The Demand Solutions Blog

Multifamily Selling... Then and Now

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jan 19, 2016 5:30:00 PM

Multifamily Selling Then and NowWe spend a lot of time sharing our thoughts on how sales has changed and what that means for multifamily operators. The very nature of how residents engage, shop and make purchasing decisions has changed, yet the way the vast majority of operators sell is no different than what they did in the 1980s and 1990s (as a matter of fact, we’ve even seen some sales processes that are still in use that we developed during that time). 

What’s more interesting is that this phenomenon doesn’t exist in any other function within operator’s organizations. Operators have changed in almost every other key component:

  • How they manage pricing decisions.
  • How they manage leasing logistics and property management.
  • The way they hire and even manage employees

Operators have partnered with marketing to embrace how renters start their decision journey by adopting more effective marketing approaches and utilizing ILS, SEO, PPC and other online marketing strategies.

Yet from a sales – and sales management – perspective, little to nothing has changed.

Given that we’ve just entered the new year, we thought it was time for one of those “out with the old, in with the new” list approaches. So, we broke down the traditional approaches that should be thrown out, and more importantly what should replace them.

The Traditional Sales Approach

Today’s Effective Selling

We hold all of the information

The customer researches online and comes 'armed' with lots of knowledge (including $)

We lead the prospect through our process

We typically have to quickly catch up to the prospect and where they are in their decision-making process

Guest card interrogation

A conversational approach where we learn things and note them for our 'systems'

Tour all of the vacant apartments

Pause to ask questions and learn wants and needs and then tour relevant couple or few apartments

Everyone sees 'the tour path'

Provide a customized tour based on expressed interests

10 Ways to Close

An authentic conversation where we ask for the business after we know why they should lease from us

“Always be closing”

“Always be helping”

Script based

Principle based

“Follow-up” stack in desk drawer (aka “dialing for dollars”)

Advance the conversation with purpose

Marketing and lead generation is separate from sales

Marketing transitions to sales through common story threads and a written SLA

Price conversations can be difficult

Price conversations are very matter-of-fact

We wait to present price so the prospect knows all the benefits before we talk price

The prospect already knows the price from their research

Overcome objections

Discuss decision reluctance

Selling styles

Buying styles

All about our process

All about their decision

We shop our associates for compliance with our mechanics and our scripts

We shop our associates for how well they identify need and connect with prospects

We judge our sales team on occupancy and gut feel

We judge new associates on time to proficiency and established associates against targeted volume goals driven by exposure

We get more excited while prospects get more discouraged/frustrated

We guide prospects through the natural emotional challenges of big decisions

Community and apartment home

Community, apartment home, and neighborhood

Fear of fair housing

Understand where the prospect is coming from and meet their individual needs

Features & benefits






We encourage you to read through this list and determine which changes you need to make. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change just one piece of the puzzle and leave everything else the same. And remember, if you change how you sell you must also change how you measure and assess performance as well!

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Topics: multifamily sales