10 Pro Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours have become part of the new norm and they are the future! In fact, self-guided tours may end up being just the kind of experience apartment leasing prospects have been looking for. So how do you make self-guided tours work best for you? Keep in mind the element of human connection still plays a vital role in the prospect experience and understand that:

  • A self-guided tour does not mean NO service.
  • A self-guided tour does not mean self-selling and self-checkout.
  • A self-guided tour does not mean you never have to sell again!

Some apartment leasing prospects will always need more and will need your guidance, so self-guided tours are not right for every prospect. Alternatively, some prospects will need LESS from you, but every prospect needs some degree of your involvement and customer service. The key is finding the right balance of service versus autonomy for each person.

The basic definition of a self-guided tour is one where the prospect tours an apartment onsite without a community team member accompanying them. You can arrive at the decision to employ the self-guided tour tool in a variety of scenarios:

  • The Walk-In – This scenario will begin the same way as any other apartment leasing scenario. The prospect walks in and wants to see an apartment. You’ll ask good questions to identify their needs, determine whether or not you have the right apartment for them and then invite them to tour. Here’s where the procedure is a little different. You will now offer the prospect options to tour. Let them know you’re happy to personally show them around the apartment and community or give them the option to do a self-guided tour if that is their preference. If the self-guided tour is selected, follow your usual protocols for touring (ID, tour form, etc.) and then convey excitement and let them know what they should look out for. Be sure they have the information they need to really understand all your community has to offer.
  • The Phone Call – Again, you’ll start this interaction the same way as any other prospect call, by identifying needs and then inviting them for a visit to the community. This is where you will offer the option of a guided or self-guided tour. If the prospect elects the self-guided tour, let them know what they will need to do based on your community’s apartment leasing policies and procedures and then when they arrive on-site, allow them to tour!
  • The Free-Range – In these cases, maybe your prospect sees the community online and then registers online to visit the community after hours. They can receive an access code and then visit when the apartment leasing office is closed. The prospect may also visit during business hours but choose not to stop into the office at all before leaving the community, rather choosing to navigate the entire apartment leasing process on their own.

To make the most of your sales presentation in a self-guided tour scenario, try these 10 pro tips for maximizing the effectiveness of self-guided tours.

  1. Give them something to focus on. Be mindful of what the apartment rental prospect listed as important and then relate that to the tour they are about to take. Suggest they check out the huge closet in the master bedroom, the great view from the patio, the ample cabinet storage in the kitchen, etc. This allows you to help tailor the self-guided tour experience to the individual, even without you being there to guide them.
  2. Make the experience easy. Try to think like your prospect to make sure your instructions are clear. Give verbal directions and provide site maps. Ensure your directional signs are clear to guide the way through the community. If the prospect still has trouble navigating the community, be patient. Remember, you make your way through the community every day, but they do not!
  3. Have the apartment tell the story. Try leaving little signs throughout the model pointing out noteworthy features or giving facts about size or included appliances.
  4. Check-in with clients. If the prospect has been gone on a self-guided tour for a long time (30 or more minutes), go out to find them to make sure they’re doing okay and don’t have any questions or needs. Make sure to encourage them to continue taking their time!
  5. Welcome the prospect back to the office. Make sure to stop and give the prospect your attention and a warm welcome when they return to the office to get their ID.
  6. Make time to connect before asking for the sale. You did not have the same amount of time to connect during the tour process, so you will likely need to take some time to converse. Ask them what they thought and spend some time making a connection. Make sure there was nothing else they needed to see or had questions about before you try to close the sale.
  7. Be flexible to give them what they need. The prospect may want you to accompany them to the actual apartment. They may also have many questions, so be prepared to offer that support if they prefer a guided tour over a self-guided tour.
  8. ASK FOR THE SALE! Do not forget this crucial piece of the sales process, even with a self-guided tour scenario. After you’ve made conversation, asked for feedback and answered questions, you must ask for the sale. Don’t just return the ID and remind them they can apply online as they walk out the door.
  9. Be sure to follow up. Many times, the prospect may not be ready to apply the same day as the tour. This means you need to keep the conversation going until they are ready to make a buying decision. This is especially important with self-guided tours.
  10. Reach out to your free-range prospects. Be sure to connect with your free-range prospects to get a feel for what they think and what they need; they may not reach out to you! 

Self-guided tours are here to stay, but don’t worry. They are not replacing your value and customer service! Think of them as a win-win for you and the apartment leasing prospect. You will have more time in your day to focus on other tasks (like blocking out time for follow up!) and the prospects can feel more at ease as they spend time looking over the apartment and community to feel at home. Just be sure to apply these 10 pro tips for maximizing the effectiveness of self-guided tours and you will keep apartment leasing conversions coming.

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Contributed by:

Rommel Anacan
The Relationship Difference

Rommel is an award-winning motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and strategist. He powerfully impacts people, companies and organizations by providing the clarity, motivation and education they need to break through their limits and achieve the success they desire.

Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.