By John Hall - August 23, 2018
Technology has transformed apartment marketing. Now, like never before, potential residents have access to more information about your community before they even set foot on it.
Despite this fact, there is one element of the leasing process that hasn’t really changed - the community tour. At Pynwheel, we have made it our business to determine how apartment operators can improve the community tour process with new best practices, technology, and time-saving techniques.
Here are some of our favorite community tour tips.
1- Don’t let them wait
It should go without saying, but we still hear stories all the time involving residents who give up waiting for a leasing agent to help them. Engaging walk-ins with your lobby technology is a good way to start the sales process, even if you are unable to be with them at the moment. If nothing else, every single walk-in needs to be greeted within seconds.
2- Use your touchscreen on every tour
While touchscreens are a great way to engage potential residents when you are unavailable, they are also most effective when used in conjunction with your community tour. Touchscreens are still a novelty to the average consumer, and their existence in your leasing center sends the message that your community is technology forward. More importantly, touchscreens let your prospects inform you of their interests, so that you can shape a tour to their needs.
3- Keep their options open
Consumers are more likely to seek other alternatives when they only have one option. Touchscreens allow you to present multiple options for apartment homes. Do not make the mistake of trying to get a prospect all in on one unit that you have pre-selected for them. Also, make sure that you know your value propositions. Make sure that you are talking more about the things that differentiate you from nearby competitors, and less about the things you all have.
4- Be a part of the neighborhood
Your prospects are interested in knowing what businesses and services there are around you. While it is not possible to take a field trip on they typical tour, you should make sure that you are communicating the benefits of your location. Pynwheel neighborhood maps are able to display a multitude of local offerings, and now offer images accentuate the appeal of those offerings.
5- Don’t give the same old tour
Take the information you have been provided, and tell each prospect what are going to show them. By avoiding a “canned” presentation, and making it clear that you are choosing specific points of interest from a larger menu, you will send a message that your interaction is unique, and that your offerings are vast. Your touchscreen gives you a great starting point to creating each tour’s custom script.
6- Talk less. Show more.
It is no secret that visuals are more important than words. So, let your prospects see your best visual features for themselves. Also, by letting your touchscreen communicate the more data-driven elements of your sales presentation (ie, which units are available when), you have time for information gathering and relationship building. Which brings us to…
7- Build a relationship
Leasing is sales, and you need to always remind yourself of what is important in selling. Do you remember to ask questions? Do you think of yourself as a consultant, with a priority on truly helping your prospects? Do you take the time to talk to prospects about themselves? (Don’t ever forget: people love talking about themselves!) As much as they are choosing a new home, potential residents are still greatly influenced by the personal connection they feel during the leasing process.
8- Give them a brochure that works
E-brochures trump paper brochures by letting prospects curate them to include the things that they find most appealing. Also, they don’t end up in a stack of other brochures, or on the back seat of a car. E-brochures end up in on smartphones and in e-mail accounts, where they are certain to be seen again. They are more easily shared, whether with spouses, roommates-to-be, parents, or co-signers. Imagine your prospect’s spouse making a choice based on an e-brochure with relevant images and floor plans, instead of a verbal description of those features.
9- Ramp up your follow-up
With every prospect, you should be taking note of two things: 1) What community amenities or units were appealing to them, and 2) what things about themselves did they like to talk about? Then, both of those things should go into your e-mail or phone follow-up. Send images and information about their preferences that enhance what they have in their e-brochures. If they mention an interest, mention something that you didn’t already discuss that pertains to that. Offer concessions that are specific to them!
Community tours are all about time-management. You have the a limited time to gather information, establish a personal connection, and display all of your community features that might be important to each potential resident. Technology that is most helpful to the success of that process will help you manage the time spent on each of those priorities. When potential residents pre-screen your community offerings, and curate their own e-brochures, you have more time to do the things that can’t be done over the phone or the internet.
How do you get the most out of your community tours?