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How-To Guide: Texting With Residents and Prospects

Renters-Texting

Texting With Residents and Prospective Renters

Over 81% of American adults use their phone to send SMS (Short Message Service) text messages, making it the #1 mobile phone activity. So, why aren’t apartment professionals tapping into this highly-used activity for business? Many property managers and owners assume that renters don’t want to be texted (it’s an intrusion) or the technology simply isn’t available.

Well, I'm here to tell you those two thoughts are flat out false. Here are 5 how-to tips that every apartment leasing professional can use to start texting prospects and residents.

Tip #1 Use Awesome Texting Tools

Having a tool that is uniquely designed to communicate with prospects and residents via text message is important. Luckily, there are many real estate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software platforms that were developed with this in mind. When choosing a CRM, be sure to ask if it can:

  • Capture a communication log of all inbound and outbound text messages, as well as emails and phone calls.
  • Receive real-time alerts on both desktop and mobile for fast responses to inbound prospect or resident communications.
  • Can be intuitively learned by leasing staff without causing tension in day-to-day processes.
  • Easily integrates with your existing PMS (Property Management System).

Tip #2 Only Text Those Who Want To Be Texted

Text is the fastest growing medium over direct mail, email, voicemail and live calls. But, there are still the few that prefer more traditional forms of communication. Sometimes it’s easy to spot traditionalists, like when a landline is shared as their main contact phone number. Other times, it’s not so easy.

It is best practice to make at least 1 touch over email or a live call before texting. It can sometimes feel like junk mail if you don’t make contact at least once before texting. Also, ask permission! Getting simple permission is a great practice, “Would you mind if I sent you text reminders in the future?”

Texting-Example

Tip #3 Respond To Texts Quickly

Renters have low patience for slow response times.

  • 72% of renters expect a response to their initial inquiry within a day or less.
  • 29% expect a faster response—within a few hours.
  • 9% expect a response in less than one hour.

Be sure to have a tool that has the option for both desktop and mobile alerts so you’re immediately prompted when a communication is received. These notifications should be front-and-center so you can reply quickly when a prospect or resident needs attention.

Tip #4 Don't Send Texts Like How You Send Emails

The standard length of a text message is 160 characters; however, today most smartphones can link and rebuild text messages up to 1600 characters. Be warned: just because you can send an essay through a text message does not mean you should!

Keeping texts short-and-sweet with concise, dense information is considered super-efficient for the person receiving it. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is treating a text message like an email.

Forget formal greetings, paragraphs, and closing signatures. Use proper texting etiquette with the key information that you need to get across to a recipient.

Tip #5 Be Multimodal

Texting is a powerful tool, but not your only one. Still use email and phone calls as a variety of outreach methods and add text messaging for those moments that need quick, attention-grabbing notification. Interspersing your phone calls and attempts with a text is a great way to be keep engagement high with your prospects and residents.

To sum it up...

Opening your property to text messaging can open new opportunity. Take the fear out of implementation by following the 5 tips: get the tech, text the right people, reply fast, respect texting etiquette, and be multimodal. Residents and prospects want to be texted and the technology is here!

Is it okay to text a prospect or resident? My answer: Absolutely.

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  • Anne Sadovsky

    I assume that leasing team members are NOT using their personal cel phones for business texting? BUT If they are, how do they feel about: 1. Paying a for a phone and the monthly cost used for the owners business?
    2. All those people having their personal phone number?
    Please catch me up on how this is being handled?

  • Hey Anne, thanks for your great questions! These concerns can easily be avoided if the leasing team is using a great CRM platform to text with their leads and residents.

    Most CRM applications, such as the LeaseHawk CRM, allow leasing teams to send text messages via a call tracking number from an app on their desktop computer. This eliminates the need for a mobile device and the fear of revealing any personal phone numbers associated with the agent.

    I hope this helps, and let me know if I can help answer any other questions!

  • larry willms

    Anne Sadovsky

    We use a website called textnow.com. It will generate a phone number that you can use. You can either use it from your desktop (what we use) or you can download an app on your phone. Its really great.

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