The Boston Marathon, and Why You Shouldn’t Pit Your Leasing Agents Against Each Other

The winner of this year’s race displayed some impressive teamwork. Can your community benefit from some of her tactics?

This year’s Boston Marathon was no joke.

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. It was in Boston! (“Boo Boston! Hiss!” said the Yankee fans.)

Professional runners dropped out of the prestigious race because of hypothermia symptoms. In April!

Desiree Linden, the winner of the women’s title (and the first American woman to win the race in 33 years, which is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but is definitely awesome, and therefore worth a mention), almost quit herself. According to reports, she wasn’t feeling well at the beginning. So when her teammate Shalane Flanagan had to make a porta potty stop in the middle of the race, Linden waited for her so she could help her get back to the front. (Because women always have to go to the bathroom in groups, right? I’m allowed to say it because I’m a woman.) She figured she might as well help her teammate if she couldn’t help herself.

“I won! Time to go lease some apartments!” Something Desiree Linden definitely DID NOT say. But wouldn’t that have been cool?

Despite that delay, Linden won. And, with her help, Flanagan secured seventh place. Not too shabby.

Look at that teamwork! Linden could have easily left her friend in the dust. Would she still have won? Maybe.

But maybe not.

Which brings me to lease ups at a community. How do you encourage your leasing agents?

Some companies offer contests to motivate their leasing agents. For example, whoever gets the most units rented in a month gets a gift card, or even a bonus in their paycheck.

This might get people selling. And a little competition never hurts anyone. But, what does it do for the team spirit overall? If you have a superstar leasing agent, of course you want to reward the person. But if everyone else sees the same person winning over and over again, will they stop trying? Could prizes encourage people to “steal” other people’s prospective renters? And don’t get me started on those Glengarry leads, which are obviously just for closers.

You want your leasing agents to support each other. This will ultimately provide a unified front for the community, and make them seem more welcoming to prospects. Who then, in turn, will be more likely to come back and tour a unit.

That’s not to say you still can’t motivate your team with a contest or bonus! But if you reframe it as a team challenge, rather than an individual challenge, you might see increased rentals, as well as increased camaraderie. For example, if the team leases a certain number of units this quarter over last, everyone gets bonus. Ooh! Even better: Everyone gets a pizza party! Nothing tops a pizza party. Nothing.

What are your strategies for motivating your leasing agents? Have you found success with individual bonuses, or do you reward the team as a whole? Did you run the Boston Marathon (I’m just curious)? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.