5 Ways Realtors Can Convert Online Real Estate Leads
The Internet can make the process of generating and managing new leads for your real estate business extremely efficient and streamlined. But because it’s so easy to find leads online, converting them into clients hinges on how effectively you nurture them. It doesn’t matter if an agent has a thousand leads if none of them are converting. To get clients out of online real estate leads, the key is to get them to engage in contact and make them continue to turn to you as a resource for their home-buying needs. Here are a few best practices that will help you ensure you make the most out of every online lead.
Lead Vs Prospect
If we are being honest here, an online lead is really just a prospect until you make contact. In a world of online real estate shopping, a prospect is really not yours until you have made contact. They may have landed on your website or come from Zillow, but they have no reason to be YOUR lead until you have made contact. That is where CRMs become an indispensable tool.
1. Have a Solid CRM in Place
Many real estate agents use Client Relationship Managers (CRMs) to organize their online real estate leads. They are the most powerful tool for making the most out of online leads. There are so many agents that spend good money on CRMs only to joke that they never use them or have no idea how they work. Many agents get excited, set the software up, and then never do a thing with it. However, setting up a CRM is only the first step in converting your leads.
Being sure to choose a real estate-specific CRM is important and using one that can manage all of your leads (IDX, Zillow, Realtor.com, FaceBook, etc.) in one place is a must. However, it isn’t enough to just choose a solid one and set it up. It is important to pick one that will actually work with a chain of contact to get to get to leads first. Then, it needs to nurture them in a way that will pay off. CRMs like Buying Buddy IDX CRM offer a free demo for Realtors looking specifically to convert online leads. When you do use your CRM there are plenty of tricks to making converting online leads into clients.
How to Use a CRM to Convert Leads
Only send emails that say “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my Android” to create a personal touch. You may not be sitting in your car looking at the email when it was sent, but it will sure look like you were.
Make sure that leads are contacted immediately after they are captured with either a text message or phone call. Timing is everything!
Take the scriptedness out of your CRM messages by offering leads listings tailored to their search histories. IDX capture makes this possible.
All automated messages should contain personal, relevant information. If you want to keep leads hooked, keep it personal. No one likes robocalls, texts, or emails. Be sure every message contains the lead’s first name and wording that looks like it was written by a human instead of a computer. If your message looks like this, “These MLS listings matched your search criteria,” then you are doing it wrong. It should look like this, “Hey Paul, I was looking at the newest listings and I thought these 3 bedroom ranches would be right up your alley.”
Never spam leads; they will block you. Every time you contact them, you have to offer something of value! Whether it is news about mortgage rates, listings, or open house info, everything you send from your CRM needs to offer value. If all of your messages look like this, “I was wondering how your home search is going, give me a call…” then you are doing it wrong. It should look more like this, “Hi Pam, I saw this cute 2 bedroom condo today and thought of you [link].”
Check Your Texts
Make sure all texts come from a personal number call back number, instead of spam number (e.g. 538-00).
Use the call function. So many agents ignore the call scheduling function on their real estate CRM. Hammering out an hour or two of calling leads will quickly turn into bonds with new clients.
Use its features to create a lead capturing process tailored expressly to your best strengths as a realtor and salesperson. Keeping close track of each of your real estate leads through every step of this incredibly important decision-making process enables you to offer support, guidance, and resources where needed. It also helps you build rapport as you get to know the lead’s needs and concerns. No one likes to be treated as just another number or just another sale. Leads will close more quickly and with agents that are personal and offer value.
2. Become a Valuable Resource
Calling a lead just to check in and see where they are in the decision-making process is inefficient and represents a missed opportunity. It also noticeably places your needs before the clients. Instead, make it a point to provide something of value every time you contact online real estate leads. Give them useful, relevant information, and establish yourself as a knowledgeable point of contact that the lead can reach out to if they need to know more about anything real estate-related. This puts your leads’ needs and concerns at the forefront and will help differentiate you from other agents who, in contrast, may only call your lead to pressure them to close the sale. It also establishes you as a reliable expert who is looking out for their best interests. Every time you pick up the phone to contact your lead, make sure you’re bringing something of value to the conversation.
3. Give a Reason to Call You Back
Human curiosity can be a powerful motivator in the sales process. It’s important to accurately and thoroughly answer any question your real estate leads may have. However, you also want your leads to have a reason to keep contacting you for more information. This is why leaving your voicemails or email replies on a “cliffhanger” may become a powerful tool to motivate your leads to call you back for more details.
For example, if your lead emails you with questions about both the master bathroom and the kitchen, you can reply with all the details of the bathroom that you have available, and then close the message with something like, “Give me a call – I actually wanted to talk to you about a few things about the kitchen.” It’s a subtle call to action – the lead must now call you back to find out what you needed to tell them. Of course, this is only effective if you have additional details to discuss with your lead. Be sure to document the exchange in your CRM and be prepared to provide additional value when they reply.
4. Personalize Your Automation
One of the most powerful features of most CRMs is the ability to set up drip marketing. Drip marketing is a marketing strategy that many sales professionals use to send a steady, measurable flow of marketing materials to leads. This happens from the moment they are captured. Drip marketing often takes the form of automated messages and autoresponders – pre-crafted marketing materials that the system sends your leads on a predetermined schedule. Many of these have personalization features that allow you to insert your lead’s first name or personal details automatically to make it sound a little more human. However, many times it’s not enough. It is critical to sure that your automated messages don’t sound generic or throwaway.
Crafting informal, friendly, conversational messages in your own unique voice that include valuable information and a strong call to action can make a significant difference in your lead’s willingness to continue working with you in their home-buying journey. It can also let your lead know what to expect next. Let leads know you’ll next be reaching out, and what kinds of questions you’re ready to answer. Carefully tailored marketing materials can go a long way toward making your leads feel confident they’ve contacted a real human being who is ready and able to understand their needs.
5. Have a Plan – Every Time
Timeliness is critical when responding to online real estate leads. You should contact them personally as soon as possible. You should want to call a potential lead within seconds of receiving the notification. But, never do it without pausing for a moment to consider what you’re going to say. It’s just as important to formulate a few questions and prepare answers for any potential questions your lead may have. Your leads want to work with a trustworthy, reliable Realtor that can confidently guide them through the home-buying process. First impressions absolutely count. Having at least a general idea of what you’re going to say and in what direction the conversation may go before picking up the phone to call may mean the difference between a close and a lost lead.
Of course, real estate agents are busy people with personal lives like anyone else. You can’t always respond to incoming leads. For those instances, you should also have a plan in place. Create a friendly “away” message that assures your leads that you’re looking forward to replying to them as soon as possible. This can be the first step in establishing rapport. Make it a home run by including useful links and resources about their search criteria.
The challenges of walking online strangers through the process of trusting you with one of the most important decisions of their lives can be formidable. However, if done correctly, your real estate business can significantly reduce your marketing expenditures and efforts in other areas. With a little effort and forethought, qualifying and converting online leads can pay off many times over for a realtor.