We Have Been Spoiled in 2021 – Better Get Ready to Rumble
With over 400,000 new apartments projected nationwide in 2022, it looks like there will be some competition in most major markets. Add a possible uptick in COVID (thanks to Mr. Omicron), and I predict a very competitive leasing environment this year. Here are some MUST DO’S to keep your leasing efforts ahead of the guys next door!
- Answer the phone – DANG! Why can’t we answer the phone at least some of the time? Is our call center really better than the onsite team? Possible, but hopefully not. Look, when the prospect calls and you answer, YOU are the expert. And you are talking to someone whose mindset is apartment hunting. When you call back an hour (or day) later, now you are an interruption or a phone solicitor. Gotta get those phone leads while they are hot!
- Greet prospects with FEP – Make every internet prospect, caller, and visitor know that you are exceptionally glad to see them. Be FEP – Friendly • Enthusiastic • Professional. Friendlinessis one of the best attributes of the GREAT leasers.
- Show later in the day – You closing at 5 pm? Really? Guess what, that is the time your prospect gets off work, too. Make it easy and stay open till 6 at the earliest and add a few late days till 8 pm. (Oh, it is dangerous to show after dark! Really? Got any proof? I contend it is actually safer to show after 6pm as residents are home and available to help IF you get in a jam.)
- Encourage prospects to lease right now. – People visit your community because they are interested in renting an apartment. Period. It is not only bad sales but also rude to not invite the apartment seeker to lease RIGHT NOW! Don’t let their initial move date stop you from making a genuine invitation to fill out the application in your business center and leave that deposit. You will never know for sure if they will lease now unless you ask them to lease RIGHT NOW.
- Be ready to deal with objections. – Each apartment community comes with its own downsides and you know what they are. You hear the same three or four objections everyday, right? Prepare! Write out your responses and rehearse them. Create a few different responses to the same objection. Don’t forget that some objections you just can’t overcome…but you can minimize them by showing other relevant benefits. Rehearse that part, too.
- Take rejection gracefully and get feedback – You are not supposed to lease every prospect. If it was that easy, they wouldn’t need you! In fact, if you are leasing to most anyone who walks in the door, either your price is too low or your rental criteria is too loose. You gotta have some “No’s” to get to the “Yes’s”! Its ok. I’m sure your property is awesome, but it’s not for everyone. What you can ask someone who decides not to lease is some feedback about their decision. “I appreciate you considering our community. Do you mind sharing with me why you have decided this property is not the best fit for you? Our marketing department would like to know.”
- Follow up with a note that you actually mail! – I know what you are thinking: “OK, Boomer! Mail? Like a letter with a stamp?” Yeah, that is what I mean. And it goes to every visitor and phone prospect the very first time you contact them. I am not suggesting we reduce our digital contact and follow up. Of course not, Gen Z! I am recommending you mail something immediately to every prospect and you will see an impact.