Thinking Beyond Personality in Multifamily Leasing

By Chris Arnold
Personality leasing

In the dynamic space of multifamily leasing, the formula for success transcends conventional wisdom that a bright personality is all it takes.

Though a popular view, it sidesteps the essence of what truly drives results throughout leasing seasons: a keen understanding of sales and, as needed, a commitment to specialized training.

Let's dive into why rethinking our approach to multifamily leasing roles is not only beneficial but necessary for outpacing the competition and achieving remarkable leasing outcomes.

Sales Acumen Over Charisma

At the heart of multifamily leasing lies a truth often overshadowed by the industry's predisposition for personality: leasing is a sales role.

It demands individuals who are not just competent in but passionate about the art and science of sales.

This pivot from personality to proficiency challenges the status quo and certainly urges us to take a closer look at how we evaluate potential leasing professionals.

In our experience over the last few years, leasing teams that have registered this mindset shift see far better outcomes during lease-ups, without question.

Nurturing (with a sales lean) and closed leases flow much faster than teams relying on friendly personalities alone.

This shift in perspective is crucial for unleashing the full potential of leasing teams, steering them towards strategies that are as effective as they are engaging.

Personalities Aside

Diving into the rich tapestry of multifamily leasing, it becomes evident that success does not favor a specific personality type.

Michael DiMella, Managing Director at Charlesgate, mentioned this recently on a LinkedIn post, noting:

In my experience coaching, mentoring, and leading 100's of leasing professionals over the last 20 years, I assure you the range of personalities of successful apartment leasing professionals couldn't be wider.

So, what binds these individuals together? It's less about a uniform personality trait but a shared hunger for sales excellence.

This realization brings a call to action: to build a leasing environment where skill development and sales mastery are at the forefront. By fostering a culture that prizes these qualities, teams can position themselves to meet and exceed leasing goals.

Embracing Sales-Driven Training

The path to better multifamily leasing starts with a commitment to comprehensive training focused on sales techniques and strategies.

It's about equipping leasing professionals with the necessary tools and knowledge to thrive in a competitive landscape.

This approach demands a departure from seeing leasing roles as mere stepping stones to property management roles, instead recognizing them as specialized positions requiring specific skills and a dedicated focus.

Consider the possibilities when we start recruiting and training with an eye for sales potential!

This proactive strategy would ensure that our leasing teams are not just competent but formidable, ready to tackle the challenges of the market with confidence and expertise.

The Compensation Challenge

One of this approach's biggest challenges is retaining quality talent with traditional thinking around leasing compensation.

Dropping an agent in a leasing seat with no intention for growth and a sub-$20/hr paycheck (namely in an offseason) is a quick recipe for leasing team turnover.

Why would a great talent stick around when their peers earn more in other industries or other compensation models across the industry? The simple answer is they won't, and it's no secret that this is a great industry issue.

What if leasing teams were deployed more on-demand and across multiple properties? This would reduce an all-year cost burden at a single property and retain a higher earning potential for agents/consultants across different property leasing cycles.

Is this perfect? By no means.

But I think it begins to explore where compensation can align with a new generation of inspired leasing specialists. Individuals who are valued beyond short-term goals.

Start Transforming Your Team

The multifamily leasing industry stands at a crossroads in 2024, faced with the choice between clinging to outdated conventions and embracing a new paradigm of professionalism and performance.

We can unlock unprecedented success in our (joint) leasing efforts (marketing and sales) by prioritizing sales acumen and investing in targeted training.

Friendly faces don't necessarily mean leasing success. But friendly faces armed with an excitement for sales? That team will become unstoppable.

Here's to the transformative power of sales proficiency in multifamily leasing—a change and a challenge that promises well-rounded professionals and positive outcomes for lease-up ambitions.

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