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How to Keep Your Rental Properties Filled: The Big Ask

August 23, 2017 / by Brent Silberbauer

no vacanciesThe past few blogs we have been talking about how to keep your Redding & Chico rental properties filled by working on your selling skills. In this competitive market, you need to make sure that you’re using every competitive advantage to fill your vacancies. Developing your selling skills is a great way to get a leg up on the competition without spending any additional income.

We started this blog series with some basic selling skills. Here’s a recap:

Now we come to the fourth principle in your sales process: asking for the sale. This is somewhat where the rubber hits the road in your selling abilities. 

First let’s look at asking for the sale. This is easy to do, but for some people can be hard. A simple phrase like, “so, would you like to rent the apartment?” works wonders. Maybe another is “Does everything look good to you?” If they answer yes then ask them if they would like to put down a deposit. There are a million different ways to ask prospects to rent your unit – the key is finding what works best for you.

Avoid the Assumptive Close

This is vitally important in your selling process. Most people do what is called an “assumptive close.”  Assumptive closes work, but they just aren’t the most effective. How this tactic works is you show the apartment, ask all the questions, sell all the benefits, and then say, “here’s a lease – if you want to rent it go ahead and sign the lease and we’ll get started.” 

That’s okay, but it’s not really the best close and here’s why. In this example the prospect can say, “thank you, but I need to think about it.” They leave and now you have no idea if they will rent or not.  Now you need to try to set up another showing to another prospect while your rental property sits vacant and you wait for your prospect to “think about it.” 

Don’t Be Afraid of Objections

The worst thing is you don’t know what they really think of your rental property or what objections they are thinking about. The reason this type of asking for the sale or “close” is so popular is because you avoid any kind of rejection. This way of asking for the sale is like asking without asking. We do this because we’re afraid to ask directly – may hear the word “no” and our offer will be rejected.    

Most of us love to hear yes, but we are terrified of hearing no. But here’s the thing: personally, I don’t feel like I get real with people until they tell me no. If they have something that is holding them back you want to know what that is. That’s part of your job, and it’s an essential part of selling. Saying “would you like to rent the apartment” is so much more effective because they will say “yes” or “no.” If they don’t want to rent the apartment your response can be “ok, what are you hesitant about?” Now they are going to give you their objection.

The worst thing that kills so many deals are objections that you as a salesperson do not know about.  You can’t address objections that you don’t know about. Maybe it’s too expensive. Maybe they don’t feel like it’s a safe neighborhood. Maybe it’s your lease terms. Who knows, maybe they read bad reviews online about your apartment. If you don’t know, you can’t address them. 

In recent research experts have found that salespeople who aren’t afraid to challenge objections get the best results. It just comes with the territory, and if done well people appreciate others who are honest and direct. Now, challenging your prospects objections doesn’t give you a license to be pushy or abrasive. Respectfully inquire about their reasoning.

As soon as your prospect shares their objection about renting your unit do not argue with them. In Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” he has a principle where you never want to win an argument if you’re trying to influence people. I believe this is true. So, here’s what you do: agree with them. Yes, that’s right, agree with them! This will totally take the conflict away at first. Then share an insight that they may not have thought of which plays in your favor.

Listen to the Concerns

For example, say the prospect says “It’s too expensive.” Don’t argue, but agree.  You respond, “Yes, it is more expensive…” Now, share an insight as to why it’s more expensive…“but our unit has a built in washer and dryer. A washer and dryer will save you about $25 a month and a whole lot of time driving to the laundry mat, unlike the less expensive units down the street.”

See how that works? You’re agreeing with the prospect. Yes, of course it’s more expensive, it should be, you’re right! But then you’re adding why it’s more expensive. If you have followed step one in the sales process, then you believe that your units are the very best for the price. This is when your belief comes out as you overcome these objections. 

Let’s do another example. Say you ask them to sign a lease and they say no, sighting that they thought the unit had a garage for their car, but it didn’t. What do you do? Agree, “Yes, this unit does not have a garage, you’re right, but it does have off street private parking. This way you are always assured of a place to park your car right next to our unit.  The neighborhood is very safe and we have never had a break in. For the price, you really can’t beat this unit.” 

Overcoming objections is not about strong-arming people. It’s not about pulling one over on them. It’s about listening to their concerns, validating them, and sharing another angle with them that they might not be seeing. 

So please don’t wimp out in your sales process. We all can have a little bit of wimp inside of us. It’s normal, but if you’re going to have a more effective sales process you need to be able to directly address the concerns and objections of your potential residents.

It really goes back to understanding your prospect. Not every person who walks into your Chico or Redding rental property will sign a lease on the spot, but when you get more comfortable with asking for the sale your odds will go way up. This will help you keep your units full and give you an edge over your competition. In the days of this highly competitive rental market any leg up you can get will help your investment remain more profitable. 

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Topics: Residential Property Management, Filling Vacancies