Creating a sense of urgency when families tour is a critical step in the move-in process, but it’s not easy and can sometimes feel too pushy. Learn how to create a sense of urgency without coming across as overbearing.
An industry professional recently contacted me and shared that her community was conducting a lot of tours but they were having a difficult time converting tours to move-ins. “We have lots of vacant apartments, any ideas on what we could be doing wrong?”
Creating a Sense of Urgency
There could be many reasons for the community’s low conversion rate, but one explanation might be that they are not creating a sense of urgency during the tour. Creating a sense of urgency is one of the hardest skills for sales professionals to learn, and often when they do create urgency, it is through, time sensitive sales incentives or concessions, which can come across as disingenuous.
One of the most difficult scenarios for creating a sense of urgency is when your community has several vacant apartments. If the family doesn’t like the first two rooms, it seems natural to mention that you have five other rooms available. You say this because you want to get the move-in, and you hope that the family will like one of the other options. But when you share this information with the family, instead of creating a sense of urgency, you’re sending the message that something might be wrong with your community. What if they just finished touring one of your competitors and they only had one open room? Is your competitor better than you because they have a higher demand, or did they simply create a sense of urgency?
One of the easiest ways to create urgency is to control the supply. To do this, you pre-determine two rooms for each floor plan, and those are the only apartments that you sell. Stage the apartments so that they are move-in ready. Preferably, show the apartments that have been vacant the longest. These are the only apartments that you show to prospects and offer them as on the market during the tour.
Understanding the Family’s Needs
To understand exactly what the family likes and dislikes about the apartments they’ve seen, ask these two questions:
- Have you looked at other communities, and if so how does this apartment compare to others that you liked.?
- If there was one thing you could change about this particular apartment, what would it be?
We cannot stress enough that the most important part of managing supply is to listen to what the family needs. Listen to what they tell you about the apartment, how it compares to your competitors, and what they are looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask for more details or clarification if you do not understand their needs.
If the family tells you that they prefer a room closer to the dining room or a room with a view of the courtyard, this information allows you to determine your next steps. If that perfect apartment is one of the two you have listed as on the market, let them know and say something along the lines of, “It sounds like the other one bedroom I have on the market will be perfect for you. Let’s go see it!”
If the perfect apartment is vacant but hasn’t been staged, simply respond with, “I have an apartment with the exact same floor plan coming on the market in the next few days. I can show you where it is to see if you would prefer that location. As I’m sure you can imagine, due to its location it won’t be on the market long so if you are interested we can sit down and talk about what we would need to do to reserve it for you. How does that sound?”
Top Questions When Managing Supply
What if I show them two apartments, and they want to see a third?
When managing supply, remember that you only want to show two apartments. If the family determines that the size of the apartment is too small while viewing the second apartment, it’s okay to show them a larger apartment since you already know what they’re looking for. Keep in mind that this process can become overwhelming for the family, so it’s not a best practice to show them more than three rooms in one day.
If the apartment is vacant, why can’t I show it?
First of all, you should never show an apartment that is not move-in ready. Would a realtor try to sell a home before it has been staged? Most likely not. You should do your best to ensure that the room has been properly cleaned and staged before you show it to anyone.
What if they say they don’t want to reserve it until they can see it?
This is a common response, and it makes sense why the family would say it. Most people would not rent a home before viewing it, so this situation isn’t any different. If this is the case, try to get the family to come back later in the week. This will buy you time to impress the family when they return. Maybe you can hang a sign on the door that says, “Welcome to your new home!” or place fresh baked cookies in the kitchenette.
It’s important to ask the family if they have any questions that you didn’t answer from their visit earlier in the week. The extra time spent on this second visit may be all the prospect needs to make that final commitment and ensure the move-in happens.
Won’t I lose potential move-ins by not signing the lease during the tour?
The key is to take time to ask the questions and listen to what the family is looking for. When you understand their needs, you can match them to the perfect apartment. Listening to the family, and connecting with them on a personal level also shows that you care about them and their loved one. When you’re able to make this kind of connection, it will be difficult for the family not to want to return. Not only will you increase sales, but you will also decrease the number of days between tour and move-in.
Remember, creating a sense of urgency during the tour is a critical step in the move-in process. It doesn’t need to feel pushy when you take the time to understand the family’s needs and invest a little time upfront.