5 Tactical Steps to the Lease
Every sale has steps to it. I believe that defining and creating a pipeline around those steps can help simplify your sales process and make you and your entire team more successful. In fact, when I was selling technology in the auto industry, it was vital not to cut corners or bypass any step…because each one played a role in the end result. So what are the steps to the sale / lease for your property(ies)?
Step 1: The Interview
Let’s skip prospecting for the moment and start with the conversations between leasing agent and prospect. First thing to remember: No matter how good you are, sometimes you can simply say too much. If you’ve leased apartments or sold products for any length of time, you know this is true!
People today experience so much noise in the form of ads, marketing messages and other one-way communications that the actual sale has to be a two-way conversation. That’s why I don’t believe this “interview” step should be a form people fill out. You need to make it personal, a real conversation with open-ended questions that can help you identify the shopper’s needs and wants. This will help you stay on topic later and identify what stage your shopper is in.
Remember: If you blatantly pitch during this process, it can cause you to lose trust (and trust is the No. 1 reason people will decide to buy / lease from you).
Step 2: The Tour
This is the wow factor. This is when your shoppers will try to hold back emotion, but you need to create an atmosphere where they can’t…one that allows them to be open and express how they truly feel. How?
Don’t be afraid to be transparent with your emotions. Consider telling stories about events, people, the community, etc. Sure, I think it’s important to highlight your “features” (stainless appliances, double-pane windows) and educate them on different benefits, as long as you don’t make it all about those amenities. Ultimately, the only thing you have to offer that no one else can is “you” (as the leasing agent) and the people living in the community.
Remember: Continue to get feedback during this process. You can’t overcome objections if you don’t know them! Objections addressed early and often will knock down walls of rejection, giving you the advantage.
Step 3: Ask For The Lease
This is the single most missed step in sales for any business. It’s not that we’re afraid of asking; we’re afraid of the answer. “Would you like to make this your next home?” may feel very car-salesman-ish, but find a way to ask that feels comfortable to you and generates an answer you can work with. Personally, I love getting a “no.” It’s a challenge, a constructive criticism opportunity that will draw out objections and give you great feedback.
Remember: Overcome objections with honesty and don’t over promise.
Step 4: Follow Up
Consistent, smart follow-up is another essential step to the lease because people rarely close right after a tour. Before your potential residents finish the tour, find out how they prefer to be contacted. Then study that communication and understand what’s acceptable and what’s not.
For instance, you don’t want to be put on blacklist because you’re blowing up their phone with calls while they’re at work. If they want emails, craft them to be read on mobile devices (over half of email opens happen there). Keep the subject line catchy, but short. On smartphones, only about 30-40 characters can be seen. Then, study what else your prospects would see of your email in their mobile devices’ email list view. It can vary by device, but focus on making your first couple of sentences relevant and attention-grabbing to entice opens.
Maybe texting is what they’d prefer—that’s my preference. (Emails get buried in the inbox and forgotten.) I’m in a lot of meetings, but I can read and reply to texts in a few, subtle seconds. If that’s what your prospects want too, make sure you do it right with proper opt-in, opt-out options.
Remember: Keep your follow-up short and to the point, and always end with a question that’s easy to reply to…so you create that two-way bridge of constant communication.
Step 5: The Close
The close, I feel, is a similar step in most industries. We’re a society of what I call “push and retreat.” If you push, the prospects will retreat. So make it personal, maybe something like: “I can’t help but get excited when I think about you two making our community your new home. You both fit in so well here. Can I expect you to move in within the next 30 days?” Now, this approach requires a certain level of discernment. If they haven’t given you buying signals, then it’s not the right path! Your plan at that point likely would be to do everything in your power to get them back to your property. Maybe you invite them to an event; let them feel like part of the community.
Remember: Closing doesn’t mean to reduce or discount your product for a signature. That can actually cheapen your offering and, in some cases, can turn people off. If you do have to go that route, consider offering something extra to build value…rather than depreciating your community by giving a discount.
In my experience, these five steps to the sale/lease work in almost every type of business. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’m only a few months old in this industry and have never leased an apartment myself. I would love to hear your feedback! If you have suggestions or additional steps, please share in the comments.
Story By: Ryan Lucia