We all know how important leads are — especially if you’re not at your goal occupancy. As precious as leads are, many are lost in the multifamily industry. But why? If a prospect isn’t ready to move or doesn’t meet the requirements at this time, it’s easy to write them off. In doing so, however, you’re missing an opportunity to fill your revenue pipeline.
Focus on the lead nurturing marathon instead of the sprint to warm up those cold leads and prepare yourself for the future.
Here’s how to handle a few common cold-lead scenarios:
- Patiently waiting: This prospect loves your community, but has to figure some things out before they’re ready to lease. Maybe they’ve got to get their finances together. Maybe they’re relocating but not for a few months. Whatever the case, you know that your community is what they want, so stay in touch to let them know you want them too.
- Renter’s remorse: If a prospective resident tours your community but ultimately decides to go with a competitor instead, you might chalk that up to a loss. But remember, that other community might not live up to the hype. You know when the prospect was originally looking to move. As their lease renewal approaches, start reminding them about the things your community offered that they loved the first time around.
- Lease-locked: Ok, it’s hard. They’ve got six months left on their lease. Why would you waste your time with them? Simple: because you know your community is so great, they’ll be counting down the days till they can turn in their keys and move in with you. Remember, renewing a lease is a lot easier than having to move, so take this time to convince them you’re worth it.
These may seem like unqualified leads, but think of it this way. It’s easier and less expensive to nurture a lead that has shown interest than to start from scratch with someone else. Automating that nurturing allows you to focus on short-term opportunities while simultaneously filling your pipeline.
How do you start nurturing those leads?
The fact of the matter is that not many property management companies have a good handle on true lead nurturing. Some may employ customer relationship management (CRM) software or marketing automation tools, but it’s not common practice.
If you’re looking to improve the way you handle these long-term opportunities without substantial investments in sophisticated technology, try some of these solutions:
- Use free CRM and email distribution tools. MailChimp is a great example. Create accounts for every community and processes to put unready leads into the system. Then, create campaigns that periodically send emails to your long-term leasing opportunities.
- Create manual processes for leasing associates that remind them to follow up with leads. Wunderlist and other free task applications can offer enough functionality to help leasing teams better manage their follow-up efforts. Sometimes, the basic list is all you need to stay on top of leads, ready or not.
- Train, train, train. It’s amazing how little our industry trains the professionals who are in direct contact with prospective renters. We have massive training programs for maintenance technicians for good reason, but we haven’t spent enough time training leasing agents on how to sell effectively and efficiently.
Some leads are cold for a reason and can be disqualified entirely. Others just need a little patience and ongoing communication to turn into your ideal renters. Distinguishing the two and properly nurturing them will help fill your demand pipeline and get maximum return on your marketing investments.