A prospect fills out a “Schedule a Tour” form on your apartment website.
Everything goes well, but you don’t lease the apartment ☹
Face it… Sometimes, we are unable to lease an apartment during the prospect’s first visit to our property. But what you do next – is what really counts. Yes, I’m speaking follow up.
Follow up should be viewed as a tool that creates additional opportunities to close the sale as we provide more information and continue to build our relationship with the prospect. The additional contacts can reinforce the initial information, highlight urgency and update availability.
Applying structure to follow up can increase effectiveness, in other words, you’ll see more results.
Drip marketing is a “communication strategy that sends, or drips a pre-written set of messages to a customer or prospect over time.” Not only is Drip marketing a model for us to mimic for our follow up communication, it also offers an acronym for the components we want to feature in our follow up:
D – Description
R – Review
I – Invitation
P – Promote
Where most communities fall short is they have no planned outline of communication in their follow up. It’s just random follow up at best.
That’s where DRIP comes into play. It gives you an easy outline or blueprint for effective follow up. Let’s break it down:
First Contact: Within 4 to 6 hours or faster.
An effective first follow up should include:
Personal information: “I’m excited that you are considering our community as a future home for you and your two daughters.”
Reminder about the apartment (s) toured: “The second floor apartment with the large walk in closet is available and waiting for your deposit. With your application and deposit, we can reserve it for your move in.”
Call to action: “You indicated you wanted to think about our community as you tour some other locations. I hope to hear from you today, so we can reserve the home of your dreams. I will follow up with you to see if I can help in your decision.”
Let’s not forget our Leasing 101 or Sales 101 hats, which includes the requirement for a thank you: “Thank you for visiting our property…”
However, without some guidance and structure for content, the thank you note resembles a weak effort. “Thank you for visiting our property,” offers no call to action. It doesn’t acknowledge the prospects interest or likes for the apartment home. The information provided about the prospect needs or wish list doesn’t appear to have made it off the guest card.
Second Contact: Within 24 hours.
In the review stage, you want a repeat of the first follow up content, in a manner that is not repetitive. “Just checking in, I remember that you have some after work commitments with your daughter’s soccer program.”
“I know that our walk out view apartment hit all of your must have’s. I would love to reserve this for you. A quick call or email, and we can start your application online, here’s the link to our application, where you can pay your deposit with a credit card or PayPal.”
This second contact summarizes the visit. It offers a call to action with a method to finalize the decision.
Third Contact: 24 to 48 hours.
At this point, it appears more information may be needed to make a decision. Extending an invitation for another visit to the property.
Offering to provide a virtual tour of the model home, or the preferred floor plan could be useful for the prospect. Here’s an example of a virtual tour below. Just click the image and navigate around the unit.
If a move in date was suggested, building a timeline around the date can assist with creating the sense of urgency.
Be aware with follow up, as the amount time increases from when the prospect last visited the property, and any last actual contact, many of our phone or even email efforts have a tendency to become more vague.
“Just following up. Let me know if I can help.”
Again, we are lacking a call to action. We have the opportunity to make an impression with information that is specific. Every follow up effort is another building block in developing a relationship with our future prospect. Using personal information, referencing the preference of feature items and floor plans communicates a true interest in our prospect.
Making a decision to move family and belongings is a big decision. Sometimes we forget the impact moving has on a household because it’s what we do every day. A move will often involve thousands of dollars of moving expenses and a commitment for a lease involving a range from seven to fifteen thousand dollars. Making this decision can easily involve more time than selecting a new pair of shoes.
Fourth Contact: 3-5 days after the first visit.
At this point, the follow up efforts should continue to provide specific information about the property. Describing social events, services, advantage of amenities with a constant focus of how this property and a specific apartment home is a benefit to this individual.
The follow up efforts demonstrate a stronger presence of personalized interest, instead of generic comments about hoping to hear from you soon.
If the prospect indicates they are no longer interested in hearing from us, asking the all-important “why” question.
What influenced them to make another choice?
We can only learn from “our mistakes.” Without knowing how a competitor was able to better meet their needs, we cannot build or change, or adjust to provide better service to our future prospects.
Giving the leasing team an outline of “must haves” to include in each follow up communication will provide direction. This also keeps each follow up fresh and personalized, further building the relationship with our prospects.
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Regional Operations Manager at Management Resources Development. Started Multifamily experience in 1981. Thirty plus years experience in an industry best characterized as "no two days are the same."