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It's the Age of Technology... Use Your Email Effectively!

Recently, I developed a Virtual Leasing Webinar that was all about the ever so neglected email leads that we receive on-site, daily.

After secretly shopping several communities (both within my company and external companies) I found that the response "rule" is to send a generic template email that tells me essentially everything I just found on the website I was just on. Can we say, redundant?

So here I am, shopping for a new apartment home... I found a few I like and now, I need to find out more information (you know, stuff the website doesn't tell me... most of them anyway; there are a couple really great ones out there which are totally virtual... I'm talking to YOU Archstone, high-five!). But let's say I'm on a "normal" website that doesn't tell me which apartment home I'm renting and doesn't have an interactive map showing me my location. These are things I want to know. I'm picky and I need to find out if you have a 2 bedroom on the top floor with a view of the trees or something and NOT staring right into another apartment home. So how do I find this information out? I don't like to call... so instead I'll click the "want more information" button and start crafting my email. It would look something like this:

Hi, I'm looking for a 2 bedroom and I have a couple of questions.

1. Do you have any 2 bedrooms available on a top floor? I don't want anyone above me. 2. I'd prefer a location that doesn't look directly into someone else’s apartment. We like to sit on our patio and would enjoy a location that maybe faces the exterior of the community or overlooks an open space... basically we're looking for privacy. 3. Can you give me some additional information on your prices, deposits, etc...

Thanks!

Tara Furiani

and THIS is the response I normally get:

Thank you for choosing ABC Community, where you'll love where you live. We have beautifully appointed 1, 2 & 3 bedroom homes to fit your lifestyle.

Relax in our Resort-Style Salt Water Pool and enjoy complimentary wi-fi throughout our exquisite clubhouse. Are you into working out? Burn off those calories in our State of the Art Fitness Center, open 24/7 for your convenience. Brining the little ones? We have 2 well equipped play areas just for them!

Your new home features the finest luxuries in apartment home living. From soaring 9' ceilings adorned with crown molding to granite style kitchen and bathroom counter tops to hardwood style flooring... you'll be impressed the moment you arrive.

We'd love to show you around our luxury community, give us a call to schedule your personalized tour today!

Sincerely,

The ABC Community Team

Some of you are wondering what's wrong with this response, right? It's fair enough of a thought, this might be something new for you, but here’s the bottom line; it doesn’t tell me ANYTHING I didn’t already know by looking at your website, viewing your online ad, liking your facebook page, etc… I KNOW that you have a beautiful resort style pool and that your apartments have 9’ ceilings and crown molding… THAT’S WHY I EMAILED YOU! Prospects aren’t going into this blind, like they used to back in the day.

In today’s technology driven world, I can clearly see WHAT you have to offer. What I may not know is if you have the one I WANT that also has my additional requirements (see above).

So let’s dissect the email response. 1. Were any of the questions addressed? NO! 2. Was it customized to the situation? NO! 3. Did I learn anything I didn’t already know? NO! 4. Was this email a complete waste of my 30 seconds? ABSOLUTELY! The email goes on to say that IF I want to schedule a tour, I need to call… well kids, if I wanted to call I would have done that to begin with. Get the picture?

How could this have been better? Well, for starters… we could teach our site teams about using email effectively. Do offices get busy? Yes! Does that mean this response will “suffice”… heck no! I wouldn’t call and schedule a tour appointment, and I’m starting to not be the exception here. I don’t have time to call, I want to do it online, just like I do 90% of my other transactions. Templates are fine, they save time… but copy & paste them… then proceed to customize based on the info that was given by the prospect. Like this:

Hi Tara,

Thank you for choosing ABC Community, where you'll love where you live. We have beautifully appointed 2 bedroom homes that I’m sure will be perfect for your lifestyle!

In order to help me select the perfect home for you, I’ll need to get just a bit more information from you, ok?

1. How soon are you planning to make your move? 2. What have you budgeted to spend on your new home, per month? 3. Will you be bringing any pets with you? 4. How many people will be living in the home?

If you can move within the next two weeks, I believe I have the perfect home for you, based on what I know so far. It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home that’s on the top floor with no one above you, just like you wanted! It also includes a very generous balcony and I know you’ll love spending time on it. The home faces the exterior of the community and overlooks a park, just across the street and the mountains in the distance… I think it might be exactly what you have in mind… very private and serene.

I’d love to show you your new home right away… as it’s the only one I have like it and let you experience all of the other amenities we have exclusively for our residents (like our resort style pool and 24/7 state of the art fitness center, to name a few). What’s a good time for you to come down today?

Sincerely,

Isabella Joseph
Leasing Specialist at ABC Community
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
615-521-3024 office

So let’s dissect this email response. 1. Were any of the questions addressed? YES! 2. Was it customized to the situation? YES! 3. Did I learn anything I didn’t already know? YES! 4. Was this email a complete waste of my 30 seconds? NO WAY! What it also does is ask questions BACK in order to get a reply from the prospect (an often missing piece of our email replies… and then we wonder why we don’t hear from them again). It also creates a sense of urgency and closes them on their terms. The appointment is asked for, IN THE EMAIL, so they can reply and schedule.

We spend so much time, money, effort into leasing/sales training and the majority is spent on phone calls, touring, overcoming objections & closing. But we need to add one more thing to the mix: EMAILS! It’s a trend that’s going to keep getting more and more widely used… are your teams ready for it?

Let’s recap, shall we?

OUT:

Generic template emails that just list out what the community offers.
A BOT sending our email responses
Asking a prospect to call to schedule when they’ve emailed to begin with

IN:

Customized emails that are specific to my needs & wants
Actionable emails that encourage a response from the prospect
Using the same techniques we teach for tours/phone calls in an email (urgency, closing, asking questions, etc..)
Allowing the prospect to continue to communicate with you in their preferred method

At the Sterling group we are hosting Virtual Leasing Webinars, including email leasing in our initial Intro to Leasing class, holding random contests for “best email responses” and tracking our email leads & conversion ratios. What are you doing or going to do to get your teams into this new technologically driven multifamily universe?

Tara Furiani is the Director of Training & Marketing at The Sterling Group.
To learn more about The Sterling Group visit: www.thesterlinggrp.com To learn more about Tara, visit her website at: www.tarafuriani.com

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

How am I the first person replying to this blog? It was fantastic! Kudos!

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

Thanks Brent!

I'm passionate about all things multifamily... but email/technology, really gets me going!

I hope you like the latest blog I wrote as well, takes on a different flavor

Tara

  Tara Furiani
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I love this blog Tara! I never know what to say without sounding redundant so this is a great template to go by to personalize the prospects needs.

  Carla Bonifas
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Carla!

I'm glad to have helped

Tara

  Tara Furiani
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very informational...Just what I needed to develop a personal interest in my future prospects...I look forward to putting this to use today! We appreciate you sharing your passion.

  Monica Johnson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Monica! You'll have to let me know how it works for you

Tara

  Tara Furiani
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Girl you hit it right on the head! Why is it so hard to convince leasing staff that email leads are just as, if not more, important as a phone or walk in traffic.

  alisa
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Alisa! It is SO important, especially with technology evolving... everyday!

  Tara Furiani

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