What’s going to happen next is you will start pulling in registrations (leads) on your website IDX at the rate of 100-200 per month. In a year, you will have 1200-2400 leads! How you handle these leads will determine if it’s all been worth it.
LET’S TALK LEAD MANAGEMENT
Consider these guidelines regarding internet leads:
- Homebuyers searching real estate web sites are typically 6-9 months away from maybe being serious. You’ve got to stick with them.
- Internet leads convert at roughly the same rate as print leads: 1-3% ….but it’s not so clean…
- The lead may no longer be yours by the time it converts. Especially if you drop the ball somewhere.
- A homebuyer lead is never expired unless it opts out or the email bounces..or you lose it.
What does all this mean? It means that you are going to need to store these leads and manage varying levels of contact with every one of them for as long as you are in the business.
ENTER THE GOOD CONTACT MANAGER – AND A SYSTEM
I use a CRM system called ACT! for lead management and here’s the system I came up with:
- The Lead comes in as an email from my site IDX and Outlook routes it into my RE LEADS Folder
- I enter it into ACT, give it a status of “LEAD” and immediately send a short intro email.
- I then set an alarm for two Saturdays forward to send a “T2” email, or second touch.
- After sending the T2, I then change the status to “OLD LEAD.”
- Once every 3-6 months, I send an email to all the “OLD LEADs” and delete any bouncers.
So, in plain English here’s what happens: The same day the lead arrives, I send an email, or call. Eight to fourteen days later, I send another email. If I don’t hear back from either, I change the status to “OLD LEAD” and I contact this entire old lead group approximately three times a year. Unless they tell me to go away, or their email bounces, they stay in this system indefinitely.
Now hopefully they email or call back at some point, and some of them do! When they do, I change their status to “PROSPECT” and put in notes of our conversations and set appropriate follow-up calls with them in ACT.
Sometimes a new lead initially emails or calls right in with a question or showing request or whatever and they become “PROSPECTs” right from the get go.
The LEAD Management never ends…
After a prospect purchases a home, I change their status to “CUSTOMER” and track them accordingly. I schedule calls about four times per year to just say hello. I can also quickly look up all customers and send them all seasonal things, like Christmas cards, etc.
Work your database to keep busy…
Any time I’m bored, I can look up all customers, or leads, or prospects and initiate contact with someone. Also, after a year or so, you will have daily activities scattered all over your ACT calendar as a result of you setting alarms all year. This makes you very organized and no opportunity ever gets dropped or missed.
Currently, I have about 2500 contacts in my database and this creates some activity nearly every day, seven days a week. When my database is say 10,000, then this becomes a very serious business. At that point, I’ll have to buy a Georgia Realty Group Balloon!
All this sound simple? Who else is actually doing anything like this?
Anyone else have any interesting lead management ideas or tips?
Let’s hear it!
Where to look for your next short sale listing
As the economy shifts, short sales in real estate continue to be a commonality, and many real estate agents are learning how to improve their skills in performing these types of listings.
2012 Is Still the Year of the Short Sale
Despite what the person in the office next to you might be saying, there are still plenty of opportunities to list a short sale. The Mortgage Forgiveness Act of 2007 is still set to expire at the end of the year; this means that those who want to take advantage of this program need to get their homes listed (and closed) as short sales as soon as possible. Additionally, there are still a number of great relocation assistance programs available through many of the major servicers. With these stars still in alignment, now is a great time to take a few short sale listings.
Here are a few places where you might be able to find your next short sale listing:
- The office. Listen to the other agents long for the days of yore when listings grew on trees and everyone was making more money than they could imagine. These same agents may not consider short sales their cup of tea. Why not approach those agents and let them know that you are willing to take those transactions off their hands and will gladly accept any referrals?
- Your accountant. Now, this will not work if you are using TurboTax. But, if you use an accountant or CPA to prepare your taxes, know that he (or she) comes in contact with lots of folks that may need the services of a short sale agent.
- Online. There are lots of different online platforms where you can obtain pre-foreclosure data. Three popular platforms are www.rebogateway.com, www.realtytrac.com and www.foreclosureradar.com. You can obtain data on all sorts of things, such as pre-foreclosure notices, and recent divorces. Use this data when sending out direct mail.
- Answer your phone and return all phone calls. I make it my policy to return all phone calls. I answer tons of questions from folks all around the United States about the trials and tribulations of short sales. My general good will has lead to countless short sale listings and referrals.
So the next time you are considering going out to market for more short sale listings, you do not have to go too far. Many of the tools that you need are all around you. The question is: Do is use ‘em?
Nurture your leads to turbo-charge your business growth
You get a new lead. Now what? Do you take down their contact details? Put them in your contact management system? Simply jot down their name and phone number in a notebook or on a sticky note?
To maximize the number of leads you convert into clients, you need to nurture your leads. This involves adding them to your contact management system (or CRM) and then subsequently assigning them to a lead nurture program (once some sort of initial contact has been made).
For hot leads, during your initial contact with them you’ll of course want to try to win their business right away. But sometimes people are not ready or don’t agree to use your services immediately and this is where lead nurture programs step into the forefront.
Avoid losing business opportunities
Failure to nurture leads will result in lost business opportunities. The fact of the matter is that there are many people who will contact you to inquire about your services or to learn more about what you have to offer. There’s a good probability that those who are interested but decide not to use your services right way will do business with you in the future. They’re just not ready right now or need more time to deliberate.
So this is where lead nurturing comes into play. It’s best defined as communicating with your leads over time in a way that they would find both valuable and relevant. By doing so, you’re staying “top of mind” until the lead is ready to become a client.
A good contact management system should allow you to create your own lead nurture program or utilize a lead nurture program that’s pre-designed for you. These programs usually consist of a series of emails and phone calls at various points in time. Each time a phone call is made or an email is sent, you’re providing relevant and valuable content to the lead so they’ll come to enjoy hearing from you. Your contact management system should enable you to automate the lead nurture emails you sent out and remind you when to make a phone call.
Lead nurturing is truly a must – effective lead nurturing results in more clients, a higher ROI for your marketing initiatives, and stronger relationships with your sphere. Make sure you don’t let your quality leads fall by the wayside.
Gear up for 2012 with short sale leads – tips and tricks
Are Short Sales Part of Your Business Plan?
With 2012 just around the corner, everyone and her (his) mother is talking about how to make more money than ever before. It’s time to start writing your business plan, putting deals together, and figuring out those new ways to be successful next year. It’s the same every single year. When December arrives, agents assess their closings for the current year, and then they jump for joy or wince uncomfortably.
That being said, 2012 will be another good year for the short sale transaction. And, if you have gotten no other message from all of my weekly columns, get this one: you owe it to yourself and to your past clients to add the short sale transaction to your bag of tricks.
You see… Kevin Bacon aside (that’s my tribute to Six Degrees of Separation), everyone knows someone who knows someone that is having trouble making ends meet right now. So, why not help that individual out of a jam, unload the property, do a good job? This might even result in more short sale leads.
Short sale leads are all around you.
Here are a few ways to get some short sale transactions into your pipeline:
- Market Regularly to your Sphere of Influence. It’s not rocket science. If your sphere knows that you can work short sales, they might call you or refer you to someone who needs your help today.
- Use Social Media to Connect. Again, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Reach out to your online friends. Say ‘hi.’ Remind them that you exist and that you are still in the field of real estate. You might be surprised when you learn about how many did not realize that you are still in real estate.
- Leverage an Open House. Not sure where to begin your short sale lead campaign? Have an open house at one of your listings in a neighborhood ripe with short sale leads. Create invitations. Invite neighbors (in advance). You might be surprised. The conversation can turn to distressed properties at any given moment. Don’t have a listing? Borrow one!
Finding short sale leads is not as difficult as it may seem. The key is to get out and do something. Do it regularly and consistently, and the leads will come.
Photo: flickr creative commons by Orin Zebest
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