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Next-Level Secret Shopping and the Benefits of Being Nosy

Next-Level Secret Shopping and the Benefits of Being Nosy

Only 5% of associates asked prospective residents if they wanted to lease today; associates should ask that every time.

Associates often fail to ask the right questions and dig deep with prospective residents, who are willing to share more information than many believe, and that can lead to a lost resident.

During the 2021 Apartmentalize session “Next-Level Secret Shopping and the Benefits of Being Nosy,” panelists shared valuable insights, demonstrating the ways that associates need to improve their skills when asking questions and being aware of what information that prospective residents are comfortable sharing. 

Asking the right questions is essential to landing a lease. 

Karen Gladney, Founder of Power Pro, traveled from coast to coast and toured 100 communities in 100 days to dispel and confirm any generalizations associated with leasing apartment homes. What she found was that not enough questions are being asked, hindering lease conversions.

Her research found that 65% of leasing consultants only asked a prospective resident for their price range, their contact information, their desired apartment size and their move-in date. 

So how do you coach your teams on discovery and asking the right questions? You make it relational, according to Topher Olsen, Vice President of Land and Development at RPM Living. 

“On the topic of relational selling, I think it is the most important aspect of the sales process,” Olsen added. “The idea of relational selling is really taking the opportunity to get to know the person for who they are, and for that person to become a resident at your community. This boils down to the great kinds of questions that we’re going to ask our prospects in order to solicit some responses that we can then build upon those relationships.”

Building those relationships starts when a prospective resident begins their search for a home. 

“First impressions matter. And they matter a lot,” said Tricia Erikson, Regional Marketing Director at Lincoln Property Company. “Get up, greet them at the door. Then go and see exactly what they want to see.” Ask the right questions so you can “show them what really matters to them. It’s more than an apartment to these people, it’s a home.” 

How do you execute better questioning and why?

The panel recommends to provide classes for associates and to have them work with people to practice what they’ve learned and turn virtual tours into leases through relationships. Practicing and repetition leads to building the necessary confidence that will elevate a prospect’s experience via the information they share. 

People are willing to divulge all types of information on social media, and Gen Z and Millennials are willing to share even more if it results in an improved experience for them. So, jump in and ask the exploratory questions, and you will find out so much about a prospective resident. From that, you learn about them and their lifestyle so you can find the home that’s right for them. 

And nine out of 10 times, you will already have a little bit of information about someone, making it easier to make connections from the notes you have. 

A key finding from Gladney’s journey was that only 5% of associates asked prospective residents if they wanted to lease today. Associates should ask that every time, she insists. Assume people want to move in with confidence and then follow up authentically. 

The needs and wants of a prospect are crucial in closing a lease and the right questions will identify those. So, if a prospect is into exercise don’t just tell them about the community fitness center, hop on the treadmill and build a relationship.

Andrew Ruhland is a Junior Account Executive and Assistant Content Writer for LinnellTaylor Marketing.