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Relationship Selling and Why YOU Should Master It!

The word sales person conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images... 

Used Car Sales

Need I even say more? Oh you know me, I have plenty more to say! 

As professionals in the multifamily industry; we are all sales people, but what sets us apart from other industries is we are selling a "product" that is a basic NEED of everyone... housing! 

We aren't the "stereotypical" sales person (or at least we shouldn't be). No one likes to be sold to, yet everyone needs what we sell. So how do you not SELL when you need to get leases? Easy... have a conversation. 

Yep, you read that right, talk to your prospective residents. Easy as that!

Think you do? OK, let me ask you a few questions... Do you say and do the same thing on each tour like you're following a script? Do you tell each person the features and benefits of living at your community without hesitation? Do you wrap up by asking for them to lease? If so, that's certainly one way to do it, but a better way is to actually have a two way conversation. You know, find out about them... their wants, their needs, their deepest darkest secrets (HA! I kid). 

The easiest way to build rapport with someone else is to get them talking about themselves, and the benefit to listening to a prospect tell you about their life, is the clues you can get just from that simple and friendly conversation. Without question it'll tell you more than any guest card question can and the prospect will begin to trust you. Can your robotic guest card questions build trust? Not likely... 

When a prospective resident is telling you how hectic their life is and how they drive in the opposite direction after work to hit the gym... this is fuel (assuming you have a fitness center on-site) for your leasing fire. As they mention how much their kids love the local park with cool playground equipment... this is ammunition (assuming you have a playground) for your leasing machine gun. When the prospects are confiding to you that they just don't have enough personal space and it's hard on their relationship... this is the jelly (assuming you have a floor plan that is spacious and affords privacy) for your property PB&J. 

Get the picture? As a "sales person" you don't have to and shouldn't be "sales-y". Instead, try being that trusted adviser who is only there aid prospective residents in finding the right home for them. 

Think about it, you have conversations with people every day. You ask questions, you listen, you reply... try it out at on tour and see the leasing magic happen!  

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Tara, I agree 100% with building relationships with our Prospects, Residents, Vendors and others. Our ability to create a calm, nurturing environment during a leasing presentation oftentimes can be the deciding factor for someone on the fence about where to lease and ultimately live. Yesterday, The Training Factor, conducted a live stream training session just on this topic. What was so nice - there were some new to the industry leasing professionals in actual attendance - was they demonstrated this during LIVE! Role Playing "tours." This is how most people learn and can practice leasing techniques, too. Thank you for your post. I absolutely believe that in leasing, the relationship matters!

  Mindy Sharp
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree with both of you. The owner of our properties has stated time and time again, that people are going to chose to rent based on our personality and ability to make them feel wanted. I toured an older gentleman sometime ago. I listened to his story and empathized with him. I followed up on him and made sure all his questions were answered. Three years later he's still living here. I asked him one day in the midst of a conversation why he chose Parke Orcutt and he said that I made him feel like I wanted him to live here. Isn't that amazing?!? Someone one said people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

  Carol Howell
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree with this topic. I would encourage the leasing teams to use the first names of their prospective residents early and often in their discussion; especially if the names are hard to pronounce..... Once they are residents, I would encourage the rest of the staff to learn these names quickly.

The most important word a person can hear is their own name; especially if it is pronounced right ('I am not sure I can pronounce your name correctly, can you help me???' is a perfectly acceptable question to ask).

True story: years ago, I worked for a national electronics retailer that had a small division dedicated to corporate/government/education clients and served these clients in store. I got to know the purchasing agent for one of the local school districts (who had a name that was very difficult to pronounce). This school district won a grant between federal and state funds that totaled $200,000 that required teachers to purchase computer equipment for personal use under No Child Left Behind. Because I learned this person's name, not only did I get more than all that business (I had $250,000 in sales from this one relationship); but because he also knew the purchasing agent for a local private school system that required all their students to have laptops for class, I got ALL that business as a referral when the parents purchased new laptops for themselves.

Now, this environment is completely different; but the theory still applies: connect with your clients and treat all their questions/objections as opportunities. You are dealing with what is very likely to be the single biggest expense on their monthly budget and you want to show you are responsive to their concerns. When you hit a home run on this concept, you will be building the base for a long term resident.

Once they have committed to the application process; deliver on everything you promise to further solidify this relationship, especially early on.

  Johnny Karnofsky
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I don't have any amenities, my apartments are old and slightly updated. It's a great location and I keep it clean and screen residents very thoroughly. In my online reviews, my name is usually mentioned. My mindset for my greeting when someone comes by is "This is my cousin that I haven't seen in years and I am happy to see them." That's how I treat them and it seems to work. I love my job and love people and it shows. I had a resident come in to renew for another year and she told me how much she disliked her previous landlord. She said is was her personality. I think I won her over!!

  Sandy Martin

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