During this past leasing season, one of our clients mentioned that he and his staff had closed 73 of the roughly 100 pieces of traffic that we sent their way. Such a high closing ratio is hard to believe, so I’ve spent the last couple of months really keying in on what makes some communities more successful than others at converting their traffic. Here are five quick ideas for turning more leads into leases…
- Greet people immediately when they walk in the door. Desiree Starr from the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando explains that for prospects, walking into an apartment for the first time is like walking into a party and not knowing anyone. The faster you great the prospect, the more comfortable he or she will be with for the rest of their visit. Desiree isn’t the only leasing expert that harps on this point. Rob Dinwiddie, Director of Strategic Marketing for American Campus Communities, mentioned that the #1 thing that he looks for when he visits properties is how fast the leasing staff greets people as they walk in the door.
- Whenever possible, answer the phone. This sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many times I’ve seen calls go unanswered. Sometimes it’s necessary to send calls to your service or your machine, but it should be an exception. True story… a few years back, I sold a Gainesville apartment community a $1,000 per month ad for a year. I called them every month to see if they wanted to make changes. Every month, my calls went to the answering service. Some months I called three or four times… I literally never got through to the community. Not surprisingly, they ended the year roughly half-full. The same property has a new manager & a new policy for answering their phones… they’re pushing 90% occupancy.
- Reply to email leads as soon as possible, hopefully within a few hours. The clock starts ticking from the second a prospect hits the send button. The more time goes by, the less likely the prospect is to lease one of your apartments. It’s that simple.
- Evaluate your lead sources based on the quality of the leads that the source sends. Is Craigslist or some other form of advertising sending you a lot of leads that never lease? Traffic for traffic’s sake might look good on some report, but at the end of the day, you’re going to be judged by your leases. Concentrate your efforts where they’re most likely to pay off.
- Start a dialogue with your prospects, not a monologue. Many leasing professionals have a tendency to spew word vomit at their prospects. They start talking or typing, and they don’t stop. And in the Internet era where all of your basic information is already online, your prospect has already seen most of this information anyway. Instead of giving 50 reasons why the prospect should rent an apartment from you, consider asking the prospect what is important to him or her. Write down each point & then answer each question one at a time. After each answer, check back in with the prospect to make sure that the answer makes sense.