The Telephone Greeting – Apartment Living
Catchy answering phrases seem to be all the rage with businesses lately. “This-is-Blah-Blahblah-at-XYZ-apartments-where-blah-blah-blah-and-blah-blah-blah and blah-blah-blah!” To be honest, I never remember the person’s name, much less what else was said — if I even understood it in the first place because they said it all in one breath! Don’t you hate that?
Let’s take a moment to understand what actually happens when someone makes a telephone call. While the telephone is ringing, most people daydream or allow their mind to wander a bit. When the telephone is answered and a voice is heard, our attention then goes back to what we were doing. How many times have you called someone, only to realize that by the time the phone was answered, you’d forgotten why or who you called? This happens to people every day. We are all so busy and have so many things to do that our mind naturally moves on to the other tasks whenever we have a second or two to stray from the task at hand. Keeping this in mind will help you to use your opening phrase to its best advantage. Try, “Hi, this is Tami at XYZ Apartments. I can help you!” Or “ Hi, this is Tami at XYZ Apartments. We’re the New Vision for apartment living! I can help you!” This phrase yields several positive results:
1. The “Hi!” followed by a short pause, grabs their attention. (You can substitute “Hello.”)
2. By the time the community’s name is said, the person calling is ready to start remembering. Remember that we have two goals here: to remind them of where and why they called, and to help them remember our community’s name.
3. “I can help you,” says that you are competent and ready to help. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of calling people who aren’t sure right off the bat that they can help me. If I didn’t need help, I wouldn’t have called! “I can help you!” is a positive statement, whereas “Can I help you?” or “May I help you?” imply doubt on the part of the professional, and leave doubts in the caller’s mind.
4. “We’re the New Vision for apartment living” is the “tagline” that I use consistently in both print and in the telephone greeting at my own communities. Of course, you would substitute your community’s marketing message. If you choose not to include a tagline in your greeting, it won’t make or break the call, but I’ve found that it helps to reinforce the community’s marketing message.
Take Control From the Start
Once you’ve greeted them, the future resident will more than likely ask or tell you one of four things:
1. How much are your ________ bedrooms?
2. I’d like some information about your _______ bedroom.
3. I’m interested in a ________ bedroom.
4. In a few markets they may say, “Do you have a ______ bedroom available?
Any of these questions, or any other question that is asking for your expertise, should be answered with: “Great, I’d be happy to give you that information! My name is Tami, and yourrs?”
This lets the future resident know that you are going to give them the information that they are asking for, and places you in control of the conversation. It may seem odd, but it’s important to roll your R’s on the word Yourrrrs, and say it in a friendly, curious tone of voice. This leads the future resident into giving their name. This is a time-honored sales technique that’s been used by many successful leasing professionals and taught by a few of the best trainers, speakers, and consultants in the country including Anne Sadovsky and Gene Chamberlain. It’s stuck around for good reason — it works! You’ll be surprised at how easily they respond with their own name, allowing you to start working on that relationship!
I realize that this isn’t the typical means of obtaining a future resident’s name, but I have a very good reason for steering you away from the usual queries. Don’t ask “What’s your name?” or “With whom am I speaking?” Both of these responses tend to sound demanding in nature, no matter how friendly your tone of voice; and you probably won’t get much more in return than a flat “All I want is the price.” You will receive the same response if you jump right into the questions that we have all been trained to ask because we need the information to complete the guest card. Relationship Leasing isn’t about paperwork – it’s about people work. Guest cards are valuable, but you can obtain the information that they require as easily in pleasant conversation as you can by conducting an interrogation; and I don’t have to tell you which the future resident would prefer to be subjected to.
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