Investing in multifamily property leasing team training may prove more valuable than you think.
Written by: Christina Simms, Marketing Manager, Sales Inc.
Contribution by: Zandie Shields, Manager of Training and Development, Sales Inc.
One of the biggest challenges to multifamily owners today is staffing and retaining employees. Pre-pandemic, the NAA showed that the multifamily industry already faced a labor shortage of 32.7%. Industry experts now have this at a range of 70%, according to a recent article by WealthManagement.com. With a backlog of individuals hesitant to leave their job during the pandemic, multifamily properties now see increased turnover and difficulty finding good talent to replace them.
Multifamily companies must differentiate themselves and create offerings that meet the needs and desires of today’s workforce. Additionally, multifamily owners and operators must be open to leasing staff from places outside the industry. Many property owners and managers have taken the steps necessary to entice applicants and retain current staff. Increasing salaries and bonuses to lure in potential candidates is a traditional method, but it isn’t a sure-fire way of keeping them. In addition to financial and medical benefits, recruits are offered flexible schedules, paid time off, and remote work options. But setting them up for success and a clear path to advancement is also necessary. That’s where training comes in.
Leasing Training is Essential
According to a Multifamily Executive November 2021 article Multifamily Firms Cope with Workforce Challenges, most turnover happens within the first year of employment and often because the employee did not feel prepared to do their job. A training program coupled with a development plan involving mentoring and small teams will help with engagement and continued employee tenure.
Consider an initial training program within the first 30 days and then follow up with an onboarding program with specific training benchmarks and job assignments. Having a strategic and planned approach to hiring and onboarding, not just giving them a paycheck, will ensure the employee understands the role and has the skillsets to do it well.
When implementing a leasing training program, it should contain the following core components:
Strategies that close the deal
Roll playing to help improve the comfort level in certain circumstances
Rapport discovery and active listening
Promoting the community’s strengths
Sales techniques like mastering the art of the close and greeting prospects are essential in developing rapport. Personalizing the conversation around the prospective resident is critical to engagement.
Leasing Team and Sales Process
Do you have an established sales process? When you’re with your leasing staff, ask them to explain the sales cadence. Have the leasing agent explain the steps of capturing and categorizing leads and demonstrate how they document their efforts. If there are gaps in the process, use it as a coaching opportunity. Finally, share best practices.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Metrics are key. How do you measure the success rates of your leasing staff? Setting goals for your leasing team gives them focus. Have KPIs to guide and identify the team’s next steps, where to harness their efforts, and make sure those efforts move the needle. Monitor responses and track your conversions and close rates. Measuring results helps you and the team understand where to redirect your efforts when necessary.
Coach your leasing Team
While training should be a mandatory part of the team’s development, sales coaching should be ongoing. Your leasing teams may need weekly one-on-one meetings to help make sure they are on track and effective in their prospect engagement. Recording calls and using mystery shoppers are good ways to identify opportunities for improvement. Uncover if they are closing and ensure they follow your sales cadence, collect and record accurate information in the CRM, and effectively follow up. Every leasing agent is different, so customize your coaching with the leasing agent’s needs.
Leasing Training and the Emergence of Technology
Technological improvements and innovation are changing the way the multifamily industry meets the needs of its future residents, and the recent pandemic has expedited this effort. Technology, however, should be considered a supplement, not the panacea to your leasing strategy. Technology means leasing teams can focus their priorities on where the prospects are in their buyers’ journey, giving more attention to those ready to commit while staying top of mind. Jacob Carter, CEO of Nurtureboss, mentions in his recent Multifamily blog article, Technology is Now Doing the Heavy Lifting in Leasing, that technology is not replacing your leasing agents but helping them maximize their time and close more leases. Technology also helps your leasing staff communicate with your prospects in the way they want to communicate.
Training is a crucial component of a leasing agent’s success and satisfaction and a key for multifamily properties in keeping their leasing teams. Consider outsourcing your training needs if you do not have an in-house training team or a dedicated trainer. Classes are available to property leasing teams on sales processes and tactics. Contact us to schedule your class today.