It’s early July, which means it’s the busiest time of year for most apartment communities. Summer is when many residents move out and, therefore, is also the time when communities need to generate more leases. Communities that enter the fall struggling with vacancy may struggle due to decreased traffic levels. Meanwhile, communities that can turn units quickly and generate the necessary leases will be primed for a successful year.
Advanced planning will make a world of difference. By identifying potential problem areas ahead of time and developing a plan to address them, you will exit peak leasing season in a position of strength. In this blog, we will provide three actions you can take to prepare your community for peak leasing season.
1. Check Average Call Duration
When someone calls your leasing office it is often your opportunity to make a positive first impression. For that reason, you want to make sure your leasing team is equipped to succeed when they’re on the phone with prospects. One of the best ways to find out how your leasing team is performing is to look at the average call duration. If calls are typically shorter than one minute, that suggests that your leasing team is struggling to engage prospective residents on the phone and may need additional help.
Here are a few general tips for successfully answering leasing calls:
- Get the prospect’s name early on in the call. Then use it throughout the conversation to show personal attentiveness.
- Ask to schedule a tour—being proactive on the phone helps guide the prospect through the leasing process.
- Know which floorplans are currently available. This will limit the time it takes you to find the answers your prospect is looking for.
If you have more questions about how to handle leasing calls, we have created a short training video to help leasing teams excel on the phone with prospective residents.
2. Check What Percentage of Calls are Answered
One of the simplest problems we often see communities run into is that their onsite staff simply isn’t answering the phone. This could be for many reasons:
- They have too many leads to handle.
- There may not be enough leasing staff.
- It may just not be a good career match.
Therefore, another metric you’ll want to look at is what percentage of your calls are being answered. If a large number of calls are going to voicemail, then this will create major leasing problems even if everything else at your property is running smoothly. A solution would be to decrease your advertising (if you’re receiving too many leads), hire more staff, or do some shifting around within your staff.
3. Check Website Conversion Rates
Finally, create a spreadsheet where you are tracking website visits, leads, and leases. You’ll want to divide leads by visits and leases by leads to determine your conversion rates. If you have leasing software that tracks these metrics, you can view them in your dashboard. By doing this you can identify where your primary problem area is with converting website visitors to leases. If you are generating enough leads but aren’t getting leases, that suggests you have a leasing problem. If you aren’t generating enough leads, then you likely have a marketing problem. In either case, identifying your problem early gives you time to make necessary corrections, whether that is additional training for your leasing team or perhaps some bigger changes to your marketing strategy.
While it is certainly possible to recover from periods of high vacancy during slower leasing seasons, we can all agree that it is better to lease enough units during peak season that you don’t have to deal with an unusually high vacancy during slower seasons. Given that, it is highly beneficial to have your leasing team performing its best as you head into peak leasing season. If you follow the advice in this post, you will be well on your way to leasing success.