The next best thing to in-person tours, virtual showings are a great tool for leasing agents, especially for prospects who aren’t quite ready for in-person showings or are moving from a different area. In fact, 71% of property management companies said their priority for virtual showings had increased since March 2020, and 64% believe they are here to stay based on a survey conducted by AppFolio.
While virtual showings will never completely replace in-person showings, they’re a convenient option for our leads, and also save our leasing team time from having to show properties to prospects who may not be serious about signing a lease yet. However, certain steps need to be taken to ensure the experience is engaging, informative, and successful.
Our team at Coastline Equity has recently completed a virtual landing page for one of our multi-family residential properties. This property, the Hillside Terrace Apartments, is currently in the process of a full renovation and it's website showcases the upgraded units and common area amenities. The Hillside Terrace Apartments are located in Torrance, CA and showcase some of the finest amenities in the South Bay Community. Our Virtual Tours have allowed our team to showcase this one of a kind property.
Here are 5 tips to maximize your virtual showings:
1.) Implement the Right Technology:
Today’s advanced technology offerings make virtual showings almost as good as being there in-person, which is why it’s important to choose a solution that can offer the best experience and return on your investment. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype can make it easy to connect with a prospect 1:1 and show the unit, however, they also have their limitations.
You can make the experience even better by using tools that are directly integrated with your existing leasing technology to offer live video walkthroughs of units or create interactive 3D models to host on your website, and offer a seamless virtual showing experience from start to finish. For instance, we utilize AppFolio Virtual Showings to schedule and run directly from within our AppFolio property management software.
Having the proper technology in place can really pay off in the long run and reduce the potential for glitches and errors, which can lead to a poor customer experience and lost revenue. In addition, make sure you’re using a phone or camera with high-quality video and audio, and that you have a sound internet connection.
2.) Set the Stage:
Treat your virtual showing just the same as your in-person showing. Make sure the space is clean, tidy, and well-lit. Low lighting levels could reduce the quality of your video and make it harder for the viewer to see the unit. Consider investing in some mobile lighting tools that you could use for every showing. You should also think about ways you can spruce up the space, like adding indoor plants, new light fixtures, or anything to make it stand out. When it’s time to conduct the tour, hold your phone horizontally to offer the best angle to the viewer. If your unit has a spectacular balcony view or a beautifully designed kitchen, start the tour there so you can grab their attention and wow them right away.
3.) Be Inviting:
Talking on video can sometimes feel awkward, cold, or distant. Get more comfortable by practicing your walkthrough several times before the showing. When you’re ready to start the tour, be sure to be welcoming, enthusiastic, and personable. Your prospect may feel awkward too, so it’s important to connect with them on a personal level and make them feel at ease. Kicking off the tour with a couple of icebreaker questions, like “How is your day going?” or “Where are you from?” can help build the human connection you’d normally initiate with in-person showings.
4.) Focus on the Details:
During the tour, be as descriptive as possible when describing and showing the details. Things like updated appliances, marble countertops, or a new AC unit can all help sell the space and drive prospects to sign a lease faster. Ask viewers if there are any areas they’re particularly interested in, and spend more time going into detail there. Take your time when showing these details by slowing and smoothly panning over each one with your camera. Additionally, you can provide your prospects with a detailed PDF after the tour with all of the specifics you covered, so they can review anything they may have missed.
5.) Leave Time for Questions:
When talking on camera, it can be easy to dominate the conversation. Remember to pause to let viewers ask questions during and after the tour, and to take your time when speaking. If prospects feel like they fully understand and know everything about the unit and community, they will be more likely to move onto the next phase of the leasing process, rather than go back and forth with your team answering questions.
Virtual showings can be a great way to show prospective units and fill vacancies from anywhere. With the right tools, preparation, and steps, you can ensure they’re a win-win for your customers and your business. Along with virtual showings, you can also offer self-guided tours to attract more serious leads and improve your lead-to-lease conversion.