We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s not so much about what you say, but how you say it.” When it comes to leasing, what you say and do is just as important as how you do it. Three aspects of body language — posture, eye contact and listening — will help leasing professionals with how they can ‘always be closing’ and provide potential residents with a high quality experience.
According to Gengo, a communication and translation company, there a few key techniques that break down barriers and help prospective residents feel comfortable around a leasing agent:
Mirror postures and expressions
Stay close when talking, but not too close
Maintain an open, inviting posture
Avoid folding arms or putting hands on hips when you first meet a potential resident
Keep a straight back and avoid hunching over
The right amount (and type) of eye contact can create a subconscious feeling of connection, boost memory and stimulate the mind. Research shows that 3.2 seconds of eye contact is comfortable with a stranger. Any longer can seem intimidating or even flirtatious. A Forbes article states that eye contact during 30-60% of the conversation is appropriate, and you should make more eye contact when you’re listening than when you are talking.
That being said, try not to think too much into it when you are actually talking with people. Counting the seconds or thinking so much about eye contact that you begin to stare will make someone feel uncomfortable. We have an inherent feeling of when we’re acting oddly or not. However, being aware of the data presented above will surely help you to make meaningful eye contact during conversations with interested buyers.
Properly and intently listening to prospective residents will allow them to feel that you are taking a sincere interest in them and that you are a trustworthy person. The following list of suggestions will help you to truly show that you are listening to your potential resident:
Smile. Smiling while listening to someone will trigger positive emotions in them and help them to remember their experience in your community with fondness
Mirror Emotions. If someone tells you about an unfortunately sad experience they had at a previous apartment community, briefly mirror their emotion with an empathetic expression and an “oh no” or “how sad.” Mirroring their emotions will make them feel that you understand them and care about what they have to say.
Nod. A few nods here and there will show that you are actively listening, rather than daydreaming or losing focus. Avoid, however, looking like a bobblehead.
Repeat what they say. Repetition helps buyers know that you are paying attention and completely focused on them. It can also take different forms. For example, if a buyer tells you “I just moved from Indiana and…” you might briefly comment by saying “Oh, Indiana!” or “Oh, so you just moved from Indiana.” It doesn’t need to be much, but repeating two or three key words here and there goes a long way.
By monitoring and improving the quality of listening, eye contact and posture, leasing professionals can provide potential residents with a great experience and an increased desire to join the community.