Competition is everywhere. Your co-workers compete for promotions or the next atta-boy. Companies compete for the newest and best product. Apartment communities compete with other communities, condos and homes. That’s all fine and good, but shouldn’t it be friendly competition instead of cut throat? Granted, we all want to end up on top, but what does it say about you if you lie, steal and cheat to get there?
When a prospect asks you about the neighboring communities, what do you say? “We’re better than them?” “What other communities?” “You’ll have to find out on your own”? WRONG! Creating value for your community doesn’t have to end with amenities or price. Information can add an immense amount of value to a prospect.
Now don’t go giving a list of the neighboring communities and their phone numbers, do your due diligence and provide information about what you’ve done differently. Names need not be mentioned. If your prospect is truly interested in finding out more information, they will find it. When they do, make sure what you’ve described is correct! Here are four ways to manage the competition mayhem.
Market Surveys: Do you do them? Are you asking the right questions? It’s not just about occupancy, price and unit size anymore. With an increasingly demanding society, you need to know everything about everyone. Compile a list of amenities and find out who offers what. (Again, names need not be mentioned. Use ‘another local community’ instead.) Include unusual ones like dry cleaning pick up, bark parks and pet restrictions if any. Is parking a problem in your city? Ask what kind of parking your competitors offer. It’s important to know if it’s covered, how many lots and spots are available, if visitors can park on site and how much if any they charge for a space. Update your information often!
Feature Benefit Analysis: You may not be the leader in amenities and your price may be, in your opinion, bordering on ridiculous, but you have to sell it! What can you use as value? Construction type is a huge selling point. “Block is better because your neighbor noise is minimal.” Of course you could spin that the other way. “New is better and we’ve done ____ to help minimize noise.” “We have an amazing fitness center that’s open 24 hours a day.” “We offer a discount to the local recreation center. They even have a lazy river!” A good way to start is with your friends and family. Have them sell you an apartment at your community. Their unbiased opinions may come up with some pretty amazing features, benefits or both.
Online Rating Sites: Who’s at the top? What is being said about your community? Sometimes you will find that your community isn’t even listed or worse, all the way at the bottom. Most sites allow you to respond to reviews and not taking advantage of this is doing your community a great injustice. Suppose the reviews are old or clearly not about your community. You could be missing out on leads because someone from Kent, Ohio complained about something that happened at your community in Kent, Washington. Keep on top of this! Subscribe so you are alerted when a new review or comment is posted. Time is of the essence and every second you wait to respond, you could be losing another lease.
Most importantly…ask questions: What does your prospect want? What do they need? What can they do without? The answers to these questions will allow you to use your market survey, feature benefit analysis and knowledge of your online ratings to create value and get the sale. No lying, cheating or stealing necessary!
Even if your prospect doesn’t lease, you gave it one hell of a try! Learn from your mistakes, ask why they didn’t lease and tweak your presentation accordingly.
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley