“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived… odors, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief.” — Helen Keller (Blind and deaf educator, 1880-1968)
As your potential residents walk through one of your properties they are consciously examining their environment but there is unseen magic at work. Unconsciously, they are being transported to positive and negative associations through the scents in the air. You can weld that power to your own advantage if you know how to use it.
Can you smell the cash flow?
Memories and emotional associations
Here’s the basic idea. Smell is one of the first senses to form and develops deep connections in the brain, one area being the amygdala, an area that forms memories. When we smell something, we unconsciously associate it with emotions from the memory.
For me, the smell of Hawaiian Punch recreates happy childhood memories. I cannot consciously explain why my elementary school brain locked onto the scent of Hawaiian Punch. All I know is that, for me, it means pure, childlike excitement.
You could name your own associations, as everyone can. This is called the Proust phenomenon, the ability of odors to spontaneously trigger emotion through personal memory.
Thank you, advertising industry
Frequently, these memories and emotional associations are not consciously considered, but instinctual responses. Retailers know this and scent their stores appropriately. They call it “environmental fragrancing” and it means increased sales.
It works for big business and it can work for you.
Start with the bad scents
First you have to get rid of any bad odors. People can tell if you are masking a scent, especially if it is a bad one. You have been next to someone wearing too much cologne, attempting to mask an unpleasant odor, haven’t you? It’s the same thing. You must thoroughly clean the property.
- Plug in a dehumidifier and/or a HEPA air filter.
- Mop or vacuum floors.
- Wash any fabrics in the unit that absorbed odors.
- Paint walls with “odor absorbing” paint.
- Make sure all food and liquid has been emptied from cabinets and fridge.
- Clean all surfaces.
- Use products that neutralize odors – baking soda, vinegar or Febreze
Marketing with scents
Now that you have set the stage you should plan on using one simple fragrance for the rental unit. Researcher Eric Spangenberg found that, “cash register receipts revealed a significant bump in sales when an uncomplicated scent was in the air.” Spangenberg used a simple orange scent to create the sales increase.
Choose a scent that would be appropriate to your market and season. Keep the scent understated, not overwhelming. Sometimes a little goes a long way.
Recommended simple scents:
- Orange or lemon
- Baking cookies
- Fresh air
Recommended simple holiday scents:
- Pumpkin pie
- Apple pie
Once you choose a fragrance that will “brand” your property to the brains of potential residents you are on your way. Let scent work it’s magic in the mind for you. Keep it simple and keep it understated.
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