By Amy Chorew
Using the internet to capture real estate leads can be an exciting way to earn new business. It can also be a major undertaking for those without the training, understanding or systems to manage online lead generation.
According to NAR, 90% of consumers are researching homes online. This is before they ever pick up a phone or reach out to a real estate agent. The rapidly evolving online world makes it imperative that you create a system to grab and retain the attention of today’s home buyer.
If you have hired a lead coordinator, bought smart phones for your sales associates and created back office systems to distribute leads, you may believe that your job is done. You would be wrong. Building a successful online lead generation system takes time, skill and management.
Shift your focus from lead generating for a moment to lead management. How are you handling these leads and what could you do better? Let’s begin by overcoming a few myths or beliefs you might have and find solutions that allow for better lead management and performance.
Leads Management Myths
Myth 1 - It is about lead generation, not lead management
Wrong. How you manage your incoming leads is far more critical to the success of your overall lead system. Stop worrying about bringing more leads in if you are not focusing on the cultivation of the leads you have.
Many real estate professionals make the mistake of taking the lead, making a phone call and then tossing it aside. Cultivating a lead requires time and effort. Whether the consumer is interested in purchasing one week or one year from now still necessitates a system where you remain top of mind. Use touch point emails and phone calls to build a relationship with your potential client. Offer valuable information that positions you as the local real estate expert.
Myth 2 - Electronic automated response is a substitute for picking up the phone
As marketers, we are always looking for that silver bullet; the one system or tool that will solve all of our communication problems. While automation is beneficial, it is only a complementary solution to human interaction. As our world continues to move at a faster pace than ever before, we have the tendency as marketers to automate everything we possibly can. This is a huge strategic error in converting leads.
Automatic responses and drip systems will assist in keeping you in front of your prospect, but will never build relationships the way simply picking up the phone can.
As you build your follow-up system, make sure weekly calls are part of your strategy. Intersperse calls with emails, direct mail and any social media campaigns.
Myth 3 - The vast majority of leads are junk
The truth is; online leads can be misunderstood because many real estate professionals are ill prepared to handle them. They dive into online lead generation with no concept of what it takes to incubate and covert this challenging lead.
For example, if a lead says they do not want to buy for four months, the typical salesperson will give up after only a few weeks. If a lead says they want to have information on financing, instead of sending articles and tips, agents set up a search and send a list of properties. In order to convert a lead, you must understand the needs of the consumer.
• Purchase the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and absorb the statistics to better understand the consumer market segment.
• Interview buyers and sellers in your market to find out their buying and selling habits.
50% of online leads will not convert into clients for at least 12 to 24 months. Create a procedure that offers insight into the buying/selling process for a full two years.
Myth 4 - Sales people automatically know how to convert an online lead
The average real estate professional does not step into the business with a background in converting online leads. Sales managers must take a proactive stance in training sales people how to converse and build relationships over the phone.
A training solution includes:
• How to immediately qualify or disqualify a lead
• How to nurture and convert a lead
• Understanding what a call to action is and how to position them properly
• Creating a solid campaign that includes drip marketing, phone calls and direct mail
• Setting expectations on conversion rates and the time it will take from start to finish
Now is a good time to clean up leads that have been sitting in a contact management system. Organize, purge and get permission to email those leads. Build your system and create consistency in your communication. The online lead is counting on you.
Amy Chorew is the Vice President of Platform Development at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.
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