Do Your Leasing Consultants Litter While Touring?

WhenI was 22, I bought my first car without my dad's or anyone else's help in picking it out.  It was a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and if I remember correctly, I think I payed $6800 for it.  What I had wanted was a Pontiac Sunfire, a sporty little car with decent gas mileage and probably the impact survivability of a grilled cheese sandwich.  I was in heavy amounts of lust with this little car, and it was actually in my price range of being just a smidgen under 10K.  You might wonder then, just how did I go from Sunfire to Jeep?  It had nothing to do with the price.

When I went to test drive the Sunfire, I overheard the sales person call me a name.  Not the loatheful moniker of, "Prospect," no, no.  This was something much worse.  He called me, "The Commission,"  In the phrase of,  "I don't want to lose the commission sitting over there."  I walked out and left that sporty little car sitting on the lot, and ever since then, I've lost my love for Pontiacs.  I'm a Jeep girl now, tried and true.

There are some words you just don't want your future residents to hear you say and most of them aren't nearly as offensive as my example but they are all just as effective at NOT closing the lease.  When we are working with a future resident or even a current resident, we have to be ultra careful not to drop jargon litter.  Touring a community while the leasing agent refers to homes as, "Two bys," or, "Units," or starts talking about the, "Lease Exposure," like it's something the prospect should understand is equivocal to the leasing agent dropping trash across the tour path.  It looks awful, your prospects trip all over it, and it ruins the wonder of what you're trying to rent.  It's verbal curb appeal.

One of the ways, besides great training and brush up on basics courses, to gaurd against this jargon dropping is video/audio shops and recorded phone calls.  You can catch these slips in yourself or your team early and correct them before they become a bad habit that gets ingrained in the way that person does things.  Ellis Partners in Mystery Shopping offers both the audio and video shopping options and they are a great company to work with.  (I've worked with them on the service end as a mystery shopper and they treated me just wonderful and I always got paid.) 

I asked my colleagues on Twitter what words they encourage their consultants not to use. Below is a short, but in no way totally complete, list compiled with the help of my friends over at Rainmaker management (@RMG_Multifamily), Lisa Trosien(@ltrosien), Essex Property Trust (@essexproperties) and MultiFamily Guide (@mfguide).  And on a side note, how cool is it that I can send out less than 140 characters and get some top industry minds to input on my blog?  Twitter ROCKS!

Words to Avoid:
Pieces of Traffic
Crime Rate
Work Order (Use Service Request instead)

per square foot
asset manager
site plan
phase 1, phase 2, etc
TIF district or just TIF
construction loan
permanent financing
concession (should be 'incentive')
net effective rent
gross rent

anything 'per unit'

And this is just a short list.  What words would you add to it with your consultants on site?

My Bias for Other's Blogs

Advice from my grandfather about your model unit