Whether you count yourself among the top multifamily fee managers, offer awesome apartment technologies, provide construction/rehab services, or have the latest cutting-edge operational product for multifamily owner/operators, selling your wares to enterprises that typically include more than 200 decision-makers, from leasing agents to regional vice presidents to CEOs, can be daunting.
At the AIM 2.0 Apartment Internet Marketing for Suppliers Conference, held December 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Santa Clara, Calif., more than 150 multifamily industry sales and operations professionals gathered to pinpoint some of the top strategies for utilizing video, social media, and CRM systems in order to improve and refine the multifamily vendor sales channel.
Here are eight of the top takeaways from the conference.
1. Personalize your social media. When using LinkedIn, personalize your introductions and your replies, says Robert Grossman, president of Focus Creative. Let people know why you are contacting them, and let people who are contacting you know that you remember and can place who they are and why the conversation is relevant.
2. No hard sells. Avoid being overly sales-pitchy, particularly when utilizing online social networking platforms. “If you can tell a story about how your product is helping to solve a specific problem, that’s fine,” says Mike Whaling, founder and CEO of 30 Lines and administrator of the Multifamily Technology group on LinkedIn. “If you’re just saying, ‘We are the latest and greatest,’ there is not a lot of value there, and LinkedIn group members will often strive to get those types of posters out.”
3. Present clear data. Literally. When running webinars, avoid unreadable graphics or charts. If you have to say, “I know you probably can’t read this but…,” thentake it out of the presentation, says Kara Rice, CIO and founding partner at Grace Hill. Plan for interactivity every five to eight minutes as well: Poll the audience or play a video; just keep the audience engaged.
4. Keep your eyes open. Don’t host webinars in the blind. Establish measurement metrics. What determines success is up to you, but measure something: total attendance, interaction, opt-in, cost per lead, etc. are great places to start.
5. Plan your video productions thoroughly. If you plan on using video, define your purpose and intent from the outset. Don’t shoot film just to shoot film. Some videos that achieve results are informing an audience about new executives, making a product introduction, or enticing signups to a newsletter or a conference.
6. Know your audience. Video should also be audience specific. You don’t need to have a DreamWorks level of production for a business video attempting to create new relationships. You do not need to spend that size of a budget, either.
7. Pick the right venue for the contact. When attempting to establish sales relationships at the site level (and beyond), use appropriate email and contact venues. A sales pitch to a generic resident relations email address will get deleted and engender ill will.
8. Stay away at month's end. The most important multifamily sales tip? Don’t ever, ever visit a property between the 28th and the 5th of each month. If you have to ask why, you have yet to learn the basic industry fundamentals about rent collection and its impact on operational bandwidth.