Written Posts

How much are your two bedrooms?

11 Comments 02 November 2011

In listening to phone calls I wondered how often we get the question, “How much are your 1/2/3 bedrooms?”  I can tell you from the calls I’ve listened to that it happens a bunch.  The problem is, so many people want to just answer that question for the customer right away.  Here’s why I think you should redirect that question when you’re talking to a prospect on the phone.

1.  They already know your price.  We know they found your website, an ILS listing, or some ad that shows your pricing.  What they are looking for is to confirm what they found in those listings is accurate (including other information beyond price).

2.  They really want to know if you have one available for their moving date.  Again, they are looking for some type of confirmation on something they may or may not have found in your listing.  This is actually more important to them than price, again, because they already know your price.

3.  They are checking to make sure you aren’t a complete moron.  If you can’t hold a conversation with them or show interest in their needs beyond this price question then you are likely considered a moron in their mind.  People want to do business with people they like.  This call is your opportunity to be liked.  It’s not about your amazing community, plethora of amenities, or AMAZING special.

Here are my tips:

– When asked about price right up front just simply ask back, “When are you looking to move?”  They forget about price and now you take the lead in the questioning.

– Take time to build rapport and learn more about the customer and their needs (beyond price).  Where they work, why they are moving, for whom the apartment will be for, etc.

– If the conversation ever comes back to price (9 times out of 10 it won’t for quite awhile) just give a range.

Customer: “So, how much is the two bedroom?”

You: “Did you have a price range you were looking to stay in?”

Customer: “I’d like to stay under $900.”

You: ” Great! The apartment we were discussing for you starts in the $800s.”

– If they ask you if you have a special the answer should always be YES.  Even if you don’t, it’s all how you explain it to sound like you do.  “Absolutely, we currently have ‘SPECIAL PRICING’ on select/all apartments.”  What’s “SPECIAL” to them is whatever you tell them.  They won’t know the difference.

– They called you.  They are interested.  Build value for your price before quoting anything.

  • Mark – I shared with my whole team!  Thank you!

  • Great article!Thank you Mark!

  • Jolene Sopalski

    Great article Mark,thanks for expanding on your ideas you posted on FLY Apartment Leasing Ideas FB page.The extra information is really helpful.I shared this with my team this morning. ~Jolene

  • Well done.

  • Guest

    It’s bizzaro world. Here he have a ‘champion’ of social media, advocating lying to prospects, on a very public forum.

    • Thanks for the comment.  I’m assuming that you were referring to the “Specials” point specifically.  I get what you’re saying, and I’m sorry if it came across as recommending to lie to people as that’s not what I’m suggesting.  

      Bottom line, this is sales.  When it comes to discussing price it’s important to build value for that price and quote price confidently.  In all actuality I’m suggesting that people tell the truth.  Let customers know that the price you are offering is “Special”.  Whether there is a true discount built in or not, I don’t believe it is a lie.  A company could just as easily mark up the rate just to discount it.  I don’t think that’s lying or dishonest, I just think that’s sales and marketing.  Rather than play a concession and discount game I’d prefer to see companies quote prices confidently and market them as “Special”.

      If you have other concerns about this approach or something beyond the “Specials” point please let me know.  Thanks again.

      • Guest

        ‘Sell value, don’t defend price’ is something we can all get behind. Many companies have successfully countered having to offer specials via premium positioning, EDLP, etc. If the offer is special, the price doesn’t have to be. But I thonk in the age of transparency, honesty pays.

      • Guest

        And I must note – you’ve equivoacted on special:

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special

        The prospect is using the noun, and you’ve switched it to the adjective.

        • Ahhh, the joys of sales and marketing. 😉

  • Gerry Hunt

    Great post Mark. When I am training staff and the ‘Special’ question, I suggest, just as you did, to say yes. And follow it with ‘Everything here is special!’ 

  • John Cooper

    Great stuff! Redirecting questions and reframing issues. This can be applied to any profession.

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