December 22, 2020


Hassan Riggs

The Truth About Why Online Real Estate Leads Don't Convert into Appointments

Take our Lead Conversion Quiz to find out why real estate leads aren’t responding to you

Online lead generation and conversion can be very give-and-take, but sadly most agents feel like it’s more give than take.

They give big money to online lead generation platforms but never seem to take home as much ROI as they know they can.

And it’s true, most agents do leave a lot of money on the table.

We tend to think the reason is because they get too far ahead of themselves, for instance many agents will ask a prospect on the first call “Have you been pre-approved?”, sure that’s an important qualifying question but is it really the first question you want to ask?

I mean, what if they are currently in the process of getting pre approved but don’t feel comfortable explaining that to someone they’re just now speaking to for the first time?

This gung ho approach can alienate a perfectly good lead.

This is why we talk about the staircase of communication, which focuses on one milestone at a time.

When you first get a lead, the goal isn’t to sell them a house, the goal is simply to get a response. This will make it easier to set a phone appointment, which in turn makes it easier to set a face to face appointment.

They Demand Instant Gratification

Online leads are pretty impatient people… let me rephrase that; People are pretty impatient.

This day and age anyone can pull out their phone and summon a ride, order a pizza or engage with thousands of friends all at once.

But still most real estate agents don’t reach out until it’s convenient for them.

This is a massive missed opportunity, in fact some studies have shown that lead response rates decrease by 10X in just 5 Minutes.

Meaning agents who respond to a lead just 10 minutes after a lead registers online only have 1/10th of a chance of getting in touch compared to agents who respond in 5 minutes or less.

I know what you’re thinking, how can you possibly balance a few active clients and still be available at a moment's notice to respond to online leads?

You’re not alone on this one, it’s tough to consistently respond to online leads in 5 minutes or less while running a business.

Which is part of why we exist, our best asset is our availability. Our ISAs are ready to respond to all new leads within 5 minutes, giving home shoppers the on demand gratification they’ve gotten used to.

They Recognize When You Cut Corners

Let’s talk about chatbots and autoresponders, they kind of stink.


Because your leads aren’t dumb, they recognize when you’re cutting corners by sending an autoresponder message or by copying and pasting the same text to every lead.

And once they’ve recognized that you’re cutting corners it taints their whole image of you as a professional, “if they’re not responding to me now, what will it be like when we find the house we really want?”.

Now you and I know that a new lead doesn’t have the same level of urgency as an active buyer but they don’t know that and when they begin to feel like they’re not getting enough attention they tend to pull back and put their guard up.

People prefer to talk to real people about big decisions like buying or selling a home.

Smart Alto actually conducted a study that proved just how true this really is. We A/B tested a message that was clearly sent by a human vs one that was also sent by a human but was a little less explicit in saying so.

The message that was obviously sent by a human received 15% more responses than the more copy & paste message did. That’s 15% at the top of your funnel that will ultimately improve your bottom line.

They’re Kind Of Lazy

Just like with a rapid response, Uber and Doordash have also made your leads incredibly lazy.

They don’t want to type out long-winded responses to your questions, let alone think of an answer in the first place.

But still agents insist on asking their leads open-ended questions right out of the gate.

Agents will ask stuff like;

  • Why do you want to buy in this area?
  • What’s the most important thing you want in your dream home?
  • What’s important to you in a neighborhood?

Expecting a thoughtful response from their leads but instead, they get nothing, radio silence, goose’s rotten egg.

Because brand new leads are kind of lazy, they don’t really want to think that hard. So they just don’t, meaning you just don’t get a response.

And your very first task in converting online leads is simply to get a response.

You can do this by asking a question so frictionless that not only does it not require a lot of thought, it doesn’t even require a lot of typing.

We use questions like:

  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms do you want?
  • Are you interested in moving in the next 9 months?

These seemingly dumb questions produce responses because they require hardly any effort to respond to.

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

This will help you climb the ever-important communication ladder and get your leads to the next step quicker and more reliably.

They Only Want To Text

It used to be “Those darn millennials, they only want to text” but now it’s not just millennials.

Pretty much everyone prefers text messages to phone calls and anyone who tells you they prefer email, really means they don’t really plan on responding to you ever.

And when you’re following up with leads, the goal is to make things frictionless so you can get a response. 

One easy way to reduce friction is using a form of communication your leads are already using.

With the rise of robocalls over the last few years, text messaging is the last remaining place that people will consistently review nearly 100% of their messages within just a few minutes.

The big phone manufacturers like Apple have taken note of how much people hate phone calls. So now they’ve made it easy to click a button and simply silence unknown callers.

Not to mention nearly everyone has their phone on them all the time and can have a discreet text conversation whenever they want, no more trying to catch your clients on their lunch break.

When it comes to online lead conversion, you can’t convert a lead you never connect with and you can’t connect with someone if you’re not on the same channel as them.


Knowing the factors that lead to a common problem is one thing, but turning that new knowledge into action is something different altogether.

So we put together a quick quiz for you to find out why your real estate leads aren’t responding to you. 

Just answer a few questions about your current follow-up and it will tell you where your biggest opportunity for improving conversions is.

Then ask yourself, are you the best person to fix that particular problem? 

If you’re not, we’d love for you to check out Smart Alto.

We leverage real human ISAs around the clock to follow up with your leads within 2 minutes and convert them into15-minute phone appointments that we put directly on your calendar.

We put you on the phone with leads so your expertise can shine.

Take our quiz to Find Out Why Your Real Estate Leads Aren’t Responding To You.

Hassan Riggs

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

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