Since the turn of the 21st century, property management companies have seen a rapid shift in technology, ultimately resulting in a set of different needs for renters. Renters aren’t just looking for an apartment anymore, but instead are finding a home that provides for them and will meet them on their terms and their time.
Noah Echols of CARROLL argues that it’s more of a “specialized” leasing model that does the trick for renters. “The process of centralizing roles is aimed at cutting costs and doing more with less overhead. Specialization, on the other hand, starts with the premise that where we focus expertise, we provide significantly better service, and it allows us to save money.”
And the data doesn’t lie. Integrating tech stacks to optimize your leasing agent’s role is no longer a pipe dream. In today’s market and as your agents are juggling leads and tasks, you need a “wide net” to help secure your lead management so that no lead is dropped and fumbled along the way. Here’s what we mean:
Guided tours vs. Self-guided tours
In retrospect, guided tours constitute for 29.5% of conversions for properties. This is an obvious place for agents to shine. But, if your property is getting flooded with scheduled on-site tours, you need to make sure your staff is prepared to handle it. While leasing agents are away from the office and touring apartments with prospective residents, there should be systems in place to handle the other incoming calls, emails and net new leads. Otherwise, your agents are spread thin and are more likely to miss a valid lead who otherwise might’ve ended up renting with your property. More on this later…
On the other hand, one way to centralize this for your properties is providing a website with available units and self-guided tours. In the 2022 NMHC Grace Hill Renters Preferences survey, it was found that 27% of renters had signed a lease sight unseen. 43% of those renters said they would do it again should they ever need to search for a new apartment in the future. This is where a website casts a wide net and strengthens your leasing model, ensuring that those kinds of renters are being provided with the opportunity to find their future home virtually and without an in-person tour.
As new leads come through your website, timeliness is key. By the end of 2021, the average lead to lease was sitting at 51 days. By 2022, however, average lead to lease declined to a quick 41 days. Ultimately, renters are finding available units and moving quickly in on signing a lease. The burden of getting to every lead as quickly as possible is a heavy one to put on your leasing agents, especially when they must filter through the leads that aren’t all that interested in the first place.
A CRM tool is your “wide net” in this step of the leasing process, providing your agents with an easy-to-digest dashboard that organizes lead follow-up by priority. Your agents would no longer need to sift through leads and organize them by time, relevancy or qualification, but instead can focus on the right leads quickly and without potentially losing their interest in the meantime.
On average, a prospective renter makes 3.2 contacts with an apartment community before signing a lease. This is the “juggling act” leasing agents struggle to keep up with… and for good reason! It’s no easy feat, but getting to the phone is still incredibly important.
Dustin Lacey of Mark Taylor recently spoke with Multihousing News and his statistics were compelling. When the phone was answered, lead to lease conversion ranged from 22% to 27%. However, if the call went unanswered, that conversion rate dropped to a mere 2%. This only further establishes that while your leasing agents need to focus on face-to-face interactions with potential renters, missing phone calls and emails is not an option.
When prospective renters had access to a 24/7 contact center and a Chatbot, properties saw a 16% increase in tour-to-lease conversions. If being face-to-face with potential renters is where your leasing agents do their most converting work, your properties then need the technology to catch anything else and answer questions along the way.
Channels of communication
If your property only offered one form of communication, agents would be detrimentally limited in their ability to reach valid leads. One of our clients, who have truly centralized their leasing model and offer multiple channels of communication to prospective residents, has undeniable results:
CONVERSION BY CHANNEL
Omnichannel communication is the pillar of meeting renters’ needs and doing so on their terms. It’s not one channel alone that results in your agent’s ability to get leases signed. It’s many channels and your properties can see more success by expanding that “wide net” to reach renters at all hours of the day and on any preferred channel.
As the property management industry shifts toward digitalization and renters have become more demanding in terms of instant gratification and accessibility to digital resources, leasing agents need support through technology to manage their workload efficiently and secure leads. Integrating the right tech stacks to optimize lead management have proven to be effective strategies.
Self-guided tours, a CRM tool, 24/7 contact center and Chatbot, and omnichannel communication are examples of how technology can cast a foolproof and “wide net,” so leasing agents can prioritize their time and focus on building relationships with prospective renters and increasing leases signed.
See how some of our clients work magic for their leasing agents.