Don’t Make This Apartment Leasing Mistake 1
Apartment Leasing Mistake: Not Having an Effective E-lead Response Strategy.
The biggest frustration I have is how leasing teams work leads. In my portfolio E-leads are more often than not the most neglected form of leads that apartment communities have. Not having an effective lead response strategy is a HUGE leasing mistake!
With the cost per lead rising every year, it’s even more critical for your apartment community to incorporate an E-lead response strategy to outshine the competition.
Apartment communities that implement have an E-lead response strategy will see more leases.
The best practices for E-lead follow-up begins with a well planned and trained strategy.
What tools have you provided your leasing team for active E-lead follow-up?
- Moving Guide?
- Digital Brochure?
- Time-saving pre-written letters that can be modified?
- Digital library of photos, floor plans, site maps and location maps?
- Links to reviews, a direction mapping tool and other moving resources.
Maximizing the efficiency of the interaction and the potential of the lease is at the core of a leasing E-lead strategy.
Your lead’s time is valuable. If roadblocks can be identified earlier in the process, it will save everyone time and money. That said, there’s no such thing as the ideal prospect lead, and all leads will be actively worked through the leasing process to some degree. It is VERY rare someone has zero interaction with a leasing professional and move-ins.
The trick is to get a quick handle on what your E-lead needs in order to convert the lead to a phone call or visit successfully. If you can provide that need, it’s likely to be a successful leasing experience. Moreover, determining this earlier in the process will make the entire interaction more efficient, more cost effective and more prosperous for every party involved.
There are several ways an lead may be generated, depending on the shape and scope of the campaign. Sometimes E-leads are produced through a simple pay-per-click campaign, such as Google AdWords. Sometimes they’re generated through a concerted Search Engine Optimization (SEO) drive. Other possibilities range from a listing service like Apartments.com or a simple word-of-mouth referral. Nearly all lead generation methods have something in common: the need for data.
Respond to Every Lead.
Don’t cherry-pick leads! Phone calls are usually the first leads to be worked. Why are they any more important than an E-lead?
Do you have a system in place to manually or automatically provide a professional response to every inquiry you receive? If a prospect takes the time to reach out, they deserve a timely response.
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Your E-lead response time should be in minutes – not hours!
Studies show Internet shoppers who receive a response within 10 minutes, are three times more likely to visit the community. Contact e-leads right away – at their highest point of interest!
Personalize the E-Response.
Providing more and not less information is always a safe rule to follow. Many times, an email address is the only way we can contact this lead. Why did they contact you? More information of course!
Your responses to e-leads should always include:
1. The prospects name.
2. The apartment community name, logos and taglines.
3. A leasing person’s name, photo and direct phone number.
4. An active call to action – tell them what to do next!
Professionalize the Response.
If you wouldn’t send it to your employer – don’t send it at all.
Eliminate typos, inconsistencies and irrelevant information that distracts the prospect! Put courtesy and professionalism into every response to help instill a sense of trust in your community from prospects that earn you referral business. YES, prospective residents provide referrals based how they were treated throughout the entire process even if they do not lease!
Answer Prospect Questions in the First Response.
Seems like a no-brainer for a best practice, but we see it all the time!
Generic autoresponders are not enough to satisfy prospects with questions. If you don’t have the option to customize your autoresponders, it’s time to look around for a new provider, wink-wink. L2L does offer customization based on keywords that are in the inquiry. Is yours set up?
Be Leasing Proactive.
Only 3% of leasing professionals respond with a multi-apartment quote with rental rates.
Stand out from the competition in the inbox by offering:
• Apartment options
• Lease options
• Rental rates for various available apartment types
What Is Your After-Hours Leasing Plan?
Up to 40% of E-leads land in our inbox after hours. I can sit at my computer and watch the leads fly in after 8 pm. Why? That is when the prospect has time to research! Who is responding? How are those leads being worked? I have often considered working these leads myself as I know they are the most active and interested. They want information now. Why not have a professional leasing consultant work leads between 8 pm and 10 pm? Do you know what times your E-leads are arriving? The cardinal rule of E-lead nurturing is to engage with your lead when your lead is ready to talk. Everybody, leads included, have moods and mindsets. If they’ve reached out to your community about your apartments, you’re missing an opportunity by not being there when they’re ready.
If your lead contacts you with a question, research suggests that by responding within an hour gives you seven times better chance at a meaningful interaction than if you respond one hour later.
It’s worth noting that keeping great lead data can enable various team members to interact with leads efficiently. Ensuring that a team member is always available is a great way to form a seamless path of immediate communication.
E-Leads are more likely to covert when you’re readily available. Also, they’re less likely to find reasons to seek out your competition.
Does your community currently have a system or technology (L2L) to personalize auto responses to a prospects inquiry after hours? If it doesn’t, it should. If it does, have you confirmed that it is appropriately programmed?
When was the last time you reviewed your autoresponders?
Stay Engaged & Nurture Leads. Plan the Leasing Nurture Journey.
Email lead nurturing is easy. Using emails, you can confirm, follow up and engage with all E-leads. Remember that communication is key to nurturing E-leads through what can often be a long process. Starting dialogue within minutes sets the tone for all future interactions. Using email is an easy way to communicate with the lead right away.
How long? My Data shows up to 120 days from the time they originally stated that they needed an apartment.
It’s best practice to use automated follow-ups that provide updated specials and information to re-engage prospects, so your team can focus on newer leads.
The leasing nurture journey is critical to 1) building relationships with prospects and 2) retaining lesser qualified leads for future interest is arguably the most frequently broken or neglected part of lead management.
What is your top of the funnel, mid-funnel and bottom of the funnel strategies?
Letting hours go by before contacting leads is wasted time. Not only are you providing a window for the competition to set in, but you’re also disappointing the prospects’ expectations. Waiting just five minutes can reduce the likelihood of the lead to convert by up to a factor of 10. That means for every minute you wait. You’re losing residents.
The more you know about leads, the better you can anticipate their needs. Needs of a prospect helps make the entire interaction more efficient. In other words, the more data you have, the higher your chances of closing the deal and converting the lead. You’ll improve best practices for lead follow up and your bottom line.
In conclusion, E-leads are the fuel that keeps your apartment community running. In some very literal ways, leads are the future of your community. But not all leads will be equal. Some will be lease-ready and others will be marketing-qualified for a later date. So of course, many leads fall somewhere in the middle.
Don’t Make the Apartment Leasing Mistake of Not Having an Effective E-lead Response Strategy!
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