In an over-saturated apartment market, prospective residents often have an abundance of choices within their desired neighborhood. That underscores the importance for leasing associates to develop a personal brand.
If you can offer prospects less of a cookie-cutter search experience in favor of one that’s more unique and personalized, the more likely you are to fill your communities with those still in the
decision-making process. That’s according to Lisa Trosien, President of ApartmentExpert.com, who offered a bevy of advice as to how to interact with prospects at the session, Leasing in a Saturated Market: Your Greatest Asset for Success” at NAA’s Apartmentalize.
“Leasing is generic and it should be fun,” Trosien said. “You want to become an original in a sea of copies.”
Trosien discussed talk triggers, the art of “pre-suasion” and how to challenge prospective residents into providing more detailed information about what they crave in an apartment home. One of Trosien’s primary tips for leasing associates is not to be afraid to deviate from a standard tour.
If a prospect clearly indicated they do not have kids, there is no need to show them the stroller room. If they have a
heightened interest in fitness, more time at the fitness center and other recreational portions of the community will have a greater impact than the typical tour trail.
A key part of developing a personal brand, according to Trosien, was to ask high-level, relevant questions. Rather than wading through typical tour motions, an associate can ask “what do you like about your current living arrangement?,” or “what is your current workout routine?” to help customize the tour on the fly.
“Offer the choices for the kind of tour they want,” Trosien said. “Ask them what amenities are important to them. Ask them how much time they have to look around before you start on the tour. Challenge the prospect to give you more feedback.”
Trosien also discussed the merits of pre-suasion, a communication technique developed by New York Times Bestseller Robert Cialdini. The idea is to develop a technique to capitalize on the moment of time before delivering a key message, priming prospects to already be receptive of a message before they hear it. Much of this can be accomplished by establishing the early rapport with personalized questions.
That filtered into one of Trosien’s other key takeaways – authenticity. Fifty-four percent of customers don’t believe a company has their best interest in mind, which creates the need for companies, apartment communities in this instance, to relate on a personal level.
“The salesperson is the important element in creating loyalty,” Trosien said. “Leasing associate training programs stifle creativity and make everyone the same. Be your own brand.”
Trosien cited lingerie retailer Aerie as a recent example for authenticity. The company has experienced 14 consecutive quarters of growth while profiling regular women in its apparel. Victoria’s Secret, meanwhile, has struggled recently while continuing to portray their models in goddess-like fashion.
Paul Willis is a content manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing.