Ms. Management Q and A
By Carol Levey
I was recently asked by a community manager that I had trained as a leasing specialist years ago to spend some time in the leasing office to review whether “best practices” were being utilized on the phone and in person. I was asked about my observations that came from this experience.
Q. Was there something about the handling of incoming phone inquiries or persons walking into the office that needed improvement?
A. I couldn’t help observe that there were some short inquiries that the caller controlled and often abruptly ended. There were other calls that went on for some time but also seemed controlled by the callers asking lots of questions. These calls all had one thing in common. The community leasing representative never engaged the caller to the degree necessary to share the information that is most important to the caller or that could establish the kind of trust sufficient to ask important questions and get an honest response. There was not an attempt to create a professional environment with “permission selling”. Example- “May I share with you what this rental rate includes?” Or “May I ask a couple of questions that will help me understand exactly what you’re looking for?”
Once established with the right questions that create opportunities to engage them it’s easier to establish the importance to the caller that an appointment at the community is really important. I also noticed that a person walking into the office is rarely greeted by a smiling representative, standing and coming around their desk with a welcome hand extended. The body language of the visitor indicated that they felt like an intruder instead of a customer
Q. Help! I’m the manager of a high end community. I have been with my current company less than a year. Recently they changed the portfolio around and I got a new regional. My old regional and I had a great rhythm. The new one seems very difficult to work with; I’m a wreck!
A. It would benefit you to sit down with your new regional away from the office. Ask how he/she likes things done. What are the priorities; how and when reports should be completed? What are the expectations on a daily basis? Find out about the leadership style; explain how you work best with the understanding that you will be happy to work within the parameters. Also allow time to get to know each other not only as professionals but as people. Ask to have regular meetings in order to determine whether you are on track. Remember, face-to-face is the best approach. Above all, be honest, open and not defensive. Who knows, you might develop an even better rhythm with your new Regional.