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Connecting With Residents in Person

In today’s society, we are more “connected” now than we have ever been — but that’s not true. Even with all the print and online messages being exchanged every day, no technological advance can render in-person communication unnecessary. You can make life at your property more rewarding for your residents by creating memorable face-to-face interactions.

Tactics to Engage Current Residents

While hunting for an apartment one day, I noticed some staff setting up a table in front of the main office. A local pizzeria was bringing stacks of pizza boxes out of their company’s van. It was a special treat for the residents, who were invited to come pick out a pizza for five dollars.

That was a good example of one way to engage your community: a live event. Everybody benefited. Residents without time to make dinner had special access to some deeply discounted pizza. The pizzeria got a lot of positive publicity within that complex, which was large. The management provided a fun service to the residents and got a chance to engage with them as they came by.

Other in-person engagement ideas include these:

  • Partner with a local moving company to give your new leasers a discount on truck rental or other moving services.
  • Set up an oversized screen and host a movie outdoors on a warm night, or in the activity center if it’s rainy or cold. 
  • Offer free carpet cleaning, minor remodels, or another perk as a thank-you to tenants who renew their leases, always pay rent on time, or have been model residents. 
  • If your complex allows animals, have a pet-friendly get-together. 
  • Stop and greet residents, even if you’re in a rush. If you both have a moment, ask what they enjoy most about the property, and remember their answers for your next marketing campaign. 
  • Be easy to arrange a meeting with. If you receive a complaint, do your best to meet the residents in person rather than trying to resolve the problem via email. They’ll appreciate that you made their issue a priority. 

Both you and your residents will benefit from strategies like these — you’ll get to know some wonderful people, and they’ll feel confirmed in their choice of your property as their home. Anything that makes your tenants feel appreciated and valued is worth a try!

Tips to Gain New Residents

Referrals are your best friend when it comes to attracting new customers. Word of mouth still garners the most trust of any advertising medium, according to Nielsen. If your renters are happy, they’ll refer you to the friends they have who are looking for a home. 

Another overlap between current and new residents is the general state of your property. If the common areas are clean and in good repair, this isn’t only a good look for tours. It makes residents feel taken care of, which also leads them to speak well of you to your potential customers.

As you go about your business off the property, remember that you yourself are very much an advertisement for your business. Anyone you speak to may be a potential renter. Be mindful of how your everyday exchanges may present an opportunity to gain future residents.

You might consider having a gift to give visitors just for coming by. If they’re past the online browsing stage and are ready to see your units firsthand, they’re obviously interested. Reward them with a discount to a local restaurant, a handy item with your name and logo (try to be more creative than just a pen!), a fresh cookie, or any other small surprise that you’d love if you were the one shopping for apartments. 

Utilizing These Strategies for Maximum Engagement

Chances are that the people you remember most in your life are the ones who made the strongest impression face-to-face: a stern yet inspiring teacher, an adventurous childhood friend, a warm and gracious store clerk who helped redeem your terrible day. Seek to do the same for your clients, whether they stay with you a month or ten years. Be a friendly face they can count on to listen to their questions and surprise them with acts of kindness. In-person connection is ultimately the best publicity you can have in any business.

How have you connected with residents in your position at your apartment complex? Do you have any stories of really good (or really bad) interactions to share with us?