You’re doing everything right; driving consistent traffic to your website and tracking / analyzing it to convert your visitors into leads at the highest rates possible. One problem though, your real estate website leads are not turning into clients. What are you doing wrong? Or, what are you not doing at all?
Many real estate professionals, even the ones who have invested the time and money to market their websites properly, find themselves in this common scenario. More often than not, the reason for poor web lead to client conversion ratios is because the lead nurturing and conversion process is not handled appropriately or web leads are ignored past initial contact altogether. Stop burning leads, and your time and money, and start nurturing your web leads to actually turn them into clients.
What is a Real Estate Website Lead?
A common misconception is that a web lead is the same thing as a phone lead, walk-in lead or any other type of lead you may have received before. In rare cases they can be, but a majority of real estate web leads are different in nature and require special interaction and follow up.
To manage leads effectively you must understand how real estate web leads are attained. Here is the most common way a lead is acquired from a website:
STEP 1: Prospect does a search on the search engines, clicks on an advertisement for your website or types in your website directly into their browser after receiving a referral from someone who has been to your website previously.
STEP 2: Prospect gets to your website, spends some time looking at your featured properties, using your MLS search or reading about the useful information you have provided about the communities you specialize in.
STEP 3: Prospect likes what they have found and looks for a way to contact you for more information. Luckily you have placed prominent calls to action and lead generation forms on your website so your prospects can contact you easily.
STEP 4: Prospect completes a web lead form, usually just providing only their name and email, and then receives a “Thank You” from you (via web page or auto-responder email).
If this seems foreign to you, then your real estate website may not be generating enough web leads for you. If this is the case, then make sure to check out the following articles of ours before proceeding with how to actually manage web leads as you may need some help actually attaining leads first:
Facts About Real Estate Web Leads
Here are some common facts about real estate web leads that will help you to understand how to handle them more effectively:
1. People do not like to feel like they are being duped or tricked for their personal information. If you offer something for someone’s name, email, phone, etc. then make sure you follow through.
2. Yes, over 80% of all real estate transactions start online, but keep in mind that these people are “starting” their search in most cases. When someone provides their information to you this does NOT mean that they are ready to be your client right then and there.
3. People like to feel that their personal information is not going to be abused when they provide it to you so make them feel comfortable and, by no means, abuse this information with lazy, ineffective web follow up.
4. People searching for real estate information online are trying to get closer to one of the most important financial decisions of their life, they are not trying to buy a pair of shoes on impulse. The average sales cycle (from lead attainment to conversion) is usually about 6 months so expect to invest some time in to each lead.
How to Manage a Real Estate Website Lead
Want to know what the most sure fire way to burn a web lead is? Email or call them once and then never contact them again because you did not receive a response. Seems like common sense right? Well, you would be surprised at how many real estate professionals actually do this with their real estate web leads. One of the main reasons we hear from Realtors and brokers that do this is that since “they did not respond, they must not be a legitimate lead”.
Think about the last time you purchased something, like your website for example (if applicable). Now recall how many times the salesperson had to email and call you before you actually purchased your website. Starting to click yet? Once it does, multiply that many times over as the people you are trying to follow up with are searching for the most serious financial decision of their life. Still think what you are doing now is sufficient?
7 Tips for Effective Web Lead Management
Each web lead you receive is extremely valuable as it was generated right on your own website as a direct result of some effective marketing you did so treat it with care. Here are some tried and tested methods of effective real estate web lead management to help you convert more web leads into actual clients:
TIP 1: If your website doesn’t do it for you already, then immediately store this lead information in a lead database or CRM.
TIP 2: Upon reception of a lead, email the person immediately with a “Thank You” message. Although we recommend that every email message be personal and tailored to each lead we realize this isn’t always possible so use of an auto-responder can be helpful. Just make sure your auto-responder is warm, welcoming and not too aggressive.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a sample auto-responder
TIP 3: If a lead provides their phone number, call them within 5 minutes of receiving their inquiry. Anything later than that and your lead is already searching other websites.
If you get their voice mail, then leave a simple, short message with your name and phone number at the beginning and end of your message.
If they pick up, then be your normal charming self, but let your lead talk….don’t try to sell yourself on this first call or you WILL never hear from this person again when you hang up.
TIP 4: Send a professional (looks good), personal (sounds good) and custom tailored (makes them feel good) email to your lead that provides them with something of value. If your lead has provided any additional information in their inquiry (like the type of property they are looking for), then be sure to send them some properties that may be relevant to their search. If they have not provided any additional information, then make sure your email provides them with something enticing (see Real Estate Calls to Action for some ideas).
Be careful with custom HTML email templates and stationary as many email clients will block their image heavy nature. They can be effective when used correctly, just be sure that they are email friendly.
TIP 5: For web leads that do not respond to your emails or calls after about 5-7 touches, your time is better spent focusing on warmer leads. This does NOT mean to disregard this lead completely. It just means that now is the time to place this web lead into a well planned email drip marketing campaign. Your drip marketing campaign should be scheduled regularly, provide opt-out, and should be followed up with at least one call a month.
Email drip marketing can be extremely effective for converting leads without forcing you to play phone tag. A few fantastic email drip marketing solutions are iContact, Constant Contact, and MailChimp.
Many IDX solutions provide drip marketing of related properties when someone signs in after performing a search on your website’s MLS search via IDX. One great solution is iHomefinder.
TIP 6: Provide exclusive services to web leads to entice them to provide as much information as possible. The more info you can collect, the better your lead follow up and conversion rates will be. Make sure to showcase these exclusive services prominently on your website and also in your lead follow up emails and calls. These services may be something you do already, but people like to feel like VIPs so cater to this desire for higher conversion rates.
For example, we have spoken with a few real estate professionals that would make home tours an “experience” or an “event” and not the usual, laboring caravan. This can be fun for both you and your lead.
TIP 7: This should go without saying, but again you would be surprised at how many Realtors don’t adhere to this – make your leads feel like they are your only client. Of course they know they probably aren’t, but give the impression that they are.
Make yourself easily accessible via phone and email. This doesn’t mean you have to be on call 24/7 so set expectations on when your lead can expect a response. You may want to encourage text message communication as well. This may seem impersonal, but more and more people are accustomed to this quick, easy form of communication.
These tips have been used to convert web leads much more effectively than normal, or poor, lead management so give them and try and let us know how they work out for you. Keep in mind, of course, that every lead is different and that these 7 tips do not apply across the board for every web lead you get. The more efficient you get at using your system, the better you will become at handling and converting web leads into clients.
Just remember that your time is limited so use it effectively. It makes no sense to kill yourself running around all over town or playing phone tag with people who are not further along in the sales cycle. Manage your leads wisely and you will have more time to spend on the right types of leads. Remember though, each lead you receive could possibly become a client so keep them close with the tips provided above.
We would love to hear what has and has not worked for you. Or, if you have an opinion about the tips provided above, then please leave us a comment as we are always looking to improve our methods as well.
Good luck. Hopefully you will be sending us a success story in a few months after reading this.