September 12, 2020

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AJ Guzman

Should I Follow Up With Leads Myself Or Hire An Inside Sales Agent?

How To Determine Whether Or Not You Should Follow Up With Your Online Leads

Let’s talk about entrepreneurship, it’s what got you into Real Estate in the first place, right? There’s something romantic about the entrepreneurial story; lots of hard work, grit, unwavering faith that if you do the work you will repeat the benefits.

Your journey to entrepreneurship has taught you several hard lessons like if you want to guarantee something gets done right then you better do it yourself.

That DIY attitude has been your defining characteristic, you put in the work, you hustle, you put your nose to the grindstone and that’s why you’re successful.

But what if that very attitude, that very gift, is also your biggest hurdle?

At some point in every entrepreneurial journey, you’ll come to realize that you can’t possibly do everything yourself. (I guess technically you can if you don’t want to grow your business much).

So instead of brute force hustle, you have to learn to prioritize your activities.

Odds are you’ve come to that realization on your own and that’s why you’re reading this article.

The question isn’t “Should I delegate?”, the question is “What should I delegate?”.

Lead follow up is a critical piece of your business so let’s explore a few questions you should ask yourself to decide if lead follow up is something you should offload onto an ISA.

Do You Really Have The Availability? 

Let’s refer back to EVERY ARTICLE EVER WRITTEN ON LEAD FOLLOW UP, speed to lead is the most important factor in converting online leads.

Many independent studies show that lead response rate drops off dramatically after just 5 minutes.


Considering you generate hundreds of leads each month that all register at various hours of the day, you’d have to be available 24/7 to have the best chance at optimizing your contact rate.

If you’re even considering hiring an internal ISA I would bet that the answer to this question is ‘No, I don’t have the availability”.

(Read our semi-famous article called How To Hire The Right ISA For Your Real Estate Business: A Complete Hiring Kit For Recruiting, Selecting and Training).

And that’s completely understandable, at some point every entrepreneur begins to hit their head against the reality that a day is only 24 hrs long. You simply cannot continually cram more activities into your day.

When you decide to hire a ISA, you’ll get 24/7/365 lead coverage, meaning no matter when a lead comes in your ISA will be responding within 5 minutes.

  • Sleeping? Your ISA is following up with new leads.
  • Your first showing of the day? Your ISA is following up with new leads.
  • Your fifth showing of the day? Your ISA is following up with new leads.
  • On a listing appointment? Your ISA is following up with new leads.
  • Scrambling to scarf down some fast food? Your ISA is following up with new leads.
  • Showing up late to your listing appointment because your 2nd showing ran long and now your whole day is thrown off? Your ISA is following up with new leads.

You get the point, hiring an ISA guarantees that your leads are followed up with immediately regardless of your availability.

And on the off chance that you actually get a second to take a breather, you’ll actually be able to enjoy it.


Keep In Mind 1 Attempt Is Not Enough

I wish I could tell you that as long as you can make that first contact attempt inside of 5 minutes, you’ll be golden.

Unfortunately that’s just not the case anymore, one study conducted by Callhippo shows that in order to maximize your contact rate, you need to make a MINIMUM of 6 contact attempts.


In fact, the study clearly demonstrates that of all the leads that will ever respond to you only a small percentage do so on the first attempt and that making another 5 attempts will more than double your chances of reaching viable leads.

All of this just to make initial contact with a lead, that’s 6 attempts BEFORE you’ve even spoken to your leads.

Let’s check the math on that.

Suppose you’re generating 200 leads per month. In order to optimize your chances of making contact you need to reach out to each lead 6 times (the first attempt being just minutes after they’ve registered online).

For 200 leads, that’s 1,200 attempts per month!

If you’re a speed caller or texter, that’s about 1 minute per attempt or 1,200 minutes devoted solely to making initial contact with your online leads.

That’s more than 20 hours per month spent on lead follow up.

And only 2% of those calls lead to an appointment, so you’re spending 5 hours call time per phone appointment.

Do you have the availability to squeeze a part time job following-up with online leads into your busy Realty practice?

Oh and by the way, 200 of those minutes are still you scrambling to reach out inside of 5 minutes.

Do You Really Enjoy It? 

This is perhaps the least objective argument for continuing to follow up with leads yourself.

Nonetheless, I think it’s a question you should ask yourself.

Of course, when building a business you’re going to have to do things you don’t enjoy and I’m not going to suggest that you only do the activities you enjoy.

But when given the choice between delegating a task and continuing to do it yourself, I think your level of enjoyment should definitely play a part in the decision.

Don’t believe me, just imagine the antithesis: you’ve delegated everything that you enjoy doing. You no longer meet with clients, you no longer party with friends and family in the name of networking. Instead, you just keep the books and write paperwork all day.

Sure, you’ve delegated a lot and now you’re doing more business than ever but you just loathe your day to day work.

Extreme? Sure. But do you absolutely love the rush of seeing a new lead and trying to fire off a text in under five minutes under the table at a listing appointment.

If you get a little drop of adrenaline trying to beat that 5-minute deadline then why give that up?

Of course, if you’re anything like me it’s more stressful than exhilarating.

I’m certain someone out there just loves following up with online leads but more than likely, you don’t have the time to consistently follow up with them and grow your business. 

Is It (Literally) Worth Your Time?

Your time is valuable, you shouldn’t be wasting time doing anything but high-value activities.

Let’s take a look at some basics; a popular figure for the amount of work an agent works to sell a home is 40 hours.

If your average commission is $5,000 dollars then you’re averaging about $125 per hour. Pretty cool, right?

Now think of it like this, would you pay someone $125 an hour to follow up with online leads?

Of course not! That’d be absurd.

Likewise, you’d never expect someone who’s paid $125 an hour to waste company time by doing minimum wage work right.

In this case, you’re the company and the high-value employee. Why are you paying yourself $125 an hour to follow up with online leads?

Suppose you hire an ISA to follow up with your leads for $10/hr (Spoiler: Smart Alto costs way less than that) then the difference between that $10/hr and your rate of $125/ hr is additional revenue.

Because now instead of spending time reaching out to leads who may never answer, you’re out doing dollar-productive activities and creating more business.


Lead Follow Up Is Not Lead Generation

I can already hear what you’re thinking “But generating leads is the most dollar-productive thing I can do for my business” and I agree 110%.

However, following up with leads that just registered online is not the same as generating leads. By that point, you’ve already generated the lead, now it’s time to turn that lead into a contact.

And up until the point that a lead is actually willing to talk to you, you’re just sending texts to someone who may never respond.

Instead, you could be optimizing your ads, hosting open houses or buyer seminars, door knocking or strengthening your relationship with the people who refer you most to your business.

You could be doing real lead generation instead of just trying to get a lead to respond.

Here’s The Bottom Line

Look, there are plenty of situations where it makes more sense to follow up with leads on your own than to hire an ISA.

The thing is, those reasons don’t apply to busy agents like you. Writing contracts, going on appointments, delighting current clients, and working your sphere take priority and you can’t do those things if you’re trying to juggle following up with online leads.

Smart Alto provides an approachable and extremely effective solution for agents who need to hire an ISA.

And with plans starting as low as $255 per month we can take over your lead follow up within the next business day.

One objection you may still have to hiring an ISA is the idea that first impressions matter and that building rapport is critical to converting leads into clients.

We recognize that and instead of asking you to trust us with that critical piece of your business, we actually leverage text messaging to remove tonality from the initial lead contacts.

We focus on setting 15 minute appointments with you and the lead directly in your calendar.

That way you get to show up with a blank canvas to make an impactful first impression and build rapport all while avoiding the wasted hours of reaching out to the leads who will never talk to you.

Ready to take the next step, schedule a demo today!


Author
AJ Guzman
Former ISA & Content Marketing Manager at Smart Alto

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