Best Practices for Leasing in 2021
It’s spring and just like the trees and flowers in the ground, we are all beginning to feel a bit of a rebirth. Emerging from our Covid cocoons we won’t be experiencing life as we once knew it. No life has changed and in many ways for the better. We now have a renewed appreciation for family-time, non-digital social interaction and delivery people. The Covid pandemic has also forced leasing teams across the country to rethink how deals get sourced, how deals get closed and develop new approaches to achieve business goals. As the pandemic crisis subsides, some but not all, of those changes are here to say. What used to be required for our safety will become a matter of convenience. Here are a few ways to stay on top of your vacancy and renewal leasing activity in 2021.
Make your websites wonderful-
You need your website to work harder for you. You cannot rely exclusively on listing websites like apartments.com and rent.com to source your leads. Brokers are wonderful part of the team but are also an expensive source of deals. To optimize your website, it is critical to ensure the site is mobile-friendly. You can’t rely exclusively on a Contact Us button anymore. Provide multiple ways for prospects to get in touch with you- email, text, chat, etc. Add more self-service aspects to your site. What can your prospect or tenants do without actually speaking to someone. Can they download a floorplan? Can they take a tour the amenities virtually? Can they schedule a tour? Can they submit an application? Can they sign a lease?
Renew your emphasis on photography-
Like it or not, today we live in a digital world. Prospects are spending their days on Instagram and TikTok and expect to see images that are meaningful and relevant when they are searching for apartments and homes. They are doing the majority of their searches online. Make sure your photography presents your properties in their best light. While professional photography is important, you can also use photos your team takes using their smartphone. Prospects are savvy about marketing tactics and are skeptical of advertisers, so it is best to be truthful and honest about your offering. They want to see the actual apartments that they are potentially renting.
Virtual tours are Permanent.
You may think of virtual tours are a symptom of the pandemic lockdowns, but they are now here to stay. They allow prospects to view apartments on their own time with greater convenience and less commitment. Your website and your website links Offer multiple options to virtually tour the apartment and property. Meet your prospects with the technology they are familiar with, don’t force them to login into your proprietary system. Matterport, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Real Link and even Facetime can be used to give virtual walk thrus.
The chat feature on a website is typically represented by an icon on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. The chat provides a few functions. It can be used to allow website visitors to initiate a live conversation with your team. This gives prospects immediate answers to their questions instead of waiting around for an email. You can easily integrate your company’s Facebook messenger on your website or integrate with other software providers. Of course, you team needs to be online and ready to respond. You can take it to the next level with the integration of a chatbot which will automate the lead qualification. The bot can obtain critical information, prequalify prospects and filter out bad ones. Importantly, the chatbot or virtual assistant will be working while your leasing team has gone home for the day allowing your leasing efforts to run 24/7.
While technology has brought new methods and tactics to the sales process, human connection is still the most critical component to closing deals. We used to rely on a physical tour to create rapport with our prospects, however today your agents need to learn how to make a connection from a distance and virtually. Your teams need to learn new tactics and rework their approach to leverage these digital tools. Your company should be exploring these new approaches, creating best practices and training your team on how best to handle the new technology-enabled leasing process.
Communication is Key-
Now more than ever we need to share our successes and our challenges with each other. We are all feeling more pressure than ever. Depending on your property, the issues you face may vary- too many prospects to handle, monthly rent delinquencies, generating new leads, etc. Your team needs to meet frequently to talk through and come up with creative ideas to solve your business issues.
If you have been neglecting your current tenants now is the time to engage with them. Get personal with letters and phone calls. You’ll be surprised that you actually have the time to do it and the appreciation you receive will be worth it. Creating familiarity with your residents will keep them from leaving for a competitive property down the street.
The times they have achanged. To stay in the game, you need to adapt. So be nimble, be creative and lease it up!