If You Must Offer Specials…
Make Your Specials, SPECIAL!
Continued apartment development, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cyclical winter decrease in demand have combined to create that Perfect Storm; the perceived need for rent concessions. I use the word “perceived” because many of the concessions offered now may not be necessary.
Across-the-board concessions and “we’ll match anybody’s deal” specials are not wise and lack strategy. Why would we offer a month free on our hottest floorplan just because we are using incentives on another unit type with many vacancies or notices? I will offer some tips on strategic concession positioning next week. For this post, let’s assume your marketplace demands you offer a rent special of some kind.
Make Your Specials, SPECIAL!
By definition, a special is something better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. Don’t minimize the impact of your special by missing the intent of this rent concession. We run specials NOT to simply match our competitors or make leasing easier. We use concessions for two strategic purposes:
- Occupancy Acceleration – We offer specials to create urgency to lease NOW instead of later. In some very competitive markets, the leasing incentive will be used as a tool to lease here, rather than across the street. Strategic incentives help us equalize the rent pricing so we can then compete in terms of value, overall desirability, and sales skills.
- Appointment Commitment – While not a fan of this tactic, some incentives may be used just to convince the internet and telephone prospect to inquire and visit the apartment community. Especially in this COVID-19 environment, rental prospects may need more motivation to make that initial online inquiry or phone call.
There may be other situations when an incentive is necessary. Regardless, boost the impact of any kind of special by creating exclusivity and value in the manner you present. It’s a SPECIAL! Act like it! The expression on your face and the excitement in your voice tells the prospect “this is something exceptional and we are making this offer just for you! Too often the leasing professional just blurts out the special in the same breath she quotes the rent.
On the phone
Never divulge the special on the initial phone call. Use your sales skills to get the prospect to your community. Then save your incredible special to use as a closing tool. If you must use a special to get the prospect to the property, be excited and a little coy:
“Diane, it seems that Barrington Oaks has everything you are looking for in a new home. But there is one more thing that I know you will love. I am not allowed to tell you about it over the phone but when you come in I will be excited to tell you all the details. We have a special that’s SOOO SPECIAL! You are going to love it!”
In the Office
Don’t jump the prospect with your great special or incentive as they walk in the door. You have already accomplished your goal from their internet or phone inquiry. You got them to the property. Instead, build relationships and trust by listening to your visitor and being FEP – Friendly, Enthusiastic, & Professional. Take your time to understand their needs and motivation to lease. Then, after building urgency to lease today, try this to push them over the edge (of commitment).
“Phillip, I can tell you love our apartment community. Now I have something that is going to make you love us more! We got approval just this morning to offer you one-month free rent IF YOU LEASE TODAY! Look at the value that brings. (Perhaps show what the average rent would be or the lower rent per month) Let’s take care of the paperwork so I can reserve this very apartment and the GREAT special just for you!
You might notice I use the word “SPECIAL” rather than “concession” for these rent incentives. A concession sounds like a defeat or a beat-down to me. Whatever you call your rent incentives, put a little razzle-dazzle, spirit, excitement, and enthusiasm into them, and make them extra…