People do business with people they like
It seems obvious doesn’t it? Don’t you automatically gravitate towards people who you like? Don’t you just find yourself attracted to people that you perceive to be friendly and nice?
Think about it…if you walked into a store and one associate smiled while the other had a snarky smirk, who would you ask for help?
So I ask you…why do so many apartment communities still insist on hiring people who aren’t all that likeable? I bet right now you have an image of someone in your mind who you worked with, or worked for or managed that just decided s/he didn’t need to be nice to anyone-except maybe for the cute residents in the community.
Less Than Half
According to an Apartments.com white paper (Preferences of Today’s Renter) less than half of prospects who visited a community left with a favorable impression. Is it just me or is that just unacceptable? Why do we tolerate this?
A couple of weeks ago I walked into a client’s community to begin a video project. I went up (wasn’t greeted) to the leasing consultant, introduced myself and let her know the reason I was in the community. She did not introduce herself and just gave me the vibe that she wasn’t all that interested in helping me. There was really nothing about her that gave off the impression of warmth or friendliness.
Later in the day we had to film in the office, so we were around this leasing consultant quite a bit for about a half-hour. I don’t remember her smiling at all, incidentally. Once when I tried to make conversation with her, she pretty much ignored what I had to say. In fairness, I will say that she wasn’t overtly rude to clients or residents. She just wasn’t friendly, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and the negative vibe around that associate.
That’s What Friends Are For
The following week I was working in another community managed by the same company and what a difference! The assistant manager called me the day before to offer her help. When we arrived both the assistant and the leasing consultant were friendly, welcoming, engaging and went out of their way to help. They were also a lot of fun to be around!
I noticed that residents and clients seemed to genuinely enjoy being around them as well. (As a former community manager I always eavesdrop on what the onsite teams are doing and saying!) There was such a different feel and vibe to this office as compared to the other one; and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a prospect visiting both communities would feel the difference too. According to the Apartments.com white paper I quoted from earlier, only 47% of prospects rated their overall experience as excellent or very good. I know we can do better…and it starts with better people.
The next time you have to bring on a new associate, or if you’re currently evaluating whether to retain an associate remember these things:
- You can train sales skills.
- You can train closing techniques.
- You can train how to answer the phone in the most effective way.
- You can’t train “nice.”
- You can’t train “friendly.”
Multifamily housing is such a people-driven business … doesn’t it make sense to have associates who are good around people?
Rommel is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm. He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.