The True Value of Follow Up

Are We Leaving Money on the Table?

The actual value of follow-up

There is a lot of talks right now in multifamily about the sales process and whether or not our old-school approach is hurting our NOI. I tend to believe it’s not about a particular method or road to a sale. A good sales person can follow any company guidelines and apply their sales skills and intuition to successfully service a prospect and close the sale.

When it comes to follow-up

…I am 100% convinced that we are leaving money on the table. There’s a stat out there that 80% of people buy after being asked EIGHT times. Eight. That’s crazy. I really didn’t believe it, but I’m a data junkie and knew there was an easy way to prove or disprove this so called fact.

We had a brand new lease up we are working on in Washington, DC. The two leasing agents in the office started at the same time and had equal time on the sales floor. One of the leasing agents is brand new to multifamily. So, I told him he had to follow up with every prospect until they told him to stop. I let the other very seasoned leasing agent {with a very high closing ratio, I might add} do things her way…whatever that was.

I’m going to stop and sidebar just for a moment

It’s important I share with you that every prospect that submitted their email via our property website pop-up or contact inquiry form was immediately dropped into an eight email drip campaign. {A campaign with open and click-through rates you truly are not going to believe.}  You need to know about the drip campaign for two reasons. First, because I want to be completely transparent with you.  Second, because I never want to downplay the importance of the marketing team crafting a message and guaranteeing that it is delivered to the prospects we work so hard to win.

In other words, regardless of what the on-site staff did, I knew that the customer was offered eight reasons to choose this building and eight invitations to tour and apply.  The leasing agents are well versed in those eight emails and can often identify where a prospect is in the series when they walk through the door.

Back to the leasing numbers

My new leasing agent failed me, but just a little. He, on average, followed up with the customers six times. The seasoned leasing agent followed up an average of 3 ½ times.

The new guy leased 42% more apartments!!! Yeah, 42%. On opening day, the team had rented just over 100 apartments. It’s a 429 unit behemoth of a building, so I’m proud of their 60-day pre-leasing effort. These numbers blew me away, though. And they certainly created more questions.

  1. Did any customers ask you to stop emailing them?
  2. Why did you only follow up six times instead of the eight I requested?
  3. How many people unsubscribed from the drip campaign?
  4. Do we need a full-time email concierge?

I know some of you are already thinking

The closing ratio difference had to be related to the skill level of the leasing agents or other factors that have caused the 42% disparity. Trust me. It’s the first thought that went through my mind. So, we have replicated the experiment again at a much different property with very close to the same results.

We do not have a solution built yet to address everything that this little case study brought to us. But I am serving it to you to ask, what do you see with your numbers? What is the average number of follow-ups for your leasing teams? When is it too much for the customer? When is it too much for your leasing agent to manage on a day to day basis? Would you consider putting email follow up in the hands of a third party agency? Please comment below or just send me an email! I really want to know how everyone else is approaching this!

{Sorry for all the exclamation marks in today’s post! Leasing data get’s me all excited!}

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