2 Words That Have Saved Me Hours of Frustration

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Like most of you, I do most of my advertising for my rentals through craigslist. Nothing irritates me more than setting up an appointment, driving over to the rental property to meet a prospective tenant and no one shows up. No call, no text, no email.. nothing. Homeboy is probably sitting at home watching family guy and I just wasted an hour of my time.

I discovered something that has been insanely useful to me and has nearly eliminated no shows, and its 2 words. The two words are “will you?”

More specifically, when you’re on the phone with your potential tenant and you finish your pre-qualifiers, you set up an appointment, THEN you ask them one important question, “will you call me if something comes up and you cant make it?”, and wait for their “yes.”

MOST IMPORTANT: It needs to be exactly that or something close to it. Saying “Give me a call if something changes”, “let me know if you cant make it” “please call if you something comes up” do not have the same effect. It needs to be a question and they need to respond. It cannot be a statement.

Obviously, the key is in the psychology of them verbally agreeing to do something you have asked them to do. There is very little commitment in simply agreeing to a statement.

Believe it or not, this makes a huge difference. I still have people cancel last minute, but they almost always call or text and let me know they’re not interested anymore or cant make it.

I don't do individual appointments anymore for reasons you mentioned above. I have an open house for an hour and I funnel everyone to show up at the same time. It creates a sense of urgency for the prospective tenants to make a decision when they are walking through the house with other people and saves me time.

As I get inquiries I just schedule them all a couple of days from the first inquiry to build up a group.

I have had people standing in line to fill out an application. 

What I would do was tell them to call XX minutes before the appointment to confirm they were still showing up.  XX minutes being the length of time it would take you to get to the property from where you are.

I used to get a lot of no-shows for appointments because I'd just set individual appointments and then people would inevitably fail to show for them.  Then I fixed that problem completely by doing what @John Underwood and @Thomas S. do. 

If I have a lot of interest on a particular rental, I simply schedule a group showing.  I tell everyone to show up at the same time.  I like this method because it limits my trips back and forth to the property, and - as John pointed out - it creates a sense of urgency in the applicants because they see everyone else interested in the property.

If, on the other hand, I need to show the property to just one applicant for some reason, I will still set an appointment.  However, I tell the applicant they must call me 1 hour before the scheduled appointment to confirm otherwise I will not show up.  I have never had an applicant call to confirm and then not show up.  I have had applicants not call to confirm, but then I just didn't go to the property.  And I never got another call from them so I assume they didn't show up either and I saved myself a wasted trip.  Works like a charm.