Have you ever had a “Silent Sam”, “Just-Looking Jessica”, or “Frankie Future” take a tour of your multi-family apartments? How about “Olivia Objections” or “Drive-by Dan”? Read on to learn how you can convert these and other prospects into residents when they tour your multifamily apartments.
When the prospect visits the leasing center to collect information and tour an apartment home, chances are they fit one or more of these Prospect Profiles. The ability to identify and understand each of these personalities can assist you in closing the sale.
“Frankie” anticipate moving in four-to-six weeks, possibly even in three months. He just happened to have some time today, so he sets an appointment with a leasing agent and is scheduled for a tour to get an idea of the available options. The key to understanding a future move-in date is asking the question, “Is your move-in date flexible?” If the price is right and the value exceptional, would they consider moving earlier? If this inquiry receives a positive response, go for the close. It’s all about value in the end.
“Barbara” will fall in love with the apartment. She will gush over how “It’s perfect!” and “everything she’s been looking for!” But she can’t make her final decision without her sister, husband, mom, best friend, etc. If Barbara walks out the door without completing an application, leaving a deposit or paying the pre-lease or reservation fee, chances are slim-to-none that she’ll be back, with or without the mystical individual consulting her decision. There are a few options: 1) can you get [the prospect] to come right now?; 2) you can wait (not recommended); or 3) you can give the tour via FaceTime, a virtual tour or an interactive web experience. Take a video of the tour as you do a virtual walkthrough of the apartment and email it to the prospect. If you can include the individual in a current tour or schedule their next visit, you can increase the likelihood of a return visit. Create a sense of urgency, indicating that old adage, “You snooze, you lose.” This can prompt them to secure a reservation. With a deposit, the chances of a return visit increase significantly.
- It’s not blue , it’s azure.
- Third floor… too many steps.
- Second floor… neighbors over and below.
- First floor… easier to break into.
“Olivia Objections” puts us through our paces, but an experienced leasing consultant has “heard it all” and is prepared to overcome every objection. Brainstorming with a staff to offer creative benefits for every feature will provide solutions or alternatives for most objections. Determining the “must haves” before starting the tour will assist you in prioritizing the prospect’s objections. Sometimes, there may be objections that are merely observations and not necessarily an item the prospect expects or needs to have resolved.
Unlike “Olivia”, “Silent Sam” is at the opposite end of this spectrum. “Sam” offers you no practical feedback. He might give you single-word responses to most questions and long, uncomfortable silences during conversations. This can be frustrating for a leasing agent. We could at least do something if we only knew what it was. We may be great at what we do, but we’re not mind-readers; without feedback from the prospect, it’s impossible to know their preferences, thoughts or reactions to the apartment. Remember, they made this appointment for a reason: they are looking for a new home. Be prepared with open-ended questions. Keep the conversation focused on the prospect. Ask about their current home or why this might be a good location. What brought them to this property? Look for easy factual information-points. “Sam” can be a challenge, but being prepared with an arsenal of conversation starters can save the day.
Just Looking Jessica
“Just Looking Jessica” appears to be hesitant in her ability to commit to an apartment home. She’ll say, “Oh, I’m just looking,” but again, something brought this prospect in for a visit. Given our busy days filled with busy lives, folks generally don’t just randomly call an apartment community, schedule an appointment, and participate in tour without planning to move somewhere in the very near future. Direct the conversation toward exploring the idea of moving. Create a sense of urgency by offering limited availability. Have a firm end-date for current specials, which brings the conversation to a specific time-frame.
“Drive-by Dan” likes to give you his explanation of how he came to visit the property. “Just driving by,” he tells you. The property is located in a convenient location for some aspect of their lifestyle: it’s enroute to their work, gym, child’s school. Explore this conversation, which not only shows genuine interest in the prospect, but it builds rapport. Be aware of some “driving by” responses that warrant clarification. For instance, if the property is on a dead-end street or if the location of the property is actually challenging to find. Prod with additional questions to learn more about them, which will assist in the closing process.
“Take-It-With-Me Terri” appears to be interested in collecting brochures and applications to complete later. Knowing if a prospect has a limited amount of time is important in planning the tour. You must take into account the number of apartments to visit and the length of time it takes to complete the application. Applications that leave the property uncompleted are seldom returned. Encourage these prospects to bring the necessary information to complete the application to prevent the need to take the application home to obtain information. If the information required mandates researching tax records or other obscure information, the prospect will begin to wonder if this venture is worth the effort. Does the application ask the prospect to provide information that is obtained through the credit reporting and background screening process? The prospects that complete applications before they leave the property shows a stronger commitment to their desire to rent an apartment home.
The “Need-It-Now” prospects are ready to sign a lease now, today! Perhaps another apartment has not met their expectations or they have been transferred to the area and need to sign their lease today. Ensuring that apartments are turned completely and ready for immediate move-in, encourages prospects to lock in their move-in plans. A thorough understanding of the application and approval process is important. The leasing team would explain the timeline and what will be needed to be completed to secure approval (e.g.; income verification, rental history, utility confirmation and renters insurance). There is nothing more frustrating to a prospect than rushing around to obtain the necessary documents only to discover something has been overlooked by the leasing team. Also, managers need to stay aware of prospects’ needs to make sure an urgent move-in is not unnecessarily delayed. When a prospect inquires about how soon they can move in, they should receive a response like, “How soon are you looking to move?” or “Is this afternoon soon enough?” These prospects’ expeditious nature indicates that we must complete the application process immediately, as a few days could result in losing that lease.
“Reginald Referral” represents a growing percentage of prospects who are referred by current or previous residents. Occasionally, there are challenges using “huge discounts” or “leasing promotions” that focus on the availability and needs of the prospect when a promotion may have expired. The referral prospect arrives with positive expectations, since they were referred by someone that had a previously satisfying experience. They don’t need to be sold, they are ready to take that experience and make it their own.
Regardless of the personality type you’re dealing with, each of these individuals want to rent an apartment. The challenge for the management team is to effectively identify the needs of each prospect and modify the sales presentation to address the concerns or interests of the prospect.