The latest white paper from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) addresses the systems employed around context and confidence in converting Internet leads into real estate clients. This report seeks to help REALTORS® understand the overall investment of capital, technology, and man-hours that are being made by brokerages in an effort to convert leads into clients, as well as how you can increase your lead to client conversion rates.
They define context as the information about the lead that sets the correct expectation of the outcome of a follow up. And confidence as the qualification quality of leads provided to the salesperson. By providing quality leads, agents are more likely to spend time responding to them, rather than setting them aside. This is quite a progressive and well-thought out piece by the NAR’s CRT; if you haven’t already, it is worth reading the entire report, but let’s look at the highlights:
Highlight #1: evaluating
The first area of the report addresses the need to focus on delivering higher quality leads to agents; a key to maintaining an agent’s confidence. The first way to do this is to make sure your lead is genuine. Realtor.com® invests in technology to weed out spammers and ban an ever-growing list of known spammers’ IP addresses. They also limit the number of advertisers who want to reach agents with their own marketing because more bad lead can be worse than no leads at all.
They suggest you ask the following questions when evaluating what services you use to generate leads:
- What measures do the lead providers take to limit spam?
- What is the source of listing data being used in the lead provider’s home-search?
- Is there a coaching process in place to deal with any off-market products?
- What has been the historical average rate of conversion for this provider’s leads?
- How long did it take for these leads to convert?
Highlight #2: considering a plan of attack
Once you have answered those questions, you should begin to think about a “plan of attack,” so to speak. It is important not to give up on a lead as many leads “do not respond until after the eighth contact attempt,” according to Mariana Wagner at Keller Williams.
CRT’s white paper notes that you can also employ software to match leads’ IP addresses with their contact information, so you can track them over time. Eddie Krebs, chief information officer for Better Homes & Gardens Metro Brokers in Atlanta has begun marketing his software, Brytescore to do just that.
Highlight #3: understand leads’ context
However, any lead management system is helpful as it allows you to track a long-term marketing campaign. BoomTown, Buyfolio, MarketLeader, and FiveStreet, are just a few of the popular client relationship management (CRM) choices on the market. Regardless of which CRM platform you choose, is it important to understand the context of the leads coming in, so the proper expectations can be set.
The four common types of leads are:
1. A newly registered lead that wants access to the website’s real estate search
2. A lead that continues to your website over time
3. A new lead displaying a high interest in a particular property.
4. A lead that continues to view a particular property over time.
Regardless of the type of lead, agents who maintain a consistent marketing campaign over time will have more leads, and therefore more will convert.
Highlight #4: coaching, coaching, coaching
Finally, coaching agents can be useful to keep agents motivates to convert leads into clients. A survey by WAV group found that 48% of buyer inquiries were never responded to and of those responded to, the average call back attempts were 1.5. So, just by responding to an inquiry, you would be in the top half of companies trying to convert leads into clients. Add to that additional attempts at contact either via phone or email, and you are well on your way to exceeding these standards.
Many CRM software contains coaching agents: Trulia uses a partnership approach; FiveStreet uses a competition technique whereby all new leads are published and agents are alerted via mobile messages, then the first agent to claim the lead, gets it. While companies are using both technology and coaching to change the lead to client conversion rate, more can be done.
Bottom line: focus, focus, focus
Focusing on converting leads is important, especially where agent confidence is concerned, but technology is constantly changing and evolving. The white paper even states that “soon mobile [technology] will play an even larger role in the home search. As consumers search for homes over time, real estate apps will be able to consider the consumer’s location, free schedule, homes they like, and homes available in that location to serve up potential homes on the fly.” But for now, focus on the little things, like staying on top of potential leads and contacting them multiple times and you may be surprised how many leads become clients.
The CRT white paper’s takeaway: focusing more time on converting leads to clients could result in a huge increase in business. Try using CRM software to boost performance and motivate agents to stay on top of leads, and be aware that technology is constantly changing, what works today may not work in a year.