We partnered with Trulia for a fantastic webinar, presented by Amy Konsikowski. With national occupancy rates at 95%, Amy touched on what it takes for property managers to sustain the current success and plan for future growth. She emphasized the importance of resident retention and a solid marketing strategy for property managers to stay competitive in the flourishing market.

If you missed the webinar or just want a refresher, check out the slides and video below. Also, if we did not address your questions during the session, Amy has provided valuable answers in the Q & A below.

Video

Slides

Q & A

What is the most effective marketing strategy/tools you recommend for luxury apartment communities that are at the top of the market as it relates to rental rates?

If I understand correctly you want suggestions on tools that would best highlight and generate leads for a community that is top dollar in the market? If so I would start with 2 areas: (1) Ensure the marketing message is relevant and hits right on the target market showing value and benefits. Also study closely sources that are effectively generating leads that are converting to leases. How can you take these sources to the next level? Non-traditional outlets may be more effective for this target market such a strong referral campaigns, event sponsorships in arts or local sports or other areas of interest of the target market, (2) A strong leasing team who brings to life their product knowledge, why the community is it worth every penny and be able to confidently defend the higher rates. A powerful team exercise to brainstorm all features of the homes, amenities and services offered. Then develop a list of benefits and why this would make the resident’s life better. Discuss how to use this information and messages via the telephone as well as during tour presentations. Also role play common questions to find ideal responses such as, “Why is your rent so much higher than down the street?” or “Why should I pick this apartment versus the one at ABC when it is $30 less a month?”.

How can the leasing teams improve on follow up?

Being the act of following up with our customers can increase your closing ratio as much as 15% (source: J Turner) – As leasing professionals you would want to place special attention on this. Why does it improve the likelihood of closing on their prospective renter? It shows that you respect  the customer and you are a true professional who cares to gain their business. All good  things to do in very competitive market. Lastly the prospective is expecting the follow and deserves it! Impress them early on will be a teaser of what will come when they become a resident!  A positive lasting impression for sure! I would suggest at least 3-4 methods of contact ranging from handwritten notes, email, newcomer neighborhood package (if appropriate) send links to helpful website or send a video of  their future view. Ask them what their preferred method of contact would be to ensure they receive it as well as will respond to your communication. The key is to reach out with the ultimate goal to move the leasing process for forward closer to reservation of an apartment home.

Any ideas to better closing on prospects?

In two words-confidence and approach. Be confident in your product, company, team, knowledge and believe in the value being offered. If you believe that your community is the best place to live and the best choice plus clearly show that to the potential renter- closing is as easy as asking when did you want to move in? Your approach can be direct inviting them to become a resident to an assumptive close (my favorite!) knowing that you have answered all of their questions and have shown value & benefits to areas that were the most important to them. Assuming that they will reserve the home and asking for their business is the next logical step.

You mentioned resident retention is the new trend. Do you have any idea of what we can do to get started to decrease turnover?

This is a tough and easy question being the nature of our business is offering flexibility and many options – one would expect move outs. The national average is 55% for resident turnovers. How does your property compare? Another question I would ask – Why are they moving out? If they are happy they will stay unless the renter has to move due to a job relocation, etc. However are if they are moving out because they are not satisfied due to lack of communication or response? How about move outs due to poor service or lack of quality? These are areas that can be improved and enhanced quickly with a focused and dedicated team creating an action plan and clear service expectations and standards. Or possibly the move out is due to the brand new community down the street offering deals and fancy amenities. This stressed the high value that at every resident interaction we are re-selling the community plus at every renewal time. Many community today are planning on refreshing their amenity packages  to compete more effectively over the next 6-12 months looking closely at what matter the most to your residents as well a target market. 3 additional easy ideas to get started: (1) audit files and gain updated email and best phone number to reach the resident regarding their home (2) call each resident quarterly “just because” to check in to ensure all is well, they are happy and if any repairs are needed. (3) Begin or refresh the property’s preventive maintenance program not only 120 days out from renewals but also for common areas as well as amenities.