We can increase the occupancy at our apartment community simply with the conversations we have with local businesses.
Word of Mouth Referrals
We can create word of mouth referrals. Referrals are consistently the highest contributor identified as the source of visiting traffic at an apartment community. The days of depending on advertisements to be your leading source of prospect traffic are long gone.
Potential residents can learn the basics; rental rates, amenities and floor plan types from Internet ads and locator services. This information is at their fingertips twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Once a prospect has narrowed the field to a couple of communities, the next level of inquiry involves reviews.
The prospect starts their own review search. Do they know any one that has lived at the community? And if that query isn’t successful, it goes a step further, asking their immediate circle of friends and family, if they know anyone that can offer a personal experience.
We have the opportunity to create our own flow of referral information by sharing information everywhere we go.
Our visits to the hardware, office supply and delivery location, need to include the greeting, or closing.” If you know someone who’s looking for an apartment, send them my way!” Referred by a friend, family member, former resident, current resident, people have a comfort level of knowing someone else can offer some positive feedback or firsthand knowledge on their potential choice.
How are you working the referral tree? Referral offers are often included in newsletters, but are you, the Community Manager, the leasing consultant, assistant manager, or Maintenance technician generating interest in your community? Creating your own general referrals?
Imagine someone talking to the local overnight delivery service provider ..
“My sister is moving to the area, I want to help her find an apartment”
Would the response from the delivery person be…..” you need to check out Cozy Apartments? The staff is great, they’re friendly, cheerful. Hallways are clean. “
How would your delivery person describe your property in this type of conversation? The postal delivery person? We have the opportunity to share information about our property every day. Consider how many businesses and individuals you have contact with each day.
There are a number of service providers that develop an impression of our properties on their day-to-day visits. Make sure they have something positive to talk about. How about letting them know how much you’d appreciate their referral? “Just received a move-out notice on a two bedroom, in case someone mentions any housing needs as your making your deliveries.”
Memberships in local service organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary provide excellent opportunities for networking. Hosting meetings and providing community tours can introduce the community leaders to your community.
Take advantage of these relationships we have, with individuals we have contact with each and every day. We can create referrals with little effort! Keep those general referrals coming in.
Lori Hammond is the Regional Operations Manager at Management Resources Development. Reprinted with permission of Multifamily Insiders. Multifamily Insiders was created to provide the first true online networking group for the multifamily industry and its partners. For more information, visit www.multifamilyinsiders.com.