When was the last time you did something special for them? Can you imagine the daily challenges your maintenance team faces? I personally believe all office staff should shadow maintenance team members for at least a full day when hired. This is helpful so that we understand how we can better communicate with our maintenance team. They can be our heroes! Truly, they are the reason a resident chooses to stay with your community for another lease term or the reason they choose to move out. I went to a class once about Resident Retention back in 2007 when I first got into the business and I remember the woman speaking saying, “ The reason people LEASE all across America is because of great Sales Teams… the reason they STAY is because of PHENOMENAL Service Teams!” Build a relationship with your maintenance team and work with them to make their job easier. Ask the right questions when taking service requests, follow up with residents and let maintenance know that they are appreciated. We have Resident Appreciation Events. Can we have Maintenance Appreciation Events? I don’t see why not! Until next time- Heather
Selling Value is paramount. Do you know how to sell value to future residents? Most objections raised by future residents are due to the fact that they have not learned the value of your apartments and community. When they don’t grasp the value that you offer, they have only one principle by which to make a decision- that principle would be the price! The greater the difference you can establish between your community and apartments v. your competitors, the greater the probability of you closing the deal. Everyone compromises on something- and often that is price. How many times have you spent a few extra dollars on something that you felt was valuable. Maybe it was a shirt, a pair of shoes, a meal or even a vehicle? Our future residents are also willing to make the same compromise, however, we have to build the value in order for them to believe that it’s worth it! Lease On Rock Stars ! – Heather