The internet has revolutionized the way prospective renters look for apartments. Prospects today conduct the majority of their apartment research online before narrowing it down to a select few properties that they would actually visit in person. In fact, an article in the August 2017 edition of Units Magazine found that 80% of apartment residents lease with the first property they visit. Because of this, it’s essential that your property website provides the best experience for prospects and that your leasing team has a plan for following up with leads.
All of this starts with the prospect experience on your website. Having interactive experiences on your website helps to guide apartment shoppers through your site and turn website visitors into known leads. Not only that, but it also gives prospects the opportunity to engage on your site and start to build a prospect profile.
When a PERQ prospect profile is generated from website visitors engaging with our Online Guided Leasing solution, your leasing team now has, on average, 5x more lead data to start the conversation with potential renters. The prospect’s profile information allows the leasing specialist to then pick up the conversation where the prospect left off. It references the answers to their engagement on the website rather than starting the conversation over. This helps build trust and allows the leasing team to be consultative with the goal of turning a prospect into a resident.
In this prospect profile example, the potential renter went through a few PERQ interactive experiences on the property website and the leasing team was able to find out detailed information like:
- Unit preferences to provide a floorplan match
- Floor preference
- Desired lease term
- Whether or not the prospect has pets
- Prospect’s budget information
- Preferred activities and places of interest
Using this information to follow up with leads will make your property stand out. To better utilize prospect profile data, a property should use the data the as a whole to get insights, and prioritize follow-up according to how hot the lead is.
When a prospect answers questions within the PERQ experiences and starts to build a prospect profile, this helps the leasing team determine where the potential renter is in the leasing funnel.
The Discovery phase (or the top of the funnel) encompasses the consumer that has just started looking at different communities. They’re probably not sure what property is right for them or when they’d like to move. Our New Visitor Welcome & Assessment experiences capture this type of traffic.
Next, the Research phase is broken down into two sections: lead vs. hot lead. This phase is catching a prospect who might know what area they want to live in but they’re unsure which property is best. They’re more likely to bounce from site to site, and we try to capture this type of consumer by engaging them with incentives, and matching them to your location and surrounding community. They’re considered a hotter Research lead once they’ve gone through the floor plan assessment and scheduled a time to visit your property.
Finally, there’s the lease phase. These are going to be your most serious and hottest leads. These prospects have confirmed with you on their scheduled tour and have started the process for pre-approval (before they even step foot in the office). We encourage properties to focus on leads at the bottom of the funnel first, since those are the leads most likely to lease right away.
Creative Ways to Follow Up
In addition to having a lead follow-up strategy based on prioritization, following up with leads in creative ways is also an important part of every lead management strategy. Here are a few creative ways you can follow up with leads to help your property stand out from the competition:
- Personalize each lead follow up
Make sure to use personalization when following up in order to really grab a prospect’s attention. For example: if someone says they’re interested in a one bedroom unit and a city view is the most important thing to them, be sure to talk about a specific unit with the best view you have to offer
- Offer personalized promotions
Include personalized incentives when following up with a lead who’s ready to move. Gear the offers toward the exact things the prospect is interested in.
- Build a prospect database for lead follow up
Keep a database of all potential prospects and track where they’re at in the leasing funnel. Follow up periodically to see if they want any assistance as they draw closer to confirming an actual move-in date. Showing that you haven’t forgotten about them after such a long time will really impress them!
- Help prospects do more research
Include reference links in your follow-up email to assist with a prospect’s research, not just links back to your property website. For example: if they say they have children, send them a list of parks and playgrounds within walking distance or talk about the school systems.
- Try photos or videos for engaging lead follow up
Send personalized photos and videos to add personality and really connect with potential prospects. Record a personal message to the lead on your smartphone and hit send.
- Thank you notes
Never underestimate the value of customer service and a good, old-fashioned thank you note. Connecting on a personal level is the touchstone of any creative lead follow-up strategy.