Handling a Future Resident Inquiry
The Relationship Leasing process begins, and actually revolves around the future resident’s desire for information about your community. Each step of the process is forming a pyramid.
Step one, handling the future resident inquiry, is the foundation of the structure. Every single step that follows is built upon it and depends on it for support, all the way up to the top the closing of the lease. In Relationship Leasing it is important to keep in mind that future residents and resident alike don’t care about you nearly as much as they care about themselves. They might, at some point, actually begin to like you; but no matter what you do, they are going to like themselves even more. Obviously, they haven’t come to you because they want to help you lease an apartment – they want to make their own life better and more comfortable, and you’re the one who’s there to do the helping. These two goals are certainly not mutually exclusive.
In traditional leasing strategies, we have found that the goal of the future resident and the goal of the leasing professional is quite different – it’s your job to lease, and their job to resist a little just to be certain they’re not being taken for a ride. These goals actually compete. In Relationship Leasing, the goals of the leasing professional and future resident are complementary. You’re not leasing an apartment solely on its own merits or on the basis of how convincing you can be; but rather, you’re leasing to best satisfy the wants and needs of the future resident. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be likable or convincing…it just means that you should not be the center of the leasing effort.
You may be asking yourself what’s wrong with the traditional strategy of focusing on the apartment, community and attorney services. The fundamental flaw of the traditional strategy is that it offers kind of a “hit and miss” approach to addressing the future resident’s wants and needs. They may or may not be interested in the full range of features and amenities that you have to offer, and could possibly be very interested in something that it wouldn’t have even occurred to you to present. It’s also kind of a “one size fits all” approach that fails to embrace the fact that just because the last future resident cared about the community’s amenity package, the next one will as well. Every Community has its own set of unique leasing features. Developers design them that way. Even when you know beyond any doubt that your community has better features overall, other leasing professionals can always find some true, positive selling points about their community. For the future resident, this can lead to confusion, frustration and just plain exhaustion from listening to one leasing professional after the next spout off their community’s features, hoping that one will be able to meet the future resident’s needs and wants.
Another problem with the traditional apartment leasing approach is that it doesn’t lend itself well to building a relationship and rapport with the future resident. In fact, it lacks the main ingredient of rapport: interactive communication.
Now that you know where the traditional approach falls short, you have a better idea of where Relationship Leasing excels. Its strengths will be immediately apparent to you from the moment a future resident inquires about your community, and you begin the exchange of information necessary to determine their wants and needs.
Let’s consider some of the forms that this first inquiry can take. Occasionally, the future resident simply walks in. Most often, the process begins with a telephone call.
Part Two Telephone Leasing will be published next week.
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101 Secrets of Relationship Leasing (Item 373)