Everyone in the property management business knows certain times of the month are exceptionally busy.  Even managers and leasing people who are experts at scheduling will occasionally get “double booked” or swamped with “drop in” visitors.  Being able to handle more than one thing at a time and to do so graciously is just part of the job description in this industry.

Here is a question that came up at a leasing seminar:  When I am really busy at the end of the month, I occasionally have two or three people show up at the same time to see an apartment.  If none of these people have an appointment, is it okay to give them all a group tour?

Answer:  This is a dilemma that everyone will eventually face if they are in the business of renting apartments.  However, keep in mind that it’s a positive thing when people are “flocking in” to see your apartments.  It means your telephone skills, advertising and/or curb appeal are all working to draw prospective renters into your community.  On the other hand, assisting more than one person at a time presents a special challenge, as no two people have the same needs.   Also, there will be times when your prospects are moving for reasons they wish to keep private.  These and other factors like “who arrived first” and “who needs to move the soonest,” must be taken into account before deciding if a group tour is in order.

I would encourage you to imagine that your busy office is the emergency room of a hospital.  Stay calm, confident and in control as you “triage” to assess the basic needs of your prospects and establish priority.  Remember – not everyone is in a “life threatening” situation and some people can wait.  Hold onto your sense of humor as you explain that you want to assist everyone but there is only one of you and three of them so you will need their help.

Ask each party to fill out a guest card with their contact information, along with the size apartment they need and desired move date. Collect the cards and quickly determine which prospect(s) can and cannot wait.  For example, if one of your visitors does not need an apartment for two months, then you can encourage that person to join in on a group tour or make an appointment to come back at a later date.  If another prospect needs an apartment size that you do not have available, you can phone a sister community and then direct that individual to one of your colleagues who can offer immediate assistance.

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If you do find yourself on a tour with two or more parties, you must be courteous and give each person or group “equal time” even if one seems more interested or more desirable as a prospective resident.

Think of yourself as the “host” of a party; your goal is to make sure each one of your guests feels welcome and special so they will want to come back – or in this case, rent.  Oh, and one last thing – remember to introduce your “guests” to each other.  This shows that you have good manners!


Reprinted with permission from ASK THE SECRET SHOPPER provided by Joyce Kirby, Shoptalk Service Evaluations.  Joyce may be reached at [email protected] or visit www.shoptalkservice.com