Keep Calm and Lease On: Improving the Apartment Pricing Discussion
Technology is designed to make lives easier and improve business processes, so why in the consumer-facing reality of leasing apartments can technology become more of a hindrance than an advantage? “Technology, like revenue management, creates both physical and emotional barriers,” said Business Observations Principal Kris Wegener on the Secret Shopping & Pricing Discussions Gone Wrong panel presentation at the 2013 Apartment Revenue Management Conference that also featured Beacon Communities Marketing Director John Reardon and Westlake Ventures Managing Partner and session moderator Dirk Wakeham.
To illustrate the issue, Wegener shared compelling video examples of the common pitfalls found in pricing discussion with prospects: leasing agents who only look at the computer screen, clicking through the pricing system and neglecting to engage the prospect on their needs; agents who only look for the best pricing; and agents who try to explain how pricing works and talk in terms a prospect doesn’t understand. “We are not allowing the time to build value during the presentation of product,” she said. “Sales associates need to be more informed [about revenue management], become trustworthy through knowledge [of how it works], conduct more frequent market comps and improve sales skills through practice and role play.”
Reardon shared how these concepts were recently put to work at Beacon Communities, where his leasing and training team recently developed the 7 C’s of Leasing with Optimized Pricing:
- Confidence: Encourage both sales and self confidence
- Culture: If the heads don’t believe, the arms won’t achieve
- Coaching: Customize shop reports for revenue management
- Comp Knowledge: Understand hidden pricing differences like built-in utility fees
- Connection: Explain with empathy, educate with knowledge and empower with options
- Closing: Create urgency
- Creativity: Have fun
“Confidence and intelligence in the optimized pricing discussion is all about having fun,” said Reardon. “At Beacon we don’t want leasing robots, we want chameleons: leasing agents who can change and adjust on the fly. They have to have the confidence to show the value and close the deal.”
This information was presented at the 2013 Apartment Revenue Management Conference.