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By Glenn Houck

RISMEDIA, April 30, 2008–Everyone is finally realizing that responding to Internet leads quickly is the key to improving lead to close conversion rates. Speed wins, when it comes to Internet leads. This much is certain.

houck_glenn.jpgWhy does speed matter so much when attempting to convert Internet leads?

1. Internet buyers demand instant gratification.
Instant gratification isn’t just a “real estate” issue, it’s an Internet issue. A web browser is instantly able to browse every listing and see multiple photos on those listings. Buyers can view sales comps and get instant home valuations. They can pull neighborhood and school reports. If they don’t find the information they wants on a specific broker’s site, they can just hit the back button and there are hundreds of other sites to choose from with similar content.

When buyers complete a form to get more information, they want that information now – not tomorrow. And, if you don’t call them immediately, their “back buttons” are still there for them to find another option to get the information they desire.

2. No Internet lead is exclusive.
Internet real estate buyers visit five sites on average and fill out three request forms. So, at a minimum, there are three Realtors® competing for each Internet buyer. Who will that buyer do business with? California Association of Realtors® reports that 90% of buyers end up doing business with the first person who responds. This means that the first company to respond is much more likely to win the client.

We have seen a 30% increase in lead-to-close conversion just by moving from a 30-minute average response time to a 5-minute average response time. Since the median response time in real estate is actually 16 hours, most brokers can double their conversion by moving to an immediate response process.

3. Internet leads have lower conversion rates than traditional leads.
Most Internet leads aren’t thinking about making an offer on a home, at the moment they fill out the web form. They are just beginning the process. If they don’t hear from an agent immediately, they quickly forget which form they filled out, and what they were inquiring about.

Responding within minutes solves this problem, because the buyer’s inquiry is still “top of mind,” and you can begin your relationship with the client prior to the client making any additional inquiries.

It’s not easy to put a repeatable process in place where you respond to each and every inquiry within minutes, but 5-10 minutes average response times should be your benchmark in order to maximize your Internet lead conversion.

Glenn Houck is co-founder of LeadQual, LLC, a leading provider of Lead Qualification and Live Transfer Leads. LeadQual also provides Paid Search (CPC) Management and SEO Consulting for large brokers.

For more information, visit www.LeadQual.com/RealEstate.

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