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Internet Leads and Whats Going On.

According to NAR and other research we have done independently, 80% of leads generated by you or your company over the internet are lost, marked as dead or simply thrown out? Why is this happening?

An online consumer contacts you by email. They want an immediate response to their question. And As we know the first one to contact the consumer has the better chance of engaging the consumer.  Speed matters, and the speed of the internet has created this consumer need.

The reality is that the online lead many times is not ready to commit right way.
So we give up, or just lose interest, or don’t have systems in place to keep track of them to convert them at a later date.

Todays online consumer does not want to be captured by the real estate agent. They want to stay in control of the process.They feel if they give information the agent will bug them to they buy or die.

The technology needs of a buyer-based marketplace are so different than those of the past five years that many real estate professionals find themselves back at square one.

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Here are some of the challenges:

  • Knowing who today’s consumer is and how they consume information  on the internet
  • Having all the tools to respond properly

In other words The challenge today is to understand which values are desired; and retool our business around them.

What about the leads that you send information to and then won’t give you enough information for your to qualify them as a lead? One import fact to remember is that buyers are on line way before they are ready to purchase. Try to eliminate the 45 day mentality we attach to leads. Remember? A buyer walks into your office. You speak to them, read their tells. Within half an hour you know if you have a commission check in your inbox in 45 days. Ahhh . . . memories. Those days are gone forever.

Many buyers enter the real estate search arena up to 4 years before they sit at a closing table. This is the subconscious stage. When something triggers to them to the next phase they actively engage into pre-research. This is the thinking about it stage.

Another trigger sends them to active research. They are finally pre-qualified and they actively Search online for homes,  and areas.

The actually buying stage is when they need help on the Offer, Negotiating and Closing.  Keep in mind the actual buying phase can last as long as 4 months.

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What are these triggers? Job change, income change, family change, you name it.
Managing all these leads can be overwhelming,  so look through all the software, programs you own, especially products attached to your website and see if there are any automated email campaigns available to you.

Please note – I am not an advocate of just pushing unwanted data to these people. AND I NEVER recommend this type of product to your sphere and past customers. Watch for my next post when I review products who pass my 3 Point Marketing test!

Written By

Amy is a national technology speaker who can inspire, train and help people implement technology strategies into their business. To find out about her training, coaching or webinars visit her website at



  1. Christian Nossum

    January 4, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Can’t wait for your product reviews Amy! Perhaps you could also suggest what emails “leads/person/potential client” would like to receive vs. which one’s they hate to receive? Or which emails types of emails get great response rates vs. which don’t get great response rates but are appreciated by the “lead/person/potential client.” Thanks Amy!

  2. Missy Caulk

    January 5, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Amy, of course you know I agree with you. It is not until they are ready and sometimes it does take a year. When the “trigger point” occurs you want to be the first in mind Realtor.

    That is accomplished by staying in touch in a friendly until the trigger is pulled.

  3. Chuck G

    January 5, 2009 at 9:19 am


    The home buying behavior of “today’s consumer” (as you refer to them) is exactly why blogs have become popular for them, and an absolute necessity for agents. I can’t remember where I read it on AG, but someone once referred to them as “lurkers” — those who read the information we post on a regular basis, but don’t comment on the site or ask questions. But they’re definitely out there, gleaning the knowledge and advice from your site.

    The internet affords the consumer the luxury of doing their research in total anonymity…until that trigger happens where they become actively engaged in the process. Then, if you have done your work properly, your name will the first they think of when they’ve done all the research they can and it’s time to enlist the help of a professional.

    This new buying and selling behavior (aka “lurking”) should be the driving force behind everything you write in your blog. How? You almost have to think of it as answering their questions without them having to ask you. Because they likely won’t directly ask YOU…they’ll find the answer somewhere out there on the net.

    And the more they circle back to you and your site for those answers, the more trust and credibility you will have developed when that “trigger point” finally happens. I know it sounds like a very one-way form of communication, but that’s simply the reality of today’s consumer.

    In a strange way, it’s a lot like fishing…

    Nice post, Amy!


  4. Jonathan Dalton

    January 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Chuck … I’ve used that last analogy myself, though I’m working on getting away from it for a variety of reasons which I’ll probably explain down the line.

    I’ve been going through an evolution – turned on registration for my IDX search back in August without good systems in place and still managed to close a couple of deals and capture several other clients.

    Now I’m using REST, so I’ve got the system in place. The question I’m debating now is when to surrender the active follow-up if someone doesn’t respond.

    Also means I’ll likely return to the old newsletter idea so at least something goes at monthly. Tried this for one of my niche markets this past week with decent response.

  5. Chuck G

    January 5, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Hey Jon,

    That’s absolutely the next frontier to conquer– how to corral the internet leads you get and effectively maintain contact with them without it taking ALL of your time and energy. I think that’s the original question that Amy proposed.

    One thing is for certain — that process needs to be automated as much as possible. The time and energy required increases exponentially as more readers come to your site. I haven’t found that solution yet, and I’m still looking….


  6. Sara Bonert

    January 5, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Your post is exactly why social media is so great for real estate professionals. You keep throwing breadcrumbs out there, in a non intrusive way, and hopefully a buyer or seller will eventually follow your trail to meet with you in person. They may be on that trail for 4 years or for 4 months, but there is a much highly likelihood they are ready to move by the time they find you.

    I do think it is important to leave trails all over the internet though. There is no one place that everyone who is thinking about buying and selling is gathering.

    Sara B, Professional, and Perpetual Lurker 🙂

  7. Jack Leblond

    January 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

    In my world of e-marketing, when someone fills out a form, or submits a request for info, they are considered a “hot lead” for all of about 25 minutes. After that the likelihood of a connection drops off sharply. Consumers are inundated by so many messages everyday that we have but a few minutes to reach out to them while they are open to hearing ours. It’s true that they may just be fishing for some basic info, not ready to commit – but if you reach them quickly, they will remember it when they are ready to buy.

    BTW – I’m already watching the listings back in New England and I won’t be ready for that big move for at least six years. I promise not to request any info until the time is much, much closer though.

  8. Amy Chorew

    January 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Jonathan – I still think the newsletter is great – is that for sphere and past customers, or suspect email prospects?

  9. teresa boardman

    January 6, 2009 at 8:35 am

    My last career was in corporate America so I was used to email when I started working in real estate. It always amazed me how agents treat email. I use a blackberry so I get mine right away no matter what. I have found that with buyers and sellers they are thrilled if they get answer to an email within a day. I try to respond in two hours or less and sometimes I respond immediately. They don’t epect it and when they reply the note always starts with “thank you for your quick response”. It isn’t just email. I have gotten calls from consumers who seemed shocked that I actually picked up the phone. I know I can’t do that all the time but I use my cell phone number as my main business number. I don’t keep it a secret and it is very easy to find on the interent. So much of life and business is about being there.

  10. Matthew Hardy

    January 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    “… don’t have systems in place to keep track of them to convert them at a later date.”

    This is perhaps the number one failing of most real estate agents. ALL of the serious businesspeople in real estate I’ve worked with have these systems in place. When you quantify the long-term cost of every lead, you are not blithe to integrating the lead into your system.

    “Todays online consumer does not want to be captured by the real estate agent.”

    This is kind of irrelevant as it’s been the position of most prospects since before the internet was invented. Either party (the agent or the consumer) can say ‘no’ at any point. It’s still a numbers game.

    “real estate professionals find themselves back at square one”

    Square one in this context is defined as having foundational systems in place where the businessperson owns and controls their business data and remains committed to leveraging that data over the long haul.

    “What about the leads that you send information to and then won’t give you enough information for you to qualify them as a lead?”

    I believe this is a matter of your business personality; i.e. how much of a professional do you view yourself? I’ve been a consultant for years and not once would I have tolerated a prospective client attempting to get my expertise without a commitment to full evaluation. The caveat here is that if you’re young and eager (and don’t have a business yet) you might bend the rule a bit. But your standard should be to provide services on your terms.

    “Managing all these leads can be overwhelming, so look through all the software, programs you own, especially products attached to your website and see if there are any automated email campaigns available to you.”

    I’ve developed systems that handled millions of records and tens of thousands of sales leads. The processes discussed here are must-have for large businesses. Some in real estate are waking up to the fact that most data systems offered to the real estate industry are, first and foremost, designed to keep the agent captive rather than enhance the value of the agent’s business.

    A good rule of thumb: have you developed your operational systems to a point where you could sell your business if you wanted to?

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