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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

This tab manager uses AI to organize and focus your web browsing

(TECHNOLOGY) Tabby isn’t the first tab manager we’ve seen, but it is one of the cooler ones. Who wouldn’t want AI to help you organize web browsing?

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Logo for Tabby, a new AI-based tab manager

At one time or another, we have all been a tab hoarder. They start adding up when we are doing research, online shopping, and managing work projects. No matter what it is, we have all let tabs pile up like a stack of dirty dishes. However, several tab manager solutions can help clean up that clutter.

OneTab converts all your tabs into lists that you can later restore individually or all at once. TooManyTabs lets you preview the tabs so you can quickly find what you are looking for. Google Tabs lets you group and color code the tabs for better organization. And now Tabby, an AI-based browser assistant, manages the tabs automatically for you so you are more productive and focused.

“We built it to help everyone navigate on their browser without feeling additional fatigue due to an excess of tabs,” said Merlin Laffitte, one of Tabby’s makers. Because of more online meetings due to the pandemic, Laffitte said that he, along with his colleagues, found it difficult to focus because of the clutter created by the open tabs.

Being in a handful of online meetings myself, I know what he is talking about. Too many open tabs can be distracting and time-consuming. I have heard many people say, “I have the document pulled up.” Then, they can’t find it because it is lost among the ten, twenty, or thirty tabs they have open.

Tabby attempts to solve the pain of tab hoarding by removing unnecessary tabs without a user having to click on anything. In doing so, it makes the browser “focus-friendly.” The way the AI-based plugin works is that it takes into consideration these three main KPIs:

  • The time spent on the tab.
  • The last time you viewed the tab.
  • The frequency of viewing.

Based on these interactions, Tabby scores each tab by relevance, and makes its decision on which tab to close. Whenever a tab is removed from your browser view, Tabby will send you a notification. On the tool’s homepage, you can find the removed tabs and choose whether you would like to restore one. From there, you can also set your preferences to customize Tabby’s behavior. As you continue using it, Tabby will adapt to your habits and learn when to remove a tab when it is not being used.

Tabby is “meant to help you declutter your browser view by removing unnecessary tabs.” Currently, the product has a 5/5 review on Product Hunt, and users seem to like it. With only 25 reviews as of this writing, Tabby is still in its infancy. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does among other tab manager tools as it gains more users.

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Real Estate Technology

This law-tech tool helps tenants navigate eviction notices

(TECHNOLOGY) Law-tech tool Hello Landlord helps struggling tenants meet the eviction moratorium’s rules, but it’s greatest benefit may lie in communication.

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Man seated in trunk of car, head in hands as he considers eviction. New tools may help.

For tenants behind on rent during the pandemic, being shielded from eviction for nonpayment requires strictly following rules in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium that began September 4 and runs through the end of 2020.

Now the makers of website Hello Landlord, which helps tenants give notices to their landlords, have updated their free tool to meet the CDC requirements.

At HelloLandlord.org, tenants submit their information and answer a series of questions, including their landlord’s name and how much money they owe. The site automatically generates a customized letter to the landlord that outlines the tenant’s circumstances and includes a promise to pay the back rent. Tenants also get a declaration document that follows the moratorium order.

In the declaration, tenants must swear they:

  • Earn no more than $99,000 annually (or $198,000 jointly).
  • Can’t pay their rent because of loss of work or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • Have done their best to get available housing assistance;
  • Would become homeless or have to move into a home with many people, potentially spreading the COVID-19 virus;
  • Will try to make timely partial payments.

No documentation is required, and there are no official forms.

If renters don’t qualify for protection under the new order, the site will create a letter that asks the landlord for flexibility with making rent payments.

Relationships between landlords and renters often start going south because of communication issues. That’s something Hello Landlord’s letters might head off by helping tenants communicate effectively. The letters meet the legal requirements but also sound, well, human, despite being automated. The language is informal, even conciliatory. The tenant empathizes with the landlord – acknowledging that this time is financially hard on them, too – and pledges to work together.

Some sample language: “Although the CDC’s Order may prevent my eviction, I want you to know that I am willing to work with you moving forward during this challenging time.”

Hello Landlord debuted in 2019 and was originally created by SixFifty, a software subsidiary of technology law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. They collaborated with LawX, the legal design lab at Brigham Young University’s Law School, and the Innovation for Justice (i4J) Program at University of Arizona College of Law to research causes of and solutions to the eviction crisis.

A second tool, HelloLender.org, helps homeowners create letters to their mortgage lenders asking for accommodation in payments under the CARES Act stimulus program.

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Real Estate Technology

Beef up your security against COVID with this new environmental sensor suite

(TECH NEWS) This new security sensor can help protect your company from COVID-19 and monitor the overall health of your building.

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Office setting, with spaced employees for security against COVID.

Verkada, the cloud-based physical security company, is modernizing the world of enterprise building security by enabling customers to proactively respond to COVID-19 in the office.

In June, Verkada introduced its COVID-19 Response Suite. Part of the this release included People Heatmaps. This new feature allows organizations to “identify areas that are prone to overcrowding, and find ways to disperse traffic”. In other words, it helps ensure employees are practicing social-distancing.

This week, Verkada announced the release of its new environmental sensor product line, and its product, SV11. This all-in-one environmental sensor monitors changes that are happening in your physical space. The product is made from photochemically engineered stainless steel mesh that filters out large particles. The integrated sensors measure air quality, temperature, humidity, motion, and noise. Then, all the data is reported back to users for regular monitoring and analysis.

“The SV11 sensor is a cloud-based sensor that seamlessly integrates with the Verkada ecosystem of products,” said Jeff Chase, a product marketing manager for Verkada, in a recent video. “The SV11 can be used across all indoor environments and can meet the needs for a wide range of use cases, including simple remote monitoring of facilities.”

In the security system’s web-based command platform, users can see all the sensors, and can quickly scan real-time data for each location. Live footage and current readings are easy to view. Custom thresholds can be set for each sensor so a user can receive alerts as they happen. This is helpful so you can know when a server room is getting too warm, or when the TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) level is too high.

“Our customers are responsible for the systems that keep facilities online, and our mission is to give those administrators the best possible tools to do their jobs,” said Filip Kaliszan, CEO and co-founder of Verkada. “Whether it be monitoring the status of a server room, the temperature of a patient room in a hospital, or the air quality of a school, the SV11 gives facilities and staff unprecedented visibility and control over the sites they’re responsible for keeping safe and secure.”

With more companies bringing their workforce back into the office, Verkada’s security system can give them visibility on what’s going on at work. And with the valuable information rendered by the sensors, they can gain insights into what they can do to keep their employees safe.

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