With a Little Help from Their Friends
May 1, 2011
It isn’t because of your charming personality, though that may be part of it. It isn’t because of the way your property looks, though they may say it is. It isn’t because of what their friends told them, though the glowing reports may have gotten them to call you. No, your prospective tenant wants to rent your property for another reason.
But everyone says we’re supposed to do all those things, be pleasant, crisp up our properties, and get referrals. Yes, we are. But when it comes down to an applicant filling out a rental application, those aren’t the deciding factors. In fact, the deciding factors are things we may not be able to put our finger on.
In spite of what your applicants might tell you and what they actually might believe themselves, they do not want to rent your property because of your charming personality, how beautiful it is, or what their friends told them. It goes far deeper than that.
Everyone, whenever he or she buys anything, buys what the product or service will do, not the feature that enables it to do that. People buy benefits. So, as the old adage goes, people don’t buy a quarter-inch drill; they buy what the quarter-inch drill will get them, and it’s not the hole. They are buying the hole that will provide them the opportunity to put whatever it is through that hole. Just so, tenants don’t rent a property because of its features but rather what those features will do for them.
Geoff Ayling, in his book Rapid Response Advertising, lists 50 reasons people buy. All of those reasons have to do with what features do for people, not the features themselves.
What then, is the benefit of your charming personality? One reason Ayling lists that people buy is “to become more comfortable—even a bit more.” Another is “To escape or avoid pain.” Still another is “to be accepted.” So your charming personality makes people more comfortable, helps them avoid the pain of a bad landlord and makes them feel accepted.
How about that beautiful property you own and meticulously maintain? Ailing lists more reasons. “To increase enjoyment of life,” “to possess things of beauty,” and “to feel opulent.” A beautifully maintained property can feed each of those reasons.
And the recommendation of their friends? Ayling lists “to attract praise,” “to buy friendship,” and “to be popular.” Certainly an applicant’s friends would praise him or her for taking their advice. And buying friendship? That’s a stretch, but it might go along with being accepted, doing double duty with your charming personality. And certainly increased popularity goes along with agreeing with a friend’s recommendation.
Here’s the important point. We certainly should be charming (or at least kind of nice), have great looking properties, and encourage referrals, but we will help ourselves if we ask questions and add comments that help an outstanding applicant make the right decision. That sounds difficult, but it is actually easy.
Talk about what the features mean, your charm, the property’s excellent maintenance, their friends’ referral. So your being such a nice person could mean that you always look to make your tenants feel at home and comfortable. The excellent property maintenance means they won’t have constant issues and irritation with broken things that they have to call about. They can count on feeling proud of where they live.
And their friends? They have good sense in referring these applicants to you because they are true friends. After all, only true friends will want friends to live in a great place.
Let’s be charming, keep our properties in outstanding condition and encourage referrals, but let’s also make sure we let our applicants know what all that will do for them.