I Love Leasing Blog

Effective Methods For Overcoming Price Objections


By Katheryn R. Freeberg, CPM

Most apartment shoppers believe that if you don’t ask for a discount, you won’t get it. The sales savvy leasing representative must be prepared for the predicable question of specials and reduced rents, realizing those questions are actually buying signs and an opportunity to communicate valuable information.

A person’s residence is usually the most expensive item in their budget and signing a lease is a long-term commitment, not to mention the cost of moving.

Before addressing a pricing objection, it is most important to give a prospective resident confidence that they are being introduced to the best fit for their list of criteria: parking preference, commute, budget, space, hobbies, special services. 

A savvy leasing consultant will not assume that every person wants to live by the noisy “sparkling” pool, for example; people have unique expectations for their home life.  A great consultant will listen carefully, ask specific questions based on their comments and not waste their time selling amenities or benefits that do not interest the prospect’s unique personality.  

The prospective resident is very aware of price ranges before they schedule an appointment. In survey conducted by Satisfacts of 4,500 apartment shoppers, 81% of them visited the community website before contacting the office. They have seen floor plans, photographs, amenities, features, location maps, neighborhood points of interest and pricing before scheduling a tour.

All things being equal, when presented with an excellent match to their wish list of living features, how is it best to respond to price objections and references to other communities that are giving discounts and reduced rates?

The first and most effective method is to know the competition inside out, to have personally walked through their units, models, common areas and information centers and have a sense of how professional the leasing staff members are.

Assess how their community differs, and always keep an updated market survey on hand, preferably on a leasing tablet that is also equipped to take an application and sign a lease on the spot such as LeasingBook.com. Refer to the competitor intel and be prepared to raise issues of how your community excels for that prospect’s specific needs.

Raise questions:

- Why does the competitor have to offer discounts?

- Do they give large renewal rate increases to compensate for the reduced rent?

- Do they carefully qualify occupants for background checks?

- Do you know what the average utility bills are running, do they have good insulation, are they green?

This opens the opportunity to reinforce the advantages of leasing at the community.

Don’t be afraid to come back with a question, like: “Outside of the price, is there anything you do not like about this apartment?”

Wait for the answer, you may be surprised at what you hear. I once showed an apartment to a prospect that had returned to the property four times; in fact, other staff members were so exasperated with touring him that they asked me, the Leasing Manager at the time, to show him again. Taking some extra time to weed out his objections (he was rather shy) I discovered that what he really wanted a cathedral ceiling to show off a special woven artwork he had gotten overseas. His whole living experience centered around this item.

We found him the perfect apartment and he lived there long and happily. He would probably have paid 30% more for that apartment because it satisfied all his expectations. What would have happened if he never knew we had cathedral ceilings available?

You can ask, “What is your ideal budget for an apartment home?” to revisit their first qualifications. People can be reluctant to admit a rate is unattainable to them. Here is where you can offer something smaller, or one with less amenities or a less desirable location; or refer them to another community in your company that has less expensive rents by calling the sister property and making an introduction and an appointment—so they don’t get lost when they pass your competition because they have made a commitment for a certain time and place.

Another option is to reinforce how your community will save them time and money: energy saving appliances, insulated windows, fuel efficient HVAC system and close to work, entertainment and shopping.

As good sales people well know if you don’t tell them you have it…you don’t have it.

As Warren Buffet says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”