by Tami Siewruk
You’ve heard the old joke… a kid walks up to an old man on a street in New York and asks “how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The old man says “practice.” I can’t tell you how many times I’m approached by even veteran leasing professionals who ask “how can I be sure I’m giving the best possible presentation?” My answer? “Practice.”
The secret of a successful apartment presentation is in the preparation. There’s really no substitute for conducting several practice presentations before actually taking a future resident to see their new apartment. While this is especially true for new leasing professionals, even leasing veterans can benefit from the fresh advice and perspective that a practice presentation offers. Below are my tried-and-true ideas of what makes a presentation great – including practice!
- Practice with a team of your fellow leasing professionals. Have your service technicians show you through the apartment and you’ll learn many new things to say, demonstrate and point out. Practice in every floorplan that your community offers. Freely exchange new ideas, constructive criticism and encouragement!
- Make a sincere effort (I know this is difficult if you’ve been at your present community for a while) to view the apartment home from the future resident’s perspective as though you’re seeing it for the first time.
- Pay attention to your positioning. The distance from a person should be 3 feet. Give each room the feeling of maximum space and light by standing away from windows and as close to a wall as you can (without looking ridiculous). Practice demonstrating items like under counter lights, appliances, counter tops, closets and so on. Remember that your positioning is important to the future resident’s view and understanding.
- Incorporate as many visual elements as possible. A Fort Collins, CO window replacements company recommends that to draw attention to the view, you can talk about how the light comes into the windows, open doors, if you have great cell service ask the future resident to check the bars on their cell phone, etc.
- Use language that “paints pictures” in the future resident’s mind this helps them to imagine living in the apartment. Show them examples from your Decorating Idea Book. If you don’t have one create an idea book for each floor plan.
- Avoid talking too much. Silence is as important to a successful presentation as is what you have to say. It gives you the chance to catch your breath and the future resident the chance to let what you’ve just said “sink in.”
- Make all your points “hard hitting.” This doesn’t mean to make them cold and devoid of emotion. An emotional plea carries more weight than a purely logical one.
- Be prepared to handle any and all objections. This is another great reason to practice with others – they’re likely to have heard or overcome objections that you haven’t and vice versa.
- Take control and maintain it throughout the presentation. My favorite technique is to ask the future resident to stay with me when we enter the apartment. I explain that I have some very important features to show them, and will allow them as much time as they need to browse alone once my presentation is complete. When we’re done I simply say “Now that I’ve shown you the apartment you’re free to walk around alone for a while unless you’ve already made up your mind?” If they want the apartment go straight to the leasing center! If not, by offering them the chance to browse alone you’ve given them the chance to sell themselves.
- Remember that the future resident is “experiencing” the apartment home and not just seeing it. Don’t just show features and rattle off benefits. Help them to experience features and visualize benefits. You won’t get the lease until they can see themselves living in the apartment home.
- Use this floor-planning app to layout each floor plan the community offers. Print out as many ways you can think of to lay out furniture for each floor plan. Don’t forget to include copies in your leasing portfolio. Read this article for more 10 Best Free Online Virtual Room Programs and Tools
- The SnapShop Showroom iOS app gives US shoppers the chance to try out furnishings from a variety of retailers, in their own homes using augmented reality. Users simply choose an item and then overlay the image into their interior using their device’s camera. Consumers can snap photos and send to social networks or via email if they want to share with friends, and links to buy the actual furnishings are included for easy, in-app purchasing.
- Use the Pantone color smartphone app to show the future resident how their furniture colors will work with the colors in the apartment.
Old or New…
What matters most is that your presentation is developed with the needs of the future resident in mind. They’re naturally curious so tell them everything there is to know. They want to be treated with superior customer service so do all you can to ensure that your community’s dedication to resident satisfaction shines through. And finally, they have to see it to believe it. Demonstrate and use visual elements throughout your presentation — and if you can’t actually show something, use language that makes the future resident easily imagine it! When they’re pleased enough with the apartment’s features and benefits and are so secure in your ability to serve them that they can easily imagine themselves living happily in the apartment – you’ve got them! Now that’s a perfect presentation!