In the days of instant gratification, a missed call from an apartment prospect can be exceedingly detrimental. In fact, that call might have been your only chance, because today’s prospects often immediately move on to the next community.
If a prospect is calling, you’ve already conquered a key hurdle by generating interest in your community. The initial call is often the first touch point with your property and your brand, and Entrata leasing centers alone handled 2.1 million calls in the last 12 months. This is no time to alienate these prospects – it’s time to bring them home, literally, as a resident of your community.
“That first call is critical,” said Christie Eash, senior vice president of AMLI Residential. “If it doesn’t go well, your chances of getting them onsite for a visit are pretty slim.”
With the bevy of tech tools available today, converting leads to leases is more attainable than ever. But it takes a cohesive blend of finding the right people for your leasing office, building the right processes around that talent and utilizing the right systems and technology.
Finding the Right People
Leasing agents that seem only half-interested in a prospects inquiries need not apply. Those who are engaged, thorough and excellent listeners are more fit for the duties of converting prospects into leases. While exhibiting keen focus can be challenging task in a busy leasing office, individuals able with the ability to engage will make a connection with the prospect. Possessing solid intuition is a bonus.
While passion and energy are charismatic qualities, they are not a must. Some of the best leasing agents exhibit more of an even-keel approach. But whether excitable or laid back, the ability to listen and engage is most valuable. Prospects won’t remember the call word for word, but they’ll remember the emotional connection with the agent.
Building the Right Processes
The apartment industry is now a 24-7 world, as prospects might be searching in the middle of the night and want immediate answers. That’s why many apartment operators utilize a call center for times they are unavailable, allowing prospects to speak with a live person whenever they call. If it’s after hours or the leasing team is at an event, the prospect never has to leave a message or call back later.
Proper coaching for new leasing agents – and continued education for those already established – can lead to increased performance, as well. Incentive-based coaching programs utilizing scorecards have been very successful in molding high-performing agents.
Using the Right Systems
Once you have the right people and the proper processes in place, utilizing the right systems will ensure your team is functioning to the fullest capacity. Most notable, having a call analysis service presents the opportunity to receive a comprehensive view of your communities in data form. It provides the ability to create a custom scorecard based on the areas you want graded and analyzed. The data and analysis underscores any consistent areas of concern and helps identify any struggling agents. It also identifies any high- or low-performing properties.
Utilizing a leasing center also can make a positive impact. Not only can individuals who are likeminded to your leasing associates answer prospects calls, but also provide after-hours assistance to residents. This creates a consistent experience for agents, prospects and residents alike.
While a savvy set of people skills is a bonus in the leasing world, tech can serve as a wonderful complement. And a combination of the right people, processes and systems will allow your leasing team to reach its full potential.
Click here for more information on Entrata’s Leasing Center.