Identifying qualified leads can have a big impact on the productivity and effectiveness of leasing teams.
Not all prospective residents are ready to sign a lease. Without prioritization, your leasing agents could hound a prospect who is six months away from moving while another “ready-to-move” prospect goes untouched.
Some apartment providers address this challenge by creating a formal lead scoring process for prospects that enter their lead management systems. An effective lead scoring system will rate a lead based on a number of criteria. Gables Residential, for example, considers a prospect’s apartment preferences, budget, location and time-to-move before prioritizing.
“All leads go through our ‘funnel’ and are prioritized by the level of information received,” says Lynette Hegeman, Vice President of Marketing for Gables. “For instance, two-way communication indicating apartment preference, budget and preferred location would be deemed a priority lead if the community being looked at meets the prospect’s requirements. Another priority factor would be timing of move. Those with short time frames would be considered a priority. However, in general, we treat all leads with equal care and attention and follow up on all.”
In some cases, a simpler strategy may be just as effective. Esquire Property Management takes a “hot-or-not” approach to prioritizing leads.
“We have a simple rating system,” says Tracy Guillen, Owner of Esquire Property Management. “Prospects are either hot or warm and need more nurturing. If the lead is cold, we typically let them go without any further follow-up.”
Gaining information about a prospect’s needs can help fine-tune the leasing process, notes Donald Davidoff, Group Vice President, Strategic Systems for Archstone.
“There’s really not a formal scoring process,” Davidoff says. “We follow up on every lead we get. We identify very quickly if the lead is unqualified—if the price is too high or the location doesn’t work—so those leads fall off very quickly. In fact, many of those are filtered out through Level One [a system used to handle inbound calls], so we don’t even waste time with those. Once we have a qualified lead, we try to time the follow-up with the prospect’s desired move-in so that we don’t push them too quickly—or too slowly—for what they want.”