It is about time we tackle the age-old industry question, "How did you hear about us?" Twenty years ago, a prospect might have strolled into your office carrying a printed apartment guide magazine and the answer would have been obvious! Today's renters have seemingly unlimited online resources at their fingertips, so it is more difficult than ever to identify which advertising strategies are working… and more importantly, which are not!
The key is equipping your leasing teams with easy to implement and conversational ideas and tactics that go beyond a chat that ends with a mumbled "Google" in response to, "How'd you find us?" to one that is rich and full of information such as, "I searched for apartments under $1,500 on 407apartments.com with three bedrooms in the Winter Park neighborhood and found you! The pictures were great, and I had to see more! My dog Henry is the best and he'll love the pet park."
5 Tips to Get Your Prospect to Name That Source
- Go beyond "How did you hear about us?" – It's a common industry question. But you'll do better with more direct questions and don't be afraid to get specific. Instead, you can replace this predictable question with ones that will be far more informative. Try these questions instead:
- Did you do any online research when you were looking for an apartment?
- Which websites did you click on in your Google search?
- What was your favorite website for apartment research?
- What inspired you to reach out to us today?
You'll want to listen for answers like: I found 407apartments.com, ApartmentsForBulls.com, or RentTally.com and I was able to discover floor plans that met my needs and easily schedule a tour, or, I loved the photos of the kitchens and baths.
In another scenario, if a prospect indicates they stopped because they were just driving by, don't accept that as an answer and take the query a step further. You might ask the following: Were you on your way somewhere specific when you drove by? Is our location next to the school, work, or family? By inquiring about their geography and habits, you might be able to walk back to questions that may pinpoint how they discovered your property, identifying which marketing source should get credit for the lease.
- Provide Accurate Source Options on Leasing Applications – You need to do regular "housekeeping" on your leasing applications. Check to make sure that the source options on your application match the places that you are actually advertising. We've discovered that these source fields are often VERY out of date. The application that a prospective renter fills out almost always has a list of sources for the prospect to choose from to inform the property of how they might have been discovered. If the application is 5 years old, it's safe the say that this list no longer reflects the current marketing plan and the data collected will be virtually meaningless. Make sure that the list is as short as possible and reflects exactly what and where you're actively advertising to collect the correct data.?
- "Identify the Source" Logo Book Hack – In a world of creative marketing, colorful logos, and endless websites things can get a little muddy. We love this little hack to help leasing agents jog the minds of prospects and collect accurate information on lead sources. It can be helpful for leasing agents to have either a small book or a piece of paper with all of the logos and ads to flip through to have prospects identify where they saw you based on current marketing efforts and partnerships. Visual learners and prospects with visual memory strengths may be more apt to select the correct source when prompted with images to choose from.?
- Google is NOT the Source! Don't Pass Go, Go Back to the First Tip– When inquiring with a prospect on how they discovered your property, accepting "Google" as the response is frankly, unacceptable. You can gently and effectively guide a prospect to avoid this response with a few key phrases such as:
- What did you Google during your internet search?
- Did you Google and find our website directly?
- Did you Google and find our community on an apartment listing website? Which one?
- Attribute the Right Source Credit in Roommate Situations – This is an interesting challenge, so let's begin to think of this scenario like a family tree. Let's say you the leasing agent for an apartment community that leases by-the-bedroom and a single roommate's parent was the one who did the research. In this case, Parent #1 has done the legwork researching the apartment and bringing the other 3 roommates' leases to the table. If parent #'s research resulted in signing 4 leases to fill an entire floor plan, then the source that the parent used should receive credit for all 4 leases. Make those connections, and you'll have a better idea of which sources are bringing in high-value groups of roommates for your community.
As a leasing agent, you might be thinking, what's in this for me? My manager forwarded this to me, why should I care? As a matter of fact, there are some really exciting reasons to hone your process during a meeting with prospects and we encourage you to make it a goal to get accurate lead information when asking a prospect "how did you hear about us?". Obvious reasons, of course, include awesome interdepartmental communication and team dynamics with leasing agents giving the marketing team valuable data to make spending decisions for advertising dollars. But what you receive in return is priceless. When the marketing department is able to be laser-focused in targeting the correct audience, your job as a leasing agent becomes easier, more exciting, and more fruitful. You'll have more qualified traffic coming from the right places. This means less time spent on unqualified traffic, less time spent doing follow-ups, improved closing ratios, and leasing bonuses.
You already know that when your leasing team and marketing team combine forces and work towards a common goal results can be meteoric for your property. The leasing team is the front line of your community and is perfectly positioned to gather key information to help focus the marketing message. This is especially true when properties are looking to learn about their prospect pipeline. Marketing teams will be able to utilize their budget intelligently and with greater efficacy, while targeting the right prospects and leasing teams will be celebrating a stream of qualified traffic and closing ratios to cheer about.