There are an unlimited number of ways to generate new leads for people wanting to buy or sell real estate. The most popular way in today’s market is internet generated leads. This is largely due to the number of people searching the internet to better educate themselves on real estate values. Through their searches, their contact information is captured creating a lead. In turn these leads are sold directly or indirectly to real estate agents as prospective buyers or sellers. Since most real estate agents have their own business website, searchers will sometimes be captured and processed as possible leads.
Regardless how leads are captured and passed on to real estate agents, they are totally worthless unless they are personally contacted and verified as a bonafied buyer or seller. This is the point that a perfected system falls apart. By majority most people are uncomfortable calling people they have never spoken with before so they depend on emails and drip campaigns to do their work for them. Many agents have automated email response sent immediately after receiving a lead in an attempt to intercept the prospect that hopefully will become a client sometime in the future. An extremely low percentage of agents will actually call the lead and engage in conversation. This is a huge mistake!
According to a national lead response management study, the odds of contacting a lead decreases by over 10 times in the first hour. This is one hour from the time the lead was actually captured. Additionally, the odds of contacting a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop by 100 times. Stating it plainly, this study illustrates the need to contact a new lead within minutes, not hours, from the time the lead was generated. Hopefully this will help you see the urgency to call leads immediately.
The real question is what do I say when I call a new lead? This is a real problem that I address every day with agents that I coach. We spend hours and hours in conversation drills and scripting various possible scenarios. It is impossible for me to completely describe this process in a blog. I can however, cause you to think about how you converse with new leads and share some things you need to remember when calling new leads.
It is very important that you remember that people buy and sell through agents they have a relationship with; not people they talk to. I have agents ask why they lost a lead to another agent when they seemed to have a good relationship. They share how many times they have talked on the phone and how many email communications they had. My response is almost always the same. They had conversations with their leads but they never established a “relationship.” Generally speaking, people will not hire you to represent them until a relationship is in full bloom. That is you have shared personal information with each other, they trust you, and they respect you.
The first step in any successful real estate relationship is for the agent to hold a “consultation” with the prospect. I refer to this as having a meaningful conversation. You need to know things about them that will help you understand their needs. Why do they want to buy or sell? What is their real motive? If a buyer, what do they really want, what can they afford, what are their dreams for the future and what do they really need to focus on right now. As you can see you are asking what they consider some very personal questions that they aren’t ready to share with a stranger in their first conversation.
The biggest mistake most agents make when talking to a new lead for the first time is they are too formal. With most agents the first question they ask is, “What are you looking for?” This is really a dumb question in a way. Most lead capture systems provide properties they have been viewing so you already have some idea as to what they are looking for. Your first call to someone is not to sell them; it is to establish a communicate link so you can continue communicating with them in the future. You need to set the stage for what will happen in your next conversation. Otherwise, there may never be another conversation.
If I were to get a new lead in the next minute, I would immediately call them as soon as possible. My conversation would last less than three minutes in total length. Most likely it would last less than one minute. My first conversation might be something like this; Ms. Buyer, this is James. How are you today? (this is the only time I’m not in control because they go off in a rampage wanting to talk) I noticed you or someone in your household has been viewing property on my website. You are welcome to continue using my website for your personal searches. If you have any questions about how to maneuvering around the site or if I can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Matter of fact, buying and selling real estate in Alabama is different than most all other states, and there are some very important things you need to know. I would like to email this information to you so you can share it with your family. What is the best email address for me to send to? If for some reason I needed to talk to you, what is the best number for me to use? What is the best time for you, for me to call? When I send this information you will have my email address but let me give you my private cell phone number ___ ___ ____. Please make a note of my name, James Anderson. If I can help you with anything please let me know, and please, continue using my site. Have a great day!”
This short script lays the groundwork for what is to follow. I compare this process to that of an artist. An artist will apply the background on the canvas before they ever begin an object. As real estate agents we too must apply a background. My short script doesn’t apply any pressure to the person I’m calling. It creates interest and anticipation because I’m sending them important information they need to know about buying or selling real estate in Alabama. I find out their best contact information and I give them my private, direct line for them to call me. I applied no pressure, and I didn’t try to sell them anything.
My next step is to prepare an email to them that discloses special information that is specific to Alabama. I will also explain the importance of them being represented by a professional Realtor®. This email will include the state required RECAD and links to Agency Agreements for their use. This email will also include things about me that make me different from other agents.
After sending the email, I will wait 48-72 hours to contact them for the second time. This is a follow-up call to make sure they received the information you sent them and to see if they have any questions. During this call I will let them know that I’m not trying to sell them but that I would like the opportunity for us to have a very meaningful conversation about their needs as well as what I can do to help them.
As you can see I have focused on laying the groundwork for establishing a relationship through quality conversation. Thus far everything has been short, sweet and to the point. Once we have set up a special time for having our consultation, then we can begin communicating personal, confidential information about what they want and what they can afford. I don’t want them to feel any pressure. I don’t want them to perceive me as a pushy salesperson. I want to get to know them and for them to get to know me. When this is done, a relationship is quietly established. During each additional conversation the relationship is enhanced and grows stronger and stronger.
My advice about converting leads to clients is to forget about selling them. Focus on establishing a relationship that will last a lifetime. Demonstrate a sincere interest in them. The property will sell itself.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.