So you read the title and you’re like, “Whaaaat?!?!” Here’s the thing, my best friend and I are both in property management. We are also both in the dating scene as single mothers. Well, recently, me, more so than her, as she has a steady fella. Anyhow, we are both privy to the world of dating. And you’re currently thinking to yourself, “Ok Britt, just get to the point what this has to do with property management already.”
While talking today over lunch about internet leads and just the entire realm of ILS (Internet Listing Services) in property management and bad responses vs good responses, we both thought the exact same thing at the exact same moment. How do you respond to an internet lead well??? You treat it like online dating!
Here’s the thing, it’s the 21st century. Not only are people dating online before even getting to a “real” date, they’re also shopping for apartments online before coming out to your community!
You start internet dating by putting up your profile, writing some really great information about yourself, that while is very fluffy, is also genuinely true. Then you move on to the photos. You scroll through your phone’s camera roll, attempt to find the best selfies you’ve taken recently, try to find some photos of you that are not selfies (do those exist anymore??) and then voila’….you have just created your internet dating profile? Guess what? All of our ILS’ do this for our communities. Our reps come out to our communities to get to know it, to get to know the “vibe” of the community, so that they can create this online for us. They, or someone they hire, take photos for us. And they’re the best photos we have of our community! Your ILS’ do all of this for you because when scrolling through a bunch of “profiles” which one are you going to click on?!?!? (Exactly. My point exactly.)
Then comes the moment where you have received your first message! OMG! The cute man/woman I have been eyeballing on here, but didn’t have the guts to reach out to first, just messaged me! And he said, “Hi!” (Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture). Here’s the thing, that same level of excitement should exist with EVERY SINGLE INTERNET LEAD THAT YOU GET! You never know, any one of those messages could potentially be “THE ONE”. The one that is going to get you a $300 commission check….not a ring on your finger (stay focused, please).
Now what do you do? The cute man/woman has just inboxed you and now it’s your turn. This is your time to shine. To ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward in the communication arena. You want to paint a picture of who you truly are, but also want to make sure that you keep the “psycho” to a minimum. (Ok ladies, you know exactly what I’m referring to, when you get overly excited about a boy and basically scare him away.) When you’re corresponding with your potential future mate, you’re lighthearted, you’re funny, hell, you’re the best thing since Jennifer Aniston. You’re going to do the EXACT same thing with your prospect who has just inboxed you for more information. You’re going to paint this really amazing picture of what your community has to offer, of what the amazing floor plans are, how incredible the salt water pool is, how convenient you are to specific locations, and then you’re going to gush about the customer service that is second to none. You’re going to paint your community the exact same way that you would paint yourself trying to get a date. You know what’s considered “psycho” in this scenario? Sending a price sheet. Oooooh, yea, send that during the first correspondence, and you may as well have just said, “Oh, yea, I want you to be my baby daddy.” during the first correspondence with your date. Epic fail.
Here’s the thing, as the communication between you and your potential future mate continues, there are questions that are being asked, there are scenarios being painted for a very specific reason. You and the other individual are very much dancing a dance called the “pre-screen” process. It’s a fairly common dance in the online dating arena. It’s an opportunity for you both not to waste the other’s time. “Are you employed?” “Do you have children?” “Do you have pets?” “How long have you been single?” “Have you had any luck on here or online dating in general?” and other variations of questions that you want answered.
You and your prospect are going to do the same thing. They are going to ask you a LOT of different questions because they do not want to waste their time. Much like the importance of choosing a future mate, they’re choosing their home. This is important! “Do you allow pets?” “Do you have garages?” “Are you a gated community?” “How can I pay my rent?” “Do you have a playground?” “What school district are you in?” “How close are you to the base?” “Does the bus pick up/drop off there?” and a plethora of other questions because despite having wants, they also have needs. (Very much like you WANT your date to be really hot, but let’s be honest, them being employed is going to move farther move up the list in priorities as a NEED)
So during this “pre-screen” dance that you have going on, you’re finding out whether the match is really made, or if it’s just a waste of one another’s time. There are obviously certain questions that can be answered from either party that are going to make it a no. However, for portrayal sake here, we are going to presume you’re really trying to get that date (with integrity and honesty) the same way that you would be fighting to get that internet lead to make an appointment.
You’re answering the questions, you’re painting the picture, you’re doing everything right. You’re even answering questions BEFORE they’re asked because you are just that good. (I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve been single going on three years, I think I have the questions memorized at this point). You’re going to do the same thing with your prospect. As I always say, knowledge is power and really showing the prospect how much knowledge that you have and the questions that you can answer that solidify their wants and needs, is going to land you an appointment. And please, make sure that you answer the prospect’s questions. If they have asked something specific in the initial contact or within any future correspondence, ANSWER IT! I point this out because it can be very easy to send a generic copy/paste sort of email that literally means nothing to the prospect that just asked if their pit bull is allowed to live at your property. I mean cool, you just sent me a ton of information, but you didn’t actually answer really the only question I am concerned with at this point.
DISCLAIMER: You’re not going to win all the dates. Don’t be that girl/guy. Make sure you pre-screen, just like they pre-screen. Ask the correct questions to ensure that the person on the other end of that correspondence meets your criteria (personally and professionally). For example, if the prospect says they have a pet, conversationally say, “Awww, what kind of pet?!?” (Then if they have a pit bull, you can explain why that won’t work per your breed restrictions, or if they have a cute new kitten, you can throw that into any future communication with them).
THE DATE! All questions have been answered in the pre-screen process, the date has been set, time has been set and the place, now you just need a new outfit (I mean, I realize that you’re setting somewhat of a false impression here, because it is a new outfit, but you ALWAYS want to put your best foot forward on the date) : THE APPOINTMENT! You’ve answered all their questions they have that they have been using to pre-screen your property, they feel like this could be IT and they make THE APPOINTMENT! And you’ve made sure the unit you’re going to show them is perfect, you’ve narrowed based on their needs and their wants what would be perfect for them based on availability and plan on letting them know the same AND that you can accommodate their move date as well!
Alright, so I am not going to give you advice on a real date, or advice on the appointment you’ve just managed to set. That is not what this blog post was about. Maybe I’ll save that for a later date (no pun intended). This was strictly for the correlation Brandy and I found between our online dating experience(s) and responding to internet leads. And hey, in some shape, form or fashion, I have not only given you advice on how to respond to your internet leads, but, also some tips & hints if you are single. You’re welcome. You can thank me by sending me a wedding invite….or half of your commission check. HA!
Happy Leasing (& Hunting)