It’s all well and good to present the property you are managing in the best light, but in reality “the best light” in the minds of your potential tenants is always determined with respect to their experiences. With that being said, it is important for you to understand how your property is being interpreted with respect to the other properties available in your area.
The ideal situation is that your prospective tenant walks in and says “I feel better about this than any other property we have visited in the area.” My approach to this is that I decide what the ideal situation is, and then figure out how to get there (when you shoot for lofty goals, wherever you end up along the way is a positive step). So the first thing you need to do is figure out what impressions your potential tenants are getting from your competitors.
Doing research in your competitors is not a new concept. But in this case we are trying to learn the little details – what is it about them that makes people feel compelled to live there, and how can you do top them?
You see, every detail matters. The inside of your building, the outside of your building, and even the packaging of your marketing and information matters. The cliche example right now is Apple – if you have ever opened an Apple product you will know how satisfying their packaging is, and that satisfaction adds to the overall experience.
If you really want a leg up on your competitors then you want your tenants to derive satisfaction from many aspects of their interaction with you – all the way down to how they enter your building. For Example: If you have a large apartment building, do you have multiple entrances, and is it clear which entrance they should use – following this, is it clear where they should go to find your leasing office? Tailor their first experience so that every step is enjoyable – or at the very least, better than your competitors. This means you need to know these things about the other apartment complexes in your area.
Aside from your actual building you manage, the experience of your potential tenants extends to you and your employees. How do you dress compared to your competitors? How do you greet compared to your competitors? How consistent are your processes and attitudes throughout your employee base? It’s not as if you need to dress ‘better’ than your competition, but perhaps there is some element of pristine-ness about the way they present themselves – these small details can potentially set them ahead of you in the heart of your potential tenants.
The key to this is understanding that the smallest difference between your property and the competitors can mean a world of difference in your prospective tenant’s emotional reaction – and emotion is the key component of decision that you need to influence. Think about the experience you provide, and all the little details that make up that experience – from the way you say hello to how much dirt has escaped your planters onto the sidewalk.