Stop Sabotaging Great First Impressions by Your Leasing Associates


Have you ever had an apartment tour where things started off great and then went downhill really fast? According to the 2012 SatisFacts Index for unclosed traffic, on-site leasing teams are doing very well during the initial part of a prospect’s tour. Exceptional and superior scores are found in the areas of office interaction, knowledge, and the sincerity to find a home to suit the prospect’s needs. From the onset, things are looking good and the first impression is stellar.

Then everything changes when the prospect leaves the leasing center.

Are You Sabotaging Great First Impressions?

Because the initial interaction with the leasing team is so positive, prospects are expecting everything about the tour to live up to those standards. According to the index, prospects are having less than positive experiences once they leave the leasing center and go on the tour. Scores decline for community appearance, apartment condition, and apartment features.

So, what is happening that sabotages a great first impression and results in the prospect deciding not to lease? This question can be answered in one word: value.

Perceived Value Can Kill a Great First Impression

When the physical aspects of the community and the toured apartment home are lacking, prospects begin to question the overall value for the rent they are being asked to pay. Customer service, rapport building, and answering questions will only get you so far. Prospects may like everything about your leasing associates, but nothing about the apartment home itself.

Even if a rock star leasing associate is able to secure a lease, that resident, over time, will grow weary of the physical surroundings and question the overall value of living at the community. Remember, the apartment you are showing could be the prospect’s home for at least 12 months.

Pay Attention to Detail Outside the Leasing Center

Establishing and adhering to physical appearance standards is paramount to a community’s leasing success. Train your maintenance teams to recognize the tiniest of details when it comes to the community and apartment appearance.

A great exercise is to have each member of the team, both leasing office and maintenance, walk a made-ready apartment home one at a time and make a list of the outstanding items found. After everyone has inspected the apartment home, compare notes. Most likely, each will have found something not discovered by another team member.

Before deeming an apartment ready to show, add $100 to the rent and ask yourself if that apartment home worth the price. If the answer is yes, a prospect is likely to perceive the actual price a good value. If the answer is no, a little more attention to detail may be in order.

Make Every Impression Count

The old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Sometimes, you have to make more than one during the leasing process.

By paying attention to the details both inside and outside the leasing center, you’ll never again risk sabotaging a great first impression by your leasing associates.



Vice President of Education and Consulting, SatisFacts Research

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Lia Smith career in training, property management and marketing began in the mid 1990′s. Lia began her training career at Nextel Communications, where she was responsible for training over 1,000 Customer Care Representatives. She then embarked on a new career in property management as a Leasing Associate with Lincoln Property Company, and steadily moved up the ranks. Lia was able to merge the worlds of training and property management when in 2006 she became Director of Training and Marketing at SPM Property Management, a 14,000+ unit portfolio; this included creating SPM Academy and a Learning Management System. She also developed and managed SPM’s resident feedback program, and was responsible for providing post-survey action planning support for property teams and management. Lia has proven experience in solving training and resident retention challenges for market, affordable, senior, tax credit and student communities. These experiences have helped Lia relate to both onsite and corporate associates. Lastly, Lia has presented at key industry events such as MultifamilyPro Brainstorming on topics related to developing the operational and service skills of onsite and executive level teams. Lia Joined the SatisFacts team in 2011 as VP of Education and Consulting.

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