By Maddie Jostol, Senior Marketing Manager
There seems to be a real estate leads shortage happening. You either have a steady flow of real estate leads but they’re converting at a painfully low rate, or your conversion rates are OK, but your agents are thirsty for more leads.
There are a few things happening here. Everybody is still upset that Zillow “took” their leads and there’s hesitation to adapt to a changing landscape that consumers are demanding. On top of that, we consistently see a low rate of lead follow up by agents. Rather than focusing so heavily on the competition, look critically at your current sources of business and consider systematic ways to not only drive more leads, but to convert them at a higher rate as well. As for the low or slow follow-up by agents, our opinion is not that they aren’t trying, but that they’re overwhelmed. Agents live incredibly busy, on-the-go lives, and lead nurturing requires time and attention that they frankly don’t have.
Here’s the problem: In the United States, the annual volume of real estate “leads” are increasing at a much, much higher rate than annual existing home sales. If increasingly more people are really looking to buy or sell, then why aren’t there more transactions? The term lead is used loosely and has become very vague, and what we often forget is that a lead is just the starting point. A client doesn’t go from lead straight to client – there is a lot that needs to happen in between. Leads need love.
Meanwhile, everyone is looking for a silver bullet. In real estate, you’re inundated with the latest fads that all promise to solve all of your business woes. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to navigate a landscape where there are truly helpful methods, tools, and tricks, but woven through are quick fixes and shiny objects.
Let’s take it back to basics because it’s quite simple, really. If you take more care in your leads by properly nurturing them under your brokerage brand, build trust and value and in the mind of the consumer, and qualify that lead so you know when they’re ready to talk to a real estate agent and move forward with a transaction, your agents will save time and convert at a higher rate, your brokerage business will save money, and your clients will have a better end-to-end experience.
It’s time to switch your mindset from quantity to quality. Does that mean that volume doesn’t matter? Of course not. It just means that quality should come first. Nobody wants to be treated like a lead. We all know the real estate industry is built on relationships, and that should remain at the core of your lead generation strategy. The key is to understand where your leads are in their journey. It’s likely that most of your leads aren’t truly considering a transaction and aren’t ready to talk to an agent. This can be frustrating, but rather than discarding them as low quality leads, what if we use it to our advantage? If we take a longer-term approach and guide those cold leads through their natural journey, providing value and serving as a resource along the way, we’ll be right there when they are warmed up and ready to transact.
The catch is, proper nurturing takes time, which, as we discussed, is a resource that most real estate agents have very little of. There’s the disconnect. Connect those dots with a proven system that fits into your existing process but takes the heavy lifting off your and your agents’ plates. By outsourcing that piece of the puzzle, home buyers and sellers are only introduced to one of your agents when they’re actually ready to engage with one, setting your agents up for success. This will enable you to maintain focus on the human element of buying and selling a home by nurturing leads in a systematic way without it being a burden to your staff or agents. It will lend a better customer experience, teeing your agents up for success, and enabling your agents to do what they do best.
By Maddie Jostol
Everyone needs more leads. The constant search for the most cost-effective, quality leads generates a constant buzz across the real estate industry. But what if the best leads are hiding right under your nose?
Growing your repeat and referral business is what will keep you afloat in this competitive market. Agents across the nation are thirsty for leads and end up competing over low-quality purchased leads. When you have a base of contacts that you nurture and stay in touch with, you have a sustainable business.
Growing and nurturing your sphere means that you have to rely less on low-quality purchased leads.
Don’t get us wrong… it’s all about balance, and we realize that purchasing leads can be vital in supplementing your business growth. The difference is: you know more about leads that come from your sphere. You’re leveraging a relationship that already exists, even if it’s simply familiarity.
When leads are generated from your sphere, you already have a huge leg-up because you have some level of knowledge about them. Contacts that are in your database have information you’ve aggregated over the years, but they also allow you to leverage data to learn more about the person. Moxi Insights, for example, aggregates public data for every person in your sphere. What’s this mean, exactly? It means you now have an idea of whether or not John Smith has kids, or that Sarah Miller likes to donate to environmental causes, or that David Johnson’s kids are now teenagers, so he might be thinking about downsizing in the next few years.
This gives you power.
The more you know about a person, the better experience you’re able to deliver them, and in today’s world that experience means everything. Access to public records doesn’t mean you act as a psychic who knows the ins-and-outs of someone’s life. It simply means that when you host a golf tournament, you can make sure you invite those who are actually interested in it. That means you have a better understanding of what someone might be looking for when it comes to searching for a new home. It means you’re able to reconnect with people from your sphere at exactly the right time.
With insights like these, you can easily identify who in your sphere is likely to have a transaction in the near future (if you use Moxi Insights, a badge will actually appear near contacts when they’re likely to buy or sell). This is incredibly valuable in knowing who you should be reaching out to today, so that you can reconnect with those contacts and be top-of-mind at the exact right time.
Sphere-based leads will ensure your business growth moving forward. The competition is only heating up, so agents need to strengthen and leverage existing relationships to achieve success and growth. That, paired with a valuable source of data, is the recipe for valuable leads, and in turn, sales.
In today’s competitive market, everybody is thirsty for more leads. Lead generation is becoming increasingly challenging and expensive and it’s tough to know what lead quality you’re going to get. The truth is, a jackpot of leads might be right under your nose. Yes… you might have a goldmine and not even know it! Your sphere of influence could be chock-full of leads – both those who are thinking about buying or selling, and those who have friends who are thinking about buying or selling.
Always be growing that sphere.
As an agent, your sphere is your book of business moving forward. Those relationships will only become more valuable as lead generation gets more competitive. A strong sphere of influence will give you an instant leg-up against other agents because it’s a base of relationships that powers your business. When you meet people at PTA meetings, holiday parties, and community events who could be clients down the road, you’re growing your sphere, and in turn, your business.
Keep that database up-to-date.
As you do your farming, add those people to your database. Those connections are valuable, but only if you have a fighting chance of keeping in touch with them. That’s what your database is for. When the database of contacts in your CRM is up-to-date, you’re able to nurture those contacts as a lead source. Your CRM should guide your daily work routine. Who do I need to follow up with today? Where did I leave off with so-and-so? Use your CRM as a point of reference.
Stay in contact.
When you have a solid, growing sphere of influence organized into a database, you can nurture those contacts for sustainable business growth. The beautiful thing about having a well-organized database is that you can segment your database to stay in contact with certain people. Have a charity golf event you’d like to invite a handful of past clients to? Segment your database by golfers so you don’t miss a beat. Staying in contact with your sphere of influence will lead to an increase in repeat and referral business. These are the highest quality leads an agent can ask for, so don’t let them fall through the cracks. If you’re a Moxi Engage user, subscribe to Moxi Insights for consumer data that notifies you when someone in your database is likely to buy or sell.
When it comes to your database, your goal is to be each contact’s go-to person when it comes to real estate. When their neighbor mentions they might take a job in another state: you know a great real estate agent. Or when their friend mentions they’re considering buying an investment property in the next year: you know the perfect person to help. The vast majority of people end up working with the agent who reached out to them first. Your goal: always be there first. If you’re present when they’re just toying with the idea of selling their home, there’s no doubt you’ll be top of mind when they’re actually ready to start the process. Lead generation happens by default when you’re top-of-mind for your sphere of influence.
Don’t discount the value of those already in your database. Rethink how you look at lead generation and start with the people you already have a relationship with. Instead of purchasing leads and attempting to win over strangers (sure, we all need to do some of that), start with your sphere and leverage your database.