5 Keys to Making the Most of Telephone Leads

Businesswoman working at her desk in office.

Whether you’re brand new to the multifamily industry or are a seasoned veteran, you understand the telephone is a major tool of the business and making the most of telephone leads is key to your success. Today, there are a variety of methods to receive and process the telephone calls received by your community including:

  • Conventional on-site office phone
  • Calls forwarded to those working from home
  • Answering services or phone trees
  • Resident services or concierge
  • Hired call centers

No matter how you’re receiving your telephone business, 5 keys to making the most of telephone leads

1. Set Your Morning Up for Daytime Success

Work to set yourself up for success starting as soon as your day begins. How does your morning go as you prepare to go into work? Are you snoozing the alarm? Are you switching on the news while you brew your coffee? Think about what sort of headspace your morning routine is putting you in. Strive to arrange your routine to help you find a calm, focused and positive outlook for the day. Avoid the continuous stream of stressful news. Wake up early enough so you’re not in a rush. Prepare what you’ll need the night before so your morning will run smoothly. As you arrive at the office, are you still thinking about yesterday? Allowing your focus to be on the past instead of the present will end up creating a repeat of the day before. Instead of dwelling on what happened yesterday (good or bad), let it go and start with a blank canvas for today.

2. Time Management and Organizing Your Day

What is the first thing you do when you get to work? Are you easing into work-mode or are you jumping in feet-first? Consider dedicating the first hour of your day as a focused administrative hour. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish! During this hour:

  • Decide on Your Goals – Before you even arrive, decide what your goals for the day are.
  • Set Up Your Knowledge – Review LRO and availability, make a ready board, review upcoming dates and appointments and walk vacant apartments for a quick inspection.
  • Learn to Tolerate Distractions, Interruptions and Customer Service – Understand that distractions will always be a part of your day and learn to continue to work in spite of them. Discover to identify how and when you may need to multi-task. You may be busy taking a call when a prospect or resident walks into the office. You can continue your call and non-verbally acknowledge them with a smile or wave.
  • Decide When to Do Follow Up – The best times to reach out to your leads are between 8 AM and 10 AM and between 4 PM and 6 PM. Remember that follow up isn’t just about “checking a box”. If you want to close leases, you need to provide genuine follow up to help your leads decide on your community. You may have to reach out multiple times; many agents are not successful closing until the 6th call!

3. Slow Down

Be mindful of how fast you talk on the phone as this is a factor in making the most of telephone leads. Slow down and make sure to listen! Just because your caller may be talking fast, it doesn’t mean they’re in a rush. Sometimes you can modify the speed or tone of the telephone call just by slowing your own pace. When the caller is talking, take the time to listen to what they are actually saying rather than trying to jump ahead and assume before they’ve finished.

4. Do the Hard Thing First

Knock out the hard jobs first thing in the morning while you’re fresh and have a good momentum. After you’ve completed your administrative hour, reach out to confirm your appointments for the day. After all, you’ve already put in the work on the call, so don’t allow your visits to fall through the cracks. Try to make it original so your prospect will take notice and your community will stand out, even if you feel a little corny.

5. Squeeze Out Every Drop

When your day is in full swing and you’re taking calls, be sure you are making the most of telephone leads by taking everything from the call that you can!

  • Ask the prospect about what they’re looking for in their home and then give them time to answer on their own. This will give you a better, more customized idea of how to sell what you have.
  • Create a sense of urgency! Let them know other people have asked about their apartment today. Emphasize limited inventory, if applicable.
  • Really sell the features and benefits. Don’t just list the features in the apartment; relate them to the benefits associated with each feature. Even though it may feel like stating the obvious, it’s worth the extra few seconds to really get the prospect to imagine living at your apartment community.
  • Be prepared to effortlessly address objections. Take some time to talk with your team about ways you can address objections that may come up about your apartments.
  • You need to ask the right questions to get the right answers. Ask why they are moving and really listen to what they have to say for hints about what you need to provide.
  • Become a storyteller! Don’t just run down a plain list of the features. Talk about what it’s like living there and paint a picture of what life in your community or in their apartment will be like.

If you use these 5 keys to making the most of telephone leads, you will surely be successful.

Presented by:

Donna Lytle-Hickey

General Manager
Brookfield Properties

About Ellis

Since 1984, Ellis Partners in Management Solutions has specialized exclusively in helping our multifamily clients measure and improve the customer experience by teaming with customers to develop professional skills and behaviors in each team member. We evaluate customer service and performance of onsite leasing professionals through comprehensive mystery shopping reports, our multiple touchpoint resident survey program, and training. Our turn-key integrated customer experience program, backed by outstanding customer service, sophisticated technology, and ethical business practices, has made Ellis one of the multifamily industry’s most respected and sought-after providers of training and consulting services.