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Perspective
July 2019

In Marketing and Sales: Show, Don't Tell

We do a lot of "telling" in marketing and sales - "our product or service is the best because of XYZ" or "buy from us because we are the best." The problem is consumers today have access to more information than ever before, and as a result, they are too savvy for these messages to work.

We do a lot of "telling" in marketing and sales - "our product or service is the best because of XYZ" or "buy from us because we are the best." The problem is consumers today have access to more information than ever before, and as a result, they are too savvy for these messages to work.

Look at the trend of "showrooming" that has rocked the retail space over the past several years. Consumers are looking online for products to buy, but going into brick-and-mortar stores to touch them first. They arent settling for those carefully crafted messages about how great the product is. They need to see it first.

When I look at multifamily, I see the same problem retailers struggled through a few years ago, but few PMCs are really addressing it. Prospects are forced to read through inaccurate ILS listings, navigate poorly constructed property websites, and look at out-of-date or overly-photoshopped photos of the property. Then, they show up to try to see the product we're selling first-hand, and we still do more telling than showing in our sales pitch.

Noah Echols - Sr. Director of Marketing at Carroll

Think about what happens when a prospect walks through the door into a leasing center. They are hopefully greeted by a cheerful leasing consultant who proceeds to ask them a couple questions: "when are you looking to move" - "how many bedrooms do you need" - "what's your budget range". Then they proceed to stare at a computer (or an iPad if they are especially savvy) to match the availability to the prospect. All the while, the prospect is sitting there, not sold on moving there, really just wanting to see if they can envision themselves spending at least the next 12 months of their life there and spending 30% of their income on that decision.

We need to rethink how we sell to apartment prospects. "Romance paragraphs" and floor plans are irrelevant. Pricing and availability are necessary, but should never be the lead. Instead, we need to make the selling process experiential. Show the prospect what it is like to live at your property. When they walk in the door, get them out of the leasing office as quickly as possible to go see, touch, and feel the community. We need to stop selling walls and begin selling a lifestyle. You can't do that with brochures and websites.

So what does it look like? Events open to the public. Technologically-enabled tours for prospects early in the journey. Introducing prospects on the tour to current residents. Having the closing conversation over a glass of wine sitting in the lounge that opens up to the pool instead of across a desk in the leasing center. In fact, rename the "leasing office." If we start answering the questions renters have by helping them to experience the life they are buying, we will win every. single. time. If we continue to sell 4 walls that are available for X price on X date, we will watch as competitors begin to catch on.

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