What I look for in top leasing talent.
Most blog posts about the characteristics of the effective leasing professional would start with words like positive attitude, goal-oriented, relationship-driven, and committed to service. You would add qualities like professional in image and self-motivated; someone who loves people. The usual stuff we have heard forever!
These are all admiral traits and ones we would love to see in all the onsite team. Right? Even the manager! (kidding) Yet as a long-time marketing consultant and contract leasing provider, I can tell you those qualities are NOT the most important. Having supervised and driven hundreds of apartment lease-ups, here are the characteristics I look for in my onsite sales pros.
- Proven Performer – The top leasing people are performers in whatever they have done in the past. I love hiring great salespeople from other industries who have that God-given gift of connecting and persuading. And I’ll take top apartment industry leasers by offering better commissions, incentives, flexibility, and tons of recognition. Appreciation and public acknowledgement are key motivators to top sales people.
- Hungry & Money Oriented – I look for the person that is eager to perform even if for personal gain. I want someone who is always motivated to get the next lease and is willing to work harder and longer to get that reward. My leasing professionals often work late or meet prospects early to get an opportunity to make a sale. They hustle to make the next deal.
- Good Lookin’ Individual with Strong, Pleasing Voice – People like to buy from attractive people. Sorry, but that is just the facts. Google it if you don’t believe me. I’m not suggesting you only hire “hotties and hunks”. And I do not approve of outwardly using sex to lease, but looks are critical. Top sales people come to work well-groomed and dressed trendy but appropriate. They come to the job already knowing what “appropriate” means. Their voice is pleasing and shows confidence and experience. Now think of your less effective leasing team members. What do they look like? How are they perceived?
- Great Social IQ – While the sales personality may not top the emotional IQ chart, they do excel in social intelligence. Social IQ is the ability to understand and interact with people. They recognize different personality types and adapt to them. The best are actually good listeners and analyzers of behaviors of people. They connect quickly with all kinds of prospects.
- Challenging to Manage – Top salespeople tend to take on the less positive traits of this unique personality type, too. I am aware of this and adjust my management style and sometimes policies to better fit their “weaknesses”. The best salespeople tend to be know-it-alls, are often late, have messy desks and cars, and dislike the “details” of the paperwork. They also hate to be micro-managed and do not like being part of a compensation scheme that depends on the performance of the entire team. The want to be measured by their personal performance and not the collective group.
- Restless and Easily Bored – Again, knowing this is common, I sometimes have to help my leasing professionals stay busy. You better have plenty of apartments to lease or lease renewals (which pay a commission!) to retain the top leasing professionals. They will try to be team players but are not as interested in activities that don’t pay a commission or contribute to their primary goals.
- Braggadocios – I look for the person who is a bit boastful and edgy-arrogant. They can’t be obnoxious and self-consumed, but you will need to let them occasionally brag on themselves. Consistent and regular recognition will motivate these top producers to achieve more and stay positive and focused. You cannot praise them too much.
That’s a mixed bag of traits, isn’t it? I don’t see these attributes as being either good or bad. That’s just the anatomy of top salespeople. Smart managers make some adjustments to accommodate these unique team members.
Not every apartment community needs this caliber of salesperson. But if your property is leasing intensive, you must manage these top producers correctly.