The Secret to Leasing isn’t a Secret

                This past weekend I scoured the Atlanta area looking for an apartment for myself. After leasing to other people for a couple years I was looking forward to sitting back and having someone sell to me for once! However, what I experienced was extremely discouraging. Not one of the 5 communities I toured bothered to ask me what I did for a living. Not one community asked how my roommate and I knew each other. Not one community even asked what we were looking for in an apartment. Only 1 of the 5 communities followed up with me.

This is a problem.

Here’s what you need to realize: the difference between an average leasing staff and an excellent leasing staff is in the details. There’s no magic answer or shortcut to getting more leases. However, by  going back and focusing on the basics you will see a drastic improvement.

1. The Greeting: Leasing offices can be incredibly intimidating to walk into and it can be a very uncomfortable experience. You can quickly put your prospects at ease by stopping whatever you’re doing and greeting them at the door. This is the first impression a prospect has of your community and you cannot afford for it to go badly. During my apartment search this past weekend, a leasing agent asked me when I was looking to move two seconds after I walked through the door. When I told her my ideal date she quickly said she had nothing in that time frame and dismissed me. Even though my move-in date was flexible, I was completely turned off by the interaction as it was clear to me I was just another number. Make sure your leasing team is taking the time to greet and sit down with each and every prospect. The greeting truly makes all the difference in a prospect’s perception.

2. Personalize the experience: The worst habit I see many leasing agents fall into comes from creating canned descriptions of your community. This seems easy and ideal until you realize one thing– every prospect is different. Get to know your prospect and then tailor your product demonstration to their specific needs and wants.  You don’t want to repeat the same phrases they are reading on your website.  Make it personal!

3. Follow up: Although our goal is to lease to every prospect that comes in the door, a few prospects may slip through the cracks. In this case we need to refocus and retarget these prospects. This is done by diligent follow up. Your leasing staff should be sending emails, thank you notes and calling a prospect all within 24 hours of their visit. We can’t have canned responses here either. In your email and thank you note, mention something they loved on the tour or a non-apartment related topic from one of your conversations. With follow-up phone calls– before diving into their decision making–ask how their weekend was, or how a big meeting went, even ask about a TV show they keep up with. After a few minutes of conversation you can ask how their search is going.