Every salesperson can imagine this scenario: You are on a tour of your campus with your prospect, who has expressed interest in a one-bedroom apartment. You know you have the perfect one-bedroom model apartment available right now. It’s in turn-key condition and is move-in ready. It has been professionally staged and has all of the bells and whistles — hardwood floors, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, crown molding — and is ready for someone to call it home.

In the midst of your tour appointment, your prospect stops in the middle of the living room and says, “I love this apartment. I can see myself living here. I am already placing my furniture in it.” You feel your heart pounding with excitement, when suddenly your prospect asks, “Could you hold this apartment for me for a few days or a week until I have a chance to speak with my daughter?”

It’s natural to feel momentarily deflated. How you respond to this question, however, is critical and could determine whether you move this potential sale to a close.

Speak confidently and enthusiastically with your prospect and remain in control of the sale. Seize the moment and respond quickly to your prospect’s question with a statement that conveys a clear sense of urgency and provides a timeline that allows you to move this prospect through the sales funnel.

For example, you can respond to your prospect: “I am happy to hold this apartment for you for two days.” Then, if you are placing the apartment on hold at noon on Wednesday, you should schedule your “closing” appointment for noon on Friday.

For example: “Mrs. Prospect, I am looking forward to seeing you this Friday at noon so that we may complete the reservation paperwork on this apartment and you can officially call this your new home!” Communicate that once the two-day hold expires, the apartment will be placed back on the available inventory list.

Establishing a specific hold timeline creates urgency for that particular apartment. Creating urgency at the very beginning of the sales process helps you move quickly toward the next steps with your prospect. This approach will lead to a higher closing ratio and more move-ins.

Creating urgency in person or on the phone

You can create urgency while talking with prospects in person or on the phone. Use upcoming open house events or completed renovations as a way to create urgency.

Make sure the tone of your voice reflects the urgency and enthusiasm. For example, “Hello, Mrs. Prospect. I would like to invite you to have a sneak-peek preview of one of our newly staged model apartments before our open house event. Would you be available to come in today at 2 p.m. or tomorrow at 10 a.m.?”

Or “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Prospect. We are just completing the finishing touches on some of our newly staged model apartments. Would you be available to have a first look at our new models before our open house event on Friday?”

Or “Hello, Mrs. Prospect. I am really excited to show you the newly renovated model apartments. Are you available to come in this morning before our open house event this afternoon?”

By offering both urgency and enthusiasm, you are building momentum and creating a warm and welcoming environment before your prospect even walks through the door. By the time your prospect arrives on campus, you will be greeting him or her as you would an old friend, and your potential resident will appreciate the opportunity to preview the model apartment ahead of the crowd. Don’t forget to roll out the red carpet to make a positive and lasting impression.

Although no magic formula exists to guarantee a sale, remember that you’re in control of the sales process. Creating a sense of urgency and adhering to a timeline will keep the process moving forward and will bring you one step closer to closing a hard-earned sale.

Lara Moga is national sales manager at Covenant Retirement Communities Inc., a not-for-profit senior service provider serving 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide. It is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church.