Engage and Convert Leads with the Right Sales Strategy and Tools

Of the many challenges facing multifamily operators in 2022, the number of leads typically isn’t among them.

But operators may find the task of attracting quality leads and providing them with the customer experiences they’re seeking to be a daunting one.

In the Engage and Convert Leads with the Right Sales Strategy and Tools session at the 2022 Entrata Summit, panelists provided a wealth of insight and recommendations for how multifamily teams can nurture the right leads and get them to sign leases.

To start with, panelists addressed the explosion of leads in recent years. “

Lead fatigue is real,” said Entrata Industry Principal Virginia Love, the session moderator. 

According to stats presented during the session, one ILS reported more than 120 million leads in 2021 after drawing approximately 71 million in 2019, an increase of approximately 69%. Other ILSs have shown similar growth. 

Labor shortages and poor lead capture and attribution are among the issues that can exacerbate the growth in leads, Love noted.

“Nobody needs more leads,” Love said. “They need better leasing.”

Cassidy Clark, Vice President of Marketing at Trinity Property Consultants, echoed a similar sentiment. “My job is to push quality leads,” she said.

She urged operators to move away from simply looking at the number of leads year-over-year and to use tools that illuminate the number of quality leads – meaning a lead “that actually leads to leases” – and where they are coming from. 

It’s also vital to evaluate the “costs associated with nurturing leads and spending too much time focused on tasks that don’t make us money for the property,” Clark added. Monthly calls that delve into lead source attribution allow Trinity teams to capitalize on sources that are producing strong lead conversion rates. 

Ashly Poyer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PeakMade Real Estate, a student-housing operator, explained that her company’s sales and marketing teams also are constantly working together to evaluate the quality of leads and the performance of media plans. The teams rely on a variety of Entrata tools to identify sources that are producing high lead volume but low conversion rates.

Poyer also emphasized the importance of understanding the entire prospect journeys of quality leads  and providing them with a customized experience. “We’re meeting throughout the year to make sure how we’re managing and nurturing leads meets their needs,” she said.

Gen Z college students, she explained, shop more organically for apartments than their predecessors, relying on word of mouth from friends and visiting property websites before reaching out to communities late in their search. “When they contact us, they’re super-hot leads,” she said. Gen Z’ers don’t want to be overwhelmed with follow-ups, but Peak has found that chat and text work well for action-oriented follow-up and phone calls for more personalized interactions with very active leads.

Dana Pate, Managing Director of Marketing and PR at RangeWater Real Estate, said her company’s success in generating and nurturing leads stems in part from the types of marketing and leasing associates RangeWater seeks to hire.

“We don’t want order takers,” she said. “We want to hire people with an ‘intrapreneurial’ spirit. We’re trying to find individuals who are empowered and generate ideas.”

Pate cited one successful promotional event that incorporated a farmer’s market and another that featured llamas as the result of an empowered marketing associate. 

RangeWater also positions its associates for success by implementing tech based upon their input, rather than through top-down corporate directives, she said.

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