Confidence plays a significant role in the leasing process and in multifamily education. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to purchase your product and service unless your leasing professional believes in them, too—including his or her own abilities. The assumption is often made that if someone has chosen sales for their profession, they are “naturally” confident. Not true. I have met many leasing professionals who do not display sales confidence in their leasing presentation, and it is clearly reflected in their results. Interestingly, the ones who are often the least confident are the employees who didn’t actively choose sales as their career, but rather fell into it by default. Confidence is one of the most important sales skills worth developing. But let’s face it, it can be challenging to stay confident when customers tell you “no” over and over again. It is no secret that the role of leasing professional requires mental toughness to withstand the good and the not so good weeks. Leasing professionals who lack confidence will always struggle to close sales, build rapport with customers, and demonstrate the value of their product and services.
Here are 3 ways to boost sales confidence at the leasing desk and achieve success:
1. Prepare them for rejection
Rejection on the leasing floor can be tough, but it is going to happen sooner than later. It can immobilize leasing professionals and affect their motivation and performance. One of the best ways to prepare leasing professionals for rejection is to teach them to expect it and how to process it as part of their multifamily education journey. Not every customer is going to want or need the product they offer. Many customers will say no. Many will say yes. The balance won’t always work in their favor. While you want them to focus on those who will say yes, they need to know how to react to those who have said no. When the rejection comes, teach them to prepare and practice a few good responses.
“I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours – so enjoy the view.” -Michael York, Actor
Every leasing professional should be given the tools to construct words, phrases, and responses to “no” to redirect or reframe the conversation with their customer. Exploring the difference between a rejection and an objection and role-playing multiple scenarios in a multifamily education classroom is a great way to build confidence in your leasing professionals. Remind them that the customer who says no today can quickly become a valuable customer tomorrow simply because conditions have changed in the person’s life. Prepare them for rejection and encourage them to enjoy the view.
2. Teach them to resist the comfort zone—take risks
When leasing professionals feel stress or experience failure, they have a tendency to return to their comfort zone which is quite often a lower level of performance. Encourage employees to spend time in the awkward and uncomfortable zone until it becomes their new level of comfort. This is where new confidence is born! In his best-selling autobiography, Jack: Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch writes, “Self-confidence is what I’ve looked for and tried to build in every executive who has ever worked with me. Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach.” I love the concept of teaching leasing professionals to extend their reach! This begins by asking questions. How can they adjust their presentation to improve customer engagement? How can they vary the tour in the apartment? How can they quietly close the sale at least 5X during the tour? How can they follow up with customers in a unique way? What can they do differently next time? This would make for another great activity for a formal leasing training or multifamily education workshop.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” -Brian Tracy
Remind your employees that leasing apartments is similar to playing a game – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The loss should reveal their competitive spirit to get back out and try again rather than fall back to their comfort zone of playing it safe. This idea of extending their reach excites me as a trainer. In the article “The 15 Laws of Growth Part XI: The Law of The Rubber Band”, the author writes, “Take a few seconds and think of all the possible ways you can use a rubber band. Now try thinking of all the possible ways to use a rubber band without stretching it.” Growth stops when you lose the tension between the comfort zone and risk. Are your trainer wheels turning? How will you teach employees to resist their comfort zone?
3. Encourage them to set early weekly goals and win early
Timing is everything and success breeds success. Teach your employees to set two realistic and achievable goals early in the week. It could be as simple as placing a follow up call to every customer who visited their community before they leave for the evening. It is highly likely that once they complete this for day one and two that they will continue on day three through five, too. When they receive their first positive response from a customer for their follow up efforts, it will boost their confidence and inspire them to do it again!
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” -Pablo Picasso
Over the years, one common denominator I have observed in leasing super stars is their willingness to invest in the continued improvement of their skills by repetition. They set their own goals, seek out learning opportunities, and love to win. In the article The DNA of Top Salespeople, professional trainer and coach Colleen Stanley pens, “Top salespeople are “buggers.” They bug people for wisdom, help, and guidance.” We need to fill our leasing desks with confident buggers! Coaching leasing professionals on how to plan their weekly progress is just another way to boost sales confidence at the leasing desk.
As a multifamily education trainer, you can instill confidence in your leasing team by preparing them for rejection, teaching them to take risks, and encouraging them to set early goals and seek early wins. Knowing how to build confidence in your leasing team is crucial for the multifamily education program in any company of any size.
Vice President of Training and Development
Edge2Learn / Ellis Partners in Management Solutions