Has this ever happened to you?
You’re having dinner with your family, or perhaps taking in a movie, when suddenly your phone lights up and does the happy-dance in your pocket.
You sneak a peek at your screen and discover that you have just received a lead notification.
“Great!” you say as your face lights up almost as much as your screen. “I’ll get to this after dinner or when this movie is over,” you say to yourself.
Well, you know what happens next. Life gets in the way and your intention to return that inquiry innocently sails away to the land of lost socks! Or even worse, by the time you finished dessert and called back an hour later, 12 other agents have already eaten your lunch – meaning they have ALREADY called!
In fact, about 48% of all online leads go completely unanswered!
In today’s fast-paced interconnected world lead inquires that aren’t addressed quickly are as good as dead. That’s especially if you are subscribing to a service that has sent that same lead to dozens of other agents.
Facebook, Google, YouTube, Zillow, Realtor.com and other 3rd party lead aggregators … all have plenty of leads to send to for a price. But what’s the point if you don’t respond in time or at all?
Getting leads isn’t the challenge anymore. The real challenge is responding and converting those leads into actual business – especially when you consider conversions average around 2%!
Now, I’m not saying paying for leads is a bad thing, nor can I comment on the quality of those leads but this I can say:
- Most online leads are 6-12 months out from making a sale/purchase.
- You still need to respond quickly regardless.
- You absolutely need a system/strategy to follow-up, incubate and convert those leads over time (Want to know more about systemizing processes in your business? Read this article by the founder of Agent Inner Circle. )
(If I were you, I would check out http://3-Steps.com … Step One of our system teaches you how to generate an endless supply of quality leads whenever you choose.)
So what system or strategy do I need to implement, you might be asking? Well, here are FOUR proven best practices to get the most out of the money you spend on leads and help you convert them from online suspects into real life prospects.
1. Speed Is Everything!
… remember that late 80’s movie Top Gun when Tom Cruise aka Maverick says … “I feel a need for speed”? Well with internet leads it’s very similar in that you need to be thinking Speed to Lead!
The sooner you can reply to an inquiry the better … and I’m talking minutes here, NOT hours!
Remember, if you don’t call, your competitor will. So you need a system in place that can respond when you can’t. At a bare minimum an autoresponder, a text message – anything to acknowledge that lead and let them know that you are there and ready to help.
One of the big developments in real estate is A.I. or Artificial Intelligence. These “bots” can mimic live-time text message responses that almost feel life-like. And if questions get too complicated, they will automatically hand over the thread to you.
Bots can still feel impersonal, though. Another great option for a lot of agents are concierge services you can use to connect with leads right away, so prospective clients hear from a real person – these services can also categorize your leads- see step #2 below! It’s kind of like having your own inside sales team. We even have a contest for free services from a company that provides this service- you can sign up at the end of this article.
Another thing to keep in mind when responding to a lead inquiry, is that you always respond using the same method they inquired with – meaning if they sent a text, you reply with a text, if they emailed you – you respond with email. If they phoned you – respond with a phone call.
2. Qualify Your Leads
… Instead of wasting time and money chasing every lead, top agents sort their leads based upon how ready they are to take action. This is something you can do too and this is as easy as ABC!
- A-leads are ready to do something now – they have to buy/sell and are serious.
- B-leads are motivated as well but will not be ready for up to six months.
- C-leads have a pulse and are not sure when they will take action but at least they have raised their hand high enough for you to notice.
Of course, call those A-leads right away. For the other categories, you still need to stay in touch. Add them to your database (you can categorize them in separate lists), and recognize the length of time you’ll need to stay in touch for them to be ready to take action. Don’t let them slip away, remind them (at least monthly) who you are, and that you’re ready to help (see Step #4).
3. Be Prepared
Real estate is a numbers game and the better you know your area, the comparable homes for sale, the market stats, etc., the higher your odds of being able to sell/list something for that lead.
When you actually make a connection with the lead, being well versed and prepared also makes you look like the professional you are. Remember they are reaching out for help, so being prepared helps you both!
As we mentioned at the very beginning when it comes to online leads, many are in the looking/research phase and can be 6-12 months or even longer away from making a decision.
This is where having some sort of CRM or follow-up system is crucial to incubate that lead and stay in touch. Drip email campaigns, video email, a monthly newsletter like ServiceForLife.com are all great ways to do this. And don’t forget picking up the phone and making a real connection adds to strengthening that bond between you and your prospective client.
This whole idea is based on responding to the lead quickly and then consistently following up with them from there. It’s the basics of how you do business in sales. So don’t let those leads walk off!
You can set up a system on your own, or hire an assistant whose main job is touching base with your leads. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Or if you don’t have the time, or the money for that- what about trying a service that does it for you? A great option is RealContact who offers a 24-7 lead conversion service staffed by trained, full-time U.S.-based concierges.