3 Tips for Quickly Adopting (and Excelling at) New Tech

When the pandemic put a pause on in-person work and guided tours, Seattle-based Security Properties Group knew they had to act fast.

“In March of 2020, every office shut down. But people still needed to move, there were still people looking for apartments,” said Laurel Zacher, Vice President of Marketing and Talent Development. “We had to act quickly to be able to continue to lease apartments even though physically we couldn’t take anybody on a tour.”

Up until that point, SPG had only offered accompanied, in-person tours — meaning they had to quickly come up with a solution. Under Zacher’s guidance, in just two weeks SPG put together Your Tour, Your Way™ — a fully functional self-guided tour program.

So, how did they do it? Zacher stopped by Knock’s Renter Obsessed podcast to share the story of Your Tour, Your Way™.

Use what you know.

First, SPG took stock of what they already had in order to maximize existing tools and infrastructure. This would also cut down on crucial training time.

For example, the company was already using Zoom and was comfortable with it, and felt like they could teach their site teams — who were at that time only using it for training — how to master it and be the ones leading Zoom.

After some quick training, SPG’s teams were able to use Zoom to take prospects on video tours of their communities.

Figure out small changes that can have a big impact.

In addition to maximizing existing tools, SPG thought about solutions they could buy and implement quickly.

Now that teams were trained on Zoom, SPG worked to provide teams with mobile devices, so they could walk prospects through video tours. “We knew that we were going to need to get more mobile devices out into the teams’ hands, so we worked with our IT department. And we knew we were going to have to train them on how to do it well, so we worked with Talent Development.”

They also knew that for some prospects, their biggest chance for success was to get them inside the apartment to see how great it was, Zacher explained. “That’s where a self-guided, self-managed tour program was born. And we just really had to think through, what can we do? How can we do this? What does every step of that process look like?”

That thought process also led to SPG implementing electronic deadbolts with one-time access codes, which enabled prospects to let themselves into the units they were touring — a fast solution that wouldn’t add extra work for leasing teams.

“Be comfortable with change.”


“In marketing you need to be comfortable with change” said Zacher. “You need to be comfortable with risk taking and then measuring, looking at the data. This was a classic experience where you had to be comfortable taking a leap, using what you know.”

Using Knock’s self-scheduling tool, SPG was able to immediately change their scheduling options to include only in-person self-guided or virtual. They were even able to include a disclaimer letting prospects know that “in-person” meant that they would be self-guided tours. “And it worked really well,” Zacher said. “People were still coming out, they loved being able to schedule for the time they desired.”

Now two years later, SPG continues iterating and improving Your Tour, Your Way™, gaining valuable insights along the way (next up: adding artificial intelligence into the leasing experience). “Taking that leap and trying something new is the greatest gift that you can have,” said Zacher, “and it’s great advancement for your teams.”

Listen to our full conversation with Laurel Zacher on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

New episodes of Renter Obsessed are released every other week. If you’d like to join one of our live conversations, contact host Sydney Webber at swebber@knockcrm.com. And for more discussion opportunities with multifamily marketing professionals, join our growing Slack community.

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