Try Something Different - By Russ Sandlin
The definition of sanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!
As leasing professionals, most associates develop strong leasing presentations and stick to the same format ...forever. There are certainly advantages to repetition in selling and if you were to ask ten of the most qualified sales trainers in America, I am sure you would hear sticking to a consistent game plan is both important and effective. The challenge is the prospective residents are all different. Each one comes to the leasing scenario with a different set of needs and expectations. Today's leasing associate has to be prepared to be different. Positioned to tailor their presentation to the prospective resident's needs through an interpersonal approach to the leasing process. Let's assume four elements the professional associate can use to add variety, color and a personal touch to their presentations.
Ask right questions:
The basis of interpersonal leasing is focused on Informational Gathering. The professional leasing associate who learns to effectively use this process will always be considered the most versatile and competent. Using questions that draw out information, get the prospect conversational and build trust are the most effective. A good example of using psycho graphic questions can be observed when a leasing associate defines the number of people who will occupy an apartment. You could simply ask the prospect, "How many people will occupy the apartment?" This is the most common question used by associates.
However, consider the prospect's perception. In this instance the question sounds interrogative. If, on the other hand, you asked your prospective resident, "Is the apartment just for yourself?", you would determine the same information, focus more on the prospective resident's needs and create a much less formal environment. Another excellent example comes later in the information gathering process. In an effort to financially qualify your prospect without intimidation, try these three questions; "What do you do?", "Who do you do it for?" and "How long have you done it?" When interjected in a conversational manner these questions will often allow you to avoid any unpleasant qualification on the front end. Of course, you will want to cover more specifics later in the leasing process.
Creating emotional appeal:
The decision to buy is emotional. In the 90's the prospective resident has taken more time selecting their new apartment home, which is evident based on the number of communities the prospective resident is shopping prior to making a decision. However, when the prospective resident says, "I'll take it!", it is an emotional decision. The professional leasing associate can use emotional appeal to position the prospect to make the leasing decision. While the days of forcing the prospect into a decision through "power closing" or "alternate of choice" phrasing are past. This does not mean the leasing associate has lost the power of emotional appeal to reinforce the selling process. Emotional appeal is the most powerful element you have as a tool to motivate the prospective resident to lease. In order to create emotional appeal, use the information gathering process to identify the prospective resident's needs. It is only through the prospect's individual needs that you can build emotional appeal. For example, during the tour you and the prospective resident stop at the swimming pool. Most leasing associated would say, "Bill, this is our swimming pool, it is open from 10:00am until 11:00pm daily. What do you think?" This technique develops little or no emotional appeal.
On the other hand, if you were to say, [based on the prospective resident's needs you defined during the information gathering process]. "Bill, earlier you mentioned how you like to stay in shape by swimming laps every day. Can't you just imagine how refreshing it will be to get in your pool after a hard day at work to unwind and workout?"
This Feature Benefit Relationship Survey evokes tremendous emotional appeal and is directed spedifically at your prospect's needs. It personalizes the leasing approach allowing you to focus on the prospecive resident instead of the product.
Using Body Language
How often have you met someone of whom you have said, "If you tied their hands behind their back they would never be able to talk?" The position and posture of your body during the entire leasing process is a universal language. Yourprospect acquires a tremendous amount of information about you and your personal commitment to them through this process. Using body language effectively can add explosive meaning to your presentation. It can enhance and very often change the meaning of everything you say. Consider the three basic stages of the leasing process and how you physically express yourself during each stage:
By effectively using these four tools: Asking the right questions [at the right time] to determine your prospective resident's needs, wants and desires. Creating emotional appeal by using the Feature/Benefit Relationship Summary based on the needs you identify in the information gathering process. Using body language to confirm your verbal messages to your prospective resident and carefully choosing the exact verbiage to ensure your prospective resident hears your message will make you a more effective leasing associate. Try something different! Use your skills and your imagination.
As the consummate professional in leasing it is your responsibility to focus energy on every prospect, probe to identify their needs and finally use all your energy to make the leasing experience a memeorable one for this individual.
Reprinted with permission. Russ Sandlin is president of The Russ Sandlin Group, a nationally-recognized organization specializing in income focused training and marketing for residential & commercial property. www.russsandlin.com - email firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-535-8858
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