Online leads… should I or shouldn’t I? That is the question that people forget to ask first. Too often in this industry we follow the leader – our fellow real estate agent is doing online leads and having some reported success, so we think we need to do the same.
Here is the deal with online leads: you are catching them at the VERY beginning of the sales cycle. You have to be comfortable with managing them for a looooooong time. And this is relatively foreign to us in real estate.
Why? Because almost all of real estate marketing prior to the consumer’s ability to search for properties online was focused on people much closer to being ready to buy or sell.
Referrals from database? Most people have already decided to take action before they start asking their friends and family if they know any REALTORS®.
Open house? In general, if people are willing to sacrifice three hours of their weekend driving around and looking at houses, they are pretty far down the sales funnel.
We can keep going with the examples, but you get the point. Real estate is an industry that has cut its teeth trying to identify folks who are at the tail end of the sales funnel. But working with clients who are at the beginning of the funnel requires a very different skill set.
The first step regarding online leads (that is often missed in my opinion) is asking yourself, “Should I?”. And “No” is a totally acceptable answer. The key to long-term success in real estate is to consistently and persistently do something. Almost anything will work as long as you do it on a regular basis. Don’t feel that you have to follow the masses to the online lead space. But if you decide it’s for you, here are a few key tips:
Speed to Lead. You have to be fast. And I mean super fast. My recommendation is a response time of five minutes or less. Think about the last time you were searching for something online. What were you doing 30 minutes later? Or even 15 minutes later? A half hour equals four lifetimes in the online world. Online leads move on to the next thing very quickly. They are like a gunfighter in the Wild West. There are two types: the quick and the dead. Either commit to being quick or get out of the online lead game. If you want to dress up like a gun fighter, it’s encouraged but not required.
“Poor” Conversion. Understand that poor conversion is a common perception when it comes to online leads. But that’s not the case; they just take a long time. The average is 18 months. Let me say that again… 18 months. From the time they fill out the lead form to the time they transact. Eight… Teen… Months. People have shorter marriages than that! When you’re in the online lead game, you’re in it for the long haul. Adjust your tactics accordingly in order to stay in touch and top of mind. Search for engagement, start a conversation, and build the trust relationship by involving them in two-way communication.
In short, here is the key to online leads: Be fast and be there for a long time. If you want to win in the online lead game, you have to be quick to respond and you have be there for about 18 months. Or… find a different lead generation technique for growing your business.
This blog is an excerpt from a recent training webinar. You can watch the full webinar below.