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No! I Must Fill Out Your Guest Card NOW!!

No! I Must Fill Out Your Guest Card NOW!!
I want you to imagine that you have just “made a date” with that really cute guy (or gal) that you’ve been hoping to go out with for months. You’re taken it on your shoulders to plan the date and you’ve decided on a great new seafood restaurant that you’ve been dying to try. Then when you meet up you discover(to your horror!) that your date doesn’t like seafood … now what?   Would you still insist on sticking with your original plan and go to the seafood restaurant? Of course not, right? (Well, not if you want to have a great date!)    My guess is that you would “shift on the fly” and find something that would work for the both of you. Maybe you’d take out your phone and see if Siri could find you a great place to eat. Or perhaps you’d agree take a walk down the boulevard until you found something that you both fancied. Whatever you decide, I'm sure you’d choose to be flexible, so that the date had a chance of being a success.    No! This is how it needs to be!   In leasing apartments, you also need to be flexible with your approach to the sales process! Take this example…   A client walks in (obviously in a rush) and asks to see the model. You offer him some refreshments, which he refuses, saying he only has a few minutes before he has to get back to work. You grab a guest card and try to get......
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One More Question In the Lease Paperwork Will Change The Way You Understand Your Community

A while back, I wrote a blog that analyzed a particular renter and her decision for moving where she did.  At the time, I was lucky in that she shared her entire story on her blog, so for a brief moment, we glimpsed the true inner decision making process for that renter!  Of course, it’s not always that easy, but wouldn't it be invaluable to have an inner glimpse of each resident to find out what made them lease, what made them stay, or what made them go? Let’s take one resident.  We’ll call her Regina.  Regina toured the property nine months ago, and Jennifer the leasing consultant helped her through the process.  At the time, Jennifer asked all the right questions and found out that Regina was looking for a safe community where she would feel comfortable, an apartment with a balcony, and a place that offered fitness facilities. Everything seemed to fall into place as Jennifer again did a great job asking for a deposit, and Regina moved in two weeks later.  At this point, at the very least, the notes about her wants and needs should hopefully be input into the property management software to be referenced down the road.  It stands to reason that if she cared about a fitness center before, she might still care about that when discussing the renewal. But is that information telling the whole story?  With only her initial wants and needs, we are missing key information:  Did she move in because of one......
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Surprising Apartment Leasing Results

We recently finished up compiling the results to our leasing survey, which identifies the best leasing strategies in multifamily.  And as always, surprising information comes to light.  So I’d like to share some of these interesting tidbits of information for discussion: Is Your Voicemail System State of the Art? We asked a few questions about how on-site team members handle incoming phone calls when they had a prospect already in the office.  It turns out that 40% of calls will go to an automated voice mail system of some sort!  I’m not advocating answering the phone in that situation or not, but just going with the numbers as they are, the voice mail system better be wonderfully in tune, as that is a large percentage of people who might be prospects that are simply lost, or residents who need assistance.  How many people re-assess their voicemail system periodically and experiment with different setups to maximize its effectiveness? Does a Desk Limit The Rapport Building Process? One of the common practices in sales is to remove barriers between yourself and your prospective client, and a desk can be a pretty big barrier.  Add in a computer monitor, and it makes you wonder what that does with the connection with the prospect.  In our survey, 17% indicated they type in guest card information directly into the computer while talking with the prospect.  Do you think that could impede the sales process? Do You Seem Shifty By Not Saying A Price? If I ask......
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Risk: It’s Everywhere!

If there is one thing that property managers know, it’s that we are exposed to risk in all that we do. This “risk” comes in all shapes and forms; some are more evident than others. I am constantly reminding my employees to be careful of their actions as to not expose the property and our owners to possible litigation. Some of the greatest potential risks, as I have found, are in the very small details. Here’s a few that I wanted to point out. First, consider the “golden rule” of leasing—treat everyone consistently. Consistently being the key word.  I have often instructed my leasing agents to use caution when asking where people are from. Generally, in life this is a great conversation starter, but in the realm of fair housing when we open that door and are inquisitive on a prospects nationality this could be construed as discriminatory (if an allegation were to ever occur). The curiosity of national origin presents a very strong basis for a suit if one were ever made against the defendant (i.e. leasing agent). Think about it: why does it matter where they are from? You are trying to lease them an apartment—its best to stick to questions that qualify the prospect. As an alternative, the leasing agent might inquire about the prospects interests, hobbies, etc. While it may seem like a harmless, amiable way to personally get to know a prospect, its best to leave this question alone.   Secondly, the guest card. The guest......
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