While the shift to primarily digital business operations has been looming on the horizon for a while, COVID-19 has forced the property management industry to fully embrace the tech tools at its disposal. Self-showing automation and technology is the new age of leasing. Responding to leads, coordinating and administering property tours, and sending post-tour follow up messages are all necessary to ensure your vacancies are filled and prospects’ needs are met. While leasing is arguably the most crucial facet of property management, it’s a meticulous process that requires a high-level of organization and attention from your staff. Alleviate some of that pressure and place more of the responsibility on the prospect with self-showing technology.
Self-showing Technology Saves you Time
In this era of convenience, renters move fast. The moment they find a listing they’re interested in; they are ready to tour. Self-showings exponentially speed up the leasing process. When implemented, property tours no longer need to take place during office hours, as self-showings open evenings, weekends, and holidays for potential business. This kind of flexibility sets your company apart and exhibits thoughtfulness to prospects looking for new homes who don’t want to be in close physical proximity to others for the foreseeable future.
Implement Lockbox Technology
Lockbox technology ensures self-guided property tours happen safely and effectively. Current lockbox technology is vast and ranges from coded locks placed on doorknobs to secure one-time codes and photo ID upload options. Prospects can enter the property on their own time, without a leasing agent present. Through these resources, showing availability is nearly limitless. Your vacant units will receive far more exposure without the need to factor in staff limitations and the time constraints of conducting tours during office hours.
Solutions like ShowMojo and Tenant Turner allow you to establish a solid work/life balance, as they eliminate the need to field calls from prospects when you’re off the clock. Take back hours of valuable time and energy and outsource those after-hours calls to an experienced call center or auto-responder. Both providers drastically reduce no-shows and integrate with your Rent Manager database. Implement automated email and text confirmations to send to prospects before a showing. This added step of coordination means it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Supplement Tech with a Personal Touch
For extroverted leasing agents, adapting to self-showing automation and technology can be a difficult switch. Some argue it takes the personality out of the leasing process, but there’s a way to strike a balance between accomplishing efficiency while maintaining individuality. Once the prospect has narrowed their search down to a unit or two, Apartment Guide suggests property managers offer a virtual property tour over a video conferencing platform like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. This provides an opportunity for leasing agents to drive home the selling points of the property while interacting with prospect as if they were in the room.
Follow ups are just as important after virtual tours or self-guided tours. Handwritten notes and email follow-ups go a long way. Ensure the prospect knows you’re there to answer any questions they may have about the lease or the property, even if you were not physically present for the tour.
Without a Leasing Agent Present, Online Reviews are More Important than Ever
A study conducted by BirdEye revealed that 92% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase. It’s crucial that your communities have a robust accumulation of authentic reviews. The responses don’t have to necessarily be overwhelmingly positive—people respect honesty and pay attention to how your company responds to negative feedback. But if your team has developed a solid rapport with any current or past tenants and know they had a positive experience with your company, invite them to leave a review on Google or Facebook.
Times of uncertainty syphon the creativity of out us. While the leasing process may not look the same moving forward, it’s introduced a level of innovation and structure that will move your business forward in a profitable way.