Like it or not, if you’re in charge of leasing an apartment, then you’re in sales. And being a salesperson is 100% mental. If we’re happy, we’ll push our limits to be as positive and outgoing as we can with as many prospects as possible. If we’re upset, we’re going to mentally check out – we can’t help it. Here are five keys to ensuring a highly engaged and highly performing leasing team.
- Get the right people in the right positions on your team. Great leasing assistants will produce great results, and they’ll inspire greatness amongst your team. Do whatever you can to find and keep these people at your apartment community. If you have a good person who is not signing leases, then determine whether you have him or her working at the right time or if you are distracting that person with too much paperwork. On the other end of the scale, a poor leasing assistant will predictably yield poor results. Worse, they will drag the rest of your team down with them. They’ll monopolize your time and prohibit you from focusing on making your great leasing assistants better. Cut out the cancer as soon as you get the chance.
- Pay your leasing staff fairly but in line with the company’s goals. The more a leasing assistant can make when he signs a lease, the more motivation he’ll have to stay on his game. That’s obvious. But make sure that the salesperson’s compensation is 100% in-line with your bottom line. A few years back, a boss of mine announced a contest in which we would be awarded a bonus on our sales if we surpassed a particular target. By the end of the term, we had more than doubled the goal. When I showed up with a huge smile for the bonus check, I was surprised to see him not so happy. The problem rested in the actual rules and goals of the contest – they weren’t set up exactly in line with the goals of the company. We had dramatically increased sales, but the contest never addressed the costs that came with those sales.
The lesson is to make sure that you take rent concessions into account when you develop bonuses. It’s much easier to rent an apartment with a great special than it is to rent the same unit at the regular rent price… make sure that you compensation package reflects that. You’d be surprised to see how well your leasing staff can sell the added value of the regular priced unit over the one that’s being discounted.
- Reward good performance. Remember, it takes a certain amount of ego to sell. Your leasing staff endures some pretty rough treatment, and it’s that ego that allows them to persevere. So help build it up! Write them thank you notes, or just tell them thank you. Put a gift card in an envelope for them after a big week. Send them to an overly extravagant dinner every once in a while. You’d be amazed at the amount of loyalty and hard work a few of these intangibles will yield. And when you think about the added productivity, you’d be surprised at how little it costs.
- Contain negative conversations. Every apartment community has to deal with outstanding rents, maintenance issues, or bad news in general. Do your best to limit these discussions to short, preferably end of the week, meetings. Get your point across, but don’t let bad news get into your leasing assistants’ heads.
- Eliminate distractions. Every minute a leasing assistant spends working on paperwork is a minute that your company is stagnant. Do whatever you can to pull paperwork responsibilities from your sales team. Set meetings early in the morning when prospective renters are less likely to show up at your apartment community. Make sure that your maintenance staff knows to keep your leasing staff out of the office gossip. Take whatever steps necessary to keep your team focused and leasing up your apartment community.