Following Up

by Robert L. Cain. Copyright 2020 Cain Publications, Inc.

Sometimes prospective tenants just can’t make up their minds. When they look at the unit they get excited and say things such as, “oh, this is so cute,” and they start mentally placing furniture and planning where little Johnny’s room would be. Then they go away. And you don’t hear back from them. Here you thought you had a real prospect for your rental and they don’t call back. 

What happened? Did they rent another place? Did they decide not to move after all? Or, are they just unable to make up their minds? It could well be the last one. Lots of people just can’t decide until they have someone who helps them decide or until they’re forced into making a decision by outside circumstances, such as their moving deadline being only a few days off.

Simply because they didn’t get around to doing anything about your rental property,  they end up renting a place they didn’t really want, kicking themselves for missing out on that cute place they looked at (yours). Assuming these were excellent tenants, you missed out, too. You might have ended up taking an applicant who was not as good a tenant as these folks are.

How do you make sure these folks rent from you? Follow up. Following up is the  most important technique any salesperson can use. And you are a salesperson when you are renting a unit. Persistence can even turn a sloppy or indifferent sales presentation into success.

Basic follow up is easy. All it takes is a telephone and a few minutes. Doing a really bang-up job of it takes a little more preparation, though. Here’s how it works:

1. You have to get the name, address, phone number, and email of everyone who looks at your units. If you don’t do that, you can’t follow up.

2. Use an “Inquiry Form.” I have one in my book Get It Rented. On that you write all their contact information and everything they expressed an interest in about the unit. For example, they might have mentioned the fact that it was on a bus line, was in a good school district, or had a large garage.

3. Immediately mail or email them a thank-you note for looking at the property

4. Now call them. When you call them you have something to talk about. “I was calling to touch bases with you about the apartment you looked at at 123 Main St. last weekend. I remember you liked the large garage. What have you decided to do about moving?”  Always ask question that cannot be answered yes or no. So instead of asking “have you decided about whether you are interested in renting my apartment,” ask “what have you decided. . .” or some other question that begins with who, what, when, where, why or how.

5. Your first follow up call should be no more than three days after they looked at the unit. If they’re still waffling, call them back a week after they looked. This time say something like, “I was just following up again. I’ve had several people who looked at the apartment who seemed kind of interested. And I don’t want you to miss out on the chance to get your application in ahead of those other folks.”

Notice that you make no offer to rent the to them, only to accept their application. After all, bad tenants are experts at looking like the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.

When you are renting a unit you need to apply as many sales techniques as are appropriate; and follow up is one of the most important and effective you can use. Following up lets people know that you are eager to do business and that you have follow-through. When you take the initiative to get in touch with them, you have made it easier for them to do business with you.

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