When it comes to online real estate lead follow up, it all starts with getting a response. Many gurus will say the importance of learning your lead’s motivation or figuring out their personality profile early. But it’s all for naught if they never respond.
Deciding to hire a real estate ISA is really about deciding to invest in your lead follow up process.
Lead follow up is usually looked at as a whole or as just one big milestone; “you generate the lead, you follow up with the lead, you convert the lead, you close the lead, etc.”
When in reality real estate lead follow up should be looked at as a series of its own smaller milestones.
The first and most important milestone is to simply get a response.
Because you can’t do anything with an unresponsive lead, you can’t qualify them, build rapport with them, or set an appointment with them if they never respond.
This can be visualized as you walking on rocks to cross a pond. You must step on each rock to safely make it to the other side.
The first rock is getting a response, then qualifying the lead, setting a phone appointment, going on the listing appointment/home tour, and closing a deal.
Each rock is an important, necessary step in the lead qualifying process.
As you can see, getting a response is the only way to start crossing the pond that’ll ultimately lead to a closing.
In this chapter we'll reinforce what most people already intuitively know; texting is the best form of communication for new leads. The ease of use and widespread adoption of texting means that the vast majority of your leads will be able to respond to you quickly, breaking the seal on communication and beginning the chain of events that will ultimately lead to a closing.
Brian Halligan (CEO of Hubspot) has said time and time again that one of the most sure-fire ways to grow your business is to reduce the friction that a customer experiences when moving from one stage of your process to the next.
Now if you think of someone going from a lead (name and number on your computer) to a prospect (actually human you are communicating with) as taking a step from one stage of your funnel to the next you’ll see why it’s so critical to reduce the friction in this transformation.
Now, what’s the fastest way to transform a lead into a prospect? Get them to respond to you!
The moment they do, it’s no longer just one-way communication, it becomes two-way dialogue.
Now let’s focus on that part of the equation we need to reduce friction in getting a lead to respond.
The best way to do that is to text your real estate leads.
Realtors used to think that only their millennial clients wanted to text but these days even your downsizing empty nesters will respond to your phone call with a text message. Texting is the only channel that all of your clients have access to and use regularly.
Texting Is At-Your-Convenience
For busy clients, the asynchronous nature of texting makes it so much easier for them to engage. Very few people can stop what they’re doing to answer a phone call but so many of your clients will gladly text you back when they get a moment between meeting or while waiting in line at the grocery store.
We used to think rejected phone calls meant the client didn’t want to talk to us when in reality it only ever meant that they didn’t want to talk at that exact moment. Texting makes it easy to be convenient by allowing them to respond when THEY have time.
Texting Is Immediate
An unread text is seldom left unread for long.
A study by Viber found that 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery.
Texting Is Easy
In terms of physical effort, texting requires virtually no effort.
If you phrase your opening question just right, your lead only needs to click their thumb twice to instantly transform themself into a prospect.
Now keep in mind this is still the very beginning of the sales process, getting a response is the first rock you must step on to cross the pond.
So by texting and increasing the number of leads who respond, you’re increasing the number of leads and prospects at every stage of the funnel after this.
More phone appointments, more listings, more closings just by using a form of communication that gets more responses.
Phone calls are a great substitute for face to face communication, you can pick up all sorts of tonal and vocal nuances that you don’t get through typed communications.
We love phone calls for that reason but they’re lousy for getting a response.
With all the forces acting on the world of phone calls it’s obviously not the tool you want to use when getting the first response.
Gone are the days of “smiling and dialing” or “dialing for dollars”, yet still some Real Estate sales gurus insist on making outbound calls a core part of your lead conversion.
Dialing for dollars sucks because it only has a 2% conversion rate. On average, you’d have to call 100 leads a minimum of 6 times to reach them.
That’ll take you 600 dials and 10 hours (60 seconds per call) for two measly appointments. That hardly sounds worth it.
Take a moment to think about it, when is the last time you bought something over the phone?
Even if you did sign up online to receive more information on a product odds are you still ignore the subsequent sales calls.
Part of the reason is simply that people are more averse to phone conversations than they were in the past, but there are more forces at work here.
Robo Dialers Have Ruined It
Automatic pre-recorded phone calls attempting to scam people out of their personal information or money (Robo Calls) have been on the rise steadily for the past several years.
One study showed that in a single month Americans received over 3 Billion robocalls.
With such a widespread problem annoying so many people, most folks have just taken to ignoring phone calls altogether, especially ones labeled as potential spam, or having their phone set to go directly to voicemail in an effort to avoid incessant robocalls.
Of course, that means they’re also missing legitimate professionals like you but most consumers agree that’s a small price to pay for peace and quiet.
Silence Unknown Callers
Many phone makers have noticed the trend and have decided to make it easy for users to simply silence unknown callers, banishing them to the voicemail box they almost never check.
This also spells bad news for Realtors because unless you’re calling someone who already has your number saved in their phone, odds are they never know you called.
It’s High Friction
As alluded to before, people are less interested in speaking on the phone these days.
Not just because younger generations tend to be more isolated but because our daily lives are becoming more and more mentally demanding.
Sure it was easy to shop in the grocery store while chatting on the phone but that was before there were 45 varieties of peanut butter to choose from (“which one did I get last time, was it organic-chunky or non-GMO-crunchy?”).
People have simply become too busy to answer unscheduled phone calls.
Text on the other hand has built-in convenience because your prospects will respond on their own time and can read your text and put the hard work of thinking of a response on the back burner until they get another moment to respond.
Text messaging real estate leads is all about recognizing that the first goal of follow up is to get a response.
Remember, you can’t qualify a lead who never responds and you can’t schedule a consultation with someone who hasn’t even answered a text.
Still you’re going to want to qualify your leads to make sure you’re not wasting your time, right?
Well now that you’ve gotten your leads to respond, you can dive into the critical qualifying questions using a script so stealthy they’ll think they’re just having a fun conversation. That’s right, it’s time to talk about the best real estate lead follow up scripts. What we call the BANTAR Principle.
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.