By Elaine Simpson, President of Occupancy Solutions, LLC
Set yourself up for leasing success by making a resolution to consistently use these basic leasing tools. If you put all of them in your leasing toolbox and use them regularly and properly, they will lead you to success!
The Tour Path
As they say, “put your best foot forward”. After making sure the office entrance and office look inviting, are clean and in order for the day, take the time to preview the path on which you will take your prospects while touring and demonstrating why your community is perfect for them. Be sure to pick up any trash or cigarette butts along your route. While walking your tour path, be sure to take notes of maintenance or other issues that must be addressed to make your tour route look its best so you can impress your prospect.
Models and Vacant Market Ready Apartments
Preview the apartments that you will be showing. Create a “sparkle kit” of basic cleaning supplies to carry with you so you can clean a mirror, dust a shelf, pick up a dead bug, change a light bulb, etc. Include furniture markers to touch up scratches and scuffs on the model furniture. All the interior lights in the apartment should be on. Set the thermostat to the proper temperature for the day. Turn on the radio and open the blinds.
We love to use Leasing Binders to hold and organize our paperwork. Leasing binders are generally 3-ring notebooks with tab dividers and pockets to hold: availability list; product knowledge; marketing materials including brochures, floor plans, photos and current flyers; market surveys so that you can educate your prospects regarding the competition (remember not to gossip but speak factually about what they offer or don’t offer); guest cards; applications; business cards; calculator; tape measure. Also use page protectors to keep the documents and pages looking clean and crisp.
Product Knowledge Notebook
Make this section of your binder a place to keep all of the information that you can find about the physical asset: year built, number of acres, type of zoning, number of units, unit mix, type of construction, type of insulation, floor plans, room dimensions, window sizes, carpet and flooring colors, lists of upgrades, etc.
List of Competitive Advantages
Make a list of the things that set you apart from your competition to help you sell against them. This list can help you when overcoming objections.
Telephone Call Log
Everyone in the office should be logging their telephone calls. It will capture how many calls were answered by a person during business hours. The data will also illustrate which days and times of day are the busiest. Many people just hang up and won’t leave a message when they hear a voice message so try to answer every call in person.
Terrific Telephone Techniques
The goal is to give and receive as much information as possible in an organized way in very little time in a polite and professional manner that leads to an appointment to visit the community or a lease over the phone. You can create your own leasing script. We don’t want you to sound like a robot, but if you follow along with a script you won’t forget to ask important questions and to give each caller a brief description of the apartment interior and community amenities, invite them to tour and set up an appointment. You should ask for each caller’s name at the beginning of the call and use it during your conversation to personalize the call. Find out how each caller heard about your community so you can track what advertising sources are working and which ones are not working for you. Your list of questions should also include: Desired floorplan? How soon needed? Number of occupants? Pets? Length of lease? Why moving? Your description should include: feature/benefits of apartment interiors; community amenities; utility information; deposits and fees; invitation to visit; location and office hours; directions if needed; instructions on how to apply, etc.
Ear Appealing Descriptions and Words to Avoid
Each leasing consultant should take the time to write out a description of each floor plan within the community and then practice verbally using those descriptions for their presentations whether over the phone, on line or in person. Think of your own “ear appealing” words to use in your descriptions. Examples: exceptional, unique, charming, cleverly designed, stylish, etc. Avoid using industry words. Replace complex, property, site and unit with community and apartment or home.
Proper In-Person Greeting
Stand up to greet each prospect. Look them in the eye, extend your arm to offer a firm handshake, verbally introduce yourself and welcome them to your community.
Whether you use printed or computer guest cards, best practice is to fill out the guest cards for your prospects instead of asking them to do it. You can ask questions and make notes while making conversation. Record their “hot” buttons and note what is really important to them in finding their next home. These notes will help you later during your presentation, tour and closing.
We suggest you show your selected vacant apartment(s) before showing your model(s). This helps prospects envision their own furniture being placed in their new home. Use the information from your guest card and point out the features and benefits you already know will interest them. Take this time to build rapport and start closing the sale.
There are several ways to approach closing the sale. You can set the stage for closing when you first speak to a prospect on the phone or at the beginning of an office visit before you ever leave the office by asking two key questions: 1. What other options are you considering? 2. If you see something you like, are you prepared to lease today? This will start the dialog you need to work your magic.
Fantastic Follow Up
It is a little old fashioned, but we suggest the use of a “tickler box” in your leasing office to keep track of ALL leads from ALL employees so constant, progressive follow up can be done with each prospect until they tell you that they have leased somewhere else or to stop contacting them.
Elaine Simpson, owner of Occupancy Solutions, offers awesome in-person training sessions on this property management topic and many others in addition to e-learning courses and webinars. She can be reached at (800) 865-0948 or www.occupancysolutions.com.