I had a job selling kitchen knives for a few months in college. The earning potential was great, but completely reliant on my ability to get referrals (aka, strangers) to let me come into their home with a bag full of really expensive, really sharp knives and convince them to upgrade from the knives they were already perfectly happy with.
That’s one of the great things about real estate. Everyone who submits a lead request already has at least some interest in buying or selling a home. And with over 1.2 million REALTORS® competing for conversions, it’s important to make the most of every incoming lead.
Since 92 percent of home buyers use the internet during their home search (NAR 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), being able to convert internet leads is a crucial skill. One of the most important things to remember is that making the conversion from internet lead to client requires good timing, guidance, and consistent follow-up.
Get’em While They’re Hot
There are a lot of studies showing how crucial it is to reach out to new leads as soon as possible (preferably immediately). For example, if you respond to a lead within five minutes, the odds of connecting with them are 100 times better than if you reach out thirty minutes after the lead is submitted. However, your busy schedule probably doesn’t leave room to personally answer every lead within the crucial five-minute time frame, so what can you do?
Start by setting up text and email alerts that notify you immediately when a new lead comes in, regardless of whether you are currently able to respond. If you work with a partner, make sure they get copied on your leads. Whoever is available first can reach out to your new lead, minimizing the chances that the lead will go stale.
Next, set up your email to automatically reply to incoming leads. By doing this you insure that your lead gets something from you right away, even when you aren’t available. A message saying something like, “thank you for contacting me! I’m putting together some information you might find useful and will send it over to you by the end of today. Is there a good time I can call you to go over everything?” will be applicable to most leads. This format can also help you start a conversation with your lead by letting them know you’re actively working on something for them and by giving them a question to answer.
Want tips on what to do when you get a lead on the phone? Check out The Perfect First Minute: Chris Smith’s Advanced Lead Conversion Infographic.
There are also a lot of apps available to set up auto-response messages for leads that come through your phone. Look for one that lets you set up text replies for both incoming text messages and calls. To find one you like, just go to your device’s app store and type “auto sms” in the search bar.
Another great way to respond to your leads faster is with Homes.com Lead Concierge. With this new service, a Lead Concierge Assistant will answer your Homes.com phone and email leads as they come in, pre-screen them, and forward the qualified callers to you!
Keep Them Simmering on the Back Burner
Some of the leads you contact will need a little time before they’re ready to make a purchase decision, but there’s no reason you can’t keep those leads engaged until they’re ready if you have the correct systems in place. Create a strategy to familiarize all your leads with what your service has to offer so you can convert them in the future.
You can start by developing a consistent presence for your leads through email and social media outreach. Try implementing a few lead nurturing campaigns based around your primary niches and transaction types. For example, if you work with a lot of move-up-buyers, make a campaign that addresses the unique challenges of being both buyer and seller. Don’t forget to properly label and categorize your leads as you add them to your database. This will enable better message targeting down the road.
Use a drip email system to share information and resources that your leads will need to know before buying or selling their home, as well as to show how you fit into the buying/selling process. Also include simple messages, offering a friendly greeting and a reminder that you’re there to help. The important thing is building consistent follow-up emails.
Encourage leads to follow you socially for exclusive news and resources. Once you convert a lead into a social follower, you will start popping up in their social feed. Share interesting area updates, news, and local events—things your leads will be interested in sharing with their friends and family. The more you get your followers to interact with you, the more you will show up in their feed and the less likely they are to forget you when they’re ready to transact.
Keeping in touch with your leads is just one part of the internet lead conversion process. Subscribe to the blog or check back for part 2 and 3 of the series. They will cover how building your brand and proving your value can help you convert internet leads into clients.