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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

"And here is the apartment..." - Avoiding the Prospect Tour That Falls Flat

If you have shopped enough apartment communities, you will find some leasing consultants who take a "self service" attitude to showing the model apartment to a prospect.  They open the door, announce that "this is the apartment", and then just watch the prospect as he or she walks from room to room.  They expect the apartment to sell the prospect, not themselves, and it often leaves the tour feeling flat and uninspiring.

Conversely, today I went to one of my favorite Starbucks, and saw a great example of the complete opposite of the "self service" sale!  It was just a few days removed from Hurricane Harvey, and they were running out of food, as they hadn't had a new shipment of supplies.  One of the customers came up, asked for something that they didn't have, and that's when the barista did something great.  Standing over the food case, he could have easily said that they were out of most things, and then point to the half empty case in front of him.  In fact, I would bet 90% of baristas would have just done the pointing technique and waited for the customer to decide.  But he didn't do that - he instead talked through all of the options available in front of him, taking the time to connect with the customer rather than simply waiting for the sale.

That's the difference between an average salesperson and a great one - taking that extra step to make the sale, rather than waiting for the sale to come to you.  This can often happen at newer, high end communities which have incredible amenities, but fail to translate those amenities into an emotional response from the prospect.  Leasing consultants can have a false sense of security, expecting that the prospect will look around and be "wowed", rather than hustling for the sale. 

In the end, the apartment tour is a great time to get the prospect to "buy in" to the life you are trying to sell them, so it is important not to squander it!

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  • Anne Sadovsky

    Brent..may I add to this? Several tips from my leasing seminars.
    Don't insult their intelligence. "this is the pool, this is the living room." Duh, they know what it is. Change 'this is' to 'your'. Your pool, your kitchen. Assumptive selling!!! When you point out features, point out benefits "your refrigerator is frost free, which will allow you more time sleep in" and 'Your fireplace creates a great ambiance; picture a romantic dinner and friends over to watch a game, right in front of your fireplace." Also, use "As you can see, your bathroom has extra storage for linens."
    I could go on for an hour. Also, know how to overcome objections. "I really wanted a fireplace." I understand that it sounds great. However, you would lose a furniture wall, might forget and leave the flue open, and watch utility dollars go up the chimney." Okay, we need to do a webinar on this topic!!!

  • Great point, Anne!

  • I agree with what Anne says here. I'm a fan of opening the door, stepping inside and turning to face them before letting them in. "Welcome to your new home," I say, then start to lead them through. By now, we've talked enough that I know who likes to cook and, since we typically start right next to the kitchen, I like to launch right into that.

    They have kids? Oh, I get them in on it. "Hey, who can tell me which bedroom will be yours?"

    It's not about selling the product; it's about selling the experience!

  • great post, Brent!

  • Thanks, Rommel!

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