Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Adventures of Leasing Lynda: Episode 6: Telephone Terror

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Adventures of Leasing Lynda: Episode 6: Telephone Terror

Article excerpt

Faster than a speeding bullet.... more powerful than a locomotive...

Look...It's Leasing Lynda on the telephone.

The telephone is the most neglected leasing and marketing tool in the multi-housing industry. We spend thousands and thousands of dollars a year to make that telephone ring; then we act like it's bothering us.

Remember, four out of five of your future residents first come in contact with you through the telephone. The skill and attention you pay to developing and practicing good telephone techniques plays a big part in whether or not you convert those prospects into leases.

In developing your telephone techniques, keep in mind what you need to accomplish with the call:

* Create a favorable impression of yourself and the property with the prospect.

* Learn as much about the prospect as possible, especially information that will motivate him or her to lease.

* Provide information about the property in a way that creates an appealing visual picture.

* Qualify the prospect.

* Respond to objections.

* Set an appointment.

Do yourself and your community a favor-take the time to master some simple phone techniques, and you will never again have to struggle for traffic.

First Impressions Count

There is more to answering the telephone than merely saying, "Good morning, Metropolis Apartments, this is Lynda." The first moments of a phone call will set the tone for the entire conversation.

Even if you are rushed (and when aren't you), pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and smile before you answer the phone. Never sound brusque or bothered by a call. This is the customer and you are happy to be talking to him or her.

Begin by identifying yourself and giving the name of the property. It seems that many businesses answer with a catchy phrase, but I do not find this very effective. If you must use a catchy phrase, keep it short. Most people daydream while the phone is ringing and only start to listen halfway through your greeting. By the time the community's name is said, the caller is ready to pay attention.

Once you have identified yourself, let prospects know that you are there to help them. I generally prefer, "I can help you" rather than -Can I help you?" It is morc psi tive phase and helps convey the idea that you are competent and actually can help them.

The typical future resident will more than likely begin the conversation with something like:

"How much are your bedrooms?"

"Do you have a - bedroom available?"

While you never want to create the impression that you are not willing to provide information, it is vital that you gain control of the situation rather than being trapped into just reciting numbers. And the best way to get control of a conversation is by asking a question.

Faced with the "how much" question, try this countermove.

"I'll be happy to tell you more about the Metropolis Apartments. My name is Lynda, and yours is?"

The response accomplishes several objectives. It takes control, it assures the prospect that you are responding to his or her request, and it gives you the future resident's name.

But be careful. Roll your "R"s gently into "yourrrs." "What is your name" is to abrupt and may get a brusque response in return. The first four sentences generally will determine if the future resident listens to you or not, so choose them carefully. A script may be overkill, but do think about what you will say before you open your mouth.

Learn Everything You Can

Every detail a future resident gives you helps you set up an appointment. Once you have finished with the introductions, ask permission to ask the future resident questions.

A statement such as "Tami, if you'll give me just a few minutes to ask you a couple of questions, I'll be able to tell you about an apartment that fits your needs," enables you to gain more information without seeming evasive. …

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