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real estateLeads are the lifeblood of the real estate industry. An agent’s ability to convert prospects to clients and generate new leads could be the difference between excelling in their career or falling behind. A solid lead generation program can help you increase your marketing power and start converting those potential clients into happy customers. To help you strengthen your lead generation program, Homes.com recently released an ebook filled with strategies for real estate professionals: “Talkin’ About Lead Generation.”

Lead generation is not just one single event, but a cycle that goes beyond just capturing and converting prospects. Last week, we discussed three ways to develop a strong lead generation strategy — develop your online presence, create compelling content, and quality before quantity. This week we’re sharing three more tips for strengthening your lead generation routine to get rock star results.

1. Be a First Responder
Internet and mobile technology have dramatically increased the speed of follow up and, more importantly, the expectation of consumers about when they expect to hear back from you. NAR found that almost half of all internet home buyers selected their agent because they were the first to respond to a web inquiry. According to a recent survey, 88 percent of buyers expect a response within one hour, but only 30 percent of agents met these expectations. Even still, some buyer inquiries are never answered. Responding immediately to a lead ensures that the property is still fresh in the client’s mind.  Making the first contact with these leads allows you to guide them through the process of buying a new home, so when they’re ready to take that leap, you’ll be there.

While responding to leads quickly is important, often times it’s difficult to follow up promptly. Consider creating pre-written texts or emails that you can send as inquiries come in. Let the lead know that you’ve received their request and will be contacting them shortly. If you aren’t available, there are a number of services that can bridge the time gap and help you follow up with new leads quickly. A lead answering service is just one example. Services such as these answer messages from inbound leads when you are unavailable, ensuring that each person who contacts you will be followed up with promptly. A call tracking service is another example. Through this service, when a prospect calls, the phone number, lead source, time of day, location, caller name, and more are captured. Call tracking is a simple, efficient way to track all of your marketing efforts to see which is the most effective. Many agents who implement call tracking find that the investment pays for itself by “finding” lost leads that were slipping through the cracks.

2. Be Social
Social media is a marketing vehicle that can’t be ignored. According to Digimind, nearly 47 percent of consumers rely on social networks to guide them on purchasing decisions. As more and more consumers rely on social networks for insight on their next purchase, you as a real estate professional should be at the forefront of these opportunities. While some agents question the usefulness of social media, more have found that it surpasses traditional channels in value and effectiveness. Many use social media to generate local exposure, increase web and blog traffic, build their contact list, answer real estate questions, and connect with buyers and sellers.

While many agents realize the vast potential of social media, most feel they don’t have the time to manage multiple social networks. If you find yourself too busy to write social posts or research the best social techniques, there are many third party tools in the market that are geared toward facilitation and establishing a social and online strategy for real estate professionals. One example is Homes.com Social, which provides and supports agents with tools to create engaging conversations with clients and prospects.

3. Set Goals
The key to effective planning is defining your desired outcome. Determine what you want your end result to be in order to develop your lead generation strategies. If you kept a list of clients that turned into closed business and referrals and identified their source, you would be able to determine which lead generation activities are creating the best opportunities. Consistent tracking is the only way to evaluate the quality of your lead generation strategies.

Once you’ve set your goals, begin looking at your conversion rates to see if you are meeting your numbers. In real estate, there are a number of conversions you should be tracking, such as conversions of “suspects” to prospects, prospects to appointments, appointments to clients, clients to sales, and sales to referrals and repeat buyers. At the end of each month, track the number of conversions for each goal. By using a simple chart to track these conversions, you’ll be able to clarify your strengths and reveal areas that need improvement going forward.

A strong lead generation program enables top-producing agents to consistently achieve results. The real estate market and technology are always changing, but the importance of lead generation remains consistent. For even more great information on how to generate quality leads, download Homes.com’s Talkin’ About Lead Generation: Six Steps for Real Estate Rock Star Results.

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

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