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Tips to Understand Your Customer and Fill Your Rental Property

March 29, 2017 / by Brent Silberbauer

bulletin board with sticky notesIn the previous blog post I talked about the importance of not just showing your properties, but selling your rental property to potential residents. I can’t underestimate how important this is. Any company that goes out of business, or loses money does so because they didn’t sell enough of their products or services in the quantities necessary. Selling is an important skill no matter what business you’re in and it’s something that we can all improve on. 

In part one of this series we talked about the importance of believing in what you’re selling. You must believe that your property will benefit the potential people who will want to rent from you.

In this section, we’re going to talk about another vital aspect to selling your property: understanding your customer. Obviously, you probably already have a general understanding that people need a place to live and you can provide that. What you need to do is truly understand every prospect that calls you on the phone or schedules a walk-through. So how do you do this? 

Ask open-ended questions 

An open-ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. These are questions that will cause you to find out a significant amount of information about the prospect considering renting your property. Open-ended questions typically start with the words: how, when, why, what, where, and who. Here are some great examples of open-ended questions that would be great to ask your clients:

  • What are you looking for in an apartment?
  • What are some important amenities or features that you’re looking for?
  • What do you do in town?
  • Why the move? New job? (Be prepared that you may get an answer that you need to be empathetic toward, such as a job loss, death or divorce)
  • Where are you moving from?
  • How many people are you planning on living with?
  • Who is going to be moving in with you?
  • Where do your kids go to school? (If they self-disclose they have kids, you can ask this)

This is not an exhaustive list of open ended questions, but it’s a good starting point. The goal is for the prospect to begin giving you information.

Be an Active Listener

Has anyone ever tried to sell you something before they understand what you even want? They typically just end up wasting your time offering you something that doesn’t even fit your needs. It’s a rare (and refreshing) thing when someone takes the time to listen to you and understand your needs. 

The best thing you can do is be an active listener by commenting on their answers or repeating back what they’re saying to make sure they know you’re listening.

An example would be, “So what you’re saying is you want a Chico (or Redding) rental property that is a quiet place for you and your wife to rent that is closer to your work, is that right?” As many “Yes, that’s right” responses you get the better. By doing this you will begin to truly understand your prospect. You will understand their goals, problems, and what they are looking for. Not only will you understand them, but even more importantly they will feel understood by you.

Pay Attention to the Verbal and Non-Verbal Signs

A word of caution – It takes practice to do this well. The best salespeople can do this and be as smooth as butter. Basically, the conversation has a great flow, heads are nodding, and great information is being shared. If this is your first attempt at asking open-ended questions it can be a little awkward.

Sometimes novices can come off like they’re playing twenty questions or being nosey poking into people’s personal lives. If this happens to you at first, that’s ok. Just keep doing it. If you continue to employ this technique over time the smoothness will come. The more you do it the more natural the conversation will flow, and as a result, the better salesperson you will become for your Chico or Redding rental property. 

This is just step two of the sales process. Next up, step three: selling benefits. 

Finding the right people to rent out your properties to can seem like an overwhelming process. If you find that you just don’t have the time to do this, consider hiring a rental property management company to do it for you. 
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Topics: Residential Property Management, Rental Property Tips