A Look at the Biggest Challenge in Multi-Family Today

By: Shad Bookout

Every role within the multi-family world looks at the apartment industry universe with their own unique perspective. This means that the good things (and the bad) seen by one individual can be drastically different from the next. This vast ocean of viewpoint becomes even wider when you now take into account the observations of our residents. Things – even very simple things—can in fact become completely out of whack when the same item(s) have far different meaning and impact to each different group.

To make matters worse, we spend too much time trying to deal with the fallout rather than dealing with the root of the problem itself. And the biggest issue that infects multi-family today is the lack of real follow-up.

7K0A0108I know what you are going to say: “It is not me or my team!” And you may be correct…at least at the moment. But each and every one of us has fallen victim to and have been the cause of challenges due to inadequate follow-up. Even with written policies and loss prevention measures in place, a recent study showed that half of all in-person tours of prospective residents resulted in no follow-up whatsoever from the leasing or management team. Zero! No emails, no calls, no texts –not even a shout out on social media. Further, an additional 25% received the first follow-up attempt over 24 hours later. And of those who did follow-up promptly, it is likely that many were generic form emails or scripted phone calls.

Isn’t it amazing that something we have deemed so important has been executed so poorly? There are a variety of reasons that have been given and, as we stated earlier, each role within the office has their own perspective. But the reality is that it is everyone’s goal to provide the best customer experience for our residents (both current and future). We have to stop dealing with the root causes of the breakdown to be able to stop this trend.

Here are five ways you can better succeed with prompt follow-up starting right now:

  • 7K0A0611Choose the right method of communication. Ask your customer, “When I follow-up with you insert timeframe here how would you prefer I go about it. Is text, email, a phone call, or social media that is the best way to successfully connect?”
  • On that same note, be sure that, whatever timeframe you set, you stick to it. A great way is to set an alert on your work calendar as well as on your smart phone. We all respond to the ding of our alert notifications, so why not use it to our advantage?
  • Don’t underestimate the power of mail. A hand-written, personalized, thank you card is always a great idea and, in today’s world, is a memorable touch.
  • Use technology to your advantage too. Ask prospects to take video and photos on the tour. Offer to shoot it on their smart phone so they can be in the picture as well. Even see if you can get in one of the photos for an “usie” with your new friends.
  • Talk about the things you offer that your competitors do not. If you accept packages for your residents and your comp force UPS to leave them at their doors, speak to these qualities. When you follow-up, mention those items again. It allows prospective client to build their own stories of why your apartment community is superior.

Good old-fashioned follow-up is a dying art form. In the modern world of technology, it is easily forgotten about. However, it still remains the most important aspect of what you can do as a salesperson. So do it. Do it the right way, and show your customers the real reason they should live at your community: because you care enough to take the time to provide them the service they deserve.