My first sales job was leasing apartments near Cleveland, Oh. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and truly believed in my product so much that I thought every person that walked in the door should lease an apartment. That enthusiasm (and naivety) propelled me to some initial successes in leasing.
Eventually, the enthusiasm tapered off a bit and my rose colored glasses broke and I found myself underperforming. Luckily, I worked for a phenomenal management company who believed in ongoing training via their training academy.
They trained from the get go that leasing is a sales role. It wasn't until my leasing % went down, that I fully embraced what this meant. And eventually returned to Top Performer status!
What did this mean?
1. Leasing is the front line. Beyond "online curb appeal" or true physical curb appeal, leasing representatives are the first impression a prospect receives as they walk in your door or call you on the phone. Good sales people are always prepared to make a good first impression. Although it is possible to recover from a poor first impression, great sales people know to start off strong and get stronger from there.
2. Leasing isn't telling. I was so impressed with my apartments that I couldn't wait to tell each and every prospect every amazing thing. But good sales people don't talk, they listen. It doesn't matter if I LOVE the apartments, it matters if the apartments meet the NEEDS and WANTS of the prospect. Great sales people know that if they listen and learn from the prospect, they can match an apartment in their community to the prospect's desires and lease a lot of apartments this way.
3. Leasing is a numbers game. Not every apartment community meets the needs and wants of every prospect. Good sales people don't get discouraged by a NO. If you are doing what you should be doing on the phone and during the sales presentation (aka the tour!), and if you are following up appropriately post-tour, the NO will just be a blip on the radar. If a NO really brings a leasing rep down, it's typically because they KNOW they didn't do everything they should have. Great sales people take it in stride and move on to find the next YES.
4. Leasing is income. The average rent for my first apartment community was in the $800 range. We signed exclusively 12 month leases at first (this was before Lease Expiration Management and Revenue Optimization programs). Good sales people make the realization that an $800 a month apartment for 12 months is a $9600 contract. Ask anyone in sales and they will tell you signing $9600 contracts daily or multiple times a day is a big deal. Great sales people truly understand the economic impact of their sales performance on their property's income and revel in it.
Leasing was not only my first sales job, but it was my most important sales role as well. It laid the foundation for sales success in later roles and I am forever appreciative.
Until next time, Happy Leasing!