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Turn of Phrase: 5 New Takes on Multifamily Lingo

Turn of Phrase: 5 New Takes on Multifamily Lingo

Every morning as I was growing up, my dad would put a single word on the refrigerator.  It was the family word of the day.  Before bedtime we had to give an example of how the word influenced our day.  Some words were easy such as “friend” and “smile”; over time they became more mature like “altruistic” and “fortitude”.  Early on I learned that words held the power to affect my actions and decisions.  I adopted the practice when I became a parent and now my daughter is in an eternal love affair with words.

Interactions with residents and prospects are predominantly verbal and the words we use can help or hurt our efforts to lease and renew.  It may seem improbable that a single word could do all that but we know when it comes to multifamily, nothing is improbable.  Here are five words I believe we can work into daily conversations to win over prospects and residents.

1. Home – As an industry, we’ve moved away from sterile words such as “unit”.  Early on in my career, I was taught to use the term “apartment home” because it sounded warmer and gentler to the ears.  But what if we can soften things up even more and instill a little pride in ownership to boot?  Next tour, try your best not to use the word “apartment”, instead stick to saying “home” – a simple switch that relays a sense of comfort and dignity. 

“Well John, I think I have the perfect home just for you.”

“Hi Mary, how’s everything going in your home?”

2. Gift – If you’re a community offering incentives, the words “bonus” or “concession” may be most familiar.  Might I offer an alternative which clearly defines exactly what the receiver is getting?  Bonuses and concessions are merely “gifts”, bestowed as a thank you or courtesy for committing to a lease. 

“And John, should you decide to lease today, our gift to you is half off your first full month.”

“Mary, if you’re able to stay with us, our gift to you is $500 off another year’s lease.”

3. Effortless – One of the perks of apartment living is worry-free living.  At least that’s what we promote as an added benefit.  If that’s the case, actually saying the word “effortless” indicates how little work is involved on the part of your prospects and residents.

“John, we have an effortless approval process.  I should have an answer for you by the end of today.”

“Mary, let me show you how effortless it is to set up your profile for our resident portal.”

4. Imagine – Prospects are touring the community to get an idea of what life as a resident is like.  Helping them to see themselves as a member of your community gets you one step closer to getting the lease.  The action word “imagine” ignites a mental picture for the prospect.  And for current residents, the word emphasizes your desire to connect with their situation.

“John, can you just imagine sitting here on this balcony with a nice cup of coffee?”

“Mary, imagine my surprise to hear your neighbor had a loud party over the weekend.  Don’t worry, I’m on it.”

5. Regret – The most interesting word in the bunch.  This word goes beyond “sorry” and is packed with empathy.  It’s also a very personal word and demonstrates a level of understanding and emotional intelligence.

“John, I regret we don’t have the actual home to show today.  Would you be interested in viewing the same floorplan in another building?”

“Mary, I regret your stove repair was not completed as promised.  I’ve spoken with Dave and he assured me the part will be in tomorrow and the work will be finished before you return home.”

When working with clients, my advice is always minor tweaks for maximum results and sometimes the smallest change can generate a ripple effect.  According to Tony Robbins, words not only describe an experience, they form an experience. You never know when a single word can make all the difference for your prospects and residents.  

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great piece. Thanks!

  Ellen Calmas
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks so much for the feedback Ellen. Happy to hear the info was helpful!

  Lia Nichole Smith

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