Humans prefer speaking to humans as opposed to speaking to robots or chat bots or autoresponders. It’s obvious if you think about it but still we see them everywhere in real estate. Chatbots frustrate your leads and make it harder for you to build a referrals based business.
Technology seems to be a silver bullet in business these days, so many problems can be solved with a little bit of software or a few well-written lines of code.
It doesn’t take a business analyst to see that the teams who grew the most in the 2010’s were the ones who embraced technology as an integral part of their business.
They were on the cutting edge to identify the rise of online lead gen as a real opportunity before everyone else giving them a strong first mover advantage.
This seems to be the story of technology et al.
But not every new technology leads to the revenue growth though. Some tools turn out to be more fluff than substance, like a shiny new toy.
It can be hard to separate the hype from reality, how do you know what’s gold and what’s just a waste?
Chatbots are one of those technologies that can either be the next big thing or a massive bust.
The marketing hype would have you believe that ONLY chatbots are available 24/7, can respond immediately, and follow up effectively. That’s simply not true, our real estate ISAs do all of that and more without the use of a single chatbot.
Look, we’re a forward-thinking company, we work closely with Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Heck, we even went through YCombinator, we’re no strangers to this technology at all.
We’re data-driven and we’ve learned through tons of experience that real estate leads are real people who not only know the difference between humans and chatbots but also have a much higher likelihood of moving down the funnel when talking to a human being.
In this chapter we’ll cover what it looks like when real leads are met with chatbots vs real people, the effects this has on your conversion rates, and most importantly the effects this has on your bottom line. People prefer talking to people and in this business, giving people what they prefer often means more money for you.
To clear things up before we dive in too deep.
Let’s establish the difference between the major types of “robots” in the real estate ISA world.
The 3 major types of fake ISAs are Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) ISAs, and Auto-Responders and they all do pretty much the same thing….not convert real estate leads.
Chatbots are typically the term used for technology that presents itself as a “robot”. They’re not necessarily trying to deceive the customer and because of the well-known distaste of automated sales, most companies only use them for support resolution or to handle very basic questions before escalating to a human.
Let’s be perfectly clear, 9 out of 10 real estate ISA companies that offer AI ISAs are hoping you’re too dumb to know what AI is.
Their products don’t learn over time or rewrite their own code, they’re not AI.
Because of this deceptive marketing tactic, let’s look at the 2 forms of “AI” in real estate.
1. Keyword Triggered Responses
These are chat sequences that look for a specific keyword from a programmed list and choose the matching response for that keyword.
This method proves useless because language is complicated and when a buyer says “I’m not interested in an inexperienced Realtor” the chatbot only sees “I’m not interested” and completely misses the opportunity to convert a perfectly good lead.
2. True-ish AI
Somehow worse, we have true..ish AI. These are text responders built using very complicated code that tries to improve over time.
Here’s the issue with these companies, they optimize for short-sighted results, not closings.
For instance, an AI ISA that tells leads that you offer the lowest listing rates in town will definitely set a lot of appointments, because that’s what they’re trying to do. Optimize appointments.
Meanwhile, you’ll be going on dozens of appointments a week with unmotivated sellers with no interest in working with you or your expertise. This does nothing for you.
Auto Responders are the worst offenders in this space because all they do is send a pre-written script to every single lead.
And if the lead does respond to this automated message then you better hope you’re available because that’s pretty much all these auto-responders can do.
We know these technologies fall short because so many of our clients come to us for our human real estate ISAs after being burned by these fake robot ISA companies.
It’s important to discuss the importance of human connection. It’s one of the driving reasons that Realtors can’t get automated out of business by Knock or Opendoor.
You see on top of all the advocacy, market expertise and negotiation skills Realtors provide something invaluable to people buying or selling their family’s largest asset.
Call it whatever you like: empathy, EQ (emotional intelligence), intuition etc.
We like to think of it as the human touch.
Realtors provide friendship, emotional support, and sometimes even therapy to their clients.
This is all part of the brand that you create every time you help a client buy or sell their home.
Among the top reasons people move are things like:
These are incredibly stressful life events, in fact, Thrive Global says these are some of the most stressful events in a person’s life.
It’s actually kind of crazy that Realtors enjoy so much repeat and referral business, considering how much stress their clients are under when they work with their Realtor.
It’s because Realtors are people-persons (people-people?) and can connect with people in a way that makes them feel calm and secure despite hectic and uncertain circumstances.
Can you imagine if you treated your customers like a robot?
What if you just had a list of questions to ask and whenever they answer you’d move straight to the next question, essentially turning a friendly conversational script into an interrogation?
You’d probably lose a lot of business right?
Not only would fewer people buy or sell with you, but the ones who did would also have pretty much no reason to refer you to their friends or call you back the next time they need to move.
And this is what agents are doing with chatbots, putting an emotionless script in front of their clients and expect it to have a positive impact on their conversion rate.
First impressions matter so even if you chose to only implement chatbots at the beginning of your sales process, it would still create a very sterile brand.
In an industry that relies so heavily on reviews and referrals, you can’t afford to let anyone think that you don’t care about them by pawning them off on some autoresponder.
Chatbots, AI, and auto-responders hurt your engagement rates, response rates, and appointment setting rates.
You need a human real estate ISA to qualify your leads with empathy, and emotional intelligence.
When is the last time a client worked with you because of the brokerage you work with?
It’s probably never happened, right?
That’s because people don’t buy from brands or companies or websites in Real Estate, they buy from people.
Some might even argue that Real Estate clients don’t buy FROM you, they buy YOU, your knowledge, your personality, your experience and your track record with their friends or family.
Here’s a little nugget for you, if you call a large company and get their number tree (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.
People who know this trick, use it every time.
Because automated responses are infuriating!
Here’s the thing though, the company that sells their “AI” operators to these large corporations that use them 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 real estate 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 “Your offer was declined. Let ABC Realty know when you find another home you like.” VS
“I’m so sorry, the sellers decided to go with another offer. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I want you to take a night off from the home search to decompress, it’s been a stressful negotiation. I’ll scour the market for you and have a few good options ready for you tomorrow, I’m committed to helping you achieve your goals.”
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.
We even conducted an independent study of our own on this very matter.
We saw an astonishing 15% increase in response rate just by proving that there was a real person messaging them. And as we saw in our article on increasing appointment show-up rates a small increase in conversion rates can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
The magic phrase was to simply tell people they were talking to a real person.
At the beginning of our texts when we say “Hi, this is Alex” we inserted the magic phrase in parenthesis so the new message reads “Hi, this is Alex (yes, a real person).
These results speak for themselves.
We firmly believe in leveraging software whenever it makes sense. Technology can be the key to creating seamless systems and maximizing efficiency for most businesses when done correctly.
We also believe in only hiring human beings because we recognize that EQ is a critical part of sales, not only in converting your clients but also in building a positive brand for your business.
After all, Real Estate is a marathon, not a sprint so while we’re helping you grow your business today we also aim to keep you in good standings with the leads who say no to an appointment and might not be ready for a few years, they’ll come back to you excited to do business with you.
So now that you know the best practices in follow up, why your real estate ISAs should use text messages, why they should be setting 15 minute phone appointments and the value of making sure they’re humans. Let’s take a look at hiring one for yourself.
The strategies you use to follow up with real estate leads will have a massive impact on your success with a real estate ISA.
The right ISA using the wrong practices is worse than a bad ISA using the right practices.
We arrived at this set of strategies by not only reading the literature and studying all of the available data on lead follow up, but also qualifying 100's of thousands of leads the past several years.
We’ve ultimately landed on 8 best practices that will each boost your conversion rate and when combined can have a massive impact on the quality of your business.
Learn all 8 practices and how to implement them to build a perfect follow up system.
The first goal of real estate lead follow up is to get a response. It’s not to set an appointment or to close a deal.
Those may be the ultimate end goal but they are not the first goal.
When first reaching out to a lead it’s important to remember the first goal of real estate lead follow up, getting a response.
We’ve found time and time again that text messaging is the best where to get a first response from your leads.
Learn all about why that’s true and where to take it from there.
A great script isn’t actually a script, it’s a series of reminders to your real estate ISA that remind them to ask important questions that not only build rapport but also qualify your leads in advance.
Through experience and experimentation we have developed the BANTAR principle, a framework for elegantly qualifying leads and converting them further down the funnel.
Learn the entire BANTAR principle complete with an example conversation between an ISA and a lead using the BANTAT method.
Live Transfers have become a hot topic of discussion over the past few years when talking about real estate ISAs.
However, through lots of trial and error we have been able to determine that 15 Minute Phone appointment is the best way for real estate agents to receive hot prospects from their real estate ISAs.
Unlike live transfers, 15 minute phone appointments actually solve the problem of limited agent availability and can help to increase conversion rates.
In fact the only reason they aren’t the norm is because 15 Minute phone appointments are hard to implement on the real estate ISA’s side of things.
Technology can sometimes seem like the key to all of business’ problems.
But through experimentation and testing we’ve found that chatbots are not the key to converting real estate leads. Instead, you need a human real estate ISA.
We review what happens when leads are met with real people. The effects human real estate ISAs have on your conversion rates, and most importantly the effects they have on your bottom line. People prefer talking to people and in this business, give people what they want.
Having your own real estate ISA is a big goal for many teams.
Real estate ISAs make it easier for you to manage your own time knowing that you can focus on going on appointments with prospective clients and providing service to your existing clients while someone else manages your incoming leads.
But hiring a real estate ISA is no small task.
Let this chapter act as your hiring guide when hiring your first real estate ISA.
Choosing the right Real Estate ISA Appointment Setting Service is not only a good alternative to but also a great upgrade over an in house ISA.
Still, it’s a difficult task so in this section we’ll review the primary questions you should be asking when qualifying the many different real estate ISA companies in the market.
Many companies offer to mark some leads as hot or pass the buck to you as soon as a lead responds, this simply won’t do.
But what should you look for instead?
Time Is Money.
Every minute matters so you want to focus on the highest revenue producing activities.
That means when you get ghosted or have appointments but can't seem to turn them into active customers and closings, you’re losing both time and money.
That’s why we’re going to give you a checklist of the exact 13 steps that we’ve found to get you a 90% appointment show up rate and maximize your conversions.
We’ll cover exactly what to do both before the appointment and during the appointment in order to improve both show up rate and conversion rate.
Find out why the smartest teams in real estate choose Smart Alto.
Hint, it’s not just because of our track record.
We integrate with their businesses like a software plug in that superchargers their CRM. Our biggest teams often say we solve some of their biggest problems.
We’ll layout everything that makes us such an obvious choice so you can make a smart decision about your ISA provider.