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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Fewer folks popping bottle tops as champagne sales fizzle."

"New Year's resolutions take an outward turn in tough times"

Tough headlines to start a new year. Successful companies know that the most important thing you can do to maintain success during a slow market is to review and revise your current tactics. Updated training for your employees and implementing new and creative marketing strategies are the best way to ensure that your community is seeing traffic and signing more leases. It's also important to stay up to date on current industry news and trends.

Economists and industry experts believe that one of the big trends in 2009 will be people choosing to rent instead of buy! Due to the fact that many people are simply unable to purchase because of stricter lending guidelines along with the additional responsibility of maintenance and unexpected fees and expenses some people have decided that they prefer the renter lifestyle. Many developers are building "condo style" apartments with upgraded finishes such as stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and luxury club-style amenities. Armed with this knowledge you can increase your traffic, resident retention and new leases by shifting your marketing and approach. Create a community where your current and future residents can feel "at home".Most people predict that 2009 will be just as challenging as 2008. In order to survive in this market you need to be prepared with a unique sales approach, fresh ideas and motivated employees. Here are a few to get you thinking:

1. Do you really know what marketing sources are working for you? Remember many people are using several Internet listing services and publications when looking for an apartment. Make certain your are tracking all sources, not just one.

2. Print drives traffic to the Internet. I have heard some chatter concerning dropping print ads to save money and "going to all Internet." This has been tested before and it failed. Eventually you will see that the loss of residual marketing that print provides will adversely effect your phone and walk in traffic.

3. Does your team know how to sell and apartment or just "show" an apartment? In 2009 tour guides won't close leases. Train your team to gather information, demonstrate features and benefits, overcome objections and ask for the lease.

4. Have a plan to get the customer back for a second visit. Everyone feels the need to "look around." What are they shopping for? A better deal. Your sales strategy should include a promotion to get the customer back after shopping the others.

5. Does it really need to be said? Ok, yes, I have been saying it for years and we are still not doing this...rent ready apartments lease. If you don't have an apartment that is ready to move into, with zero defects, customers will look elsewhere.

Get back to the basics with Legendary Leasing or get your employees brainstorming with 50 Sales and Marketing Ideas Under $500. My seminars are known for providing new marketing ideas and approaches and motivating your sales staff to get more signed leases. I would love to help you exceed your goals for 2009!

Happy New Year from Kate Good & Team!

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Anonymous Charity Hisle said...

Very interesting post! Nice perspective on including details relevant to the prospect during the apartment showing.

I think your ideas can be applied to the phone leads as well! I've listened to some pretty interesting phone conversations (recorded from CallSource) that really seem to focus on questions like:

When are you looking to move?
What size apartment are you interested in?
Where do you work?

While these two questions are important and necessary, I think modifying the questions would enhance the communication process. I agree that if an agent makes the leasing process personal, potential residents will be more inclined to get off the phone and come take a look!

Also, on a side note, the leasing staff doesn't seem to be very excited about the properties they try to sell. If they don't love the property, why will a potential resident?

January 13, 2009 10:02 PM  
Blogger Kate Good said...

Good thoughts Charity. Some of my favorite need searching questions are:

What brings you to this area?
What do you have in your current home that you would like to see in your future home?
What other communities are you planning to look at?
How soon will you make your decision?
Tell me about the furniture you are bringing with you.

Keep the questions open ended and you will hear more from the customer. Use this knowledge to demonstrate the features and benefits of the apartment home and link them to the customers needs.

January 15, 2009 4:59 AM  

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