The value of setting up appointments from telephone inquiries has been clearly established.  Yet, it seems that the number of callers being converted into visitors is not always producing a high percentage of rentals.

A recent question submitted by a manager of a large apartment community may shed some light on this subject.

Question:  I know it’s important to set appointments from my phone contacts, but does it really matter who ends up giving a tour when the client arrives?  I manage and lease out of a busy office and we all work together, but sometimes I wonder if we would have a higher closing ration if each of us helped our own clients.  What do you think? 

Answer:  I think there is a lot to be said for the environment of “teamwork” that you have created.  Those managers who work side by side with their leasing staffs will keep them motivated and excited about renting apartments.  However, working too closely as a team when it comes to leasing, some of the “personalized” service can be lost.

If a prospective renter is helped by someone else when they arrive for an appointment, three negatives are possible:

  • It can give them the impression that their initial contact wasn’t genuinely interested in helping them.
  • Any “rapport” that was personally created by you or another member of your staff over the phone, is lost if they have to “start from scratch” with someone else.
  • Not to mention the inconvenience to the client if they have to repeat their needs and preferences all over again to someone else.

Many times, it’s the personality, sales skills and knowledge of the employee on the phone that “sells” the client on making an appointment in the first place.  Once a relationship is established in the initial phone contact, the prospective renter is expected to meet with the same person when they arrive at the community.  It can be a real let down to learn that the employee they connected with from the phone contact is unavailable.  Worse yet, no one else in the office even knew they were coming in.

For leasing consultants whose primary role is renting apartments, careful planning and scheduling can make it possible to keep most of the appointments they set.  For managers and other office staff who end up answering the phone but who are not available to keep appointments, it might be best to resist answering the phone on the days you are unavailable.  This will give your leasing staff the ultimate opportunity to sell and close the deal.  Remember, working as a team means players will spend time “on the bench” while other members of the team are out in the field.  If you assemble your team before the day begins, then you can decide which employees are best equipped and available to lease apartments that day.  With your strongest players on the front line and everyone “passing the ball” (clients) to them, you will score more rentals every time!

Joyce Kirby is with Shoptalk Service Evaluations “Ask the Secret Shopper” and may be reached at joyce@shoptalkservice.com or by visiting www.shoptalkservice.com.  Reprinted with permission.

 

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