3 Approaches for Virtual Leasing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The constantly evolving situation pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all, particularly those of us in multi-family, to need to adapt to a “new normal”. Our goal remains to continue helping prospects find a home through virtual tours and leasing. To achieve greatest success with your virtual leasing presentations, try these 3 approaches for virtual leasing during the COVID-19 pandemic (or any time!).

Use Tech to Present in Real-Time

Using technology such as Apple Face Time, Google Hangout, Skype, Zoom, etc. you can employ your mobile device to take a prospect on a virtual tour of your community.

Take a Walk Through the Website

You can provide a virtual leasing presentation without even leaving your office when you walk the prospect through your community website. You can both visit the website at the same time while you guide them through the floorplans and photos during the call or you can even use technology like GoToMeeting to share your screen.

Custom/Pre-Recorded Videos

You can take the time to pre-record videos of virtual apartment tours to showcase homes and virtual community tours to feature your amenities. You can also create a personalized video for a prospect, which will allow you to tailor the virtual leasing presentation to their specific needs. This is useful for times when the prospect has time to tour with you during the call.

7 Tips for All Virtual Tours – Live and Pre-Recorded

Whether taking a prospect on a real-time virtual tour, creating pre-recorded virtual leasing presentations or even touring with a walk-through of the website, these tips will help you create the best virtual leasing experience for your prospects.

  1. Focus on the C’s. Your customer wants to be assured you are COMPETENT and CONSISTENT, that you will CONNECT well, that you COMMUNICATE CLEARLY, and that you CARE. Be mindful that you are enforcing these messages throughout your interactions.
  2. Bump Up the Energy! You will need to use more energy on the phone or on video than you would in person. You need to be more animated and speak in a more energetic way than you would in person to push through! Beware, more energy does not mean you need to talk faster! Slow down to make sure you are communicating clearly and are being understood.
  3. Start with Business as Usual. Take comfort in noting that your sales interactions will start the same way they always have. When a prospect calls or emails, you’ll respond the same way you do now. Get to know their story, connect with the prospect and discover their needs so you know what you have to offer.
  4. When the Time is Right, ASK. Instead of inviting the prospect for an in-person tour, invite them to take a virtual tour. “If you have some time right now, I’d be happy to take you on a virtual tour.” If the prospect doesn’t have time then, schedule a time that works for them just like you would for a regular tour, or offer to send a video.
  5. Help Them “See. Guide the prospect through noticing what’s important to them during the virtual tour; make the tour come to life! Just like in person, keep your virtual leasing presentation tailored to the prospect’s specific needs and preferences. Instead of just stating the name of a room, tell them something specific about the features of the room that would work for their needs. If you are providing a real-time virtual leasing presentation, make sure to open cabinets and closets so they can see inside. It would also be helpful to add some accessories or splashes of color to the apartment to make it look even better on video. If there’s a fireplace, light it if you can!
  6. Look into the Lens, NOT at the Screen!  Look into the camera lens so you’re “making eye contact”. If you’re pre-recording, you will need to keep reminding yourself of this as it is easy to get forget since you aren’t directly looking at the prospect.
  7. Check-In Often. Whether a live tour or walk-through of the website, keep your prospect engaged! Ask questions. “How does this look to you?”, “Could you see yourself living here?” “Tell me your thoughts.”

10 Tips for Live Video and Creating Your Own Videos

  1. Use Landscape Mode. Landscape mode will give you the largest screen surface and will give the best view of what you’re trying to demonstrate.
  2. Use a Tripod. When possible, use a tripod or monopod to steady the camera and smooth the motions as you move through your virtual tour. Make sure you have the right mounts to hold your device securely. If you don’t have a tripod, you can position your arm and elbow against your body to steady the camera.
  3. Move the Camera Extra Slowly. If the camera is moved too fast, it may make the prospect dizzy or not give them a clear picture. Remember to move the camera more slowly than you think it should be moved throughout the virtual leasing presentation.
  4. Turn on the Lights. Lighting is a major component of quality video. Turn on all the lights in the apartment. You can even find a video light kit to use.
  5. Use a Microphone. Use a headset or attached microphone during a live tour.  That way you can be sure to hear the prospect and they’ll have a better time hearing you. A microphone that can be plugged into the device’s headphone jack is ideal. Also, if you have the option to put a windscreen on the microphone, use it especially for the windy, outside portion of the tour.
  6. Prepare Before You Go Live. Test equipment before you go live to make sure it functions how you need. Practice ahead of time and film yourself doing a virtual tour so you can watch and review. This will give you a chance to make necessary adjustments and will allow you to feel more comfortable. If you can, set up the apartment before going live: open blinds, open doors, turn on lights, close toilet lids and do one last check.
  7. Create Your Library. Start creating a library of SHORT videos for future use. Make videos of the model or mini-model, a vacant apartment, target apartments you want to get leased, and community amenities. It’s important to keep the videos for your library 2 minutes or less so people don’t get bored and stop watching. Upload the videos to YouTube, Vimeo, DropBox, Google Drive, etc. so links are easily sharable. You can send the link during a call and make sure the prospect received it. Then you can follow-up later to discuss further after they’ve watched the video. Bonus: If you upload to YouTube, your video will show up in Google search so you can reach prospects you might not even know about.
  8. End Strong. ASK for the sale! You should outline next steps and help the prospect understand how to apply. Walk them through the application process. If they aren’t ready to make a leasing decision, address any objections and make plans to follow up. You can also schedule another time to talk and explain amended guidelines with the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
  9. Learn from the Pros. Look at programs on HGTV or shows like House Hunters. Observe how the homes are demonstrated and listen to key words used to sell the benefits.
  10. Remember the Basics. Although virtual tours may feel new and different, the key elements of leasing have not changed. Work to create a positive, memorable experience for the prospect and remember your goal to help them find the home that best fits their particular needs.

Take this opportunity to try new, fun things and explore all the amazing technology available to allow you to continue your day-to-day leasing presentation success, even in these uncertain times.

Click here to access additional COVID-19 Multifamily Training Resources

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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.