Today’s multifamily market is constantly evolving. Because of that, the qualities of a good leasing agent must also constantly evolve and change, staying up-to-date on both consumer and industry trends.
Both current and prospective residents need to trust that their leasing agents and property management teams are working with and for them. Whether it’s during the initial touring process or a long-time resident looking to renew a lease, leasing agents must be able to approach all of those scenarios with the same focused, transparent effort to get the job done.
So, before we start, let’s take a look at some of the top things leasing agents need to do to be and do to be successful in their roles this year. And trust us, it’s more than just reading a leasing consultant training manual.
Here are a few of our favorite multifamily leasing tips to help you get started!
Embrace the Tech Trends
At the top of the list for 2019 multifamily leasing tips are an absolute must in today’s day and age: embrace technology! Now, many of you may think, “we have a website and a Facebook page! Isn’t that enough?” While that’s a start, it’s time to upgrade your tech stack with actual leasing technology.
- Mobile: Have you worked mobile into your marketing plan and leasing strategy to the degree it should be? Considering the average smartphone user is on their phones for more than 4 hours a day, it’s worth looking into. Things as seemingly little as making sure your website is mobile-friendly or following up with prospects via a text message versus email can go far with today’s mobile-first, and often mobile-only, audiences. Successful apartment leasing agents in 2019 will understand how important mobile is and how to capitalize on it.
- Video: Having great content is, of course, important. However, the type of content is more important than simply having content. In today’s market, nothing is desired more or more engaging than video. Research shows that when trying to convey a message, video is the absolute best means. Viewers remember 95% of a message when viewed via video compared to just 10% when read via text. Video is one of the most important multifamily leasing tools for 2021 and having the right platform for creating and sharing your video content is an absolute must to reach, engage, and convert your target audience.
- Social Media: Having a Facebook page for your community is a wonderful first step. In 2019, however, it’s time to think beyond that. How are you using the page? What sort of content are you putting out there? Do you have contact information or conversion tools prompting people to reach out? Are you growing your following and audience or is it the same 25 people that like your posts every time? Is Facebook the only social channel or would Instagram or Twitter help reach your audience more effectively? When it comes to multifamily apartment marketing and leasing, effectively using social media to connect with your audience and garner interest in your building is a must. It is also a very wide target though in terms of what will be effective for your team. So a/b test constantly to find what works and don’t be afraid to throw $20 behind promoting posts — you’d be surprised how far a little promotion on a post can go.
- CRM: Any good leasing agent will be dealing with a very high volume of prospective residents. Are you tracking all of them? What if you have a prospect looking for a 2 bedroom place, but don’t currently have one available for them. Are you logging that prospect’s preferences and setting a task reminder to follow up with them when you do have a 2 bedroom available? Having the right CRM / lead management system in place will not only help you track your prospects better, but will make you more effective and efficient at following up with prospects how and when you need to be following up. Take your follow-up to the next level by sending personalized videos as well. Talk about standing out with a wow factor!
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Focus on Personalization
Personalization isn’t a new concept on the consumer marketing front. But, for those in multifamily leasing, it may not be a tool that you’re using yet or to its fullest at least. Personalization is something today’s prospective residents may not verbally demand or request, but they desire it. Research has shown that personalizing a message (email, text, ad, etc.) significantly increases the likelihood that the message will be read and responded to. And we mean personalization beyond simply having a person’s name in an email.
Successful leasing agents today look to integrate data from the entire leasing process into every touchpoint throughout the entire resident lifecycle. Are they moving from out-of-market? Where are they moving from? Do they have a family? Do they have pets? What do they care most about in a community? Are they moving for work or downsizing with no kids at home any longer? There is so much information that successful leasing agents learn throughout the leasing process and it’s that information that needs to make it into your communications and actions. If sending a prospective resident a video of a unit, make sure to call out how much natural light shines through the floor-to-ceiling windows or how large the master closet is if those are things you know they care about. And say that in the video… we know you care about lots of storage, so check out these massive walk-in closets!”
Even more important to today’s current and prospective residents than personalization is honesty and transparency. For so long we’ve lived in a world full of photoshopped images and ads and staged environments that rarely represented the actual experience. And consumers have caught on to that. No more do those ‘perfect’ displays work with today’s prospective residents. They no longer want to see the perfectly staged model or a video with paid actors portraying an event at the pool that will never actually take place in the community. They want to see the exact unit they’ll be living in and the actual view from the unit, even if it is simply a parking lot. They want to see the community for what it is as well. They want to hear from actual residents and get a real sense of what it’ll be like to live there, not some pie in the sky portrayal of what it could be, but actually isn’t.
So how do you put forth honesty and transparency in your leasing practices? Simple…be honest and transparent! For example, instead of investing in a highly produced video that only shows certain parts of the community, consider using a platform that empowers hosting live video. If a prospective resident can’t physically get to the property to see it, the next best / transparent thing is live video. Same thing with your resident testimonials. If you have corporate support, record your own resident testimonials for posting on social media or on your community website. These don’t need to be highly produced, polished videos. The more real they seem, the more they’ll be trusted.
Personify the Brand
For multifamily leasing agents, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the hectic stress of working at a multifamily community. It’s a very demanding role to play — especially for those in student housing! Personifying your brand is one of the easiest ways to positively impact your effectiveness as a leasing agent!
What do we mean by that? Be the living embodiment of the brand of your community and company. Besides your community website or ILS listing, you will likely be the first human touchpoint at your community for prospective residents and therefore have the first ability to set the tone, vibe, and culture of the community. Even if you are having an off day, try not to let that reflect in your conversations and interactions with prospective residents. When prospective residents interact with you, in person or virtually, they should get a feel for the community and whether it’ll be a comfortable place for them or not.
At the end of the day, these ‘trends’ are really a roadmap for success that any leasing agent can follow. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a Class A or C property, conventional, student, or senior, lease-up or stabilized. Good, modern, consistent, transparent leasing practices will always be a recipe for success. And the best leasing agents will be nimble and ready to adapt to the rapidly changing market that we live in with multifamily real estate. These tips are just the start. It’s up to you to take them and use them to reach your leasing goals!
Until next time…keep it real!