A Checklist for Improving the Prospect’s Leasing Experience
Rolling out a new marketing campaign is exciting for the leasing and marketing team. Spend some time to reflect on the leasing experience from a prospect’s point-of-view to identify other areas to improve and come up with solutions.
Internet Advertising and Marketing Materials
Whether properties advertise via commercial ILS providers, internal corporate-supported websites or just Craigslist, it’s important to review the information regularly. Does the website or advertisement provide enough information to generate interest for prospects? Is all the contact information updated and accurate? If the property is offering any move in specials, be sure this information is also included. Are the photographs of the property current, clear and showcase the best features of the property?
Prospects’ expectations of receiving a response from an internet inquiry, email or voice message have dwindled in recent years. If a prospect requests information from a property and doesn’t get a response in less than a few hours, he or she typically will move on to the next property. If a call center doesn’t respond to after-hours inquiries, a fresh autoresponder should be sent, informing the prospect of when they can expect a personal response is important.
These days, fewer and fewer individuals take the time to leave a detailed voice message, and more prospects use email to converse. Leasing teams must make checking email the first priority everyday, and monitor the inbox throughout the day. If you’re using an autoresponder, check for grammar and spelling errors and update any information that may have changed. In most cases, prospects start their search for an apartment by sending out several inquiries to start collecting information. A timely response that provides accurate and relevant information will strongly influence their decision to schedule an appointment to tour the property.
How is Your Property’s Online Reputation?
Reading rave reviews as well as general reviews is an important resource for the prospect. By monitoring rating pages, you can respond to negative comments and encourage satisfied residents to submit comments. This also applies to properties using social media. Always keep this information current and professional. The prospect is searching to determine if there are positive reviews and referrals that will give them some additional insight documenting the experience of others.
The First Impression
Looking at a property with fresh eyes is important. Does the entrance to the property have freshly painted signs? Is the seasonal foliage manicured and attractive? Do you change out the flags when they become faded? It’s important to think in terms of the first impression. Do not limit your choices because the marketing budget is scheduled to replace signage in a few months. Make sure the signs are easy to see from the road, and the office phone number is easily visible. You want to capture prospects as they drive by, who may call or text to see if the office is open or if there are any homes available. Ensure that signs, balloons and directionals are in place throughout the day, and always keep the property’s advertising fresh. Are there directional signs showing the route to the leasing office? Prospects that spend more than five to ten minutes attempting to locate the leasing center will arrive frustrated or worse—they simply give up and drive away.
Meet And Greet
Nothing makes an individual feel more welcome than a warm greeting. Be sure that the introduction of the leasing team and the appearance of the leasing center creates a strong first impression of the property. If the prospect completed their guest card or application online, the leasing team should already have reviewed their information. By knowing the prospects names, preferences and other personal information, it shows that the leasing team is truly paying attention by personalizing the lease for this prospect. Avoid doing a one-size-fits-all presentation that feels boring and generic.
The experience the prospect has as they interact with the leasing team during a tour is a huge determining factor in deciding whether or not the property is a good choice. Prospects consider spending (or investing) thousands of dollars on an apartment. Are they being given your undivided attention? Is the leasing team professional and genuinely interested in the prospect’s needs and concerns?
Objections may arise, but these should be discussed in detail, not simply dismissed with a nonchalant attitude. Take the time to ask a prospect for feedback. Allow prospects to set the pace for the tour. Don’t make them feel like they are being rushed through tour in an effort to get them back to the leasing center to complete an application, as if their visit is an interruption or inconvenience for the leasing team.
It is important to know what a prospect wants to happen next. Someone with a moving truck in the parking lot needs to know if their approved move-in date is going to work with their schedule. If a prospect has other apartments to tour, will they be receptive if you request you contact them later in the day? Are they ready to make a decision now or would they like to come back and look at the apartment again? The process of following up is to help the prospect make their decision. Sometimes, they need a little more time to think about it, consult with family and friends, or obtain additional information.
Remember to think about the apartment decision process from the prospect’s viewpoint. This can remind the leasing team of how the property is advertised, the impression it makes on our audience, and how it brings prospects to the property. Many emotions are involved in deciding on a new apartment home, so thinking in terms of what your prospects want, keeps the process unique with each new prospect.