All Cowbell, No Guitar


There is a fantastic old Saturday Night Live skit that centers around the need for more cowbell in the Blue Oyster Cult song, Don’t Fear the Reaper. “Fellas,” says a brilliant Christopher Walken, “I’m tellin’ you, you’re gonna’ want that cowbell.”

It’s true folks. You’re gonna’ want that cowbell. Those little things that you do that make your community stand apart – chilled towels in the fitness center, package delivery, truly great resident events, an active and interactive Facebook page – they’re as signature to you as the overindulgent cowbell beat is to Don’t Fear the Reaper.

But the cowbell alone isn’t the whole song. I think we’ve all been guilty at one time or another of focusing so much on the cowbell that we forget to play the guitar line. And until that guitar line is perfect, until we believe in the success of the fundamentals, it’s time to set the cowbell off to the side for a moment and focus on the song of the sale, because no amount of cowbell will make up for bad service or poor salesmanship.

Take a break from your cowbell for a second – put aside your Facebook page, your resident events, your grassroots campaign – and take a look at your fundamentals.

• On average, how long does it take you to return a phone call to a new lead? How about for an existing resident?
• What is the no show rate on tours? Do you call to try to reschedule the tour if the potential resident doesn’t come in?
• Would you rent from yourself? If you were shopping with a leasing agent who was telling you the same things, is there any way you’d give him or her your deposit?
• Do you believe in the product that you’re selling? Would you live here? If not, then why do people live here?

Components of Your “Song”


These qualities make up the chorus of your sales song. And no amount of cowbell can replace them. These are qualities that, if missing, can’t be masked by marketing or special effects. They have to be there for the sales song to have structure and motion, and they’re essential to building a quality melody. And…once a quality melody is set in your sales song, THEN, fellas, you’re gonna’ want that cowbell, ‘cause I’ve got a fever, and there’s only one cure.