Top 5 Traits of the Greatest Leasing Consultants in the World
Congratulations! You have a fantastic product.
Newsflash! Your competitor has a fantastic product, too. Do you offer the latest, greatest, extraordinarily unique leasing training program? So does your competitor. So, your leasing office is slick, stylish and the leasing office is equipped with the best mobile technology money can buy. Have you visited your neighbor lately? They’re equally equipped.
Too often, we overestimate the impact of these things on leasing results and greatly underestimate the single most important factor—The Greatest Leasing Consultants in the World. Certainly, all of this other stuff is helpful, but it is not a substitute for the value created by a highly qualified leasing consultant sitting face-to-face with your next potential resident. An exceptional leasing consultant is the greatest asset you will ever have for producing long-lasting results. But all leasing consultants are not created equal.
The greatest leasing consultants in the world are different—they think differently and behave differently. While the list of differences runs long, here are the top 5 traits of the greatest leasing consultants in the world:
They see customers as real people
Sadly, to some leasing consultants, customers are no longer human beings. They are targets. They are a commodity and exist to do something for them—fill their bank account. The flip side of the coin is that eventually they become nothing more than a number to the customer, and the entire business feels the negative impact.
“I design for real people. I think of our customers all the time. There is no virtue whatsoever in creating clothing or accessories that are not practical.” —Giorgio Armani
The greatest leasing consultants in the world are different because they seek to understand the customer’s wants, needs, and goals. They truly believe their product and service will help the customer. Solving the customer’s problem becomes their #1 priority. The entire business feels the positive impact of their unselfish goals.
They sell value to customers
It is not uncommon for a leasing consultant to develop a short-term, transaction-oriented sales mentality. Customers are perceived as a means to an end, and no one wins. The greatest leasing consultants in the world sell value to the customer. This entire process begins by developing a rapport with each potential resident. This is the only way they can truly uncover customer needs and sell value. When the leasing consultant asks the right questions, the customer will reveal what they value most. Knowing this gives the consultant the ability to demonstrate the features that offer a unique benefit to that particular customer. Any desire to find the least expensive apartment is swept to the side, and the customer begins to see the value in leasing with you.
“Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.” —Zig Ziglar
Maintaining this rapport and communication builds even greater value throughout the resident life cycle. The leasing consultant adapts to how their role changes and evolves as the customer’s needs change. The greatest leasing consultants in the world understands that selling value generates customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and even customer advocacy.
They are persistent
Did this one take you by surprise? The greatest leasing consultant in the world has a healthy level of persistence. This trait is critical in the leasing world because of the frequency of rejection. Leasing consultants tend to be emotional beings and some suffer from inconsistent performance – a leasing history filled with high peaks and low valleys. In the face of failure, there are those who will throw their hands up in the air and resign themselves to the disappointment because they feel defeated.
“Several years ago two friends of mine, Bernard Haygood and Jimmy Glenn, were driving in the South Alabama foothills on a hot August day. They were thirsty, so Bernard pulled behind an old abandoned farmhouse with a water pump in the yard. He hopped out of the car, ran over to the pump, grabbed the handle and started pumping. After a moment or two of pumping, Bernard pointed to an old bucket and suggested to Jimmy that he get the bucket and dip some water out of a nearby stream in order to “prime” the pump. As all pumpers know, you must put a little water in the top of the pump to ‘prime’ the pump and get the flow of water started.” —Zig Ziglar
The greatest leasing consultants in the world understand the importance of “priming the pump”. They handle rejection differently. They understand that a customer’s refusal to lease is not a rejection of them personally but of the opportunity or product being offered. They always leave the door open and focus on what can be done. They are persistent.
They know when to remain silent
The greatest leasing consultants in the world allow for measurable periods of silence in conversations with customers. They understand that this silence creates an opportunity for the customer to give consideration to what has been said rather than having to immediately process the next piece of information given to them. Many leasing consultants do not realize how powerful silence can be and how much it can help during the leasing process; instead they believe they must do most of the talking.
Because the greatest leasing consultants in the world want to learn what is important to the customer and actually hear what their customer has to say, they resist the temptation to talk immediately after they have spoken and pause for a moment or two. The best substitute for talking too much is asking open-ended, engaging questions and listening intently. In “Why You Need to Embrace Silence as a Sales Person”, The Sales Evangelist reinforces the concept of remaining “tight-lipped” and presents ways to embrace that awkward silence.
They demonstrate boundless follow-up manners
This is so simple yet is often overlooked by leasing consultants. According to Harvard Business Review, the biggest complaint that customers have when dealing with any business is poorly following up. In general, leasing consultants are usually great following up to get the sale, but then they stop. They don’t contact the customer until they need to make the next sale (aka at renewal time). This behavior confirms that the leasing consultant is interested solely in the sale – not in a long-term relationship with their customer. Tip: Your customer realizes this as well.
The greatest leasing consultants in the world contact their customer when there are no strings attached. They become more conversational with their customers and continue to build value and rapport during each contact. They write emails, they leave voicemail messages, and they send handwritten notes. Yes, handwritten notes. Many people forgo handwritten thank you notes because it is not the “in” thing to do anymore – but that’s all the more reason to do it! It sets you apart and communicates how much you value the customer.
At the end of the day, The greatest leasing consultants in the world got that way by always looking for a better way. There are many forms of advertising and marketing for your apartment community, but only one can change how someone “feels” about your company. Only one truly speaks to your residents and potential residents. Do you employ The Greatest Leasing Consultants in the World?
Editors note: This article was originally contributed by JoAnna Ellis. We have since updated and republished this article to benefit readers new to the Property Management Insider blog.