Out to Put a Dent in the Multifamily Universe

Tell Them How Much You are Moved by the Neighborhood

imagesDon’t tell prospects and residents how much your apartments are – tell them how much you are moved by the neighborhood.


velTell them about waking up on a crisp fall morning and taking a run in Forest Park just one block over from your apartment. Tell them about stopping back by Velocity Coffee Shop to have a cup of coffee – served by a friendly Barista named Tracy who rarely smiles but wants to. Tell them about the free copies of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the St. Louis Dispatch. Tell them about the free wifi. And, oh – it’s a bike shop too with cool bike motif everywhere. The bathroom even has a cool chalkboard where you once drew a giant dragon that looked as if it were eating the giant flower someone else drew.

Tell them about Papa John’s pizza and Subway at the end of the block where Tony and Charles remember your name and serve you with a smile. Tell them about Atlas Restaurant located in the heart of the neighborhood and the amazing food and desserts that they serve. Tell them about The Loop and The Central West End [very cool Saint Louis neighborhood hangouts] being just one mile away and don’t forget to mention the friendly cab driver resident who will drive you over while entertaining you with great conversation. Tell them about all the fun nights you had in those neighborhoods.

Tell them about Mr. and Mrs. Wang who own the dry cleaners right next door to Papa John’s and how they wash and fold clothes for $0.75 a pound. Tell them how much you love the fact that each Christmas they give your children big canisters of candy as a thank you for your business.

Tell them about the dog park even if you are not a pet lover – not even in the least.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the neighborhood that I fell in love with in Saint Louis. Oh yeah, and I lived in a great apartment that overlooked a tree lined street that looks amazing in the fall.

Tell them with conviction how much you love the neighborhood the rest will fall right into place.

About Mike Brewer

Out to put a dent in the multifamily universe. Love compelling conversation...

  • lisatrosien

    Mike, I love you like a brother, but I have to (vehemently) disagree with you here.

    This is the second discussion I've had recently regarding the whole 'not discussing pprice' issue. And I remember when this started out as a philosphy back in the 80's. My owners were adamant; I was not to discuss price; I was to 'tell the story' and avoid price discussion.

    It failed. Miserably. And believe me, I tried. Especially today, in our oh-so-price sensitive economy, pricing is important. While I agree with the concept of building value, I very much disagree on not discussing price.


  • http://mbrewergroup.com mbrewer

    Interesting comment – curious what others think.

  • http://www.theapartmentnerd.com The Apartment Nerd

    I agree with this 100% especially if using a revenue management system. If you look at the P's of marketing one P that really gets ignored in our industry is “Place.” We assume because we've built a property we can't give it better placement or distribution. This is short-sighted as your competition doesn't take advantage of this P. Location is always #1 when someone is looking for a new home. I say focus on why your location is better than others and you definitely can get a leg up. Price is still a factor, yes, but place is a P that is ignored by the majority. Everyone focuses on price, and with revenue management you can essentially ignore price and focus on the other Ps. Place being a big one. All the P's need to work together, and what I like about talking about location is that almost no one else is doing it (or at least doing it well).

  • http://twitter.com/MultifamilyPro Tami Siewruk

    Most people believe the concept of the Four P's that are make up the marketing mix .Elements being price, place, product, and promotion . I have always believed (based on my training and experience) that the real marketing mix is really Seven P’s. ..Included in the marketing mix are people, physical evidence and process (i.e. the whole customer experience)

    So to me the answer is “it all depends” on each of the Seven P’s . Every community, neighborhood and marketplace is different and all have to be weighed and given a weight to determine if forgetting the price and selling the neighborhood will work for that asset.

  • lisatrosien

    I'm not saying to 'focus' on price, but Mike's post says nothing about pricing, at all. There has been quite a bit of discussion in the multifamily space lately about 'avoiding' discussing pricing with prospects as much as possible and I simply have to disagree.

    Selling location is definitely important, but pricing will not 'simply fall into place'. Prospects have a right to know the pricing of the product and to avoid discussion altogether is simply, in my mind, not a smart strategy.

    The concept of revenue management places price at the forefront of the discussion. In working with Yieldstar, as I know JC Hart does, you have to determine individual need factors for Yieldstar to give you a price. I have yet to see a Leasing Professional that uses Yieldstar to go through a demonstration and 'tour' of the community without going to Yieldstar first to obtain the quote sheet. If JC Hart does the quote at the end of the tour, I'd love to hear about it and how successful it is.

    I think avoiding the presentation of price is a deterrent to selling value in the sales process.

    • http://mbrewergroup.com mbrewer

      The thought is not to deny the price. The real essence of the post is to inject/stimulate emotion at the forefront of the sales process. It would be not unlike a good book hooking you with the lead paragraph.

      If a prospect demonstrates a real disdain for the storytelling then by all means segway into price.

      My point is not to lead with it but rather have it fall into place. That place may be in the middle or near the end but not the lead.

    • http://www.theapartmentnerd.com The Apartment Nerd

      We don't quote a specific price until the end of the tour. We talk about price ranges and inquire about the customer's price range. They already know what our price is as it's in all our marketing, online listings, and our website. There is no real reason to talk about price. The customer is just taught to ask about price or specials because that's what they have done over the years and what most properties focus on. Is a customer going to come in and ask, “Can you tell me why your location is better than others?” No, of course not, that's why leading them into that conversation can be powerful. Every time I see price mentioned too early in conversation then it is never quoted as confidently as it should be. There's nothing backing it up. Again, the customer already knows what our price is and there is really no reason to focus on it during your presentation anyway.

      I didn't gather from Mike's post that price should be avoided, rather he was suggesting that location can be a great tool to build confidence in pricing. I just feel it is one of the P's we need to focus on that gets overlooked. I agree w/ Tami that it can depend on the property on how this P weighs in, and I don't think price gets forgotten in any situation. The focus just gets taken away from price until the time is right. That timing can also vary depending on the customer, but I prefer to deliver the quote at the end. It's really not that hard from my experience.

  • UrbaneWay

    Hi Mike, Great Post, I am a little late here, but we put most of our sales chips squarely on the two E's of marketing Engagement and Emotion. With that, it seems like prospects are most interested in whats going on around their new neighborhood. The more versed we are, the better.

    While price may come up throughout the presentation, we really focus on telling a story of a hip, fun and cool Urbane Life.