Just Another Caller…

Author: Heather Palmer

My recent experiment: Just for fun I called 4 different leasing offices in 4 different cities to gain some fresh ideas and insight for my 2016 sales training class.  This experience truly confirmed my beliefs on the importance of the customer experience! Sales is all about building the relationship. Not one person took a genuine interest in my needs as a prospective renter. I felt like just another phone call!  I will not mention the companies or the apartment communities, however, I will share the locations:

  • Atlantic, Georgia
  • Albany, New York
  • Lamont, California
  • Alexandria, Virginia

Only 1 of 4 leasing professionals asked for my email address, 3 of 4 leasing professionals asked for my phone number, 1 of 4 asked what was important to me, 2 of 4 placed me on hold during the call, 2 of 4 asked me for an appointment. Three days after my experiment, I have not been called by either agent when I did not arrive or my appointment and I have not been emailed by the one agent who asked for my email address. Sadly, although 3 of 4 leasing professionals asked for my phone number, neither has yet to have called me! I told each leasing professional that I was relocating to the area for work and was currently in town and looking to move within the next 30 days.  I would say I was a “hot” lead, yet, not one person worked for the sale.  Don’t let your company’s marketing dollars go to waste! Give each caller your undivided attention and work to create a partnership with the prospect.  You should be interested in their needs and work towards having them as a future resident. No worries, if you aren’t up to this task, I’m sure your opponents are!  –  Heather


Tell Me How You Failed!

Author: Heather Palmer

Are you thinking about your goals for 2016?  Before you start planning your 2016, take a moment to recap both your accomplishments and failures from 2015.  What are the things that you did well, and how can you do these things even better in the year ahead?  The accomplishments are easy.  Let’ talk about challenges. What were your failures in 2015?  Take a moment to celebrate your failures.  That’s right!  Celebrate your failures because those were the moments where you learned new things!  In order to be successful, one has to have failures.  Here is a thought, write down each failure and those things which you learned as a result. When you think about it, that is actually success! Because you failed at something, you are better at that task and have new knowledge and will attack the same task in a different manner and undoubtedly will excel at it next time. You will excel simply because you failed and learned previously.  Look at these as opportunities! In 2016, I encourage you to take risks, push the envelope, and be adventurous!  Happy 2016- Heather

We Love Our Residents!

Our residents are our bread and butter!  Some folks have referred to them as GOLDEN.  It seems that in our business we jump through hoops to get future residents to move in but after they do- we are telling them “no” quite often.  Aim for a better approach when dealing with your residents.  Remove the words “no” and “can’t” from your vocabulary completely. Try to be more solutions oriented when delivering a message about rules and regulations.   Never use the phrases, “you need to” or “you have to” and most of all refrain from saying things such as “it is our policy.”  These common phrases often have a negative impact.  Work to foster the relationship you have with your residents.  When you are on a tour with a prospect, speak when you see your residents.  When you resident stops in the office, ask them a question to get the conversation going.  Here are some of my favorites:  How is your dog/cat (reference pet by name)?  ; How is Suzie (child/family member reference by name)? ; Did you RSVP for our next resident event?; Can we do anything to make your home more enjoyable?  ; Do you need any light bulbs replaced in your home? ; Keep the dialogue going!  Every office has signs that say “We Love Our Residents.”   The question is: What do you do to make them feel the love?  – XOXOX, Heather

Tempt Your Prospects

Prospective residents often study your community online before ever getting in touch with you, so there’s a part of the “sales” process that happens before you are ever involved. I like to compare the experience to dating.  When a prospect is checking out your website it is the same as viewing a dating site and looking at online profiles.   If you see an interesting profile, you reach out and the first contact is made!  Same thing here- your website is your profile so let’s make sure it is captivating to the prospect.  Based on the information here, they may give you a call or send an email.  Your response is part of the first impression!  After an informative response the prospect is ready for the 1st date- the visit to the community. Don’t blow it during your phone conversation.  Remove all distractions and be sure to focus on the needs of the prospect! Paint a picture of your community- dare to be different! Use descriptive phrases and word when recounting the mature trees which stand tall in your lush courtyard settings where every home has its own private entrance.  Tell them all about the second floor apartment with a picture perfect wooded view that is only 20 steps from the full body work out facility.  Tempt your prospect and get them excited about the visit! Remember, at the end of the visit, you are asking them to move in!

Are You A Great Listener?

Author: Heather Palmer

If you want to be successful when building rapport, you have got to enhance those listening skills! It is absolutely imperative that we are good listeners. This is the case not only for prospects but also residents.  Folks hate repeating information and it is very annoying when a person is obviously waiting for their turn to talk instead if actually listening.  Active listening is a familiar technique in which you are making appropriate eye contact, nodding and even repeating back information to summarize the conversation to let the person know you were listening to them.  This is definitely a skill which is necessary in the multifamily industry.   When you are listening you can gauge what a resident/ prospect wants in addition to what is implied during their communication.  Limit the distractions in your environment as much as possible- especially when on the phone.- Heather

Getting Acquainted…

Getting your prospect to talk more is the very key to delivering your best sales presentation.  Each tour and interaction should be unique. There is no one size fit all when it comes to sales.  In fact, you must also implement the rule of 80/20.  Which requires you to talk less and to listen more!  The customer of today is pretty savvy and has already done tons of research online prior to even visiting your apartment community.  Begin the conversation with a strong but humble introduction of yourself and then turn the focus on the prospects needs and wants.  Try a question such as, “Tell me what matters the most to you when choosing your new home?” This will surely get the conversation moving in the right direction.  Follow up with additional questions that begin with How, Which, Describe….  And you are off to a great start!  – Heather

How Much Is My Renewal?

The question at hand.. how do you convince a resident to stay in their apartment when you are raising their rent to a price that is more expensive than what new prospects are paying? This is going to take lots of convincing and strength in selling the benefits. We should begin with the actual cost of moving. This is often helpful as the cost of moving is expensive and can run a couple thousand dollars depending on different factors. The resident would need movers, boxes, packing tape and also they would incur other costs such as application fees, deposit, maybe a pet deposit, admin fees, and even potential loss of revenue and productivity from time off work. Another point to make is the value of your service. Discuss the attentiveness and reliability of the maintenance team. If your team has won awards use this data. Bring up a specific issue, if you can recall when the maintenance staff has exceeded expectations for your resident. Build value by discussing the turn around time for service requests and emergency maintenance. If your community has future projects which will enhance the community, share those projects and the cost benefit to the resident. For example, if your community is adding a parking lot, or electric car charging stations, even valet waste services, talk about these things. Does your current resident have a renovated home, talk about the built in savings on utilities that they haven’t even realized. Build value by discussing the progress the community has made over the years, and how the goal is to continue to make improvements to the community. Everyone likes extras, so think about a few renewal incentives that you can offer without breaking the bank. Maybe a new countertop, surface carpet clean, upgraded kitchen cabinet fixtures, accent wall or a repainted apartment. Advise the resident that after the first year, the prospect coming in with the lower rent will be charged a higher rate at renewal. If yiur prospect received concessions wjen they moved in remind them of this as well. Sell yourself and the superior service you offer with regards to communication and perks including package delivery, notary service, office use such as copier, free wi-fi, etc. What it all boils down to is the customer experience and building value. Share your thoughts!