"Follow Your Nose"

For 2 months, I have been haunted.   It's not the ghost of a past unhappy resident, or a tricky poltergiest of some sort.  No, this menace is a demon who entered my body by my nose.   How did I cross paths with a demon, you might ask?  Well, it lives in the bathroom at the building where I work in the form of a distinct smell.  Not the "ewwww" kind of smell, but the "pleasant cover up the ewww" kind of smell.

Last week, I was able to exorcise my olfactory demon and, boy, was it ever awesome.

It took me 2 months to place the scent and it drove me nuts until I figured it out.  Discovering the root of the familiar smell began to consume my life.  Every day, when I would go to work, I would wake up and think about that bathroom smell.  If I was out in public and I smelled something that I thought was close, I had to find out what it was.  I asked the people who ran my building what the smell in the bathroom was.  I tried everything.  My obsession with the bathroom smell drove me to the brink of insanity, until, on a Saturday in the grocery store, a mother with a toddler in her cart, picked up a box of Post Fruity Pebbles.  It hit me like a ton of bricks in that one sugar laden moment!

The bathroom at the building where I work smells like Fruity Pebbles.  Yes, the cereal Fruity Pebbles.  In the bathroom. 

How invitinglydisturbing.

I'm sure that the smell is tropical something-or-other and it's courtesy of the Pacific Breeze company, but if I had to smell a bowl of scent oil and a bowl of fruity pebbles, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Smell is one of the most powerful triggers to memory and one of the most wonderful allies in a sales process.  We bake cookies every morning in the model unit or the office for a reason.  We make sure that we don't wear perfume or cologne, but that we just smell clean when we're at work.  Chamomile and lavender are pretty popular office scents right now, but I'm also noticing a lot of "Fresh Clean Linen" smells out there in the offices I've been visiting and I also smelled, courtesy or Yankee Candles, pecan pie all over one of the offices I was in.  I love pecan pie, and I stayed longer than I intended to because it smelled so good.

Smell reels people in.  A 2006 article from the News Observer  is quoted as saying,
"Some use the smell of fresh flowers, a spring shower or baby powder to reel customers in. Others hope the scent works subliminally. Smell a cookie, buy a cookie." 

It's a bit harder for us to apply the "smell an apartment, buy an apartment," mentality in our field, but just the same as the folks in the retail world, we can use smells to elevate the moods of our staff, reduce stress in the environment (hello subliminal conflict resolution!) and to entice renting just the same.  The better it smells, the longer they will stay there.  The longer they stay there, the more time you have to get that deposit.

If you want people to linger in your model or office think about the smells that make you linger.  Here are a few good starts:

  • Vanilla
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Coffee
  • Tea and Lemon grass
  • Fresh Linen
  • Cinnamon Rolls

Coming in to the holiday season, you could try one of these:

  • Chocolate
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Gingerbread
  • Pine
  • Peppermint

One last word of advice on smells - Don't skimp on the price.  We serve cookies and coffee that leaves a good taste in the future resident's mouth and we want the same effect from our office scent.  Would you serve burned coffee?  Then don't have your air smell like it either.  The cheap sprays and candles are okay for once and a while, but for putting a hook in the nose of your potential resident, invest in some Yankee Candles or ScentAir on the East Coast, Pacific Breeze on the West Coast.  Glade Plug ins with the fan are also a great cost sensitive option.

Have you already experienced great success with aroma sales in your office?  What did you use?  What worked and what didn't?

Presenting the Package

Just a bit of info on some "Fur-esidents" I bet you didn't know you had