BY DAVID KINNAIRD, PRESIDENT, ESSENSYS NORTH AMERICA
Part 2 of the free eBook: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Flexible Workspace Business
Promoting your space and generating and qualifying leads will bring you to a workspace operator’s number one goal: a booked prospect tour. Now is your time to shine. This is the point in the lifecycle to captivate your prospect, show off your workspace and close the deal.
Define Your Goals
It’s not all smooth sailing, as you may have experienced. Having a process in place to promote tours and manage bookings will improve the experience and result in greater business opportunity.
First and foremost, set clearly defined goals and objectives. Aim to complete the booking process – from the time a leadcomes in to qualifying it and booking the tour – in less than five minutes. The most efficient way to achieve this is to definea workflow and leverage tools that push the lead through the sales cycle, such as auto-responses, task assignments andreminders.
Do the math. Of all the leads you capture, what percentage of those become tours, which then become deals won? Havingprocesses in place and workspace management software that help you measure this data will help you turn your salescycle into a science.
Identify Your Challenges
Conduct a website audit and evaluate if there are sufficient resources to pique the interest of a perusing prospect. Forexample, could you be missing potential tour bookings because you don’t have a web to lead form? Make your life easierand capture as many pre-tour details as possible. It will help you curate a tour focused on the prospect’s needs. Take it astep further and sync your web to lead form with your CRM to facilitate lead entry into your database and sales cycle. Automatically send tour bookingconfirmations and calendar invites to the prospect and the sales rep within a pre-defined time frame. Be sure to include your site address, includingthe floor number, to avoid confusion.
Consider what visibility prospects have into your workspace from your website. Does it entice them to book a tour? With the development of Googlemaps’ street view, you are able to see the actual entrance of a building from the web, and in some cases, even enter the building and tour the lobby.There’s no need to go that far, but photos of meeting rooms, suites, coworking areas, the kitchen/coffee station, etc., are a must. Every operatorshould have (more) inventory available to see online, giving prospects better insight. Get fancy and include a virtual tour video. Track your websiteanalytics to see who is clicking on your website inventory.
If you’re fortunate, you’ll have more tour requests than vacancies. The challenge here is making the choice on whether to bring them in and show yourworkspace anyway or reply that there is no vacancy available. Almost always, opt to show them the space. The fact of the matter is that a tenant couldbreak a lease or a prospect could be flexible. Either way, get them into the building and have the conversation.
Operators must determine what represents a large enquiry, who on their staff will handle those enquiries and what the process will be to managethem. Leads with larger revenue potential should be handled personally and tailored as much as possible. It’s easier said than done for a single siteoperator who is pulled in multiple directions overseeing other operational requirements. Tools that enable mobile lead management are a must.
Everyone is busy nowadays and things can fall through the cracks; including a tour of your workspace. It’s imperative to use any means possible toremind your prospect of the upcoming tour. The last thing you want is a no-show – no one has time for that. Schedule reminders via SMS, e-mail andeven a personal phone call, and offer the option to reschedule if the original time is no longer convenient.
Once the tour is scheduled and confirmed and you’ve captured all of the necessary information, you have the means to tailor the tour to exactly whatthe prospect is seeking. First impressions are everything. You need to up your game and make them feel special. The tour should be booked in bothyour calendar and the workspace calendar so your entire team knows who’s coming that day and can greet visitors accordingly. Keep pens and padsavailable at reception in case they want to take notes. Offer them coffee, tea, water, beer (if that’s your thing!) and snacks.
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Even if you think the space sells itself, the market is more competitive than you imagine. Check and double check that everything is in tip-top shape.Stage the office space if you must. Don’t be lazy about it. A tour is generally straightforward, but have a plan before you take off through the space.Make a checklist of areas to show the prospect based on the tour request form they previously filled out. If they’re seeking a three desk private office,have multiple options ready to show.
Try to keep the tour brief but thorough, showing them as much of your workspace as you can without boring them. At this stage, everything is key, from the IT server room to the coffee and reception area. Make light conversation with customers you run into along the tour, but don’t divert the attention from the prospect. Provide your guest with a brochure and a business card as a takeaway and offer the contact information of existing customers who are willing to give (a good) recommendation for working out of your shared workspace versus the competition.
Follow-up is Key
In the UK, some space seekers may have six to seven viewings before making up their mind. In a faster moving market, such as NYC, for example,small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups tend to move fast and furious, especially when commercial real estate can be snatched up quickly by thenext person in line if a commitment isn’t made.
Immediately following the tour, send the prospect a thank you note and a proposal with a license agreement and execution page for easy signing toclose the deal. But we won’t get ahead of ourselves. Next in this lead to cash series, we’ll look at Sales and Pipeline Management in the flexibleworkspace.
Continue to Part III: Managing an Effective Sales Pipeline in the Shared Workspace
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