Leasing offices across the multifamily industry have traditionally focused their lead management strategies on an agent-centric approach. And for good reason. An agent-centric strategy allows properties to manage their leasing teams easily. It focuses on agent effort and easily measured benchmarks and allows the property to provide a consistent leasing experience for potential renters.
But, in an Entrata Summit session in Park City, industry panelists laid out some pretty compelling arguments why an agent-centric lead management approach may be past its prime. In fact, it can be a breeding ground for inefficiencies. With studies showing that as many as 88 percent of outbound calls and 80 percent of outbound emails are going to leads that don’t convert, the time is ripe for a new, prospect-centered, approach to lead management.
“Our teams have limited time and resources,” explained Annie Blanco, JRK’s assistant VP of marketing. “So we need to focus on the low-hanging fruit. Each prospect is unique and deserves an individual experience. We enable our leasing agents to provide just that.”
Landmark Properties has also implemented prospect-centered leasing practices with positive results. “We are able to segment leads and focus on a more manageable pool of progressing leads,” said Adam Jay, Landmark’s sales and marketing manager. “Some leads will stay in the system for months and still eventually convert, but we focus less on them and just keep the door open.”
Staff training and tech tools lay the foundation, then a consistent focus on results i.e., higher conversion ratios, allow properties to make the shift to this new generation of lead management. Outside the multifamily space, auto dealerships are making similar transitions in their lead management and finding similar successes.
Mark Gasser is director of customer experience management for the Larry H. Miller Group which owns and operates 60 dealerships. With car buyers (like apartment hunters) doing a significant portion of their research before they ever contact a dealership, he has worked with his teams to stay customer-focused and meet each customer where they’re at in the buying process, rather than treating each call or walk-in exactly the same. Predictably, he’s encountered some pushback.
“In our industry, eight out of ten customers who contact us and say they want to buy a car will buy one. It becomes a question of whether or not they’re going to buy from us.” Mark explained. “We encourage dealerships to put a process director in place, to monitor performance and provide coaching and training for the sales team. Some don’t want to pay for that additional role, but those that do are our most successful stores and tell me they couldn’t afford not to have this role filled.”
Panelists discussed ideas for motivating leasing agents, using available technology to put the focus on progressing leads, and new and upcoming technologies such as lead-scoring that may make the transition to a prospect-centric lead management approach that much easier. For more information on Entrata’s lead management tools, contact your sales rep or customer success manager.