“Getting Back to the Basics”: In between the emerging new age of AI, and talks around centralization, a few Multifamily Professionals led a discussion around longstanding but overlooked leasing strategies before heading into peak leasing season. Moderated by Mike Wolber, the 45-minute engagement included insights from speakers Rebecca Smith, Brand Engagement Director for WPM Real Estate, Michael Lopez, regional Support Manager for Hawthorne Residential, and Andrew Hudson, Training and Development Specialist for American Landmark.
Here are several highlights we took away from Your Best Leasing Season Yet:
Multifamily leaders share their fundamentals and best advice for new leasing agents
Onsite staff turnover and retention of onsite teams is a challenge very familiar to leasing management teams. With the churn, new leasing agents are always entering the scene. “What general advice do you have for new leasing team members?” Mike Wolber opened the floor with.
“Excitement!! When I walk into offices, I’m like, ‘Where’s the music?!” Everyone has the product, but we can’t forget that leasing is a feel. When my prospects walk in the door, I want them to understand that we’re going to have some fun. We’re going to get you the right apartment” Andrew said about bringing the energy for his team. Rebecca with WPM validated that leasing agents, operators, owners, and regionals are losing on-site connectedness, emphasizing “In-person leasing is still a thing!”.
All speakers touched on the underplayed significance of incorporating authenticity into every interaction. Michael best summarized this theme in his reflection from interviewing new leasing agents: “You can teach the technical things like the system, how to enter a guest card, and how to follow up. but you can’t teach personality or charisma. What you’re selling is not always the product, but yourself. They (prospects) can go down the road and get another bedroom and basic comp set, but they might miss that feeling that we’re going to take care of them”.
Evergreen marketing collateral and determining digital versus print
Despite the overwhelming trend towards going green, speakers universally agreed that many communities still utilize print media. How can we strike the optimal balance?
Michael recalls when working in the Louisiana market, Mardi Gras cups and physical marketing were effective in directing calls back to the leasing office. Having brochures and materials sent to the HR department for local plant workers who were moving to the area proved to be another strategy for effective local hands-on marketing.
Rebecca highlighted the ability to use tangible materials as a closing tool for leasing agents. “You want hardwood floors? …Check. You want stainless steel appliances?….Check. Floor plans make a helpful aid for leasing agents who can leverage them in their sales”.
A helpful compromise is to have a balance of both media. While younger demographics such as student housing communities might prefer to be entirely virtual, older demographics still appreciate tangible materials. Having media with a QR code that brings prospective renters to a landing page creates that middle ground to balance the world of virtual and physical since we haven’t crossed that full virtual threshold yet, proposed Andrew.
Must-have technology in the modern leasing age
With so many innovative multifamily vendors at every corner, Mike Wolber wanted to know top tech favorites from each speaker. Both becky and Michael discussed their love for Engrain’s virtual property map technology, enabling leasing agents to grant virtual tours with ease.
Texting in real-time has added a huge level of efficiency to Rebecca’s team at WPM, noting that she loves the ability to send texts about appointments and integrate it into lead follow-ups using Entrata, while Andrew added that he loves the texting follow-up feature as well from Rent Dynamics.
Crushing leasing tours
When it comes to generating a lasting impression and impact from touring, Michael explained how he likes to make people envision already living in the apartment space. He’ll often cue them with questions such as “Do you have an L-shaped couch or a loveseat?” Based on their responses, he paints a picture to help them design their apartment and picture their life in the space early on.
Becky’s tip was to be a local expert. She’ll often conclude a tour based on the time of day by asking prospects if they’re headed to coffee or lunch next, and then sharing her local recommendations and specials to ask for on their visit.
Andrew hammered in the significance of getting right to the money with his tours. The two most common responses he’s seen for tours that are left in the air are that they were still looking, or putting their search on hold for later in the year. His biggest follow up response to counter this is asking ‘Why’. In his experience, inquiring further enables you to continue to guide the conversation further and often get past some of the limiting beliefs holding prospects back from closing a deal.
Our biggest takeaways for your biggest leasing season yet
While panelists synced up on must-have leasing technology, to finding the right balance between digital and print marketing collateral, and bringing good energy into every interaction, personal connectivity and genuine approaches in conversation took the lead. If there is one thing we heard loud and clear from both the panelists and over 100 live participants in the chat – it’s the importance of being authentic and bringing your whole self to the leasing experience you provide for prospects.