Keeping a leasing call positive is the foundation for the first impression.  As the leasing inquiry begins with a question, its 50/50 – will the answer be yes or no?

We don’t have any three-bedroom apartments. We don’t supply washing machines and dryers in our apartment homes. We don’t have any one-bedrooms available. We don’t have any covered parking.

The list goes on, and the leasing call has become negative and defensive before a chance for a relationship has an opportunity to develop.

Many apartment communities have a limited variety of apartment styles.   If the occupancy wizard has smiled their way, they may have limited availability in various apartment styles.  Nonetheless, every leasing call can be offered the same initial inquiry, “Tell me about the apartment home you’re looking for?”

Even with limited occupancy we can make this call have a positive result.

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Describe Available Features and Amenities

Beginning a call with a cheerful attractive description of the property and the invitation to tour the property at the prospects earliest convenience is the appropriate opening to the call.

I’m so glad you called for some information about our apartment community.  Let me get some information about you and the needs for your home, so I can assist you in making the important decision.

From this point, the other important qualifying data can be collected: the time frame for moving, number of occupants, pets, and lease terms can all be discussed.

We can then summarize with a closing that the community has a perfect home for them, and when can a tour be scheduled?

A community with limited availability of one-bedroom apartment floor plans has a strategic plan to overcome this.  Pricing and marketing two bedrooms as a one- bedroom with study, emphasizing the potential value of the second bedroom for guests, workout equipment or a home office.  But if the leasing call is opened with a “We don’t have any of those, or we don’t have any of those available,” there’s no opportunity to show the prospect how the available apartment can meet their needs.

The initial few minutes of a leasing call sets the tone for the conversation.  The potential distraction of incoming calls, emails and text messages put even more emphasis on the quality of information shared when the prospect is offering the peak of their attention.  As observed in most casual conversations, the attention span once estimated to 20 minutes has dwindled to less than five minutes.  The opening of a leasing call will quickly determine the potential of the call growing to a visit.

Focus On a Positive Leasing Call

Retraining our immediate response from, “What size apartment are you looking for?” might be an uncomfortable process.   But it opens the door for so many more opportunities.  It creates a true focus on the leasing conversation.

Preparing for a leasing call, being mindful and focused on the conversation taking place can show the prospect the amount of interest and attention dedicated to them.  Important items that will weigh heavily when making the decision to visit a property.

Keep the leasing call positive!  Avoid creating a “Our property doesn’t offer that, but…” introduction for the leasing call.  Control the conversation.  Sell the apartment features.

The potential for converting the call about an apartment that’s not available to a sale is just a step away.

Lori Hammond is Regional Operations Manager at Management Resources Development.

Reprinted with permission of Multifamily Insiders.  Multifamily Insiders was created to provide the first true online networking group for the multifamily industry and its partners.  For more information, visit www.multifamilyinsiders.com.

Read more articles from the March edition of the AOA Magazine