Recap from Apartmentalize 2021 Session – Using Post-Pandemic Metrics to Optimize Sales Conversions
The pandemic required many industries to adapt to unprecedented circumstances, and in the process, ushered in a new era of technology and consumer behaviors. Apartment owners and operators had to create new definitions and new metrics with the emergence of different agentless tour types, like self-guided, virtual and video tours.
“Covid forced us all to examine our businesses and processes in a way different than we would have without the presence of a pandemic,” said Todd Katler, Founder & CEO of Anyone Home, during the Using Post Pandemic Metrics to Optimize Sales Conversions session at Apartmentalize 2021.
One of the biggest learning curves for operators during the pandemic was adjusting from relying on financial metrics, which measure the past, to reviewing sales metrics to anticipate and better predict the future. The industry has been turning to more behavioral metrics so leasing strategies can be refined and optimized to better align with current trends.
“It’s about marrying both an understanding of financial metrics, but also making sure we have great behavioral-based metrics,” said Kristin Hupfer, First Vice President of National Sales at Equity Residential. “What is really happening with how we’re nurturing that lead is through a lead progression process. So behavioral metrics are something that need to be much more important than they ever have before.”
The industry’s new reality is that not all tours are created equal and they have varying conversion rates. The question then becomes, how do you turn these new tour types, conversion rates and behavior patterns into something that is measurable, usable and predictable?
According to Anyone Home’s internal data, prospects who take and complete a self-guided tour are 54% more likely to convert to a lease than if the prospect took an agent-led tour.
“That was a really good example of how a behavior changes your prediction of an outcome. And how these things all intersect together,” Katler said.
A tour used to be a tour, but now it’s a bit more complicated with multiple tour options. Owner/operators might be tracking the different tour types, but there is much more to consider. For example, if a prospect misses a tour, why they missed the tour, or whether a prospect requires more than one tour before signing a lease.
“When I watch operators looking for quick big wins, it’s really interesting when they put a process around that for someone who definitely showed a lot of interest, made some form of commitment and then life happened,” Katler said. “Missed tours are somewhere around 25 to 45 percent of all tours.”
Now there are even more touch points in the customer journey, and owner/operators are trying to identify those touch points as part of a larger collective process.
“For people who opted to do a self-guided tour, if they didn’t lease, why didn’t they lease?” said Kyle Johnson, Marketing and Technology at R & V Management.
Justin Choi, Director of Marketing at Sequoia Equities, noted it’s all about consumer behavior and thinking more along the lines of the buying experience prospects want to have.
“When we think about self-guided tours, that is an individual who is more likely to take control,” Choi said. “If they’re interested, they’re going to go to leasing agents to lease, but if they have questions, that’s the 47% that Kyle brought up.”
Capturing this type of data and insight can give operators a more complete picture of how modern renters are shopping and making buying decisions. At the same time, new metrics and processes must be developed to better align with the new customer journey and simultaneously evaluate associate success.
“We have to really spend some time now identifying and defining what these processes are within our leasing workflow and really get good at not just putting those processes and policies into place, but then measuring them,” Johnson said.
Operators have also been leveraging the capabilities of AI on the front line of leasing and shifting to centralized leasing models to expedite tour scheduling and facilitate the initial step in the customer journey. This changes emphasis on the role of leasing agents. Instead of focusing on converting a phone call or an online lead to a tour, agents are now spending more time identifying what each individual customer needs and how to more effectively move that customer forward to signing a lease.
According to Anyone Home’s internal data, leasing agents on average complete 70% of the tasks they are assigned. Katler noted this is a high completion rate in comparison to other industries.
But some additional details also have to be measured, like what the individual is completing and the quality of completed tasks. These are the areas where automation and an updated CRM playbook can benefit agents moving forward and provide a more customized, targeted approach for prospect engagement.
“What success looks like is important,” Katler said. “I do see this in CRM playbooks where it’s not bad intention, but someone will have two tasks per lead to do and they’re at 95 percent success rate. Having that good North Star is critical.”
Metrics will continue to evolve over time, but operators now have a better understanding of the importance of behavioral metrics and how to start tracking this data.