The Multifamily Firm That Does Not Adhere To Technological Advances Is Making A Costly Mistake.
Let’s face it; you’re not the only game in town.
There are apartment communities all over and they may even be right next door. So why should the prospective resident pick your property to be their new home? That’s a good question, but it’s the job of you and your staff to insure that everything possible is done to capture that future resident before your competition does.
Let’s walk through the process. You do all the right marketing. You get your community looking at its very best. You train your staff on how to look and act professional. You train them on phone etiquette and how to tour. Then you wait for the phones and e-mail leads as well as all the walk-ins to start coming in. But then what?
What happens once a prospective resident does reach out to you? Are these leads being handled as aggressively as they should? If you’re looking at the industry statistics, the answer is NO! It’s a pathetic but true fact that the valuable leads you are paying dearly for are probably not being handled the way they should. In an article written by Kate Good (Out of Patience: Confessions of a Cyber Shopper), Kate states that “Over 50% of the internet leads we send out at Net Mystery Shopper go unanswered.” Just as alarming, three out of ten phone leads are missed altogether.
So is it a staffing problem, not hiring the right individuals or something else entirely?
The standard onsite leasing office employs about 1.5 agents per 100 apartment homes. These exhausted individuals must handle every call, visitor, and transaction related to the community. And when the economy takes a downturn, reducing the number of employees in an attempt to cut costs makes the leasing consultant’s job even more demanding.
It is common knowledge that potential renters that call before visiting are more likely to sign a lease than those who simply drive by. But with fewer staff members to handle these leads accurately, many fall through the cracks. Rather than increasing occupancy and revenue, companies are just trying to stay afloat.
In addition to the demanding workload, a leasing agent needs to accurately record all customer information from the phone, Internet, e-mail, and in-person interactions. This information is not only crucial but it is paramount to a company’s success. In today’s busy market with intense competition, the guest card becomes one of our most important tools.
Unfortunately all too often the agent is more focused on other things and not maintaining accurate records. Historically, more than 60% of all customer contacts never even make it to a guest card. And of the ones that do make it, only one-third accurately identifies the ad source and contact information.
Just as important as accurate data is proper follow-up. Toni Blake, the multifamily industry’s Marketing Guru, emphasizes that follow-up starts with getting accurate and key information onto a guest card. She has found that leasing people who understand the importance of the guest card out-lease their counterparts three to one.
J Turner Research Firm found consistent findings. In a recent survey, 65% of top apartment executives said they were going to improve Lead Follow-Up when asked what techniques they would use to secure a potential resident. Another survey titled Industry Outlook for 2009 listed insufficient follow-up as the number one reason for not closing a lease.
Inaccurate Data = Lack of Follow-up = Lost Leads = Lost Revenue
If you are really serious about improving your lead management skills and maximizing the potential of your leasing staff, and you should be, then you will most certainly need the help of automation. The bottom-line is your community most likely does not need more leads—it just needs to do a better job maximizing the leads they already have.
Studies have shown that the fastest way for any company to increase profitability is to provide its people with the proper tools, training, motivation and feedback to enhance their performance. Communities have to take advantage of the technology available today to be able to effectively capture and convert traffic to leases.
Here’s where concepts like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and sophisticated online lead-tracking solutions become significant to the property management companies.
Improving productivity is derived from Internet-driven technology.
Today, Internet-driven technology such as the PopCard, created by Lead Tracking Solutions, can consolidate the entire guest card process creating valuable information that will in turn increase occupancy and revenue for a property to succeed. Productivity-wise, this consolidation of information will do to the multifamily business what the assembly line did to automobile manufacturing. And, if implemented wisely, the cost of this technology is quickly covered many times over by the resulting synergy—and the quantifiable savings—that it brings to the property, regardless of its size. A company that does not embrace technology will prove to be a costly mistake.
The PopCard is a follow-the-lead program that provides immediate tools to automate, integrate, manage and evolve your prospect and resident communications quickly and cost-effectively for strategic advantage. All marketing calls and e-mails—even if the call is missed—¬will auto-populate a guest card for the leasing agent letting them know exactly who is contacting them, where they are contacting them from, from what phone number or e-mail address, and from which advertising source. Along with this vital information, it also acts as a guide for your leasing agent insuring that you are maximizing their true potential. Of course all of this would not be complete without seamlessly integrating with your back-end software which the PopCard does as well.
Clearly, the phrase “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” no longer holds true. The internet and advancing technology offers extraordinary tools for knowledge – right down to the last penny. Multifamily owners can maximize their employee’s performance and get accurate data by using innovative technology such as the PopCard which will undeniably provide an extremely beneficial map to marketing and employee success.
If you would like further information regarding the PopCard, contact Brian Maguire, Vice President of Sales for Lead Tracking Solutions at 866-209-1700 x104 or email to BrianM@LTSTeam.com.
Note from Tami to multifamily friends: Are you maximizing the use of technology? Please Take a quick 15 question 2 minute survey here