When a property is struggling to meet its leasing goals, the first to blame is usually the marketing department. “We aren’t getting any traffic!” How often have you fellow marketers heard this one? Most of the time, I call BS. If you have advertisements floating the internet, you must be getting some type of interest. First, I’ll explain how to evaluate whether you’re truly receiving any traffic (most likely you are), then I’ll point out other factors to consider that might be hindering your property’s success.
So when you’re sitting in a meeting or you get that email saying that a property isn’t receiving any traffic, the first question you should ask is:
What kind of traffic are you talking about? Walk-in, email, or phone?
In my experience, most of the time when managers say they aren’t receiving any traffic, they are referring to physical walk-in traffic. As you know, we live in a world in which consumers are doing more business online than ever before, including leasing apartments sight-unseen, so it would not be a big surprise to me, especially during certain times of the year, if a property is not getting a lot of walk-in traffic. If this is the case, there is no cause for alarm, because luckily walk-in traffic is not the only type of traffic available to us.
The next step is to review the property’s phone and emails leads. Yes, phone calls and emails are part of your traffic. Although prospects may not be tearing down your leasing office door, chances are they are trying to get more information about your community through phone calls and emails. This is why it’s important to ask What kind of traffic are you talking about? because to say that you have no traffic means you aren’t receiving any walk-ins, phone calls or emails, and that would be a rare occurrence.
The first place you should go to check your phone and email leads is your lead tracking system. (If you don’t have a lead tracking system, how will you ever truly know how many leads you are getting? More on that in a later post…)
After reviewing your phone and email leads, if you determine that traffic truly is the problem, try this. If you find that your property is actually receiving plenty of traffic and marketing is not the problem, (and I’m hoping this is the case for you!), there are two things I want you’ll to review next: training and staffing.
Sometimes, we have enough traffic, but the staff isn’t trained to convert it. In this case, it’s time to evaluate your training. Is your leasing consultant converting that phone call into an appointment or an online lease? Is he responding to that email lead in a way that will elicit a response? Is she asking for the money at the end of the tour? Is she excited about her work at all? Secret shops are a great way to find out whether your sales team members are just answering questions, or actually reeling the customer in for the close. Property visits are also useful and can help you identify and improve training issues right away. Once you have determined whether training is the issue, it’s time to move on to staffing.
The staffing issue could simply be that your leasing team is not big enough to handle the number of leads it is receiving. In this case, consider hiring more team members. If you don’t have room on the payroll, consider hiring a call center, or creating one in-house, to help capture your leads.
So the next time you hear “We’re not getting any traffic!”, I recommend identifying the type of traffic in question, eliminating marketing as the cause, and than taking a closer look at training and staffing.
I’d love to hear stories about properties that truly struggled with garnering traffic, and how you resolved it!