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Product Knowledge: The Unsung Hero of Apartment Leasing

Product Knowledge: The Unsung Hero of Apartment Leasing
Apartment operators have spent the last year navigating a challenging market.  But leasing hasn’t stopped. Prospective renters are still out there shopping for their next home. And while they understand some of the limitations of leasing in the COVID era, they still expect onsite associates to bring their A game and deliver a high level of customer service. One of the perhaps overlooked bedrocks of providing that great customer service is having a deep knowledge of both the apartment community itself as well as the surrounding area. High-performing associates are always gathering information about the property and the surrounding neighborhood. They know every detail of their community. And if someone were to ask what restaurants or parks are in the area or what are fun things to do, they have an answer. They know what businesses are growing and moving to the area. They know the history of the neighborhood. Below are some suggestions for how associates can develop the level of knowledge that will drive leasing results. Do an honest self-assessment. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you score your product knowledge? Is there room to grow? Even if you’ve been working at a community for years and years, there almost certainly is. Remember there is an almost limitless amount of material that you can add to your mental rolodex of knowledge. Access internal resources. Reach out to your community manager or the corporate office to see if your company already has created a workbook outlining common prospect questions and......
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Nine Habits of Highly Effective Leasing Agents

Nine Habits of Highly Effective Leasing Agents
A strong onsite leasing team is the bread and butter of a successful apartment community. Your property can have a fantastic marketing game and the best amenities around, but if your leasing associates aren’t practicing the best habits, your property is going to struggle. So just what are the habits of a highly effective leasing agent? In my humble opinion, here are nine of them: They ask questions Great leasing agents are truly interested in asking purposeful questions to help prospects find the best apartment. They are inquisitive and aren’t afraid to ask what the customer will be using their second bedroom for because they know the answer can only help them help their prospects that much better. They never stop learning High-performing associates are always gathering information about the property and the surrounding area, and they’re aware of the news of the day. They know every detail of their community AND the surrounding neighborhoods. If someone were to ask what restaurants are in the area or what are fun things to do, they have an answer. They know what businesses are growing and moving to the area. They even know enough about what's going on in the worlds of sports, arts and culture, etc., to have a conversation with anyone. They tell great stories  Whether it’s sharing what the virtual painting classes are like or describing how convenient having a stoplight in front of the community is, the best leasing agents have mastered the art of storytelling. They can paint such a ......
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Doubling Down on Digital: Tools We Can't Live Without

Doubling Down on Digital  A few weeks ago I got to host a lively chat about digital tools — not only for marketing, but also for personal productivity, well-being, managing leads and enabling teams. Guests Dalia Kalgreen, Director of Marketing for Unified Residential Management, and Katrina Greene, CAM, NALP Trainer, and Senior Regional Property Manager at Sheehan Property Management, shared what works for them personally and professionally with regard to favorite tools, digital or not. You can see the full chat over on YouTube but I wanted to also share a quick recap here, starting with a list of our favorite tools:   Notes app Daylio - a mood journaling app Snip and Sketch - a tool to quickly markup screenshots Peloton - The wildly popular fitness bikes & classes Text - a simple way to stay in touch Calm - One of the best guided meditation app we never knew we needed Chat - A simple and easy way to manage prospects onsite… especially when paired with A.I. Virtual Tours  - The boom of tools available for multifamily sites has been a lifesaver QR Codes - They are making a comeback, especially for self-guided tours! iPhone - Easy to use for quick, high quality, video shoots.    Tools exist to help people do their jobs more effectively or more efficiently. Well-being impacts productivity and the group agreed that during this unexpected period of a pandemic, tools can help alleviate the stress that accompanies the unexpected and better enable team members operating outside the ......
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Listening to Calls is the Secret Sauce for Leasing Agent Training

Properties pivoting in the time of COVID require nimble responses and openness to change. This pivot also provides a perfect opportunity to get back to basics when it comes to leasing agent training.    Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a virtual chat with Katrina Greene, CAM, NALP Trainer, and Senior Regional Property Manager at Sheehan Property Management, about leasing agent training in a time of crisis, and why listening to leasing agent phone calls is an incredibly valuable coaching tool.    “During this time where everything feels uncontrollable, leasing agents seem more open to training,” she said. Katrina listens to calls to reinforce what’s working and identify opportunities for improvement — not only for the leasing agents, but also for the properties as a whole. She said it’s important to give your team permission to fail and permission to succeed while demonstrating ways to improve — not just telling them what to do.     Share Leasing Agent Calls to Benefit All   Listening to calls may feel invasive and certainly, if live, put a great deal of pressure on the leasing agent. With a variety of technologies available today, agents can record calls and submit them to their Property Manager for later review. Property Managers can review the calls using software that allows them to insert comments or break the call into segments within the conversation to make it easier to consume the feedback.   “I equate reviewing calls to something like judging figure skating, where there are two areas......
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Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right

Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right
As far as partnerships go, the one that I have forged with a great promotional company has been one of my favorites.  Stephen McFadden and I collaborated for the first time many years ago, and that is when he taught me how much more there is to promotional items than what had always been done.  At that time, we started venturing into promo that was strategic and smart.  When promotional items were created and customized to a specific event or specific outreach, they had way more value to them. For example, when we were working on some student properties, instead of handing out generic stuff- the everyday koozie- we started creating ‘eye blacks’ that were branded for football games, and after a while, everyone knew we were the ones that gave out that material.  Next thing you knew, people were running around tail-gating with our eye blacks on.  The examples from there grew, and then Stephen started really thinking about how promo items can be a bigger value to ROI. There was an interesting pattern that he spotted.  Companies wanted to get his ideas on items that would showcase their brand and produce a converted lead, but they were not willing to invest the money.  Companies will spend $100ks of dollars on new branding and marketing/advertising material and then wind up getting super generic promotional items.  This creates the Brand Gap – How are future residents supposed to know you have a waterfall pool and $10,000 chandelier based on the $.50 stadi......
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Property Managers and Leasing Agents at Risk

mikebaird / People Photos / CC BYLeasing agents and property managers, especially lone females, should exercise care when viewing properties, particularly residential ones, and be aware of the risks of meeting strangers. First-time meetings are, obviously, the ones you should be most vigilant about. You may think that goes without saying. But in the UK, one event, above all others, changed the way that (in this case) “estate agents” – as they are called there – conducted themselves in the line of duty. Suzy Lamplugh was a London-based leasing agent who, in 1986, went out on  an appointment to view a property with someone called “Mr Kipper”. Witnesses reported seeing Lamplugh argue with a man in before getting onto a car. She was never seen again. Several years later, she was officially declared dead, although her remains have never been found. It was a highly publicized “murder” in the UK that forced a change in working practices – especially among young female professionals inspecting properties. Visiting someone else’s home always carries risks, so it’s perhaps surprising that female leasing agents and property managers – in particular –  have been so cavalier about their welfare in the past. It goes without saying that unaccompanied females should try to refrain from undertaking such trips alone – at least until they are very familiar with their clients. In some cases, of course, they may have little choice. Responding to adverts Some recent events in the US have triggered anxiety about Craigslist, a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, services, wanted items and housing. The press recently focused on t......
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How to Get Your Leasing Staff Off the Phone and Showing More Apartments

How to Get Your Leasing Staff Off the Phone and Showing More Apartments

As the managing broker and owner of a boutique apartment marketing company in downtown Chicago, Luxury Living Chicago, I spend a great deal of my time calling leasing offices scheduling showing appointments. In turn, I know as much time as I spend calling around, the leasing staff at the Chicago multifamily properties we work with spend even more time on the phone scheduling.

When I was tasked with running the lease-up of a student housing complex converting to market-rate apartments, I wanted a better, more efficient way to schedule showings. I wanted my leasing team to spend their time on tour with clients, not taking appointments via phone. Every aspect of my lease up would be done electronically, including scheduling showings.

After some research, I discovered ShowMojo, an online service enabling landlords, property managers, leasing agents and Realtors to schedule and confirm showings with renters and buyers online.

With ShowMojo I had the power to control the hours when prospective tenants could essentially sign-up to come in and tour.  This meant that I could allow for an hour or two throughout the day for my leasing agents to get paper work done around their showings.

I believe that utilizing this tool contributed to the quick lease up of this property - my leasing team rented 34 units in 45 days.

If you want your leasing staff to spend their time on tour, and ultimately rent more apartments, I highly recommend implementing an electronic scheduling strategy.

 

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