January 2, 2020 Landlord Advice

How Quickly Should Landlords Call Potential Tenants Back?

Apartment landlords and property managers constantly find themselves asking, “How quickly should I follow up with renters who express interest in my listing?” Well, the short answer is immediately. According to an ROI study by Boston-based property management software company Buildium, the ideal timeframe to return calls or messages from potential renters is 60 seconds or less. Property managers who return calls in less than a minute quadruple their chances of converting a potential lead into a renter.

That’s a pretty high bar to aim for, and in all honesty it’s not always possible for property managers or leasing professionals to follow up in less than a minute. But there are still dividends for managers who get back to prospective tenants as quickly as they can; even calling back within the first 3 minutes doubles the likelihood of a lead converting.

The other thing to take away from the study is that persistence pays off. Managers who follow up with prospects more than once will see their conversion rates climb. Calling more than three times increases the chance of conversion by 80% and more calls seem to help -- up to a point. The study claims that six callbacks is the optimal number and that calling back up to nine times can have positive outcomes on conversion rates.

Not having any luck reaching leads by phone? That’s a common problem with the crowded communications field renters live in these days. Renters presumably always have a phone with them, but it’s not always a great time to chat. The study recommends property managers switch up their communications method in between calls. Send a couple of brief text messages or emails in between calls so that renters don’t lose sight of what your apartment building is offering. Keep communications short and sweet. Remaining upbeat is crucial.

All these metrics can be illuminating, but it’s important for property managers and leasing professionals to stay mindful of their efficiency. If the leasing office is struggling to keep up with the volume of leads (an admittedly good problem to have) then expectations need to shift accordingly -- that Call Back in Under 60 Seconds rule looks more like a burden than a boon to business if dozens of leads are rolling in each hour. Developing a relationship is another important tactic highlighted in the ROI study from Buildium. Leads are more likely to convert if they feel comfortable talking with managers and feel that their questions are being answered.

Your listing can only do so much of the work when it comes to finding a renter. Even if your apartment listing has the best photos, great descriptions and a list of amenities to rival the most exclusive apartments in Chicago, renters who don’t hear back from leasing teams or landlords will continue with their search. So, don’t get lost in the shuffle and make sure to follow up as quickly as possible with leads to make the most impact from your Chicago apartment listings.