With the renter population increasing and residents choosing to rent for longer periods of time, the market has seen an influx of rental applications. This is especially prominent during the busy months (July - September). With busy season getting even “busier” how are you ensuring your leasing staff is staying motivated, productive, and efficient? We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to tackling busy season.
Set yourself apart from your competition
Understanding your competition is a critical way to stay ahead of the curve. During the busy months, some major metro areas see a price increase up to 5%. Concessions, often free months of rent, are a way some property managers have been able to counter this increase in price. This causes residents to become more transient and seek out the best concession they can find. Know what concessions your competition is offering and ensure you have a promotion to beat theirs (consider lowering upfront costs - link here to blog).
This is also a chance to be creative with your concessions! Offering limited-time concessions on rent, move-in costs, or specials on paid amenities are a good way to set yourself apart and create urgency. In addition to your competition, be sure to consider what type of discount is best for your portfolio. Upfront discounts and discounts spread over a period of time both can be valuable to renters, so keep in mind what makes you stand out and has measurable return.
Have a seasonal kick-off plan and meeting
Review your processes and procedures to ensure your leasing team has what they need to succeed. Holding a season kick-off meeting with your team is a great way to increase morale and excitement for the season, while ensuring processes are communicated and understood by all parties. Consider creating a seasonal plan that addresses each situation that could arise to ensure necessary supplies and resources are prepared, and it is clear how to access them.
Present the plan for how your team will work together to make the season run as smoothly and successfully as possible. Assigning roles based on scenarios will help your team know who they can go to for help. For example, if tours are running behind schedule, you could designate a floating agent to be on call to relieve an agent and finish the tour so their next appointment won’t be late, which in turn will get everyone back on schedule. A kick-off meeting is also a good time to reiterate roles and processes so everyone is on the same page.
Do an automation audit
Are you automating everything you can? Assessing the manual work you’re doing will save you time when the busy season really ramps up. A full audit of all of your processes can be a daunting task and isn’t necessary to make improvements that have can have a big impact. Starting at the top of the funnel with your lead generation and management can be a natural first step. It's the beginning of a prospect’s experience with you and there are many ways to automate engagement. From updating ILSs to sending email campaigns or invites to posting on social media, now is a good time to tighten up processes for your online presence and communication.
Choose 1-2 tools that you use to manage your leads, pipeline, and appointments, and explore their capabilities. Since services and systems are always evolving, it’s likely that you might have overlooked a feature that could save you in the long run. Schedule a call and go in depth with your account manager to make sure you’re not missing a critical new feature
Encourage friendly competition
With an influx of applications, busy season can be stressful for your staff -- take measures to ensure it’s rewarding as well. Studies have shown that Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive.
Consider implementing monthly rewards to motivate your team and host a small get together to celebrate each month of success.
- Get feedback -- and reward: Offer applicants comment cards or a survey about their experience with your staff, and call out team members with special shoutouts for a job well done.
- Activity-based recognition: Keep track of the number of tours your team has provided and reward the team member who has completed the most.
- Get creative! Encourage friendly competition that doesn’t fall in the realm of “work” like a bake off. When everyone is heads-down, giving your team a chance to regroup can help them focus, while still keeping them engaged as a team..
These are easy ways to keep your team engaged and increase productivity, while still rewarding them for working hard.
Consciously focus on service
According to a study, 97% of customers will tell others about a very good or excellent customer service experience. Ensure your staff is trained on best practices for providing a seamless customer service experience. This can be as simple as answering the phone consistently each time a resident calls, templatizing emails to ensure language is streamlined, and setting goals for turnaround time when responding to applicants. Remember, your staff is setting the stage for what the resident will come to expect from their living situation. The better experience an applicant has with your leasing staff, the more likely they are to tell others about their painless and enjoyable process.
If your team is on board, small changes can make a big difference. Try out these tips and tricks and let us know how it goes!