Internet Real Estate Leads: Reads and Seeds
Gizmos, apps, tools, data-banks, social media accounts. Scores and scores of endless technologies for real estate agents, and some still don't have a thriving business, yet possess enough real estate tech to cause a personal technology meltdown.
So, what's it worth, having all those high-tech gadgets, apps, contact data-bases and tracking tools? High tech tools can be immensely helpful to growing your business, but only if a real estate agent applies their usage properly. You may want to explore more Realtor Tips when you're done with this article.
How Real Estate Agents Fail - Leads
First of all, I hate the term "lead" though used universally throughout a multitude of sales industries. This is were a lot of agents will stop reading, "yeah, yeah". To succeed at using technology to grow your business (and in this age, it's a must) you have to grasp the fact that no matter what technology you're using, it's always going to be about rapid response, reaching out and "planting seeds".
My business partner Marty Snyder (a SW Ohio Realtor) and I coach a state-wide team of "E-lead" agents here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty. Our personal business comes solely from the internet too, along with the personal referrals our internet-born clients, and Marty is one of the top 5% of Ohio Realtors. That should tell you something.
Would You Believe a Harvard Business Review?
Let me spell out some basic truths for you:
Harvard Business Review research indicates that many firms are too slow to follow up on these leads. They audited 2,241 U.S. companies, measuring how long each took to respond to a web-generated test lead. Although 37% responded to their lead within an hour, and 16% responded within one to 24 hours, 24% took more than 24 hours—and 23% of the companies never responded at all. The average response time among firms that responded within 30 days was a whopping 42 hours.
Would You Believe MIT About Real Estate Internet Leads?
Other studies, as with MIT, (probably the smartest think-tank in the world) demonstrate how and why so many agents fail at working real estate leads. Keep in mind, Realtors that do a lot of business have more experience and more testimonials, further growing their business and tend to take much better care of clients like my business partner Marty Snyder does.
In fact, this study's revealing strategies is so key to working real estate internet leads, I'm going to be quizzing agents on our team to see who gets to stay on our team and keep receiving business from us. I have no time or patience for narcissistic "know-it-all agents that don't listen to coaching. If I'm going to hand them business, they need to handle it pro-actively, passionately, professionally and with consistency.
It's just the same methods I've been teaching agents for years, but it gets easy to weed out non-performing agents.
The 3 Most Important Rules for Success:
Agents "blow it' for the simplest of reasons when they could be lining up clients and closings. Here's the most important "rules of the game" to stay focused on.
Rapid Response: This is probably the single most important rule for converting leads into clients. Every 5 minutes that goes by that you don't respond, your odds of converting a lead go down 20%. Do you really want to wait 1/2 hour to an hour? Or several hours later? The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.
Many agents tell me "I was at a closing" or "I was at a showing". Well, that's a lame excuse. First of all, at a closing you're fairly useless though expected to be there, or at a showing, simply direct your potential buyers to where the basement or next room of interest is and take two minutes to acknowledge your lead. Just make a quick call or text, let them know you're with a client and ask for a bit of time, be specific in asking when a good time to talk/connect is.
Here's some suggested verbiage: "Just got your request about 114 S. Main St. Great house! I'm with a client, may I call you in about an hour?" or perhaps "Just got your request about 114 S. Main St. Great house, have all the details but with a client, can I call you at 2 pm?" or similar.
Consistent Follow Up that Doesn't Give Up: In addition to agents "blowing it" with Rapid Response, some agents just can't handle the idea that they may have to text, email and call 6-9 times before getting a response, and sometimes will never get a response. It is absolutely a numbers game. Over 80% of leads don't respond until after follow up number 6. So, be prepared to take 30 seconds to 1 minute to shoot a text, email or quick call and not get an answer until later down the road.
Agents get busy, I completely understand that. Busy with business, meetings and also personal life. There is a rhyme and reason though, of when to text, email and also when to make an actual phone call. I suggest texting always, especially early on in the follow up process. Make a call first if you can, but always follow up your call with a text, letting the lead know you left them a voice mail. My question is, do you really want the business or not? Sometimes, people realize they have a voice mail, but they are at work too, and text is a wonderful and quick means of acknowledging and communicating.
Best times and days to call: Studies, as with MIT's study of six real estate companies, 15,000 leads and over 100,000 phone calls show clearly that the best times to call are 8 am - 9 am, and 4 pm - 6 pm. for contacting and qualifying leads. The best days are clearly Wednesday and Thursday. Does that mean if you get a lead on Monday you don't call, text and email? Absolutely not, reach out and attempt contact with text and emails, or call if a number is provided. But to maximize your lead-to-client conversion ratio, schedule follow up time accordingly for best results.
Again, review this amazing study of real estate internet leads by MIT and put these findings into practice and you'll be enjoying a higher conversion ratio, enjoy greater success and realize a growing business. Lastly, staying in contact after you close, even years after the fact and asking for referrals will produce a lot of personal referrals over time. It takes a while for seeds to sprout, longer still for a sprout to become a fruit bearing plant. It's like gardening. Correct follow up is like fertilizing, knowing when to plant, consistently watering in hopes of a harvest.
Agents that convert 5-7% of their leads into clients can make substantial incomes, particularly if they are staying in contact and growing the number of personal referrals. That's as little as 1 out of 14-15 leads to 1 out of 20 leads. You only need about 12-15 leads a month to have a closing a month if you're doing it correctly, some agents will convert 10% or higher. If you're staying in touch and and asking for referrals, within just a couple of years, many agents see 24-25 closings a year, have internet leads and half personal returning referrals. Something to think about.
BONUS: Working Winter Leads! Maximizing Your Spring Harvest!
I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to follow up and work with your leads over the winter season. Many agents let their leads "fall by the wayside" during the months of November through January and February. This is a huge mistake. Sending them market reports, wishing happy holidays, articles about pre-approval, protecting credit, different types of loan products etc. and letting them know you'll be staying in touch is key to having the most successful Spring through Summer season. Don't be concerned if many follow ups go by without hearing back. Stay the course and experience the fruit.
Send them an E-card, say hello, point out properties you think are overpriced and under-priced, make lender referrals and Cc the lenders. Have talks with your lenders about tag-teaming during the follow up phase and ensure these lenders are referring these buyers back to you.