As we’ve shared before, the first two minutes of your interaction with a prospect can determine if you win or lose the sale. Given the brief amount of time, it’s important that you have a clear process to start strong.
Here are five rules we recommend you follow to ensure your conversations start strong, and stay that way throughout the process.
1. Best Friends Conversation
As we shared in our post about the first two minutes, the first (and most important) rule is that your goal shouldn’t be to make a sale. Instead, it should be to have a “best friends conversation.”
Think about it, if an old friend just walked in knowing that you have expertise about apartments and asks you, “Where should I live,” you wouldn’t jump right into features and benefits. You’d catch up with them, learn what’s important, and advise them on what they should do. If there was a match and it meant moving into your community that would be great, but if your community weren’t a match that would be fine too.
Prospects can sense your intent. If you’re not aligned with them, they’ll feel it. They may not be able to put words to the feeling, but it will have a material negative impact on the rest of the process.
2. Assume Positive Outcomes
Whenever I meet with someone I always assume that I can help them. I assume that they’ll value my opinion and that things will go positively. This assumption creates a confidence that is attractive to prospects. Just as they can sense if I’m not aligned with their interests, my confidence will have a material impact on the outcome (and enjoyment) of the sales effort.
3. Don’t Interrogate
It is true that the most powerful thing you can do as a salesperson or leasing associate is to ask good questions. However, it is critical that the conversation never feels like an interrogation for your prospect (and it’s a fine line).
Questions should be conversational. Keep them open-ended and ask follow up questions. Use the “tell me more” technique to keep your prospect comfortable and sharing. Remember, you’re in this together.
4. Take Control
You’re the expert. You manage tens to hundreds of moves a year. Your prospect does it less than once a year. Relocating is one of the most stressful events of anyone’s life. Walking into a building to meet with a “salesperson” just adds to that stress.
When people are nervous, they’re looking for someone else to control the process. Controlling doesn’t mean being a jerk or rambling on incessantly. It means having a process and sticking with it.
When you visit the doctor when you are sick or have an ailment that needs to be addressed, how would you feel if the doctor meandered through and didn’t control the process? Your prospect will feel the same way.
5. Make Them Feel Safe
This leads us to our last point. The whole process of finding a place to live is stressful. When people are stressed, their flight/fight response kicks in and shows itself in a variety of ways.
The best way to counteract that pressure is to create a feeling of safety. This means empathizing with your prospect. It means taking the judgment totally out of the conversation. Your job is to make your prospect feel comfortable enough that they can share whatever they are thinking and feeling in a safe environment.
Following these five rules will put you in the position of authority, while also increasing your likeability factor. Together they’ll increase your positive results!