Back to Basics: Digital Sales

Back to Basics: Digital Sales

You can buy anything and everything online. From cars to houses, apartments to furniture, there isn’t much that can only be bought in-store. When a customer comes in to browse, they don’t expect you to know what they are looking for until you ask them but that’s not the case online.

 

David Kain, founder of Kain, a digital sales training company, has been in the business since the early days of the Internet. He sat down with PERQ’s Co-Founder, Andy Medley, and EVP of Marketing, Muhammid Yasin, on The Bridge Podcast to discuss how he has mastered the art of digital sales.

 

 

Know the Journey

 

One of the most important parts of any sales conversation is knowing where the customer is. That starts by meeting them where they are online. “Knowing the customer’s journey on your website and being able to relay the exact information they are searching for — through email, phone call or text message — is important in winning the initial conversation,” Kain explains.

 

Using artificial and business intelligence tools will help you understand all the touch points of your customer’s journeys and make for a more prepared and qualified conversation later. What Kain has seen over the years is that the more convenient the conversations online are for the customer, the more likely they will come to your physical store or meet in person. The customer sees it as great customer service and will have an overall positive experience shopping with you but when is it appropriate to reach out for an online lead?

 

 

The Open Window

 

Cold calling is a pretty old sales technique that overtime has become slightly more irritating to customers. Kain explains that the reason is customers aren’t expecting the call and it could come through while they’re with family or busy.

 

This is where AI and BI tools come in handy. There’s a five minute window of opportunity after the customer shows interest or requests details. “That’s primetime,” according to Kain. The product is fresh on their minds and in that small window sending an email or text, whatever the preference is, with the details of what they are looking for is key. Be sure to let them know when you’re able to call or talk in person. A quick response at the right time will start the process on the right foot.

 

The main takeaways are to know your customer’s journey and all the exact details that an AI or BI tool can provide and respond quickly with the data you have. Digital sales is an art and it takes practice. Working on these skills and having the tools to do them will help you have more winning conversations and more deals closed.

 

 

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Best Practices to Follow Up with Property Website Leads

Best Practices to Follow Up with Property Website Leads

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]When it comes to leasing more units at your properties, it takes more than simply generating leads. In order to turn those leads into signed leases, Property Management companies and leasing teams need to have a quality prospect experience on their website and a lead follow-up strategy. Follow these tips and best practices for managing and closing PERQ leads.

 

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.

 

Prospect Experience

 

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.

 

Leasing Funnel

 

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 or use a CRM for 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

3 Steps to Guide Apartment Shoppers Online

3 Steps to Guide Apartment Shoppers Online

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521224734716{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Most apartment shoppers online begin their journey on your property website. So how do you capitalize on this controlled environment and move more leads closer to signing a lease? You do so by understanding your sales funnel, what works best on your site and converting online interest into tangible sales.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”parallax” header_style=”light” parallax_content_width=”full_width” text_align=”center” full_screen_section_height=”no” background_image=”28348″ section_height=”200″ parallax_speed=”2″ css=”.vc_custom_1521230775859{background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”55px”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522950688655{padding-right: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;}”]

3 STEPS TO GUIDE APARTMENT SHOPPERS ONLINE

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Apartment shoppers online who visit your multifamily property’s website bring their own background and personality: where they come from, where they’ve lived, or even a new addition to their family. These traits influence what information they are looking for online to help them in the decision-making process on where and even when to rent.

 

Some online apartment shoppers might be willing to sign on the dotted line after seeing a few photos and the right price, while others are still trying to determine their budget, the right location for their lifestyle, the right floor plan and if they can even get pre-qualified.

 

But for almost every renter in the modern multifamily residential market, your property’s website and other online resources will be their first exposure to your building, a place they might call home. Getting an apartment shopper’s attention online in that moment is critical to becoming their first residential choice. It’s the key to harnessing the power of your site’s ability to help them down the path of discovery, research and willingness to buy/rent — the online conversion funnel, so to speak.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521237198580{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Property managers and leasing agents looking to improve the conversion funnel for apartment shoppers online should think of these three important steps as they examine their websites to determine if they’re really engaging consumers throughout the process.

 

To get some more in-depth information of the online experience, we spoke to Katy Schmidt, property manager for IronWorks apartments in Indianapolis, as well as George McCabe, a renter in Denver, Colorado, who recently found a new apartment online.

 

Here’s a summary of what happens in the discovery, research and buy phases, plus some tips on how to turn strangers on the Internet into happy members of your multifamily apartment community.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522950765054{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

1. Apartment Shoppers Online in the Discovery Phase

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]unique-apartment-website-300x300These browsers are the apartment shoppers online who are only just discovering your multifamily property. Maybe they’ve driven by the apartment community, or know the name, but they likely don’t know very much about what the residential experience looks like.

 

Customers in this phase will be most interested in the high-level information on the site, especially photos or other graphic elements. This is where an eye for web design will play its greatest role.

 

Visual elements such as cascading, vibrant shots of the buildings and grounds, captioned or headlined with statements about your building’s culture, neighborhood and style, will catch their eye and imagination as they start to consider what life would be like within your walls. According to Schmidt, anything that can set your website apart from the rest is going to help.

 

“Anything that’s cookie cutter or similar to the competition is going to drive people away. We try to create our websites to look a little different than the rest. Our building is unique, and we want the site to reflect that,” Schmidt says.

 

Renter Enticement Tip: Calls to action in the form of a new customer welcome, and special offers on application fees or credit checks will catch the prospect’s attention as they browse early, and might reassure them that if they proceed, they won’t face fees just to explore.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521237198580{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522950888727{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

2. Apartment Renters Online in the Research Phase

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]If your site has convinced apartment renters online, they’d at least consider getting an apartment in your multifamily community, their minds will turn to the nitty-gritty details of apartment living. This means they’ll want comprehensive floorplans, in-depth accounts of all included amenities, rent and utility rates, and even resident reviews.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner row_type=”row” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” css=”.vc_custom_1521232210156{padding-top: 25px !important;}”][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][blockquote text=”If your site has convinced apartment renters online, they’d at least consider getting an apartment in your multifamily community,” show_quote_icon=”yes” text_color=”#2c2c2c” quote_icon_color=”#871d5a” width=”90″ border_color=”#871d5a”][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522950924189{padding-left: 25px !important;}”]Any missing details, hard-to-find information, or general issues with site navigation can still send these once-interested customers bouncing to a competitor, so be sure your site is powered by a reliable design and marketing team, and contains all the relevant information an in-person leasing agent would share. McCabe agrees, explaining how important those small pieces were to him as a potential renter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522950933794{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]“I definitely like to see pictures; that’s really important,” he says. “If there’s a place that doesn’t have pictures, I’ll probably just skip over it.”

 

Renter Enticement Strategy: During this period, consumers will be telling you – or, rather, your site – what they need and want. Give them a unique and memorable outlet to do so with interactive floorplan assessments that reveal what unit best fits their needs. If the visitor is about to leave, your website should automatically offer up a special offer to try to entice them back into exploring your site even further.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521237198580{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522951028923{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

3. Apartment Shoppers Online Ready to Buy

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Apartment-Shoppers-Online-Tour-300x300In this phase, your website will have already answered the majority of the online apartment shopper’s preliminary questions. The previous step of the funnel should have adequately satisfied the customer’s questions, and doing so will make sure they’re more ready to rent before getting there.

 

“We have 18 different floor plans so educating them prior to the visit helps us streamline the sales approach,” Schmidt says.

 

Prospective renters online will want to book a tour, or maybe even submit an application to rent without visiting. These tenants will need a sense of total security and competency before signing or paying online. Be sure you have an adequate payment portal if your site offers such a feature.

 

Make it easy for apartment shoppers online to book a tour easily online with a click of a button to confirm a day and time that works for them, along with the best way to reach them. It should help to convert more visitors than your typical static lead form. A leasing agent or property manager should then follow up with a quick email or phone call to confirm the day and time and find out if there are any other questions they need answered in the meantime..

 

Renter Enticement Strategy: At this phase, the renter is already at the bottom of the funnel, but multifamily property managers have a great opportunity to immediately start building renter loyalty through cool incentives like a contest drawing for new applicants, or discounted rent if they apply within a certain time frame.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521237198580{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]The truth is, renters might visit an apartment’s website several times before they’re finally ready to take a tour or fill out a rental application. Just as you would be in person, your site must be patient with and responsive to the apartment shopper’s decision-making process, and remember them when they return.

 

Interactive, connected experiences should help to lead each apartment shopper online down the path of their own choosing, never showing them the same calls to action where they already gave you information, and addressing visitors by name if they gave their contact information to your site previously.

 

By giving potential apartment renters an engaging experience that’s helpful and makes them remember your community, they’ll move themselves to your doorstep and hopefully have a new doorstep in your apartment community to call their own.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Multifamily Resources

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