You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Over two-thirds of customers buy from the salesperson who is first to respond to their inquiry. With sales engagement tools, such as Connect Now’s mobile app, real estate agents can respond to qualified leads within seconds. While the technology allows for immediate conversations, successful agents know it is essential to create a meaningful dialog with customers from the very start. Every lead is an opportunity now, and an opportunity to build a lifelong relationships with the customer.
There are several pitfalls to avoid. If the agent’s response are too generic and and sent before reviewing their profile and property of interest, then it will sound fake and you run the risk of being a turn-off. If the agent waits for an inside sales agent to profile the lead, then they risk losing the sale to another agent (aka the agent who responds first). But if the agent instead responds quickly AND with a personalized message, then they will likely become that lead’s go-to person for all things real estate.
This two-part blog series will teach you how to make a great first impression and nurture lifelong relationships with customers. Here are some tips to putting your best foot forward with new leads.
In our on-demand world, consumers expect quick, informative responses to their inquiries. In fact, you are 80% more likely to engage a new lead if you reach out to them immediately. The likelihood of making contact with a lead drops to around 20-35% if you wait over 30 minutes to respond. Real estate professionals, like other salespeople, live and die by the quantity and quality of the leads their team generates. But if you aren’t responding quickly, not only does the ROI of your advertising spend drop, you are missing opportunities that could yield dividends beyond the initial sale.
Agents who compile a group of of templated responses and call scripts beforehand can respond quickly to leads. They can also easily insert comments and suggestions specific based that lead’s interests. A good script—whether used for email, chat, social, or phone—provides key elements of information such as details about the property, neighborhood and showing options. A better script leverages that plus lead qualification data to create a meaningful dialog in the sales process.
A good script will…
- Thank the lead for their interest
- Confirm the lead’s interest
- Prompt the lead with the next step
Here’s an example script for a real-time chat message:
Key Takeaway: Time is of the essence when it comes to responding to leads.
Templated scripts can save you time but don’t write one that relies heavily on a consumer’s profile data. Do write a script that addresses the consumer’s inquiry and requires minimal editing on your part, when you do have enhanced profile data.
Be Helpful but Keep it Brief
A lead is knocking on your metaphorical door because they want something you have, and, whether they’re doing so consciously or not, they want to know what type of person you are. Another key to making a good first impression is selling the property AND selling yourself.
“Personal branding” is a buzzword that is especially important to real estate agents. As a lead begins their journey to rent or buy a new home, they expect the agent who guides them through the process to provide a high level of customer service and consultation. Beyond your sphere of influence, identify your strengths and make sure they are apparent wherever, and whenever a leads engage with you. Examples of agent superpowers include extensive knowledge of the neighborhood, negotiation skills, flexibility and willingness to go the extra mile to insure the customer is thrilled with their new home.
But, there must be a balance between touting your “superpowers” and simply providing the right information at the early stages of a sales process. Successful agents provide their leads with useful information, but they don’t overwhelm their leads with details. Before reaching out to a lead, see if you’ve interacted with them before by checking your CRM system, then tailor your messaging accordingly. Here’s an example of how to respond to a cold lead who contacts you via email:
If a lead reaches out after going dormant for awhile, your email should acknowledge their return and appear to be personalized with information you learned from them in the past. As the highlighted text in the example below shows, just a few small tweaks to your template can restart the dialog you started earlier with this customer.
Don’t Ghost Your Leads
Most leads require more than one email touch before taking action. Chances are you’re not the only real estate agent messaging your lead, but if you want to become their go-to agent, your early communication with any lead should create a sense of credibility and urgency.
Many leads won’t respond to your initial message, so consider sending their next follow-up message via an alternate medium. For example, perhaps your lead was exploring new homes online but then stepped away to care for a child. This behavior doesn’t mean they have lost interest in the property, but they are simply unable to connect with you. If they don’t immediately pick up the phone when you call, they may quickly text back about a better time. And if you aren’t able to connect with the lead for several hours or even days, your messages should have a cadence to be persistent enough to keep you top of mind .
Every Message Should Add Value
Effective lead follow-up is a key part of any consultative selling process, regardless of industry. A savvy real estate agent will avoid saying things like “Just checking in” and “Did you get my email?” and instead will share new, relevant information to keep the lead’s interest in the property growing. Each time you communicate with your lead give them a reason to open your email (aka give them a reason to care).
Key Takeaway: 3 Ways to Add Value
- Provide a neighborhood fact. “You’ll be in walking distance to 5 of the city’s top restaurants.”
- Create a sense of urgency. “This house is hot! I’m doing showings this weekend and I expect to get multiple offers. Can you see it before then?”
- Give a little history on the house. “Did you know 123 Main Street was built in 1889 for a famous dressmaker?”
Know When to Cool It
When a lead does not respond to your messages, it may be time to transition them to a longer-term nurture strategy. While some may still have an urgent need for a new home, others may have shifted focus temporarily or their plans have changed. The sixth email you send should be your final personal communication, it should be short, sweet, and make your intentions clear. For example:
Disinterested leads will probably ignore this email just as they’ve ignored the others, but a “Hey, I’m leaving you” message might be just the thing to trigger a response from interested leads. Perhaps they felt the original house they saw is too big or too small for their needs. Or, the lead really wanted to be a couple streets closer to their child’s school. There are many reason why a lead stops communicating, but keeping the lines of communication open will keep you top of mind when they are ready to restart their search. Plus, their response will provide you insights to help you close the transactions when they do.
Hopefully at this stage, you have developed a consultative dialog with your lead and are moving them toward a close. But, for those leads that don’t convert quickly, check out our next blog post for best practices for nurturing leads so they re-engage with your brokerage when they are ready to make a move.