When it comes to attracting leads to your multifamily community, you may think you’ve taken care of everything. You’ve spent time (and money) on carefully crafting your online image. You’ve upgraded your units, and your high definition photos showcase all your changes in the best light. You’ve developed a targeted marketing strategy and promoted your communities on the appropriate social media channels. Now, you expect the leads to pour in.
But a renter’s journey doesn’t end in the digital realm. Eventually, a prospect is going to set foot on a property and meet the staff. This face-to-face meeting may result in a signed lease, but it also can be a disaster if you haven’t paid attention to the human side of the search process.
While it’s true that we live in a digital world, studies show that nearly 90% of renters need to see a neighborhood in person to get a feel for it, and 88% need to see an apartment in person before they make a commitment.
Thus, most prospects end the digital search with of a short list of properties that have met their criteria for an ideal home and begin the offline search by visiting those properties. Each prospect should have an experience on their visit that aligns with what they’ve encountered online. Not only do the amenities, rooms and grounds need to match the photos you’ve presented online but also the community should feel welcoming on a personal level.
When a potential renter walks through the doors of a community for the first time, they should be warmly greeted by an empathetic partner who shares honest and factual details about the property. A person who feels ignored or who isn’t sure if they can trust the information they’re given may leave angry. Worse, they may tell their friends and family what happened, which could have far-reaching effects. Only one-third of unhappy customers voice their opinion online, and those who don’t are likely to tell as many as 15 others about their negative experience. You can respond to an online review, but it’s harder to stop the flow of negative information offline once it starts.
The end goal of meeting with a prospect in person shouldn’t be simply to sign the lease and close the deal. While that’s important, you also need to remember that the relationship between the renter and community staff won’t end on move-in day. You’ll interact with each other for many months to come, whether through maintenance requests or personal conversations.
Resident retention is as important as acquiring new leads, and neither can happen without positive human interaction following the online search. When residents are happy, they may be more inclined to leave positive reviews online, which can give you a new influx of leads. Finding a new place to live can be stressful and emotional, and most people are eager to live in a community that makes them feel like they are truly at home.