Training Your Leasing Staff: What to Know

By Kaitlin Hurtado on June 28, 2018

When it comes to training your leasing staff, it’s something you want to do properly from the start so that your leasing staff is equipped to handle every situation that comes their way. It may sound like a difficult process – how can you manage to train your leasing staff to handle situations just like you would want them to handle without them even coming to you for guidance? Remember that the “perfect employee” is hard to create – it’s actually impossible. An individual from your leasing staff may come close, but everyone is prone to a slip-up or two.

It is your job to be effective in training your leasing staff to minimize your leasing staff’s slip-ups and maximize their successes. If you’re not sure where to start, or if you are in the middle of training your leasing staff and realize it is not as effective as you planned it to be, here are various things to keep in mind when it comes to training your leasing staff:

man and woman talking in a meeting

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Get to know your leasing staff 

First and foremost, keep in mind that your leasing staff is full of individuals who all have different strengths, weaknesses, quirks, skill sets, and so on. If you go into the training process thinking that training is going to be one-size-fits-all, you may, unfortunately, find yourself with members of your leasing staff feeling bored at being lectured on what they already know, or leasing staff that are struggling to keep up with the excess of new information being provided to them during training.

You can learn plenty about your leasing staff from their work resumes and initial applications, of course, but other information, like learning styles will help you make the process of training your leasing staff as efficient as possible. You don’t want to give your leasing staff a thick handbook full of protocol and information and expect them to read over it on their own, and then be able to apply everything in their handbook. Some leasing staff members can learn better with other methods, such as participating in group workshops where they engage in scenarios that give them a better glimpse at hands-on experience, or have another leasing staff member walk them through the instructions if they learn better through audio than visuals.

You may also want to inquire about their previous work experience. If they worked with other property management, inquire what your leasing staff liked and disliked about it. Did they feel properly trained at their previous job, if not, what could have been done to better their experience and performance at their old job? If they haven’t worked as leasing staff in their prior experiences, inquire what aspects of their previous work experiences they think will help them in this specific position. Maybe they worked in a restaurant and had to handle customer issues as they came up, making them flexible and more in tune with client issues. On the same note, you may also want to inquire what they think the most help in with training. You don’t want to go through the work of training your leasing staff, only for them to come out with the same questions (or more questions) that they went into the leasing staff training with.

Get to know your leasing staff so that you can make their training as effective and efficient as possible, for both parties.

infographic

Infographic by Kaitlin Hurtado

Personalize the training 

After you have gotten to know your leasing staff, put the newfound knowledge to work when it comes to training your leasing staff. This sounds like more work than it is, but you do not have to change the actual content of your training when you’re personalizing the training. Of course, you are going to keep the same content – the same guidelines, protocol, expectations – that you want every member of your leasing staff to know. However, you don’t want to put resources (money, effort, and time) into training your leasing staff and have it be ineffective.

If you have learned that many of your leasing staff could benefit more from being taught the training through someone verbally instructing them rather than having them reading handbooks and various papers, it is better to adapt the training to be more effective by putting more focus onto training your leasing staff verbally. It may cost the time of the instructor, but it will end up paying off in the long run when you have a well-trained leasing staff at the end of the training process.

Make sure you keep feedback open when training your leasing staff. This can be in the form of them sending an email after a training session if there is something they didn’t quite understand, encouraging leasing staff to pause training when they don’t get something, or even an anonymous feedback system where your leasing staff can ask questions or point out when something isn’t working. If you encourage your leasing staff to ask questions and provide feedback on their training process, you can save troubleshoot as problems happen during the training staff and also save the feedback to improve how you are going to be training your leasing staff in the future.

Be aware of common problems leasing staff encounter

When it comes to shaping how you are going to be training your leasing staff, it is important to remember what common problems that your leasing staff encounter on the job. You want to remember these scenarios because they will help you recognize what needs to be taught to your leasing staff in order to have them effectively tackle the problems when they arise after they have participated in the training.

For example, if there’s a problem that you notice comes out often, like your leasing staff failing to get many renters to renew their leases, study the problem and how it has been solved in the past and how it can be solved in the future. Study the instances where residents did not renew their lease – were they unsatisfied with the property itself? Was there something in the lease agreement that they no longer liked? Would they have been willing to renew their lease if something in their apartment was changed or if their complaints were properly heard and attended to? On the same note, study the instances where residents renewed their lease – what made them renew? Did they like how leasing staff worked with them? Take notes of these answers when shaping your training.

Provide an example of the problem and walk your leasing staff through the problem during training. Describe the scenario and what they should and shouldn’t do when it comes time to reach out to residents for lease renewals. How early should they reach out? How much negotiation are they willing to put out onto the table? What strategies can you teach them to be more successful when it comes to lease renewals?

Test the training with scenarios 

While you may think that training your leasing staff via handbooks and little workshops may be enough to have them be successful, you will want to “test” the training with various scenarios. Evaluations, tests, checkpoints – you can call them whatever you prefer, but it’s important to see where your leasing staff is after the training process to see if they are actually prepared to work with client successfully, or if they need a little extra help to get them where you want them to be.

Having your leasing staff go through various scenarios at the end of their training, or throughout their training process will enable you to see progress and areas they can still improve. Do not forget to shape realistic scenarios for your leasing staff during shaping – you don’t want to put them through several dramatic scenarios that rarely happen in reality. Think of common problems that arise with your leasing staff and turn them into staged scenarios to create a learning experience

See how your leasing staff can reach out to potential residents that have stopped responding to contact or if they can tell if a lease applicant is becoming disinterested in the property. Ask common questions that lease applicants have during the leasing process, and see if your leasing staff can properly answer the questions.

Create scenarios that would best help test what the training was supposed to teach your leasing staff. If you notice that your leasing staff isn’t succeeding in the scenarios as you would expect them to, be ready to guide them on how they can improve on their approach the next time they come across the same scenario.

Make goals when training your leasing staff

Before you start training your leasing staff, set goals for the training process – what you want to teach your leasing staff, what each leasing staff member will come out of training with, etc. Setting goals before starting to train your leasing staff will also help you define what you want to prioritize when training your leasing staff. If there are specific strategies that you have seen bring in success time and time again, make sure you incorporate them into your training lesson plan so that all of your leasing staff are aware of the strategies that will best help them work clients.

If you want to have your leasing staff be more aware of residents and lease applicants, prioritize that during training. Incorporate lists of what they shouldn’t be doing when speaking to residents and lease applicants, or what they should be doing to maximize their success. Apply those lists by having them participate in staged conversations. Have them practice reaching out to potential residents – how they can best advertise your property, or how to deal with different personalities. Allow them to practice lease negotiations, or how to tackle lease applicants’ potential issues with the property or lease agreements.

Making goals prior to training your leasing staff will help you shape the training you put them through and also gauge how successful the training was when it is completed.

woman looking at chalkboard during meeting

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Always be willing to provide feedback

Even if you are not giving the training directly to your leasing staff, you still want to remain somewhat involved with the process in order to properly monitor your leasing staff. If you were aware of their status prior to training, compare it to how they have progressed mid-training or after they have completed training.

Provide feedback to your leasing staff so that they aren’t left in the dark when it comes to what they are exceeding in and what they still need to put some extra effort into improving on. If you see that a certain individual on the leasing staff is great at highlighting what your property offers in response to knowing the lease applicant’s needs, make sure they know that. If you notice that they fall flat when a lease applicant starts becoming hesitant or disinterested during the leasing process, guide the leasing staff member on to methods they can try when it does happen. It could be negotiating with them, or even just persisting in outreach to the lease applicant.

While your feedback as a landlord or property manager is valued, it is also important to provide a platform for your leasing staff to receive feedback from the property’s residents. After lease applicants have completed their application, ask for feedback for their thoughts on their leasing process, from the application itself to their experience with the leasing staff. This way, your leasing staff will be aware of what strategies are more effective or less effective the next time they help another resident or lease applicant.

Training your leasing staff is the foundation for being successful. When you put effort and thought into training your leasing staff, you will be several steps closer to ensuring that there is a standard set throughout your leasing staff and open the door for your leasing staff to be on the same page with one another when it comes to deploying strategies to become successful on the job.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
UC Irvine
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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