Home is where your heart is, haven’t we all heard that or said that at one time or another? What does that mean? For many of us, home is where we feel safe and where we can just relax and chill. Crystal Hadidian said it best on her latest blog entry Don’t Scare Leads Away: 5 Reminders for Leasing Agents, “A home is a safe place where someone feels welcome and secure.” Now the next question is how do you create an environment where your neighbors feel safe and secure and, welcome?
First, a welcome sign, and a welcoming attitude with the onsite staff is a huge step in making people feel welcome. A smile communicates so much to people and for many it is the only smile they may see all day. A smile communicates happiness and comfort in the moment, a message that says everything is all right. When someone smiles at you, they are making eye contact and they say the eyes are the window of the soul, so smiling, and giving full eye contact is a sure sign of welcome. Add to that a greeting, like hello, or how is your day, and that communicates a message of caring. There are some stores where I shop that each time I ask where something is, they escort me to the aisle where the grocery item is located, I don’t have to look for it, the store clerks greet me and ask “Are you finding everything you need today?” Isn't that a strong message of welcome?
When your prospects come into the office, do you offer them a beverage? We currently are offering a selection of infused water with branded cups at each of our sites. With the health advantages of drinking water and the high expense of soda or other beverages, water is the best option and the cucumbers and strawberries look so pretty. How could anyone be in a bad mood after looking at and drinking water with a strawberry floating around in there?
Don’t forget coffee. We are a culture of coffee-aholics. How many spend upwards of $4 for a cup of coffee? Make a fresh pot of coffee in the afternoon, there are many who like it mid-day and it feels like home. Anytime you brew a fresh pot, someone is going to have a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Do you have a half pot sitting for a couple of hours, get rid of it, toss it down the sink and make more. This is all about feeling at home, feeling special and welcome.
What about the candy bowl? Oh yes, I have candy in my office, and even the chairman of the board goes digging in my candy bowl every time he pays a visit. Always remember to ask parents if their children are allowed to have some. Mints are always good to keep on hand, they are good for any occasion and everyone likes them,
Seasonal decorating is a wonderful way to perk up the decorations in the office. Its fall right now, and a pretty fall wreath, or garland, and couple of pumpkins, with fall branches take you right through Thanksgiving. Cinnamon pine cones create a lovely scent throughout the office of pumpkin pies and cinnamon cookies in the oven. Who doesn't want to come home to that? By the way, why not offer cookies to your prospects and bake those cookies in the model apartments? You can offer them to the prospects and they can look through the apartment and envision their own baking day right in their own home.
Finally, how do you answer the phone when your mother calls? “Hi mom, how are you?” Well, when you answer the phone, find a way to answer the phone that sends a clear message to the person who is calling that they are important to you and that you are there to make their day better and that they are home.
Home means something different to all of us, but the idea is the same, relaxation, safety, cleanliness, home baking smells, seasonal decorating, it all makes a difference. When there are budgetary restraints, go low key, but more personal with the welcome. There is always a way to make people feel at home with you because ultimately that is the message, come home to you fill in the blank. Remember, home is where the heart is and home is where you welcome everyone.