5 Steps to Improve Leasing for the Peak Season
By Donald Davidoff
As baseball teams prepare for the season ahead, is it time to think about putting your leasing teams through spring training for leasing’s busy season?
This time of year, a sports fan’s attention turns to baseball and the re-birth of the sport through spring training. By the time you read this, teams will have already reported for this annual rite of passage for players, coaches and fans alike.
When I think about how much time these players spend practicing and rehearsing before they ever begin “real” play, I can’t help but contrast that to the business world, especially ours. Baseball players spend more than 90 percent of their effort practicing for short moments of performance. A hitter spends months in spring training and hours in batting practice for just a few plate appearances a game. Similarly, football players have a lengthy training camp and days of practice every week for just one game a week.
What about our world? I would not be surprised to hear that many leasing agents spend 100 percent of their time leasing with real prospects and very limited practice time. They probably had a day (or maybe a week) of training when they first started, but virtually nothing since then. Even if your teams do additional training, does it even add up to 10 percent of their time?
The baseball metaphor is particularly appropriate as their season (April through September) largely matches our leasing season. The best leasing companies will have their own “spring training.” That can be something like a full-day sales rally or a series of activities over several weeks, leveraging morning huddles, manager coaching sessions and even some “homework” to accomplish in between sessions. Whatever the format, consider the following elements of baseball spring training that apply equally to rental housing sales:
Focus on fundamentals.
Baseball is a complex combination of essentially simple tasks; so, too, is sales. Think about how to break down the sales process to its fundamental parts and focus on those basics. Where baseball’s fundamentals are throwing, hitting and catching, our fundamentals are asking questions, listening and presentation skills. Leasing teams should practice these tasks individually before trying to stitch them together into a full process.
Proficiency comes with practice. Professional players constantly drill, and this repetition allows their athletic behaviors to be second nature in the heat of battle. They move from “conscious competence,” where they should think about the situation and what to do, to “unconscious competence,” where the behaviors happen automatically. The same is true for leasing agents. Through repetition, they gain confidence in their approach and behave in a natural and authentic way. Repetition is key to optimal performance.
Players do not just practice. Instead, they reflect on what worked and what didn’t during video reviews and other coaching sessions. We can borrow from those lessons and coach our leasing agents, asking them worked versus what didn’t work and what they might do differently next time; and if they get stuck, we can give them a tip here or there to help them along.
Spring training is not all the drudgery of drills. There are fun games, pranks, team meetings and other activities to build camaraderie. Our spring training should also bring some fun and games to make it more enjoyable and build a sense of team. There’s nothing wrong with addressing serious topics, but make sure to have fun when doing so!
Allow for individuality.
In baseball, each hitter has their own unique style. But if you study good hitters, they all share a few key similarities at specific points through the swing. Similarly, we should allow our leasing associates to express their own individuality. Forcing them into rote script memorization does not work as well as letting them find their own voice and authentically execute at the key moments of the sales process.
Incorporate these five dimensions in your leasing spring training, and you’ll be sure to have a great season!
Donald Davidoff is President, D2 Demand Solutions in Littleton, Col.