The End Of The Tour Is The Beginning
The apartment tour will generally conclude with one of the following three results:
1. The prospect gives honest feedback. The apartment won’t work for their household due to the number of individuals, pets, or price range.
2. The prospect gives the ever-famous ”need to think about it” or “need to bring back a significant other” lines, or they want to take an application with them or there are a few more apartments scheduled for appointments. Maybe they don’t move for a few months.
3. The prospect secures a pre-lease with a deposit, completes an application, and schedules a time for the lease signing and move-in.
Each of the three outcomes require structured and consistent follow-up. With every meeting, you want to close the conversation by confirming the best method to communicate in the upcoming days. Do they prefer texts, calls, or email?
Follow-Up For An Unqualified Visit
If a prospect declines the apartment, let them know you appreciate their time. While the apartment may not have met the needs of that particular prospect, but it could be perfect for someone they know: a colleague, friend or family member. A consistently growing source of qualified traffic is the general referral, formerly known as word-of-mouth.
If the prospect has a positive experience, they are more likely to share it with their peers and possibly offer referrals in casual conversation. Follow up with a “thanks for visiting” card or email. This personal touch will be much appreciated. Send reminder cards in three or six months, and invite them to social events to get them to think about the apartment community again. Now you’re actively creating opportunities for future referrals.
Follow-Up To Provide More Information
Some prospects require more information, more time, and more follow-up. Most management companies have a structured policy for leasing follow-up. The key to successful follow-up is understanding that the purpose of the follow-up is to support, inform and encourage the applicant in their decision making. Too many leasing team members are eager to satisfy a quota of calls or emails. Sometimes the thank you card, calls and emails can easily be the influencing factor that determines the prospect’s decision to lease. Schedule the calls and emails, track the follow-up contact along with a description of the conversation. This is essential for effective follow-up. Each and every one of these contact points are valuable and important, but the purpose of the follow-up is to enhance the relationship and secure the sale.
Include specific information from the tour for a more effective follow-up. A generic comment like “Thank You for Visiting Our Community” will be dismissed as generic, insincere, and quickly forgotten. An email or text should offers something like:
“It was a pleasure to meet you and your sister yesterday. We want to reserve apartment 12C, the one with the great view and the huge walk-in closet, for you. If you’re ready to make a decision, please complete our online application. If you have any questions about the apartment, please call me. We are absolutely available to walk you through the process, and of course, you can always complete an application at our office as well.”
Personalize the follow-up with information about the specific apartment preferred by the prospect. Don’t forget to create a sense of urgency and provide a call-to-action.
Follow-Up For A Future Move-In.
For prospects with a future move-in date, should have their guest card cataloged noting the future move-in date. Again, company policy will dictate the minimum requirements for follow-up, but employ monthly emails or newsletters to encourage a prospect’s interest in the property and start building a relationship prior to their move-in date.
A property can incorporate moving guides that outline and simplify the moving process, and include reminders for 30-day items, 60-day items, etc. This provides a service to the prospective resident, and is much more effective than a generic inquiry. “I see your moving date is approaching. If you have an interest in an apartment home at our community, please contact me.” Include information on movers, internet and cable providers, and utilities in the monthly email packages.
Follow-Up For An Upcoming Move-In
Moving is stressful. For the individual that commits to a lease, the deposit and fees have been paid and the application processed; all that’s left is for them to wait for the move-in date. If management is not proactive and prepared for the customer relationship, a lack of communication will create anxiety and frustration with the prospective resident.
Throughout the moving process, residents will have questions regarding the utilities, cable, internet, furniture delivery, etc. Don’t force the prospect to call or email you with a barrage of questions, or risk hearing the “I hate to bother you, but…” line.
Call or email all potential move-ins every day to minimize their anxiety. Leasing staff members often experience frustration when residents don’t show up for the lease appointment. It’s amazing that they will risk losing their deposit, and call or email to cancel their reservation. If communication is consistent throughout the reservation/move-in process, this seldom happens.
There is a laundry list of items that need to be planned and scheduled by a prospect making a local move; the difficulty factor increases ten-fold for a long distance move. Leasing teams need to be empathetic when it comes to the complications prospects face when coordinating a long distance move. If not, this results in the inability to ask the right questions or appreciate the questions and concerns of the prospect.
More often than not, agents lose steam with the contact and unfortunately develops frustration from the constant calls, not realizing that the opportunity to create a stronger customer service relationship is by anticipating the questions and concerns and proactively providing useful information to an individual planning a move. Most apartment residents choose to lease for the convenience. Management tries to make moving more convenient for future residents and builds loyalty for the future.