Webster defines the word “objection” as “A reason or argument presented in opposition; a feeling or expression of disapproval.”  He makes an objection sound negative. In reality, an objection from a prospective renter is a positive buying signal. It tells the leasing person that he or she is interested, but needs help figuring out “details.”  

A prospective renter who really isn’t interested will not bother objecting to anything, but just politely go through the motions of looking and then leave.  Recently, a question came up about overcoming objections when there doesn’t seem to be a solution: 

Question:  We don’t have any “extras” at our community and our apartments don’t even come with washers and dryers.  How can I deal with objections that pertain to features and benefits that our community just doesn’t have? 

Answer:  Having a thorough knowledge of your community, the local neighborhood and also your competition will give you the ability to meet objections head on.  This will also enable you to anticipate objections and in some cases, deal with them before your prospective renters bring them up.

If you are leasing at a smaller community with no recreational facilities and the majority of your prospective renters are seeking an exercise facility, then make an arrangement with a local gym or health club in order to obtain a discount membership for your residents.  You could offer your neighborhood fitness center free advertising in your newsletter and/or new resident packet, in exchange for the discount. 

If you have limited storage space at your community, you could work out the same type of a deal with a public mini storage facility in your area.

If your are receiving objections or complaints about certain aspects of the apartment interior, then be honest about the situation and offer a solution that your prospective renter can live with.

During a past apartment tour, I noticed the carpeting was not in great shape; it was clean but had a worn appearance and a rather large, obvious stain right in the middle of the living room.  While I expressed my delight over the size of the apartment and its other positive attributes, I let the leasing person know that I was disappointed in the condition of the carpet.  I asked what could be done about it.  The consultant was very straightforward and honest with me.  She agreed that she would not want to live with that stain either.  However, they just did not have money in their budget at this time to do a carpet replacement.  As a solution, she offered to give mea $100 “carpet allowance.”  She told me I could use the money to buy and area rug that would match my furniture and place it over the stain.  She said, “I know it’s not new carpet, but you will get a new rug and then you won’t even know the stain is there.”

When it comes to creatively overcoming objections, the challenge is to focus on what you can change and not dwell on circumstances that are beyond your control.  Maintaining a positive attitude and being realistic about what you honestly can and cannot offer will go a long way in earning the respect and trust of your prospective renters.

REMEMBER:  Overcoming objections is the key to changing a prospective renter into a resident.  HOW you creatively “turn the key” is entirely up to YOU! 

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