The Apartment Leasing Approach Basics Part One
Over the years there have been many types of leasing approaches taught. Our industry, and more importantly, the people we serve has changed. The techniques that we used in the past are no longer as effective as they once were. Certainly some of the techniques are still viable, while others are no longer effective. People don’t want to be “sold to” – they want to be served.
Today’s leasing approach must fit this desire of being served in order to be effective. In other words, we are not “selling” apartments we are “selling” future residents. If you really want to succeed in leasing apartments you must move beyond “leasing apartments” to helping the future resident solve their moving and lifestyle needs and wants. We have to create value in living in our community. Value in service, value in our amenities and so on. They want your help or they would have never contacted you. They want you to help them find the new apartment home they are looking for. Before you can help them you have to develop a rapport and win their confidence. This approach is known as customer-focused or relationship selling.
Before you can lease apartments you must realize and understand the entire leasing process.
Effectively handle all requests for information about your community, including telephone inquiries, with the goal of persuading the future resident to visit the community personally.
Meet and greet future residents (at the front door if possible). Offer your hand, offer your help and offer a comfortable chair.
Qualify future residents and find out their needs and wants. Be certain the future resident is at least 18 years of age then ask the following: marketing source, number of people to live in the apartment, size apartment home desired, move-in date, budget, preference of upstairs or downstairs, preference of carpet etc.
Fill out a welcome Card for each future resident.
Present, show and demonstrate the model (if your community has one), and an available apartment. Present to the future resident the major amenities such as the fitness center, pool area, tennis courts, business center and so on while building value in each. Discuss the community, Management Company, service department and special services.
Have complete product knowledge of every floor plan within your community! Show all closets and added storage spaces, know the square footage of storage space and how many hangers can be hung in each closet. Show the different views, appliances that have special features then get them to place their furniture in the apartment by using your smartphone with the snapshop app and discuss all the possibilities. If your community offers custom home upgrade options, explain the program and possibilities. Be alert for the objections and be prepared to overcome them.
Invite the future resident to become a resident in your community
Invite the future resident to complete the rental application. Introduce the future resident to other team members if possible and complete any necessary paperwork. Once the future resident has filled out the rental application and has signed it, collect the application fee and deposit.
Verify the information on the application and check the applicant’s credit, then present it to the community Manager for an approval or denial of occupancy.
Mail the future resident a thank you or welcome letter. Once the application has been verified and approved, provide the future resident with the numbers to call for water, cabal, Internet access, newspaper, electric, gas and telephone services, their new address and the amount of rent that will be due upon move-in. Many communities today are offering to make these calls for the resident as an added-value service. Keep in mind that an important part of the leasing process includes making certain that the new resident understands every detail of the move-in process and has no surprises on move-in day or during the term of the lease.
Complete all move-in paperwork. Make certain that the apartment door locks have been re-keyed and the appropriate keys to the apartment and mailbox are ready for move-in day. File all paperwork in appropriate files.
If the future resident did not lease, follow up by writing a thank you note, sending a post card, emailing them or mailing additional community information … and make sure to follow up with telephone calls.
Continue the follow-up process until the future resident has leased in your community or at a competitor’s community. If the future resident leased in a competitor’s community determine why they selected that community over yours. Keep a record of this information.
Become familiar with other local communities within your company as well as competitive communities. If you can’t help a future resident, always refer them to another community. By keeping a set of brochures on nearby communities you can then offer the future resident the information and even call the community to set up an appointment. This will go along way in establishing a rapport with these other communities, and they will, in time, do the same for you.
Recognize that knowledge is your key to success in each of the steps and areas addressed above. This includes knowledge of the leasing process as well as product knowledge. The more you know, the more you’ll grow. Remember, that knowledge isn’t a static entity, it’s the product of learning, which needs to be a life-long and career-long process. The more you continue to learn, the more you’ll continue to grow as a professional.