It’s always awkward when someone gets a haircut. It seems rude not to acknowledge it, so you have to start by asking the obvious: “Hey, did you get a haircut?!”
When they say yes, there’s only one appropriate response: “It looks great!”
It could be the ugliest haircut in the world—a mullet or a rat tail or a Kate Gosselin—but you certainly can’t say so.
You may even find said haircut socially acceptable, but it’s still not your favorite. Again, you can’t say so. “I wouldn’t go out and buy a paper bag, but you used to look better,” won’t fly.
And saying nothing at all is just as bad—you’re basically implying that their hair looks awful without at least having the gumption to admit it.
Thus, such hair scenarios have accounted for a solid 30 percent of the lies I’ve told in my life—a majority of the remaining 70 percent falling under the “Google stalking a guy before a first date and then acting like I don’t know their father’s middle name when the topic comes up naturally three months in” category.
Unfortunately, apartment management professionals are often faced with a similar predicament. (Feeling obligated to dish out compliments, not Google stalking dates—that’s kind of inappropriate at work, unless you’re doing so through LinkedIn.)
According to Terri Norvell, presenter of Nov. 6’s Webinar Wednesday, “The Formula for Extraordinary Leasing Success,” leasing agents should compliment prospective residents, but only when that compliment is sincere.
“If you’re a shoe person, go with shoes,” Norvell says. “Only compliment something you genuinely feel compelled to compliment.”
If a prospective resident is wearing the ugliest sweater known to man—anything from my fifth grade wardrobe—don’t tell her how much you love it. Rather, compliment her great…socks. Hey, sometimes it’s a struggle to find anything worth acknowledging.
Norvell says prospective residents will see right through you if you’re lying. “People lease with those they like and trust you,” Norvell says. “It’s all about the experience and how you make people feel. Forty percent of leasing success is building that rapport with another person.”
In other words, you want to have them at “hello”. Tom Cruise knew as much.
It’s also important to actually listen to what a prospective resident is saying. Ask questions and engage in a deep conversation with someone to determine what they’re looking for in an apartment home—and then give it to them.
However, Norvell says leasing agents should never show a prospective resident more than three apartments. Any more options and they’ll be too overwhelmed. I learned this lesson last week while shopping for boots at DSW. Massive headache and all-consuming indecision.
If a prospective resident can’t seem to make a decision by the end of the tour, Norvell says sometimes you just have to make that decision for them.
“Some people just don’t know what they want—and it’s up to you to tell them,” she says. “Typically they can then tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
Unfortunately, this is always the start of horrible haircut.
Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays (hosted by NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders), and register for November 20th’s “The Office Personnel’s Guide to Maximizing Your Maintenance Team” today.
Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).