I Object!

When conducting an onsite mystery shop for EPMS, shoppers are usually asked to raise an “objection” to something during the onsite presentation. For many of our clients, this is one of the most important questions in our report. Prospective residents have an idea in mind of what they are looking for in a home. They may feel that a community or a specific apartment is “missing something” that is important to them. Leasing consultants are trained to address such objections in a way that is respectful of the prospect’s wishes, but still confirms that the community would be a good fit. When done correctly, overcoming objections is an art form!

Objection Overruled! What is NOT a good objection to raise during a shop?

  • We aren’t trying to trip up the leasing agent. Don’t knowingly raise an objection that is beyond their control. If a community is all electric, don’t insist on gas appliances. Don’t object to something that would raise a fair housing concern, such as there being too many children living there. If the community does not have three-bedroom apartments, don’t say that a two bedroom is not large enough for you.
  • If a leasing consultant makes a reasonable attempt to address your objection and build value in the community, don’t give the impression that it is still a “deal breaker.” Remember that shoppers are not actually going to lease there, so don’t go overboard in appearing displeased.
  • Don’t state your objection in a negative tone as if what you’re asking for should be on everyone’s wish list and you should not even have to ask.
  • Don’t state in your discussion onsite or in your report that they “should have” more flowers out front or a laundry room in every building, etc. – in other words something the leasing agent has no control over.

Objection Sustained! What are some reasonable and believable objections to raise?

  • You may use a personal interest as a way of raising an objection. Do you need a place to dock your laptop or set up your sewing machine? The leasing agent may suggest a nook or corner of the apartment that would work well for that purpose. Do you have a large or awkward piece of furniture that you are concerned may not fit? She may suggest ways to arrange your furniture to maximize the space. Or he may be able to suggest where in the apartment he has seen other residents put their Christmas tree.
  • Listen for an attempt to create rapport with you, while addressing your objection. Perhaps you said you were concerned that the noise from the pool would be too loud. She may say that she once thought so as well but when she saw everyone having fun out there, she found that it made her go to the pool a lot more often.
  • If a situation arises the leasing professional cannot overcome, such as your request to move your personal appliances into the apartment, they may have to overcome that objection by offering something completely different. As an example, if you were hoping to bring your washer/dryer with you and there are no connections in the home, you might be offered a location right by a laundry facility, or told how new and awesome their onsite machines are, or maybe offered a few credits to use their laundry

Above all, remember that you should give the impression that what they do have to offer could work for you. Allow the leasing consultant to talk through your objections in a way that builds value in the apartment and the community. Give the appearance that you are able to be pleased and give credit for a reasonable attempt to accommodate your requests. You don’t have to really live there, but if they are trying to find a way to help solve for your problem that’s the ultimate goal.