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5 Best Practices for Managing Leads to Signed Leases

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With inbound marketing lead engagement is critical. Here are 5 best practices you should follow while your prospect is on their journey to signing on the dotted line.

By Lecia Anderson, Kortney Balas and Kim Morgan

It is downright impossible to overstate how critical strong lead management is to the success of an apartment property.

Even if a property features cutting-edge finishes and amenities that are in demand to today’s renters, and your marketing captivates your prospects’ attention, all this hard work is meaningless if your onsite leasing team struggles with showing leads the TLC they need. If they struggle in this way, they are going to have a hard time converting prospects into residents, resulting in suffering occupancy and revenues.

How can onsite teams best manage leads so that they sign leases?

  1. Quick response time. At JVM, we have a saying: “speed to the lead.” That means that when a prospect is reaching out to a property – no matter through what channel– we want to respond as quickly as we can.

Ideally, our leasing agents can answer a phone call or instantly reply to an email, but they are often servicing other customers, and this isn’t always possible. Still, they need to get back in touch with the prospect quickly. When leads reach out, they are in the mood to talk right then, and in today’s world, they will be ready to cross a property off their consideration list if they don’t receive a response in short order.

To ensure quick response times, apartment operators should mandate that their leasing agents check messages every 30 minutes. We enlist the services of a call center to serve as a backup for our onsite teams.

2. Communicate the way prospects prefer. Today’s prospects can be very particular about how they interact with a leasing associate. Some leads prefer phone calls, while others only want to hear from a leasing agent via email, text or Facebook Messenger.

At first glance, this may seem like a small matter but trying to call a prospect who has indicated a preference for text messaging is one way to irritate that lead and drive him or her away. After a prospect states a preference for one method of communication, leasing agents need to respect that preference.

3. Give great tours. The overriding goal of the early phase of lead management is to get the prospect to come to a community for a tour. Once the lead is at the property, the leasing associate giving the tour needs to display top-notch customer service as well as property features that are relevant to that prospect.

A best practice is to show a prospect a model unit that’s like what they are looking for, so that the prospect can see how beautiful the home can look. Then take the prospect to an actual vacant unit so they can start to picture themselves living in that unit.

At JVM, our onsite teams begin each morning with a “power hour” where they prep for the day ahead. Part of that meeting involves ensuring that our model units, vacant units and grounds are clean and ready for that day’s tours.

  1. Follow up. Ideally, a prospect decides right after a tour to rent at your property. Realistically, that doesn’t always happen.

If a prospect leaves undecided, leasing teams should obtain the prospect’s permission to follow up. Leasing associates don’t want to annoy leads, but they also need to remain on their radar. Leasing associates should reach out to an undecided prospect no later than 48 hours after the tour.

  1. Incorporate technology. Manually trying to track and manage leads in today’s apartment market is a recipe for failure. With the variety of marketing channels and the number of ways that prospects can contact leasing teams, it is critical that operators incorporate some type of CRM software to manage their leads.

This software does not need to feature all of the cutting-edge bells and whistles. However, it needs to be a solution that tracks communications with a prospect and can easily show exactly where a lead is in the marketing funnel as well as important notes about the prospect.

Some lead management software systems help operators prioritize leads, track the performance of onsite leasing agents and evaluate the effectiveness of individual marketing channels in delivering prospects.

The most important aspect of apartment operations is lead management. By following the recommendations above, multifamily operators will be on their way to success in this critical endeavor.

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