Lead Nurturing for Real Estate: Why Leads are like Houseplants
Online real estate leads are a lot like house plants. Ignore them and they wilt and dry up. On the other hand, blasting them with too much attention at once will kill them, too…just like a plant that is overwatered. The best way to get online leads and house plants to mature is ongoing personal attention, interaction, and offering them what they need. Lead nurturing is the key.
That is the crux of lead nurturing. Realtors looking to achieve long-term success and steadier streams of income are using this lead conversion strategy. According to Forrester Research, lead nurturing generates 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead. And, Market2Lead reported nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing occurs when a Realtor develops a relationship with their online leads. This nurturing occurs over time by offering leads something of value, developing trust and a relationship, and having knowledge of the lead’s wants and needs.
Online real estate leads are neutral at the beginning. They aren’t knocking on your door and they don’t know who you are. Like the plant, they are not mature and will not bear the fruit of a close until they are nurtured and grown.
Why Nurturing Leads Works
The internet has transformed real estate business. In an age where agents compete in an online arms race of well-designed websites and social media profiles, it is the old-fashioned direct relationship that can give agents an edge.
At the end of the day, it’s people, not algorithms, that choose real estate agents. And while it is true that homebuyers and sellers prefer the ease, convenience, and anonymity of services like Zillow and Rocket Morgage, at the end of the day they still want an individual to know them and represent them.
There are tons of ways to get online leads. But most of them have been treated like just a number. Talk to anyone who has purchased a home in the last five years and they will tell you they were propositioned by dozens of agents. They were sent clunky emails, wooden SMS texts, and often times were never treated like a person.
Leads understand Realtors are trying to act fast because they work for their commission, but leads don’t respond to being hunted down like prey. Homebuyers and sellers are looking for a business relationship where a Realtors represents their best interest.
By offering leads something of value, developing their trust and confidence in your ability to help them meet their objectives, and by growing a genuine relationship, leads are nurtured into clients.
Lead Nurturing Can Give You An Edge
“Waste not, want not,” as the old saying goes. A lot of agents are running around stupidly paying for leads that don’t convert. They are drowning all their house plants. How? By blasting them with tons of generalized emails, texts, and unwanted correspondence. When the lead doesn’t respond, they move on to do the same thing over and over again. Some pan out, but most don’t.
The stats don’t lie: “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause.”
That is not all; in some cases, nurturing emails have a response rate 10 times that of cold sales emails! Whether its B2B or B2C sales, nurturing leads can vastly improve your client rate.
How To Master The Subtle Art of Nurturing Leads
While at first glance nurturing leads sounds as simple as going through the motions, it is important to master the basics. Here are a few tips for building a lead nurturing system.
Personalize Correspondence When Nurturing Leads
Automated email blasts rarely result in opens. The key to success is developing a relationship. Think about the houseplant again. You can’t feed a venus fly-trap the same way you feed a bonsai tree. The same is true of real estate leads.
Every email a Realtor sends should:
Be personalized with the lead’s first name
Offer something of value tailored to the lead. Examples include listings, mortgage calculators, open house info, market reports, neighborhood information, or marketing information for seller leads.
Include a CTA (call to action). It is easiest when it is in the form of a question. “How many bathrooms does your dream home have?”, “How far would you like to commute to work?”, etc. This gives leads a reason to contact you and build a relationship.
Include detailed contact information
There are many tools available to efficiently send personalized emails. These include the use of list segmentation, adding the person’s first name when addressing the email, as well as remembering to include personal details in the initial nurturing email.
Buying Buddy IDX CRM offers great integrated lead capture. This allows Realtors to see exactly what a lead was looking for (2 bd/2ba condo versus 4bd/2ba ranch.) Realtors can then send tailored listings to leads from the start of the lead nurturing process.
Don’t Put Leads on Blast
Even if your lead provided the bare minimum of interest (an email address in exchange for a mortgage calculator, for example), it is important to start the nurturing process ASAP. While it is important to be the first Realtor to connect with a lead, it is all about how you do it.
No one wants to get spammed, over-texted, or have their voicemailbox overflowing. Don’t put leads on blast. Instead, ensure every message offers value to the lead and use a variety of methods of communication. Fluctuating between a mix of SMS texts, phone calls, and emails is the best bet…but not all at once.
It is easiest to think of it as a relationship. You wouldn’t blast a friend with texts, calls, and emails all at once. So, it is best not to do it to a lead unless you want to get ghosted.
Use SMS Texts to Your Advantage
Shift Communications reported that text messages have an 82% open rate. That is crazy high. It is the quickest, most effective way to reach buyers, especially Millenials. The key here is being personalized. Most CRMs come with clunky, one-size fits all SMS scripts. The best thing to do is to delete them and write your own.
Every text message a Realtor sends should:
Be segmented: to fit the type of lead they are talking to. For example, a new lead should be texted differently than a lead that has been nurtured for some time. Likewise, an elderly lead looking to downsize should be messaged about topics that are relevant to them, while a Millenial buying their first home would be approached differently.
Be personal: instead of “For listings: click…” It should say, “Hey Kaley, I thought of you when I was looking at townhomes this morning. Check these out and let me know what you think…”
Offer a hook: that is helpful, tailored information but with a question attached. Think of it like offering a trailer, but not the whole movie. An example would be, “Hey Tim, I found a great listing in your area. It has 4 bedrooms, with a huge master, but I wanted to talk to you about the master bath. Can I call, later?”
Like a plant, nurturing real estate leads can yield a great pay off. Ignore them and they die, put them on blast and they die. But nurturing online real estate leads is an effective way to improve lead conversion rates.
To survive and thrive in the new digital marketing environment, developing a sales tactic that combines the personalized touch of yesteryear with the digital landscape of today is giving Realtors the edge. And nurturing leads by utilizing tech like CRMs, email, and SMS is the way.
By offering leads’ content of value, developing a relationship, and having knowledge of the lead’s wants and needs, leads will convert, creating steadier streams of income.