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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.

Your Conversion Rate is 30%, But Your Solution Rate Should Be 100%

When leasing apartments, there are plenty of challenges with maintaining a high conversion rate that are completely out of the leasing consultants hands.  For example, there might be a lack of availability, the prospect might not need an apartment immediately, the prospect's credit is poor, or the available apartments may just be too expensive for the apartment hunter.  These situations can be horribly frustrating to a leasing consultant, as it impacts his or her supposed effectiveness.  This can hurt morale and even lead to lying to maintain a fake bloated conversion rate.


Even more important, many communities do not have any strategy to handle these types of rejections.  I've seen countless times where the leasing consultant simply told the prospect that they did not have any two bedrooms in their time frame and let the prospect walk out the door. 


So instead of focusing on conversion rate, try implementing a 100% Solution Rate.  This means that no matter the situation, the community is prepared to offer some sort of option to the apartment prospect.  Of course, this does not mean the leasing consultant does not try to overcome objections during the leasing process.  But what it does mean is that providing a solution may or may not actually mean an immediate move-in.


First, take a week or two and document every reason why a prospect did not lease at the community.  Then, create a strategy for each particular situation.  Here are some examples:




Your community does not have a gym or does not compare well with others they have seen.

Partner with a local gym for access for residents.

The prospect is not moving for six months

Create a powerful waiting list program where the prospect puts down deposit and gets immediate access to community facilities until move-in.

The prospect's credit doesn't meet the application criteria

Institute solutions to increase deposit or rental amount based upon credit score.  If you do not want to adjust credit criteria, develop a relationship with a property with lower credit qualifications.

Your community does not have the right floor plan available

If it is a matter of limited availability for a month, consider offering to pay the incremental month-to-month increase at their community until your availability matches their needs.  May be able to offset the cost with a slight increase in rent, and definitely set a "max" amount to pay.

Your community is out of the prospects price range

If it is significant enough for the prospect not to be able to adjust, send to a partner property* that has lower rents.  But don't just let them walk out of your door - Instead, call ahead and make an appointment immediately.  Even fax over the guest card if the prospect ok's it.

 Remember that these solutions need to be available for all prospects to avoid Fair Housing issues.


* Sometimes it is not possible to offer every important feature to every prospect, and if that is a deal-breaker, you are going to lose that prospect regardless.  In those cases, it does not make sense to just let them walk out the door.  They are in your office, which means they are your prospect and you should get value from that!  So find partner properties that can handle different price points, different availability, and provide alternative amenities.  Of course, leasing consultants should always try to handle objections with solutions from within his or her own community, but if there is no possible way to do that and they have reached a deal-breaker moment, create partnerships to continue to provide a solution to that prospect.


But keep in mind that you want value in return.  So that means you should be getting a referral fee or they should be reciprocating by sending you prospects that better fit your community.  And if they are a good partner, this means that prospects they send you will be a perfect fit, whether in amenities, price, availability, or otherwise.   



These are just a few examples of providing solutions to apartment prospects that would have otherwise left your community empty-handed.  Any other examples that you all have tried or can think of?

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I think if everyone would just take the attitude that you are here to help people find a home, regardless of where that home is, the long term benefit would be huge. I'm all for being competitive, but if you're more helpful than your competition (regardless of objections) then you will always win in my mind.

  Mark Juleen

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