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How to actually convert real estate leads into clients

Converting leads into actual clients can be a daunting task for any sized brokerage, but the NAR has published a well-documented paper to tackle the matter in modern terms.

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crt white paper

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:

  1. What measures do the lead providers take to limit spam?
  2. What is the source of listing data being used in the lead provider’s home-search?
  3. Is there a coaching process in place to deal with any off-market products?
  4. What has been the historical average rate of conversion for this provider’s leads?
  5. 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.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Real Estate Technology

Your office could benefit from a more open floor plan

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Science proves that open floor plans are more conducive to office productivity, but will it work for everyone?

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If you walk into a tech startup, nine times out of ten you’ll find an open seating/bull-pen style seating. Whereas traditional work environments are divided up into departments with individual offices and cubicles, open office floor plans put all employees in the same room. Studies have shown that cubicles don’t increase productivity. As a matter of fact, people are more productive when they are sitting close together, but can see each other.

Pros of openness

Some of the advantages of an open office floor plan are obvious. These kinds of offices are economical because you can fit more people and more desks in less space, and because it is more efficient to heat, cool, and light one large room than several small rooms.

Open office plans also facilitate communication between managers and their employees, and between departments.

Rather than taking the stairs or hiking down the hall to collaborate with another person, you can simply holler across the room.

Cons of openness

Unfortunately, all of that hollering can sometimes be pretty distracting. A University of Sydney study found that half of workers in open offices say that the most frustrating part of their workplace is the “lack of sound privacy.”

Open offices are not only noisy, but are also less secure, since everyone can overhear one another.

Employees may get peeved if they can’t concentrate because of all the noise around them, or can’t make a phone call without being overheard.

Dr. Who inspired solution

A startup called Framery Acoustics offers a solution.

They create soundproof phone booths and meeting pods designed to complement open office floor plans.

One of the founders, who previously worked in an open office, complained that his boss talked too loudly on his cellphone. His boss replied, “Well, get me a phone booth.” Thus, Framery Acoustics was born.

Simple solutions

Framery Acoustics is just one company that offers a product suited to appease open office dissenters. Framery Acoustics isn’t ready to give up on openness and neither should you. So, when it comes time to return to your office (if you haven’t already), look for ways to make your office more flexible. Whether it is by providing a quiet capsule for private meetings and phone calls or just having a designated section for meeting, the solution is out there.

Compromising allows you to reap the benefits of an open office plan, while still ensuring that you and your officemates have privacy and quiet when it is needed.

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Real Estate Technology

3D printed homes are now gaining traction outside of the US and China

(TECHNOLOGY) Other countries are now using 3d printing to build homes to underscore their infrastructure. This shows the viability of the technology!

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3D printing

Recently, we reported that Lennar was using 3D printing to build homes in Austin. In 2014, the BBC reported that China was printing up to 10 homes a day at the low cost of $5000 per home. This trend is making strides in the real estate market, even though there’s still a long way to go. In a move that should give the industry confidence in 3D printing, Indonesia’s Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Ministry announced that they are using concrete 3D printing to build homes in rural areas. Eventually, plans are in the works to construct schools.

Using 3D printing to build an infrastructure

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. As with most countries, housing expenses are climbing in both urban and rural areas. According to Habitat for Humanity, 11.3% of the population lives below the poverty line. For comparison, in September, the U.S. Census Bureau released information that the U.S poverty rate increased to 11.4%, one percentage point over the same time in 2020. Affordable housing is a problem in Indonesia.

“This technology really helps us, so we can build faster, more accurately, and with precision,’ explains Kusumastuti, Indonesia’s Director General of Human Settlements.” The PUPR reports that 3D printing reduces waste and improves construction quality. Considering that up to 70% of housing is built by individuals, not private developers or the government, using 3D printing under the PUPR Ministry is an upgrade in a country that deals with many types of economic disasters, due to its climate.

3D printing’s potential for real estate

As 3D printing is used in more construction projects, not only in the U.S. and China, it’s hoped that the real estate industry embraces the technology. Indonesia isn’t the only country that is trying out 3D printing. 14Trees constructed a school in Malawi using this method already, with the project taking around 18 hours. The company is undertaking more projects in Africa using this technology and more companies are building houses using 3D printing in the United States. It will be exciting to watch how this plays out in the various markets.

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Real Estate Technology

Why everyone and their mother own spy machines (aka smart speakers)

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Regardless of privacy issues with them, what does information about smart speakers, ownership, and usage tell us about future trends?

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smart speakers scare me

I don’t trust smart speakers, but even I can (begrudgingly) admit why they might be convenient. With just a simple wake word, I would be able to do anything from inquire about the weather or turn down my own music from across the room. And the thing is, plenty of people have bought into this sort of sales pitch. In fact, the worldwide revenue of smart speakers more than doubled between 2017 and 2018. And it’s projected that by 2022, the total revenue from smart speakers will reach almost $30 billion.

With over 25% of adults in the United States owning at least one smart speaker, it’s worth figuring out how we’re using this new tech…and how it could be used against us.

First things first: Despite the horror stories we hear about voice-command shopping – like when a pet parrot figured out how to make purchases on Alexa – people aren’t really using their smart speakers to buy things. In fact, in the list of top ten uses for a smart speaker, making a purchase is at the bottom.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, though, it’s worth knowing where advertisements might crop up in more subtle places.

Sure, people aren’t using their smart speakers to make many purchases, but they’re still using the speakers for other things – primarily asking questions and getting updates on things like weather and traffic. And I get it, why scroll through the internet looking for an answer that Alexa might be able to pull up for you instantly?

That said, it also provides marketers with a great opportunity to advertise to you in a way that feels conversational. Imagine asking about a wait time for a popular restaurant. If the wait is too long, it creates the perfect opportunity for Alexa to suggest UberEats as an alternative (promotion paid for by UberEats, of course).

Don’t get me wrong, this is already happening when you search Google on your phone or computer. Search for a tire company, for instance, and the competitors are sure to appear in your results. But as more and more consumers start turning their attention to smart speakers, it’s worth being aware that they won’t be the only ones.

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