How is your occupancy these days? A New Year brings new opportunities to raise rents, retain more residents, increase traffic, and close more leases. But how many leases are you really closing? Are you closing 50% of your prospect traffic…25%?… even less? Are the challenges of increasing costs, online reputation, and market competition driving your closing ratio down? It doesn’t have to be that way. Raise your closing percentage back to amazing with these Take5 closing tips.
1) Use Online Reviews to Build Doubt in the Minds of Prospects about Competitors
The two words that strike fear into the hearts of leasing staffs across America: Apartment Ratings. How is your rating compared to your competitors? Take steps to grow your rating by asking at each and every “resident touch” to rate you. Every tour, every maintenance request, every leasing signing and renewal, every resident…Every time you provide anything for resident, no matter how big or small, ask for the review. And don’t limit yourself to just one review site. Yelp and Google are powerful tools as well. As soon as you have a better review on any site, make sure to let prospects know upfront that you have the highest ratings in the area. Ask them to compare your rating those of your competitor. When ratings are not discussed as that prospect tours the competition, they are sure to wonder what the community has to hide.
2) Use your Maintenance Shop and Team to Help Close
During the tour, show your prospects some of the places that are normally off limits to residents. One great place is to show them the inside to the Maintenance Shop. If your maintenance team is the best in the area, if the shop looks really good, show off their hard work. While I was the District General Manager of CORT in Orlando, we loved touring managers and leasing teams in our warehouse. The fact that we ran a clean, well-organized operation allowed us to show off how confident we were while our competitors hid behind a veil of uncertainty. You could even take it further and have your maintenance team help with the tours. They are the most visible team members after move-in and they know the grounds better than anyone. Create that relationship between them and the residents right from the start.
3) Lead with Your Unique Amenities
Aren’t most of your amenities the same as your competitors? Then mention the things you have that are truly unique first. Do you have unique resident events, valet trash, package notification services, or even a pet concierge? If you talk about your unique features and then support with the common items that every community has, you will create a sense of uniqueness. Prospects will wonder why your competitors don’t have these benefits and you will stand out from the crowd.
4) Create an Emotional Connection and Sell Lifestyle
What is the one thing that is truly unique about you community? The Lifestyle! Between your unique amenities and your incredible staff, no one can take better care of your residents than you do. You can take that a step further. Take the things you learn about your future residents and include “emotion creation” statements during the tour.
a) You said that you would be bringing your furniture with you. Where do you think you’ll put the sofa and the TV?
b) Can’t you see yourself coming home to Muffin (pet dog) as she is looking out this window when you arrive home?
c) We have an A+ rated daycare and the best gym in the area only minutes from here. In fact, they are on the same side of the road that you will use on your 10 minute drive home from work.
d) I am so glad to hear that you play Candy Crush as well. We have a Candy Crush tournament every Tuesday in the clubhouse and the winner get breakfast delivered to their office the next day.
5) The Most Important Thing for Closing a Sale – Follow-up
Less than 25% of prospective residents are followed up within 24 hours. One fourth of prospects are never even followed-up with at all. Those consultants who do follow-up usually do so with generic messages (phone, mail, & email). The best thing you can do to close more leases is timely, unique followup. Try mentioning something personal about them when you email them back. Send them an Instagram Photo or a Vine Video to remind them how awesome their tour was. You can even just send a Hallmark eCard. Just find out what your competitors do for their follow-up and do something different. That makes a great impression.
Closing more leases is not a miracle occurrence. It does not matter if you have the highest rents in the area or are facing a couple of challenges. Closing more leases is about setting yourself apart for the competition, creating a connection to your prospect, and being effective with follow-up. Everyone wants to live someplace they can brag about. Create a world where they are bragging to their friends about living at your community.