Setting The Tone For A Tenancy (Pt. 1)
It’s Sales 101 to always be pleasant and happy when someone calls that wants to rent your place. Your initial greeting on the phone should be kind and energetic, not that it was an imposition to answer the phone. If it’s not a good time, don’t answer the phone. Coming off as crass or short will do nothing for the tone of the contact and does more harm than not answering. After you’ve answered with your greeting, it’s a great idea to match the tone of the caller. If someone is calling with a quiet voice and sounds shy, bring your tone down to match theirs. It will be audibly reassuring to them that your tone has now matched theirs.
After the caller has decided that they would like a showing, most people’s instinct is to jump and grab your keys. If you are a leasing agent, this is fine. Your sole job is being available to rent the unit. As a landlord, you want to make sure the tenant knows that your time is of value to you and that you schedule your time carefully. Doing so will let the tenant know that you have other obligations and not set the false standard that you will always jump to assist them. When scheduling the showing try and to do it 24 hours in advance (unless you have another showing already scheduled that you can piggyback). It’s not uncommon for landlords to do group showings. Another strategy employed is open houses. You can set open houses weekly for a certain time (most effective on the weekend) and advise callers you will be at the property then. The feeling from landlords that use this strategy is that if a tenant wants to rent your unit that much, they will make arrangements.
When you are at the property for the showing, it is important to remember that you are there to sell the unit to them, but also that your time is money. If the person doesn’t call within 5 minutes of the showing start time to say they are lost or had an emergency, it is important to remind yourself that you have a schedule and other tasks to handle. Do not wait more than 10 minutes. It is your choice if you choose to call the tenant. I usually advise my agents to do it after they have left the property, that way if the prospective answers and says there are 5 minutes away, the agent can objectively say they are no longer there and need to reschedule. If a tenant isn’t courteous of your time before they move-in, they aren’t going to value your time after. If they don’t value your time it’s harder for them to value your bank account and putting money into it.
Throughout all of this, stick concretely to your application requirements. Every once in awhile we may feel the urge to be the good person and give someone a second chance. I wish I could say this always turns out spectacularly, but it doesn’t. Not everyone deserves a second chance. At the very least, never alter your requirements in regards to application fee, holding money, etc. Doing so sends a clear message to the tenant that money is a flexible topic and deadlines are always negotiable. Money deadlines should never be negotiable.