Lia Nichole Smith VP of Education and Consulting SatisFacts ResearchTM Have you ever had a tour where things started off great and then went downhill really fast? According to the 2014 SatisFacts Index for unclosed traffic, onsite teams are doing very well during the initial part of a prospect’s tour. Exceptional and superior scores are found in the areas of office interaction, knowledge, and the sincerity to find a home to suit the prospect’s needs. From the onset, things are looking good and the first impression is stellar. So, what is happening that sabotages the tour and results in the prospect deciding not to lease? This question can be answered in one word…value. Because the initial interaction is so positive, prospects are expecting everything about the tour to live up to those standards. What they are finding, according to the index, is a less than positive experience once they leave the leasing center and go on the tour. Scores decline for community appearance and apartment condition and features. Great customer service sets prospects up to expect the same level of attention to detail. When the physical aspects of the community and the toured apartment home are lacking, prospects begin to question the overall value for the rent they are being asked to pay. Customer service, rapport building, and answering questions will only get you so far. Remember, the apartment home you are showing will be the prospect’s home for at least 12 months. They may like everything about you but nothing about the apartment home itself. A rockstar leasing associate may be able to secure a lease, but over time, that resident will grow weary of their physical surroundings and question the overall value of living at the community. Establishing and adhering to physical appearance standards is paramount to a community’s leasing success. Train your maintenance teams to recognize the tiniest of details when it comes to the community and apartment appearance. A great exercise is to have each member of your team, both office and maintenance, walk a made ready apartment home one at a time and make a list of the outstanding items found. After everyone has inspected the apartment home, compare notes. Most likely, each will have found something not discovered by another team member. Before deeming an apartment ready to show, add $100.00 to the rent and ask yourself is that apartment home worth the price. If the answer is yes, a prospect is likely to perceive the actual price a good value. If the answer is no, a little more attention to detail may be in order.