August 12, 2020


Hassan Riggs

4 Mistakes You're Making That Are Stopping Your Real Estate Leads From Responding To You

Download the Ultimate Checklist For How To Get A Response From Online Leads

It often feels like online leads are mythical creatures that we don’t really understand. What do they want? How can I give them what they want without scaring them away?

We tend to fall into this thinking trap mostly because our leads are a little unpredictable, right? One minute they give you all their information, the next minute they’re saying “I’ve never filled out an online form in my life”.

Well, it’s important to remember that leads are really just people, like you and me. They change their minds for the same reasons you and I change our minds.

They lose interest in topics just as quickly as you and I do. And oftentimes they hate to put too much thought into anything, just like you and me.

Don’t believe me? 

Have you ever picked up your phone to check the time then scrolled through Facebook mindlessly for a moment just to put your phone down and realize you still don’t know what time it is?

Leads are people, and your failure to recognize that is the cause of all 4 mistakes you’re making that stops your leads from responding to you.

Mistake #1: Responding Too Slowly

One of the most important strategies in online lead conversion is Speed To Lead, a strategy that emphasizes the importance of responding to your leads in a timely manner.

Studies have shown that lead response rates drop by a factor of 10 in just 5 minutes after the lead registers online.

Meaning if you respond just 6 minutes after a buyer registers online you are 10 times less likely to reach them than if you had reached out within 5 minutes.

Leads go ice cold after 5 minutes

Sorry to say but even the most enthusiastic among us can’t possibly respond in under 5 minutes 100% of the time, we have other obligations but that doesn’t matter in the age of instant gratification.

“as soon as you get a chance, is not fast enough”

I know you’re hustling to respond but when it comes to online lead conversion you must respond within 5 minutes or your leads will go cold.

Sadly, responding as soon as you get a chance is not fast enough.

You’re not alone on this, it’s borderline impossible to be that fast consistently while running a real estate business. That’s why hundreds of agents trust our inside sales agents at Smart Alto to take the risk out of their lead generation strategy.

They no longer worry about whether or not they’ll be available when a lead comes in, they know that we respond to all new leads in under 5 minutes and consistently convert them into appointments.

Pro Tip: Your best asset is your availability. Make sure you’re ready to respond to all new leads within 5 minutes, 24/7. Today’s buyers want an on-demand response at all cost, so consider hiring Smart Alto to have the 24/7 coverage you need.

Mistake #2: Acting Like A Robot

In the 21st century, it’s been ingrained in us that no matter what the problem is the answer is probably technology.

So when presented with the problem that leads want a fast response many people turn to technology. We’ve seen a huge increase in automated texts, chatbots, and AI sales bots.

And they all fall short!

People want to talk to people, not robots. We know because we’ve tested hundreds of strategies before landing on the right mixture of systems and real human salespeople.

But even if you aren’t using any robust technology, there are still a few ways that you might be making yourself seem like a robot.

Believe it or not, if you’re responding too fast leads won’t believe there’s a real person on the other end. I know I know... leads are a fickle master, you can’t be too fast or too slow.

We advise our ISA’s to respond right in the sweet spot between 1-5 minutes after a lead registers online and not instantaneously. This combined with a few other techniques that show leads that we are real people has ultimately improved our response rate by more than 15%.

Pro Tip: Humanize your first response. Introduce yourself via text message and let buyers know you’re a real person. These are our four magical words we always include in our first response: “Yes, a real person”.

(Before you start thinking you’re playing a lose-lose game, download The Ultimate Checklist For How To Get A Response From Online Leads to see what we’ve learned from sending millions of text messages to real estate leads.)

Mistake #3: Asking Bad First Questions

You know the old adage “there’s no such thing as a bad question”? Forget it.

It doesn’t apply to lead conversion, there most certainly are bad questions.

What does a bad first question look like? Anything that your leads actually have to think about before they answer it.

A bad first question is one that requires your leads to think before they answer.

Here are a few examples of bad first questions;

  • Why do you want to sell your home?
  • What’s the most important feature in your next home?
  • What does your dream home look like?

These are great later-stage questions because you should ask them at some point but not before you have already established a dialogue with the lead. 

Your first objective with online leads is to get a response, in order to do this you need to make responding as easy as humanly possible.

By asking a question that your lead has to put even a tiny amount of thought into, you are creating friction for them. In order to get a response more often you want there to be as little friction as possible.

The way to reduce friction is to ask first questions that require little to no thought. Think questions like:

  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms do you want?
  • Are you interested in moving in the next 2 years?

These questions are great at producing a response because not only do they not require any thought, they also require very few keystrokes.

For instance if you ask a lead how many bedrooms they need they have to tap their phone twice to respond. Once to click the number of bedrooms they need and again to click send.

This reduced friction will make it so much easier for your leads to answer.

Pro Tip: Your first goal is to start a conversation with the lead, so there is no such thing as a negative response. Even if you learn the person isn’t interested in buying a home, you at least know you shouldn’t spend time following up with them. So that’s great news for you.

Mistake #4: Using The Wrong Channel

When you’re following up with leads you want to make responding as frictionless as possible. 

A big part of reducing friction is using a form of communication they’re comfortable with and are already using.

For instance, sending a letter and asking for a response would be the worst-case scenario. Even if you chose one of the no-brainers from the prior section and asked “How bedrooms do you need?” via snail mail.

In order to respond, they would need to find a pen and paper, write the number of bedrooms they need, buy an envelope, buy a stamp, address the envelope and finally place it in the mailbox.

Sure that’s an outrageous example but it drives the point home.

When choosing a method of communication you want to choose a method that makes responding extremely effortless.

When it comes to online lead generation you really have three options.

Phone Calls: Ignoring the reality of decreased answer rates, phone calls can cause friction because your leads aren’t always going to be available to talk on the phone. Further, they may not even know you’ve called. With so many unwanted robocalls and autodialers bugging consumers, iPhones and Androids now allow people to Silence Unknown Callers. That means calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent to voicemail. So regardless of the number of times you call, you won’t get through.

Consumers can easily silence your call from their smart phone

Email: For some industries, email is a great way to convert leads but it tends to be less effective for Realtors. A big point of friction is just that most people don’t really read all of their emails, with less than 20% of all emails being read. Additionally, not all of your leads will actually have their email linked to the default app on their phone meaning that in order for them to respond they have to first get to their desktop computer.

Text/SMS: With the rise of robocalls over the last few years and a steady decline in email open rates since the early 2000s text messaging has emerged as the Gold Standard in lead conversion. Not to mention nearly everyone has their phone on them all the time and can have a discreet text conversation whenever they want.

When it comes to online lead conversion if you are not texting you are robbing yourself of thousands of dollars per year.

Pro Tip: Send your new leads a simple, personalized text message and you’ll get a higher response rate than other channels, including emails and phone calls. 

How To Fix All These Mistakes 

So you’ve seen the 4 major mistakes that are stopping leads from responding to you and now you’re thinking it’s going to be tough to correct all of these mistakes.

And you’re right, it’s practically impossible to fix all these mistakes yourself. 

But we created Smart Alto to help you get a response from online leads and set more phone appointments.

When looking at the competitive landscape, we saw that there are 4 main hurdles that need to be overcome: channel, humans vs AI, scripting, and how to deliver results.

We have built Smart Alto to leverage the most effective form of communication for lead conversion, texting.

Our inside sales agents use text messages that connect and convert better than any algorithm on the market and deliver results in a way that allows our clients to have more 15-minute phone appointments and close more deals.

Doing all of this has given us tons of insight and experience that we’ve boiled down into this easy to use checklist.

Download the Ultimate Checklist For How To Get A Response From Online Leads now and steal our secrets to getting more responses than any other Real Estate Agent in your market today!

Hassan Riggs

Founder at Smart Alto and former real estate ISA who has set 10,000 appointments.

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