WHY THAT “HOT” LEAD DOESN’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOUAll Things Home Inspection
Why that “Hot” Lead Doesn’t Want Anything to Do With You
It’s really frustrating.
Your broker sent you a lead he got in on his website and you can’t seem to raise that lead. Hey! You put him on your drip email system; you sent him an auto-responder; you even invited him to call your cell phone! Nothing! That must have been just another one of those lousy Internet leads. It hardly even makes sense to expend any effort with those, they’re so bad!
Are the ‘leads’ the problem?
In order to know if the ‘leads’ are part of the problem you must ask yourself at least three simple questions:
1. Was this lead generated by someone “opening an account to view homes,” like on an IDX? If so, it’s more likely to be a lookey-loo than a serious buyer.
2. Was this lead created by a lead amalgamator? A lead amalgamator tries to have their site found on the major search engines under every major market in North America (like Homes.com, for example) and because of that, Internet buyers have no idea what will happen when they leave their information on such a site. Thus, they often use false names, phone numbers, etc., when being forced to register. Likewise, some lead amalgamators sell each lead as many as five times; they’re not in the business of helping you generate your own leads, they want to sell you (and several other people) their leads. Savvy consumers know this and don’t want multiple agents calling them, so they also may leave phony information when registering. These kinds of ‘leads’ often don’t really want to speak with you, they just want to look around—and they certainly won’t respond to you when you call.
3. Does the alleged prospect in the lead know who you are or are you calling that lead as a cold call?
Bonus question: How long did it take your broker, corporate office, or whomever to get that lead to you?
Why do these things matter at all?
Depending on the answer, the lead may really be “no good.” For example, a person signing into an IDX is probably signing in to look, not necessarily to engage the buying process. More often than not, the same holds true for leads from lead amalgamators—people have no idea who they (the amalgamators) are or who you are. How can anything be called a qualified lead where the person filling in the data has no clue about you, about what you sell, about why they need a professional to help them and is only filling in the form to look at the MLS listings?
More and more these days we find people trying to automate everything to do with the process of searching on line; you know, ‘how many bedrooms’, ‘what is the price range’, blah, blah, blah– when what the consumer wants is for you to help them search for properties, filter out what they don’t like, and present them with what they really want to consider. To get a dialog going with clients like that, however, the lead must not be of the ilk of those above, but rather, it must be from your own site and the inquiry must really tell you exactly what the prospect wants. You can’t get those kinds of leads from lead amalgamators; you must solicit them on your own branded prospecting platform. While buying leads from amalgamators can result in an occasional sale (after all, even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn!), far more often they do not. It’s the same old question: what is the most effective way to get people to talk to?
(The bonus question has an equally simple answer: TOO LONG if it was more than 30 minutes from the time the lead signed in to when you got it. After even 30 minutes, MIT tells us, the lead degrades by more than half its strength if has not been responded to.)
The professionally managed lead site
All these concerns have given rise to the professionally managed lead site; an 18-month+ old phenomenon that enables the agent and/or broker to produce leads for their own account. These sites include an interactive site designed to be a catalyst—to induce Internet shoppers to tell the agent or broker exactly what they are looking for and to develop a dialogue where you can give it to them. These sites employ good design, lead capture and marketing (for example, when 100 people visit such a site, an average of 15 of them sign in, as opposed to ordinary sites where less than ½ of 1% sign in). This means that anyone with reasonable traffic on such a site can generate plenty of good leads. The professionally managed lead sites utilize the best of organic search (SEO) and paid search to put that site in front of Internet buyers, where those buyers will contact the agent—you—and ask them for specific information about something they saw on that branded site. That is NOT lead amalgamation, that is lead generation— exclusive to you, for you, by Internet shoppers who have seen you and know your name because they visited your site. Furthermore, these sites require no input or maintenance by you—the providers manage them for you. These types of sites range from quite expensive (Tiger Leads®) to pay-as-you-go (Compass PROLeadS®); and while they may never replace the full service traditional website (and they are not designed to do that), they are making great headway in the real estate business due to their effectiveness at prospecting good inquiries for their owners.
Even these sites are not a panacea
Unfortunately, whether you spend a lot or a little, it’s all wasted if YOU do not hold up your end. You must learn the proper techniques to follow up such leads and you must do it within minutes of obtaining them. If you continue to do all the things wrong that so many agents and brokers do (round robin-ing the lead responders, delaying hand off for a ‘couple of days’, thoughtlessly just dumping them in to your ‘lead management system’ where they get incessant and irritating automatic follow-ups from you by email for the rest of their lives, etc., even these leads will not pan out.
You must develop a consistent policy and person to respond to these leads instantly; remember, they contacted you and they expect to hear from you, fast. The pay-off is in the statistic that in more than 80% of cases where the agent or broker contacts the lead within 30 minutes that lead stays with that agent all the way to completion.
Thus, the most successful Internet agents and brokers have these things in common:
1. Without exception, they have tapped into the right kind of leads;
2. Without exception, they also have established a plan for responding to them and they treat these leads as you might treat a fellow who walked into your office with a satchel full of money and asked to buy a home;
3. The lead response procedure is followed and it is immediate;
4. Without exception, the most successful Internet agents and brokers recognize that all leads are not created equal, that the vast majority of home sales today begin on line (94% is the current statistic) and that they need to have a strong Internet presence to succeed, but—most importantly– that the single most important thing any sales person needs to succeed is to have dialog with many prospective buyers all the time; everyone needs people to call on in order to sell anything.
Are those your priorities? Do you know the proper way to even follow these kinds of leads up and what secrets the lead can disclose if you know where to look?
Chances are—if you are currently buying leads—that you might not even know that each ‘lead’ sold to you is sold up to five more times to other people. Read the fine print before you sign up with anyone and don’t buy ‘leads’ that are ever furnished to others. Because when it comes down to it, the reason that ‘lead’ can’t be reached might be that he or she isn’t a ‘lead’ at all, but is only revenue to some lead amalgamator. Prospects don’t like that and neither should you. Generate your own and you’ve got a real chance to succeed.
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