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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Erin Ruane, vice president of Sales for Homes.com.

Q: How can agents provide consumers the instant gratification they want without sacrificing too much of their time?

A: Lead response time is a prime example of today’s real estate consumer’s need for instant gratification. Time and again, we’ve seen potential clients ask questions about a listing, and the longer it takes for an agent to respond to a consumer’s inquiry, the less likely that agent is to convert the lead into a client. In fact, according to InsideSales.com, leads contacted within the first five minutes are 100 times more likely to close.

Today’s consumers are part of the “now” generation. You want a ride, you Uber. You want an answer, you Google. Real estate is no exception. Instant service has forever changed our concept of time and communication, and as a result, consumers have grown accustomed to instant gratification. Even in real estate, new technology has changed the way consumers request and receive information, making it more important than ever for agents to adapt in order to satisfy their clients’ needs.

What easy solutions can agents utilize today to be more responsive?
An easy way for you to show prospects you’re attentive to their needs is by creating automated email campaigns that immediately respond to leads, letting them know you’re looking forward to helping them. If you want an even faster connection, text messaging allows you to reach consumers with an almost 100 percent open rate. Automated texting technology allows you to send highly customizable texts that say something like, “I just got your request for info about 123 Main St. Are you available now?”

How can agents be more responsive without jeopardizing their time spent with current clients?
Juggling multiple clients, closings and showings and still being available to answer every phone and email inquiry can often be an unmanageable goal. Your attentiveness to your current client base is one of the most vital aspects of your real estate career, and nothing should jeopardize that. While technology increases consumers’ desires to receive instant access to information, it also closes the gap between you and potential new clients.

If you’re concerned about finding enough time to juggle incoming phone and email leads, there are a number of pre-screening lead services available at affordable price points, including Homes.com’s new Lead Concierge program. As Gary Keller noted, “The industry is beginning to leverage technology to improve a long-time weakness: response time.” By pre-screening your leads minutes after they come in, Lead Concierge sorts the serious buyers from the lookie-loos, saving you valuable time and connecting you with the most qualified buyers and sellers. Remember, slow response time could be the difference between gaining a new client and losing them to your competition. Five minutes and they’re gone.

For more information, please visit connect.homes.com.

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