November 10, 2020


Hassan Riggs

Why AI Falls Short When Converting Real Estate Leads

And Why Humans Are Best

Shiny Object Syndrome is a phrase commonly used to diagnose Real Estate Agents who are easily distracted by the latest and flashiest tools or marketing methods.

It pretty much means you’re easily distracted by things that sound cool or have a lot of hype around them. It’s not your fault though, we’re all entrepreneurs here and it’s easy to believe that the tool you just found out about can have a massive positive impact on your business.

After all, you never know unless you try, right? But that’s almost never the case, these distractions almost always end up being all hype and no value.

The latest in the long list of Real Estate ‘Shiny Objects’? Chatbots, Auto-Responders or “Artificial Intelligence” (Spoiler: It’s not really AI)

With so many companies popping up with AI Chatbots, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if this is what's finally going to turn you into the tech-enabled agent you keep hearing about.

But just like every other shiny object in the industry this too is all sugar and no substance.

As you can probably tell by now (if the title didn’t give it away) I think AI chatbots are just a clever piece of marketing hype and don’t actually help agents to grow their business.

My thoughts can really be broken up into three main ideas:

  1. People Prefer Talking To People
  2. Humanity Matters In This Business
  3. We Have Proof That Humans Are Better

Let’s take a look at each reason specifically,

People Prefer Talking To People

Here’s a little nugget for you, if you call a large company and get their directory (ya know “Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Returns…”) you can bypass the whole thing and get forwarded to a human operator by shouting “representative” 10 times.

You’re Welcome.

Did you already know that? If you did, I’ll bet you use it every time.


Because automated responses are infuriating!

I just told you my package was not delivered! I can’t exactly read you the serial number off my box now can I?! 

Sorry, it’s just frustrating.

And then....

And I’m willing to bet you’ve had a similar experience.

Here’s the thing though, the company that sells their “AI” operators to these large corporations say the same things as the companies trying to sell you a chatbot.

“It’s like having a 24/7 employee who never calls in sick”
“A fraction of the cost of a human ISA”
“You’d think you were talking to a real person”

But I’m willing, you’ve never once dealt with an autoresponder or chatbot and been successfully duped into believing there was a real person on the other end.

That’s because we are social creatures, we’ve evolved to recognize other people and we can easily spot the difference between what a human says and what a robot says.

It’s “I understand that your package was not delivered. What is your password?” VS
“I’m sorry to hear about that late delivery, I hate when that happens and I’m committed to fixing this for you. If you give me your password I can definitely help fix this for you.”

You know exactly what you prefer and so do your clients.

I know you’d never call your clients stupid but think about your experience with chatbots, by using so-called AI you’re insulting your client’s intelligence.

Not only can they tell the difference, but they also have a clear preference for real people...just like you do.

Humanity Matters In This Business

The other major consideration is that you aren’t simply selling some random widget or nic nac, we consult everyday people on (what is for most folks) the single largest decision of their lives.

And the largest asset for the vast majority of families.

This is why failing to show your humanity as early as possible can put you in a losing position.

Picture this: Your family is being forced to relocate for work, your spouse agrees reluctantly but your kids might as well disown you for pulling them out of school mid-semester.

On top of that, you’re not sure if your family home is “market ready”, after all, you live there... It’s not a museum.

What would be going through your mind if you reached out to a local Realtor and received automated text messages that all ask generic questions about your home or your contact info.

This is one of the most stressful times in your life and this Realtor can’t spare time to send a personal text message or at least have their assistant reach out?

End Scene.

Not okay, even if you want to be completely sterile and just think about your business. There is no way this can be good for business, it just stands to put a bad taste in your client’s mouths and that will hurt your chances of converting them.

Gary Vaynerchuk, often says that we work in an Empathy Economy and when you really think about it only humans can show empathy. 

Proof/ Conclusion

As the adage goes, the proof is in the pudding.

Here at Smart Alto, we bet big on human beings because we’ve believed since the beginning that EQ (emotional intelligence) was the single most important “X Factor” in sales and human ISAs would be flexible enough to craft real conversations with your leads.

(Read our article The Truth About Smart Alto to learn more about our mysterious lead conversion startup.)

We also felt that your leads preferred to be messaged by a real person and not just some autoresponder or chatbot.

But at the time we didn’t realize that our intuition would prove so astonishingly true.

Here’s how it happened:

We are always testing new best practices and conversation recipes and we wanted to know what your leads would do if we completely removed the guesswork out of the equation.

Sure they could always tell it was a real person on the other end of the text but sometimes we just want to believe it’s an automatic text because that makes it easier to ignore.

So to make sure there was no plausible deniability we went ahead and spelled it out for them by inserting a simple phrase into our introduction texts.

All we did was plop in (Yes, a real person) into our greeting text and we watched the response rate explode by 15% on average.

We finally proved our hypothesis, your leads want to talk to a real person.

And considering that 15% increase is at the top of your funnel, it has a direct effect on the rest of your sales cycle meaning that just by employing a real person you can increase your ROI by 15% on all of your internet leads.

If you’re ready to see the proof for yourself and start receiving our world-famous 15-minute phone appointments then schedule a demo today.

Hassan Riggs

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

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