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CRM and Call Analysis: A Powerful Combination

As an apartment operator, you need to be thinking every day about how to help your leasing associates drive lease conversions. You can outfit your community with all of the modern, in-demand amenities and create dazzling marketing campaigns, but if your leasing teams aren’t converting leads into new residents at an acceptable rate, your portfolio is running against the wind. And when it comes to boosting those conversion rates, operators will find the one-two punch of a customer relationship management system (CRM) and leasing call analysis very hard to beat. Putting the Solutions in Action In January 2019, one of our customers that manages about 30,000 units implemented a CRM and a leasing call analysis program to maximize its lead-to-lease conversion rate. The two solutions made an immediate impact. The company’s overall lease conversion rate rose from 4 percent in January to 8 percent in February and jumped to 11 percent two months later.  In addition, two key metrics also changed: Managed Leads: This measures how well leasing associates are following the CRM playbook with each prospect. The score rose from 54 percent in February to 81 percent in April.  Shop Score: This measures the call quality on inbound leasing calls. The score rose from 58 percent in February to 66 percent in April.  The gains are the result of several improvements to the company’s leasing efforts derived from the implementation of the new technologies. First, the CRM provides associates with a “playbook” for each and every lead that comes into the syste......
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Multifamily Properties Face Challenges as Technology Transforms Industry

Technology is developed to improve our lives or businesses, make tasks quicker and more efficient, facilitate better communication or solve a problem. Ironically, implementing new technology solutions often introduces other challenges or exposes existing issues with a business process.   Property management companies can collect more online data than ever before from prospects researching apartments, but is your CRM system set up to log and organize complex data beyond basic contact information? If your properties offer renters the option to receive text messages or schedule a tour online, do leasing specialists get notified immediately so they can facilitate the on-demand response consumers now expect?   Providing advertising and marketing services to property management companies for over 25 years, Bob Romine says he’s witnessed massive changes in both the marketing and multifamily industries, from how people communicate to how businesses utilize online data. As founder of R.C. Romine & Associates in Geneva, Illinois, Romine works predominantly with property management clients to ensure they’re addressing those business problems and consistently improving their digital marketing results.   He describes the two most common pitfalls companies encounter when trying out a new technology: 1) they don’t put into place the right business processes and supporting technology to handle a new way of doing things, or 2) they hold onto their established attitudes about digital marketing and fail to see the benefits of adapting to technological innovation.   “There are a lot of clients who are not set up for it, who aren’t really quite ready for a cha......
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6 Reasons Your Lead Tracking is Failing

Budget season. Don’t you shudder a little just reading it? We get it, especially after reading this Forbes article which stated, “74% of marketers can’t measure or report how their efforts impact their business.” Creating a new budget when you can’t prove what is working and what isn’t is not an easy task. However, if you are using lead source attribution to create your marketing reports, it’s not that bad. We created an easy-to-follow guide to help multifamily marketers get the most out of lead source attribution. The first step is to correctly track your sources. We pay careful attention to the four areas along the prospect’s journey where lead tracking often fails.        1. Web sources are not properly tagged    2. Phone sources do not have unique numbers    3. Phone sources do not have Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI    4. Web sources do not have Dynamic Source Insertion (DSI)    5. Sources are changed when reported in Lead-to-Lease   Once you are confident your sources are being tracked correctly, you can start analyzing the data. We will discuss how to convert your data into useful insights. Additionally, we will address the main issue most multifamily marketers face when analyzing their data.          6. Multifamily companies struggle to consolidate their data. By taking the leases per source data from your CRM and combining it with your cost per source data from your budget, you can perform a cost analysis (calculate the cost per lease) for your source......
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4 Tips to Help Your Bots Get More Done

People love the excitement of getting a new technology; however, your new tech is only as helpful as the user. We like to compare this to getting your grandma a smartphone (if you have a hip grandma this analogy doesn’t really work, but hang with us). Giving your grandma access to a smart phone seems like it would alleviate your obligatory tech support line. She is now able to do things like schedule doctor’s appointments, keep in touch with her family and friends, and look up new recipes easily. This seemingly perfect plan often times backfires. She is left more confused than ever and now you are flooded with phone calls about how to do all of these new things on her phone. The other alternative is that your grandma stuffs her phone in a drawer and continues to do things the old-fashioned way because she doesn’t understand the value it can provide. Adding a chatbot to your website or Facebook messenger can have the same effect if your prospects don’t know why or how to use it. We have come up with four quick ways to help your bots get more done. For readers who might not have a chatbot yet, you can still use these 4 tips to start more conversations between prospects and agents on Faceboook Messenger.   #1 Talk about it The easiest way to get prospects to talk to your bot is to talk about it. Make your Facebook post call-to-action a link to your new bot. &n......
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“I don’t have time to be strategic about my follow-up”

Introduction Time is a funny thing. People are living longer than ever before due to medical advances, yet somehow we have less time in the day to get everything done. We are running around left and right without being able to stop and think about where we really want to be running to. Having the time to be strategic about your actions is becoming an elusive idea. Just think about eating dinner on a weeknight. If you are anything like us, it is not a well-planned, homemade meal. It’s a smorgasbord of things from your fridge dumped in an instant pot, or a fresh from the microwave courtesy of Marie Callender’s. Now, we understand cooking a full meal is simply not in the cards for most people; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more strategic about what you eat. Services like Postmates solve this dilemma. Now, you can get real food delivered to your doorstep exactly when you want it. With Postmates, each family member gets the meal they want, when they need it and you can spend more time enjoying your family rather than throwing together a meal. So how does this relate to multifamily?   Prospect Prioritization Most property management companies (PMC’s) have agents manually sort their leads every day. Agents would need to set aside 30 minutes to 2 hours to thoroughly sort through their leads every day depending on the side of your property. This means most agents are forced to either follow up with a lot of pr......
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Lead Management in a Hyper-Connected World

When it comes to lead management, most apartment operators have fairly rigid standards.   Respond to all emails within 24 hours. Manage automated responses to all digital inquiries. Secure a call center that handles all after-hours calls.   But in today’s information-obsessed, instant-gratification world, that simply isn’t enough. Twenty-four hours is far too long to wait for a response. That prospect will reach out to several additional communities in that time, and the longer you wait, the further you fall on their consideration list.   Today’s Generation Z and Millennial prospects expect real-time communication options such as texting and online chat. It’s all about mobile access and speed. They can book a hotel or make a restaurant reservation at 2:37 a.m., so they expect to be able to book a tour of an apartment community at their convenience.   It’s a real challenge for many apartment operators to meet that increasing demand for immediate feedback. The more effectively a community can provide real-time answers, the better chance it has of securing leases.   Here are a few ideas to consider:   Equip leasing agents with company-issued mobile phones: Leasing teams still have to tour prospects, attend community events and solve resident complaints. But empowering them with company-issued cell phones will increase their ability to engage with prospects in real time while managing those other duties.  Just because a leasing agent is away from their desk doesn’t mean they’re tied up in a face-to-face interaction with a prospect or resident. The ability to fol......
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Five Reasons Manual Rental Payment History Checks Don't Work

The multifamily market didn't exactly crater in 2017. In fact, according to preliminary numbers from Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate brokerage and research firm, the average effective apartment rent in the U.S. grew by 4.5 percent last year, to $1,343 per month.  Still, there's no denying that apartment markets in many metros across the country have softened in recent years, and operators must always be on the lookout for a true downturn. What goes up must come down. When the pressure to fill their units ratchets up, operators must make sure their screening process is in first-class shape so they have a crystal-clear view of the risk an applicant poses and they can move quickly to sign suitable prospects. To do this, operators need to eliminate manual rental payment history checks and incorporate payment history that is gathered electronically and automatically. Below are five ways manually checking payment history by phone puts operators at a disadvantage in markets both soft and strong: 1. They're impracticalFor applicants with significant rental history, it can be virtually impossible for leasing agents to reach someone at every community an applicant has previously rented to check payment history.   2. They can be incompleteApplicants may not list all the apartment communities they’ve ever rented from, because they either simply forgot about a community or intentionally left a place out after a bad experience. This leads to operators having an incomplete picture of a prospect's past.  3. They don't workAt a session at the 2017 NMHC O......
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How Call Scoring is Changing the Leasing Process

How Call Scoring is Changing the Leasing Process
Call scoring has fast become the tool that multifamily executives are searching for when considering lead management platforms. It’s no secret why. Call scoring data can easily identify how well your team is interacting with every incoming prospect on a rated scale - transforming the way property and portfolio managers are now looking at leasing analytics. When it comes to leasing effectiveness, a cloudy barrier has long stood between managers and their leasing teams. Thanks to multifamily technology advancements, it looks like the wall is finally beginning to crumble. For teams using lead management platforms that don’t include call scoring, identifying performance deficits and proficiencies can be extremely difficult because of outdated and unreliable metrics (ex: closing percentage, appointment setting ratio, etc.). Inaccurate data in the CRM process leads to inadequate performance conclusions. Call scoring metrics are visibly upgrading the productivity and performance of leasing teams while also evolving current employee training strategies.     How Does Call Scoring Work? Call scoring metrics give multifamily organizations a consistent, monitored pulse on the performance of their leasing teams by having a live agent “score” 100% of calls - instantaneously boosting call quality. By having a third party responsible for the scoring, an unbiased performance analyzation is used to drive actionable decision-making by the leasing staff. Through the live call scoring process, interactions are quickly identified as a prospect or non-prospect communication. Key qualifying questions (such as: asking for name, move-in date, floor plan preference, appointment) are then identified and recorded to ensure consistency in call quality.   Great News - No Mo......
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Social Media Marketing and Measurement

Social Media Marketing and Measurement
Social media marketing is tricky. How do you measure something so complex? Social media requires a delicate balance, especially on multifamily properties. You can’t post anything too personal, because then you might find yourself with an angry resident (think pictures of residents on the property who didn’t give permission to post their picture kind of angry). But if you are too vague, there is little to no value added. So, where and how do you start your social media marketing? Think about the content you create. Post about apartment events, news, specials, and promotions. Don’t just post something on social media because you feel obligated to. What do your residents want to hear about? Not sure? Send them a survey or ask them to comment on your social media efforts at the leasing office. Analyze what residents “Like” and don’t “Like”. If your social posts on news and events get the most “Likes”,  post on that topic more frequently. If your Facebook page gets more love than your Twitter page, make Facebook your dominant source for social posts and share the Facebook links on Twitter. Assess the time you dedicate to social media and online marketing. Are you spending several hours a day on Facebook? Several hours a week? As much as social media can impact prospects and residents, the reality is there isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate hours to creating impactful social media posts and then measuring all those posts to prove a substantial return on investment. If this is the case at your prop......
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"I need a 1-Bedroom near downtown." The Missed Opportunity in Your Marketing Strategy

"I need a 1-Bedroom near downtown." The Missed Opportunity in Your Marketing Strategy
“Hi, I’m looking for a one-bedroom, maybe a studio, near downtown. It looks like you have a few properties with nice options. Who would I call to set something up to see your apartments? Thanks, Kate” This is a real message received through a client's Facebook page. We see messages like this a lot, coming through a social media channel or the client's website. There's a good chance you've seen messages like this, too. It’s great news. "A lead! She wants a studio. We need to rent some studios!" Except there’s a problem. Our organizations aren’t built to serve Kate's question very well. Our marketing strategies don’t address what she needs at this point in her search. The way we manage leads doesn’t enable our leasing teams to give Kate what she wants. And it’s holding us back from providing a better leasing experience for our prospects. I know what you’re thinking. “Business is good. We have more leads than we know what to do with. We need to focus on getting our leasing team to answer the phone more and respond to online leads.” All true. But the more you can do to move "up the funnel,” the sooner you can qualify the prospect, identify your best prospects and ultimately help them find their perfect place. Let me show you what I mean. If you break down how people shop for apartments, we see that very few know the property they want by name when they start their search (top of the funnel). A few ......
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