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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

How to Use Video to Secure a Property Visit

The other day I was listening to a story about a guy shopping for a car.  He planned on staying local for the purchase, but somehow managed to start talking to a dealer two hours away.  It made very little sense for him to drive two hours for a car, and he made a point to say that to the dealer, but intent on making the sale, the dealer did a short three-minute video where he took him on the lot  and showed him some trucks that might be a good fit for him.  Next thing you know, the car shopper drives two hours to buy a truck from that dealer!  So the question is:  Can video tours work the same for leasing apartments?

I think we all know that is a rhetorical question – video can be incredibly powerful!  I’m sure you get plenty of calls just wanting to know the price.  “All I want to know is how much your 2 bedroom is,” they repeat, thwarting all your attempts to understand their needs in their new home.  You hang up the phone, frustrated that you were unable to move the process along.  But you know what?  They called you for a reason.  You were on some sort of short list of theirs, and the opportunity is not lost! 

Think about those calls from people who are not wanting to set an appointment. What if you could acknowledge that life is busy and it’s hard to go visit every place, so here is a short video showing your property.  Not only does that video help solve a need for them (saving time), but it also builds rapport and trust with you.  People want to do business with those they feel will treat them well, and taking the time to create a quick video tour is an absolutely great way to showcase how you treat your clientele. 

Now, if you are like me, you are thinking about efficiency of all this – how are you supposed to constantly go out and create custom videos for every random phone call?  So here is my solution:  Create a video that feels like it is custom, but in reality it is only partially custom.   Here is what you do: 

 

Step 1:  Create a standard “video tour” showcasing your property.  This will be the video that you use over and over and over and won’t be customized at all.  However, you want to make the person feel like it is customized, so be careful with what language you use!  You have to be able to connect with the person, but still not be specific to any person’s exact needs.  Also, don’t show yourself in the video – it will be strange when they see you in one part of the video wearing a blue top, while in another wearing a red one. 

Once you are getting close to the end of your tour, make sure to close them!  You are not trying to get the lease – you are trying to get them into the community so you can show them in more detail in person.  Maybe  you can tease something you didn’t show them:  “I didn’t get a chance to show you the _________, but you are going to LOVE it”.    Think about why they should come visit your property at this point.

Lastly, make sure to remember where you were physically when this video started – it will be important in step #3!  I recommend starting right before you leave the community office.

Step 2:  For the video you just created, edit out most of the walking around part – they will get incredibly bored just watching a video of you walking through the property.  So edit it down to really focus on the parts that matter most.  If the editing app you are using allows you to “fast forward” part of the video, that might allow them to both see the property, but do it in a condensed way.  In this step, there is a balance to not making it feel “choppy”, but also cutting it down to make it feel like it is moving along quickly.

Step 3:  Create a second video - your custom “intro” video.  This video will be of yourself talking directly to the camera (your phone), saying how much you enjoyed talking with them on the phone, and citing any specific needs they may have mentioned, so they know it is a video specifically for them.   Make sure you use their name!  Tell them you know they are surely busy, and it is tough to get around to properties all over the place, so you thought it might be helpful if you gave them a quick video tour so they can get a sense for what the property is like.  Tell them you are now going to flip the camera around so you can show them around, but make sure that transition happens at the same spot that you started the first video!  That way, it will look like you just flipped the camera around to show the front! 

Step 4:  Stitch the two videos together with a video app.  Your “intro” video should go first, in front of your “video tour” video.  (Make sure to keep a copy of the video tour video – you will be using that over and over)  What you should end up with is a full property tour that feels very personal to the prospect!  Going forward, then all you have to do is create a new minute long custom video “intro”, which you can combine with the other video and send it off very easily and quickly. 

 

When you think about this process from a prospect’s perspective, they see someone who just took the time to take them around the community, showcasing how much they want their business and want them to come visit.  From your perspective, after the first setup, you created a custom video takes less than 5 minutes to record and send! 

Bonus:  There are a few limitations to this strategy – namely the weather and the season.  Imagine them calling you on a rainy day, and you show them a tour under vibrant sunshine!  Obviously it would break the illusion.  But this also gives an opportunity!  One day it is raining, and you  aren’t getting much traffic to the office anyway, get out your umbrella and do an alternative version of your community tour.  What is really great about this strategy is that it hits on another big need – who wants to shop apartments in the rain?  So you are giving them something great at a time when they really need it.  Plus, imagine the impression you will make with them, walking across the property in the rain!  Now granted, this option is a little more risky, because properties generally don’t look as good in the rain, so take that into consideration.  (Maybe wait for one of those times where it is both raining and the sun is kind of shining, so that everything seems to twinkle?)

I’d love to hear from you!  Do you do video tours?

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Love this, Brent!!! A few thoughts:

1. Always a great idea to make sure that you include the Fair Housing logo/disclaimer in these videos! I'm sure marketing teams would also love it if you could find a way to also put the property/company logo(s) in there, too
2. for new leads calling in, keep in mind that you will need their email (or mobile number) to send the video. Capture one or both while you have them on the phone - this is a best practice for EVERY call-in and walk-in who doesn't already have a guestcard.
3. I LOVE that you called out "they called you for a reason" - sell with confidence! I do typically recommend answering their question directly, because they often won't be able to focus on anything else until that concern is addressed. But you can answer the price question in a way that encourages them to open up. For instance: "Our 2 beds typically start at $____, but we often run weekly specials on specific floor plans. If I could get your email and some basic info about what you're looking for, I'll keep an eye out for specials that you might be interested in."
4. There are a few ways to get around the whole "blue top / red top" issue - one of which is to have a branded shirt/jacket that you wear for all videos. Or just stay out of the shots for the re-used video portion, so you don't have to worry at all
5. For a less personalized, but incredibly efficient way of using video, just create generic videos of different floor plans and amenities that have captions/music. Upload them to a shared Dropbox or Google Drive so that everyone on the leasing team can use them without spending any additional time recording/editing every time they want to send one. The reality is, it can be challenging getting everyone on a leasing team excited about being in a video. Creating shared content make makes it easy for everyone to use video!

  Jordan Easley
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks, Jordan! Great thoughts!

  Brent Williams
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great ideas here. I learned long ago that the "just give me the price" tactic is used because they want to avoid a canned sales pitch. I use this and it works; "I am happy to discuss the rents; do you have just a couple of minutes to spend with me so I can help with your needs? When are you thinking about moving?" We get stuck on having to get their name right up front and that turns them off. "There are a couple of things I need to know before we talk price" If they insist or are rude, give them ballpark rents. The friendlier we are, the more we show that we want to help, the better chance we have of a conversation. You can introduce yourself and get their name after they like you!!! Videos are great...if they are local invite them to see the property live!

  Anne Sadovsky
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Love that you're calling out video, Brent. It's definitely a hot topic and one with a proven track record of results and success!

  Matt Weirich

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