The apartment industry has made many technological advancements over the years, but too many operators still embrace a leasing process that is decidedly old school. In doing so, they make their associates’ jobs harder and their communities less appealing to prospects.
That was one of the major points made by Wendy Dorchester, vice president of operations at Pegasus Residential (Pegasus), during the “Leasing Gone Mobile: How to Disrupt the Failing Leasing Process” session at Apartmentalize 2019.
Power Pro Co-Founder Karen Gladney interviewed Dorchester during the session.
“We’ve got to improve the leasing process,” Dorchester said. “This industry has come so far over the last 20 years. It is an amazing career path. We are a professional industry and so we’ve got to act that part.”
Too often, Dorchester explained, prospects visiting a community are forced to sit across a desk from a leasing agent while the agent robotically goes through a series of formulaic questions to gather information before taking the prospect around on a tour of the community.
“There’s no rapport building,” she said.
She described recently visiting another operator’s community and being struck by the inadequacy of the prospect experience.
“I was just shocked. It’s a brand-new, very sexy lease-up. Gorgeous,” she said. “There were really wonderful people at the leasing desk, but they’re in front of their computer and their screens are right in front of my face, and it’s a barrier. It’s a barrier to the process.”
The way to revamp the prospect’s on-site experience, Dorchester argued, is to equip associates with mobile leasing technology.
Pegasus associates use iPad-based mobile leasing software from Power Pro that, among other things, allows associates to collect information from prospects while sitting in a comfortable social area or touring a community instead of sitting in front of a desktop computer in the leasing office.
“This mobile process is really about building rapport with prospects without that barrier of a desk while also getting that person’s information,” Dorchester said.
The mobile leasing technology used by Pegasus also gives associates all the floor plan, pricing and other community information associates need to immediately answer prospects’ questions while anywhere on the community, she added.
“It’s like taking an open-book test and you have all the answers right in front of you at your fingertips,” she joked. “This iPad-based solution benefits both the prospect and the leasing consultant, and I think that’s super important.”
The solution also can scan and quickly verify a prospect’s ID to enhance the security of the leasing agent, Dorchester told the audience.
Finally, using a cutting-edge mobile leasing solution can be an effective associate-recruitment tool, Dorchester explained.
“The people who are flocking to our industry – they want technology,” she said. “They want to go to a company that is forward-thinking. I think that associates make decisions about companies they’re going to go to work for based on how forward-thinking those companies are, and old technology and processes can really frustrate some of these younger associates. I think we have a duty to step up.”