What is the first thing that your prospects ask on the phone when they call your property? Chances are it is “how much are your apartments?”

I would venture to guess that over 80% of apartment inquiries start with that question. However, a majority of these same prospects have most likely searched for your property online, viewed your website or ILS ad and determined the price prior to calling. So why would they even bother to ask for pricing if they already know the answer? I have come up with 2 conclusions to this paradox.

1. They are looking for a move-in special

2. They have been conditioned by our industry to only ask for pricing since that is normally the only information given to the prospect during the call. In other words, when they call your competitors they are not getting sold on the value, amenities or sense of community at a property… only the price.

Leasing 101 tip: “People decide to lease based on value, and the rapport they develop with the Leasing Specialists.”

Price has almost nothing to do with your ability to lease.  When we deflect the price question and focus on value selling and rapport building, we increase our chances of closing. Prospects ask for the price because they don’t know what else to ask for on the call. The truth is that most prospects already know the price, which makes sidestepping or deflecting the price question easier than you think.

Here are 3 steps to deflecting the price question on your phone calls.

1. Ask them “how soon do you need an apartment?” You should take control of the conversation and you should be the one asking the questions. You will often find that as you begin discussing the details of their lifestyle and move, they will become distracted and never ask for the price again until they come in to tour.

2. Ask them “what sort of price range are you looking for?” If they say a price that is within 20% of your range, then they are a qualified prospect. You should respond by saying “that is perfect, you are right about in our price range, how soon do you need an apartment?”

3. Value Sell, Value Sell, Value Sell. If they nail you down and make you divulge the price, start by quoting the market rent and be prepared to explain why it costs what it costs. If your property is $200 higher than the one across the street, explain why. Try saying something like: “our apartment homes are brand new with energy star appliances. They also include water, trash and sewer as well as a bundled cable and internet plan. When you add all of these features up, and throw in our state-of the art amenities, you will find that this is right about in your price range!”

Your prospects will pretend to care about price. But this is because our industry has conditioned them to do so. They most likely know the price before they even pick up the phone, so stop focusing on your rents and start focusing the conversation on value and rapport building. Save any specials or concessions for your closing table and get some leases!