Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of the modern housing industry.
Thanks to websites such as Zillow and Trulia, you can receive information about leads from potentially interested clients in regards to specific listings.
But all is not well with this new and improved method. You’ve found that you’re paying money to these websites for better advertising and lead generation, but you’re not getting that many leads converted into sales (Zillow’s Premier Agent package costs $50 per lead, which can equal hundreds of dollars spent each month).
What’s going wrong here?
You’re posting high quality listings; you’re blasting them out on social media; you’re getting tons of lead notices each month but nothing is turning into a juicy sale.
What are you paying all of this good money for if you’re not getting much back?
The problem isn’t with Zillow and Trulia, but with what you’re doing with those leads once you have them. If you want to turn more leads into sales and start justifying paying all of that money each month, then here’s what you need to do.
Make sure you own that listing
Before we get into the larger specifics of how to turn leads into sales, the first thing that you need to be certain of is that your listing is actually being advertised as yours. Now you’re probably thinking, “Well of course it’s mine because I’m the one who posted it,” but that’s not the focus here.
To put it bluntly, is your name just slapped onto the Zillow or Trulia listing, or have you actually taken the time to craft a personalized and noticeable profile? An eye-catching profile complete with a professional photograph of yourself helps to show potential clients that you take your business very seriously and that they can expect excellent service from you.
Clearly advertising yourself and your business is one of the better methods for gaining leads through Zillow and Trulia. Buyers like to know that they’re dealing with a professional, and there’ll be more on denoting that later in this article.
What’s your response time?
One of the key reasons that leads slip through the fingers of realtors everywhere like sand in a sieve is because they think that the leads will take care of themselves and always be there. Sadly, this is not the case at all.
Take a moment and see how long it takes for you to receive notification that you have a lead on a listing from Zillow or Trulia. If the wait time is greater than five minutes then you’ve lost that lead because they’ve already moved onto another listing.
So that’s one way to help get a hold of leads, but it’s not the best way. So what is the best way of getting your leads to convert into sales?
That answer is easy: your response time has to be swift and efficient.
What is a swift and efficient response time?
The moment you receive notification that you have a lead, you’re immediate concern should be touching base with that client.
A potential buyer putting their contact information into a Zillow or Trulia listing in order to learn more is like they’re sending up a flare that spells a message out in the sky. In this case, that message is “I would like to learn more about this property very soon.”
For you, “very soon” should translate into “the next five minutes.”
One of the byproducts of the internet is that the average attention span of the everyday reader has plummeted.
It used to be that people could sit for a full hour reading all of the articles in a newspaper, and now you’re lucky if they pay attention to your real estate listing for more than 30 seconds.
Your best bet for making a strong impression on a potential buyer is by contacting them within five minutes of the lead notification. If you really want to impress them, contact them in under a minute.
A lead will give you someone’s contact information and the best way to capitalize on that is to contact that person immediately, either via phone call or text.
Actually, text is showing itself to generate more lead conversions than phone calls. As communication technology improves, people are giving up on the old school method of telephone calls.
Which one you choose is ultimately up to you, but an improved conversion rate sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Why is it important to respond promptly?
As mentioned, potential buyers have a much shorter attention span now than they previously did. If you take more than five minutes to get to them, odds are they’re already looking at another listing. Even worse, it’s probably a listing that you’re not affiliated with. So you’ve spent $50 on a lead that went to one of your competitors.
Speed is of the utmost importance when contacting a lead, but it’s not the only factor that needs to be touched on. Swiftness is one thing, but now it’s time to focus on what you’re going to say to the lead.
So now what do you do?
Now that you have the lead on the line (this is assuming you’ve gone old school and actually called them on the phone), what do you say to them to help ensure that they’re going to become more interested in your services and listing?
It’s not like this is a first date and you can entice them with flowers, right?
Well maybe not with flowers, but a friendly introduction is always nice. The best way to start off the conversation is by introducing who you are, what company you represent, and why you’re calling in the first place (something like, “Hi, this is John Doe of Above Average Realty. I’m calling because you asked to learn more about the listing for 123 St.?”).
Once the lead understands why you’re calling them and have shaken off the initial amazement at how quick your contact was, you can begin laying the foundation of drawing this potential client in deeper. This first introduction is critical in determining whether or not this buyer will seriously consider your services so you need to have a game plan before you even pick up your phone.
The Script of 40 Objections
You need to have a strategy for talking to leads on the phone, but your best bet is having a script ready for use right away. For that, you’ll need help from a gentleman by the name of Mike Ferry.
Realtors all across America praise Ferry as being one of the most outstanding real estate coaches bar none, and part of that praise comes from his creation of The 40 Real Estate Objections Handled.
In this document, Ferry outlined the 40 most common objections that leads can come up with/ask while talking to a realtor over a listing and the answers that you should give.
Of course, it is advised that you look over these replies and craft your own take on them. Thousands of realtors have made this list their own in order to set them apart, so you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not learning them.
By rehearsing and mastering these objections and the correct replies, phone calls with leads will yield more benefits than you’d expect.
Ask them if they’d like a showing
Once you have the formalities out of the way, then it’s time to really get your foot in the door rather than just stubbing your toe on the table. Go ahead and ask the lead if they’d like to schedule a showing of the listing they were looking at.
Remember, the worst thing they could do is say “no”.
This isn’t something you’ll want to schedule for the following week, either. If they agree to a showing, try and schedule it somewhere in the three days immediately following. The longer you wait means the more likely it is the lead could slip away like the aforementioned sand.
On the other hand, if they politely decline your offer of a showing for whatever reason (such as the listing isn’t exactly what they’re looking for, they’re not quite ready to buy, etc.), all is not lost. You still have a few tricks up your sleeve to keep them close to you.
Ask them if they’d like to receive notifications about similar listings
One of the faults of places like Zillow and Trulia is that there are so many property listings that it can make sorting (yes, even with the advanced sorting apps on there) difficult. What you can offer to this lead is the opportunity to send them alerts about similar properties in that area so they will be in the loop.
Employing this tactic is a great way to keep leads aware of your services and can even help them consider employing you further down the road once they feel they’re ready to really step into the housing market. Just because they may not be ready now doesn’t mean the chance is completely gone.
Ask about keeping in touch
However, the previously mentioned tactic only works if you ask and receive permission to keep in contact with them. Yes, just like with romantic break-ups, you will ask the leads if you can still keep in contact. Again, this strategy helps them remember that you’re available for service.
Every couple of months, you can include them in your email blasts to other leads that can be as simple as the following question: “Are you still looking to buy a home?” You’ll be amazed at how much information you’ll get back from that simple question.
Yes, you will get some back that will say “No, we bought a home last, etc.”, but there can be a few that yield revived leads who will remember the professional courtesy you showed them.
As a last piece of advice, another way you can help your lead generation (and thereby your lead to sales conversion) is through your reviews on Zillow and Trulia.
Leads like to see reviews about realtors, especially lots of them. In fact, the more reviews you get on these websites the more prominently you’ll be displayed.
One thing that will inevitably happen that shouldn’t greatly worry you is a bad review. It happens to every realtor and getting it removed from places like Zillow and Trulia is next to impossible. But, a bad review can be turned into an advantage.
A bad review has the benefit of making you seem “real” to the public. If all of your reviews are nothing but raves and praise, people are more leery of you because it feels fake to them. But a bad review shows that you’re just as fallible as the next person, and that can be a major advantage.
Besides, the bad review may have been due to a difficult client who was too demanding and entitled to appreciate the top notch service you gave them. Other reviewers will see this and come to your defense without you ever needing to ask.
In closing, turning leads into sales means being ready to jump on a lead the moment it appears, not the day after.
A lead is made or broken within those first five minutes and it’s in your best interest to maximize your advantages over it. If you can get in there and wow a lead before they have a chance to wander off to another listing, then you may just start seeing a higher rate of lead conversion and a quickly expanding profit margin.