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How do you convert your leads into clients? According to Lisa Gartman, a REALTOR® with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Leading Edge Properties in Petaluma, Calif, responding quickly is the name of the game. “More importantly,” Gartman notes, “you have to be able to provide relevant information.” Read on for more of Gartman’s invaluable insight on gaining leads and turning them into tangible results.

Gartman_LisaLisa Gartman
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Leading Edge Properties
Petaluma, Calif.

We noticed that realtor.com® changed one of its lead systems. Were the new features of use to you?
The new features that have been integrated into realtor.com®’ s Connection for Co-Brokerage lead system have been instrumental when it comes to converting leads into clients more successfully. The new information that’s passed through with the lead offers more knowledge about the consumer and their interests, allowing me to engage more quickly. All of this goes a long way toward preparing myself for the conversation, which is all about not having to ask questions of the prospective buyer when it comes to what they’re looking for.

What information are you getting with your leads now that you didn’t have before?
When a lead comes in, I get an email that includes the person’s name, email address and phone number—all of which have been verified. I also get a search history that provides a snapshot of recent search activity so that I can see the price point the prospective buyer is looking at as well as which areas and what types of homes they’re interested in. Other recently viewed properties are listed by address, MLS number and when they were last viewed, a nice reminder to make contact as soon as possible since every minute counts.

How is this helping you establish credibility?
Based on what I see my buyer leads looking at, I can often reach out right away and let them know about an open house. Or, if the home is being shown by appointment only, I can determine whether they have time that day or the next to go view the property. My goal is to get my buyer leads to a place where I can provide more information, which goes a long way toward establishing credibility. The basic idea is to get them somewhere where you can stay in communication until they become active with you—whether that’s now or two years down the road. You can’t change someone’s timeline, but you can augment their experience by providing information based on where they are in the process.

Do you consider yourself a quick responder to the leads you get?
Responding quickly is the name of the game, but more importantly, you have to be able to provide relevant information. Whether you pick up the phone and call or send an email, it’s not to just thank them for the inquiry. Providing pertinent information shows that you’re actively listening by paying attention to their needs. I’m constantly hearing from clients that the reason they chose me is due to the fact that I responded as quickly as I did with the knowledge and information I had that was relevant to their needs.

Are you growing a bigger business using online marketing?
While the real estate process is initiated online more often than not, building business on the Web is a crucial piece of the puzzle. But it’s also important to take advantage of face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions. I recently learned that a neighbor had incorporated a parcel of land into their property—two separate purchases—something the city wishes more owners would do since they don’t necessarily have the funds to take care of all these parcels of land, so I’ve since been in touch with the city to see how I can help. I’m also building my business through farming specific areas and market demographics and paying attention to lead generation to continue to feed the pipeline. There are many ways to build business, and while there may be a learning curve involved, it’s crucial that you incorporate best practices and commit to them while not being afraid to take on new things.

Do you think Web companies should include advocating the use of REALTORS® in their commercials?
REALTORS® are the local experts and they’re also held to a higher standard, so I think it’s important that these points are advocated via Web companies. Being a REALTOR® is not a job that can be taken lightly. You have to commit to the honor you’re holding. In fact, you must go above and beyond, always striving to do the right thing, no matter the situation.

Do you notice a difference with realtor.com® in how consumers spend their time searching?
Based on statistics, prospective buyers who are incorporating realtor.com® into their home search are spending more time with the site and being more efficient when researching the opportunities out there, which is advantageous for me since I’m getting better quality leads. Consumers are spending an average of four minutes per property, which translates to getting richer information.

Do the folks at realtor.com® help you get things set up and working?
When you choose to work with a company such as realtor.com®, you’re really working in collaboration with them. Not only do they help us get these programs up and running, they continue to pay attention to us and help us along the way so that we’re all working together to help the consumer. In addition, our account rep pays attention to me as a business person, helping me serve the areas in which I work.

Did you notice the ad campaigns directed to consumers to get accurate data on listed homes from realtor.com®?
Yes. I believe these ads will go a long way toward helping consumers understand the value realtor.com® places on accurate information, in much the same way they do when searching for the perfect home. With listing data updated every 15 minutes, realtor.com® is taking a proactive approach to the conversation pertaining to the accuracy of data on the Web today.

For more information, visit www.marketing.realtor.com.