The first time you speak to a potential tenant could be the most important step to securing a qualified person for your rental property. Obviously the first step is to put out your marketing to get your phone ringing. Once you figure out how to get the phone to ring you need a system to take the calls. Here is how you deal with potential tenant phone calls.
You should send all calls into a voice mail. Many people that will disagree with me but I know that you will be better on the phone and save a lot of time if you are returning calls instead of answering the phone. I check the voice mail every two or three days when we are actively marketing a property. This way I have a lot of calls to return. This makes it easier to set group appointments which helps create competition for your property.
Before you start returning calls you need to be sure you are ready. Remove distractions so you can get through the calls quickly. I recommend standing when you make calls and remember to smile. When you stand you will sound more confident and when you smile you will appear more genuine and courteous.
When you return the call ask for the person that left the message. Tell them your name and that you are returning their call about your place for rent or rent to own. You need to maintain control of the call and the best way to do that is to ask questions while being respectful of your time. They might ask which property but do not answer. Tell them you have several properties available and that you need some information from them. Ask them what they are looking for (beds, bath, location) Once they give you this basic information, it is real easy to ask them what they were “hoping” to spend per month. Normally they will just tell you but sometimes you will get resistance. If you get any resistance, ask them what they are currently paying. DO NOT tell them the price of your unit until they tell you what they want to pay.
I have to admit that I don’t always do this. When I am getting a lot of calls I change my advertising to include price and will tell them the price right at the beginning of the call to screen out people that cannot afford it. This is a strategy I use to save me time but telling people the price before you get them talking will limit your chances of turning the prospect into a tenant.
Keep in mind that you have two goals; qualify them and to set an appointment. You don’t want to tell them a lot about the house or your options in working with them. If they ask if you can work with them with their deposit or option money, simply say that you are sure you can work something out but you want to be sure they even like the house first.
When you set the appointment only have two times that will work for you and ask them which of the two is best. Always call it an appointment and not a showing. People won’t want to miss an appointment but may not show up if it is just a showing. Also at the end of the call, call them by name and ask them if you can ask a favor. Tell them you will give them a phone number and that you want them to call you one hour before the appointment. They need to know that you will not show up if they don’t call and confirm they will be there. Trust me this will save you a ton of time with all those tenants that don’t show up for their appointment.. or does that only happen to me? It should sound like this:
You – “Ms Jones, will it be OK if I ask you a small favor?”
Tenant – “sure”
You – “I don’t live real close to the house. I was wondering if I can give you my cell phone number and have you call me one hour before our appointment to confirm that you will in fact be there?”
Tenant – “sure I can do that:
You – “great my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. If I don’t get a call from you at _______ I will not show up so it is important that you call me before you drive out there.”