Amy Kosnikowski is a fantastic educator in the property management industry and we were honored to have her as a presenter in the Webinar today co-hosted by Grace Hill. Amy covered a a number of leasing tips that will help motivate and empower you to become a top sales producer. She gave us real world advice on how you can create a sense of urgency and follow-up with prospects to increase your closing rates.
Here’s the recorded webinar and the presentation slides for your reference. Following the recording are a few of your questions we didn’t have time to answer.
How can I create a sense of urgency when I have 200 units available?
Wow! That is a great question not to mention an incredible opportunity. First of all let me address the sales team’s sense of urgency. At times a large availability can be overwhelming however exciting if you set goals and a clear target. I would focus on a smaller select group of homes first such as choosing the most aged units in a variety of sizes and plans. Have the team focus on leasing those first maximizing every lead, phone call and tour. Once that initial group of target homes has been leased then the leasing team will select the next group and start the process over again. The team’s sense of urgency will be more focused on achieving set leasing or occupancy goals, beating a deadline or possibly gaining a bonus for their hard work.
From the renter’s perspective, as the sales guru and author, Zig Ziglar once said, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Keep the sense of urgency focused on the customer. What specially would motivate them to lease quickly? Their sense of urgency may be as basic as finding a quality apartment home that makes sense to their budget fitting their needs in an easy, quick process. The psychology behind making any decision involves many complex factors, the most critical of which is “feeling” a need for a product. That is our job as expert leasing professionals to determine their true needs and then match benefit with clear value to the prospective resident.
Customers have to perceive your community’s features, services and amenities as the perfect fit that is worth every penny. Every customer’s situation and circumstance is unique. So with careful listening to the customer’s needs, wants, possible challenges and values — you will be able to craft an apartment home solution that will create a sense of urgency with the importance of acting now!
Are concessions affective in creating a sense of urgency and closing a prospect?
In the past, concessions have been seen as helpful when the market is overbuilt or in a very competitive market. I believe that many rely too heavily on concessions and not our perfectly sales skills or even maximizing every lead. If you focus on the customer’s specific needs, and “wow” them with all the benefits and value your community will offer them — a discount or concession may not be necessary. We are fortunate to be in a very high demand trend cycle right now and most markets across the country are not offering specials or concessions.
Discounting on price or concessions may not be a smart sales strategy for at times can be an impulsive move made by desperate leasing teams. Because we are in a tough economy, prospective renters may pressure us to feel it is necessary to oblige them with a concession or special to close the deal. Although we love our future customers and want to gain the lease –the bottom line is that you have a fiduciary responsibility to make and keep your community profitable. By offering concessions may lead to downward spiral. Once a discount is offered to one resident it becomes easier to offer it to another. Expectations are then set and then before you know it — everyone is receiving specials or discounted rates.
Also know that a concession or discount alters the attitude of the resident who now believes the real value of the product or service is REALLY the true price not the reduced price. The hard truth is that there is no way to every regain the lost revenue. Once the customer has accepted a lower price that amount become their new level of expectation. Any other price is seen as an increase.
How would I best market a property with older buildings that could possibly have more maintenance issues?
I personally think that many “classic” communities have an higher appeal in established landscaping, larger plan sizes and unique amenities.
Hold a team brainstorm session to find the community’s best attributes to define your “Unique Selling Position”. Determine what makes your community stand out or what make your community the absolute best in the neighborhood. Think of what does your community have that no other does? Or features that exceed your competitors. Ideas may be a friendly onsite team, award winning service team, exceptional features or even that you offer “green” or eco-friendly elements such as energy saving appliances.
Also determine why resident choose to stay at your community such as stellar customer service, a VIP convenience service package, service team rapid response or in an ideal location saving time and gas. You may be surprised at all of the new sales angles as well as marketing perspective provided in this think-tank session. Begin to use all this new information immediately to maximize your marketing message as well better your sales presentations.
As for the maintenance issues- I would determine what exactly the challenges are and begin to repair them as your budget will allow. Great service teams, quick response and a well-maintained community are the top reasons why resident renew at our communities. These concerns ideally should be fixed to ensure high renewal rates as well as a positive referral source from current residents.
What are the important power questions?
My top proven power question is: “If you could have 3 specific features in your apartment home – What would they be?” This question gets the prospective renter a chance to think and offer their top values and needs. This “golden ticket” question is very valuable to the leasing professional because it reveals motivations and desires that can be used on the call or the tour to show clear value, benefit and create urgency to lease.