Internet Leads: Managing and Responding

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1 The Internet is playing a greater role than ever for consumers. Consumers have come to realize they can obtain information Quickly Efficiently Easily Affordably on the Internet According to NAR: One-third of buyers looked online for their first step in the home buying process 87 percent of buyers used the Internet in their search The second most frequent way a buyer found their home was through the Internet According to the NAR Technology Survey Nearly half of REALTORS are using social networking or plan to in the future Three fifths of REALTORS have a website The greatest challenge is developing rapport with your Internet leads. Much more different and difficult than developing rapport over the phone Don t be surprised if you find yourself EXCELLING at developing rapport online Your follow-up techniques must be light years ahead of your competition! MORE NAR Statistics inquiries sometimes take 60 days to receive a response inquiries need to be responded to immediately in real time, especially in the age of Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter Today s consumer wants real time results, that is unobtrusive and allows them to be in control You have to make them want to give you MORE information Rules for Following-up Follow-up faster (than everyone else!) Change the medium (frequently) Make it personal and relevant Invite for a visit Establish urgency Page 1 of 9

2 Solve NOT Sell! Listen carefully to their situation without selling Find out who is the decision maker without offending Establish a relationship with the inquirer Find out the real issues behind the request for information Prioritize the interests, then do your homework Provide a date/time they will hear back from you Ask if you can call them to discuss NAR National Statistics: 50% of Internet leads never get a response. Average response time is 54 hours! 21 percent of Internet buyers expect an agent to respond instantly to an inquiry and 23 percent expect a response in 30 minutes or less. 80% of home buyers use the Internet to find a home and a real estate professional to represent them NAR: ~70% consumers work with first agent to respond. Excessively high percentage of Internet leads marked as dead. Follow through on company lead left to agent s whims. What are some characteristics of the econsumer? MYTH #1: Converting Online Leads Won t Work Online Leads are bogus, they re just not serious Merely requests for information You re just simply providing information to the consumer without receiving anything back for your time Online consumers are disloyal It s a one-way communication Page 2 of 9

3 Loyalty Can Be a Problem Internet Leads: Managing and Responding You are the mercy of search engines There are many REALTOR websites available, people have options Building a website that ranks well in the search engines is worth the effort Optimizing your website is an ongoing process, be prepared to invest time and money There are a lot of tire kickers or people who want free information that can waste a lot of your time. Identify them quickly and move on MYTH #2: Emil Communication is ALL That Is Needed Sales is now a complex process Communication has taken on many forms It takes time and involves strategy and occurs in multiple stages Need to identify the consumer s time frame for buying or selling Responses should not be vague, i.e. call me if you need anything View ecommunications as a relationship building tool In order for you to be responsive to the econsumer s needs, you ll need to find out what their time frame for action is. Without this information you could be spinning your wheels. Don t assume people are going to act immediately. Also don t assume they re only doing research. Find out what stage of the home selling/buying process they re in and MOST IMPORTANTLY, whether or not they re presently working with an agent. What is the Definition of Lead Incubation? What is the Value of Lead Incubation? Lead Incubation is NOT a NEW concept Most leads, whether they be walk-in, call-in or arrive via the Internet will not act for at least 30 days, they need to massaged Branded messages, such as the ecampaign tools were created for this purpose Allow people to get to know you. Let them know you are on Facebook and LinkedIn Page 3 of 9

4 Leads Need to Be Incubated If econsumers didn t require follow-up, there would be no need for sales professionals Automated response advertising is not incubating Agents interpret consumer inquiries as an opportunity to SELL Automated messages are not relationship building Consumers can already get MORE information than they truly want With Internet leads, do one of the following; convert, incubate or get a referral Page 4 of 9

5 What are some solutions to the following Agent Objections to Lead Incubation? I don t know what to say or write? I don t write well? I don t spell well? I have a hard time expressing myself I really don t receive leads I don t have a Smart Phone I m too busy. Resources for Agents Who Struggle with Their ecommunications... CLS Library Scripts area Write your own scripts and have someone critique Especially frequent user of Internet communication Start building your own communication Library It needs to be friendly, but at the same time brief Check out the ecampaign tools! Use Spell Check! ALWAYS! Read more books! Ask for help from someone who is! Write Down Objection Handlers for the Following Consumer Objections: I do not want to give my name I am just gathering information I want the address so I can drive by and take a look I am calling for a friend I already have an agent I will just call another company Page 5 of 9

6 Customize the following Communications: I completely understand that you may still be in the information gathering stage. I hope my information will be helpful. Please know that I respect your decisions and your timeline. I wish you well and am willing to work at your pace and address any real estate needs you may have. I understand how you may feel overwhelmed with communications from many sources. Please know that I respect your privacy and your timeline. I hope this information will prove helpful. I wish you well. In my effort to build a loyalty based business, I make a point of making sure my clients are in total control. I understand that you may be just looking for information and are not ready to make any decisions yet. I respect your timeline and your privacy. I hope this information will be helpful. Thank you for your inquiry regarding the property located at Harborview Lane. As a seasoned real estate agent in the Morris County area, I pride myself on helping those contemplating a move. I have a sincere desire to work closely with each and every client to ensure they have as much information as possible to make an informed decision regarding the sale of their existing property or the purchase of a new one. I understand you may be in the early stages of your search. It s never too early to seek the advisement of a professional. I look forward to assisting you further when you are ready. Don t forget to educate the econsumer about Buyer Agency What can they expect you to assist them with What is the difference between a CLIENT and a CUSTOMER Take a look at the blog entry on ActiveRain: Page 6 of 9

7 Strategies to Use Treat ALL leads equally Speed - Respond timely and prioritize Convey urgency - Ask what their timeframe is Identify knowledge gaps Just so I don t sound repetitive, how familiar are you with Use a Contact Manager to keep track of communication FREE Class Contact Management Made Easy! Communication Engagement List Assess Your Current Strategy Respond quickly to inquiries Reflect a desire and willingness to build a relationship Demonstrate your market knowledge and expertise Provide information that is relevant Convey to the customer that they are in control Inspire trust and reflect your personality Do you tell all upfront or do you leave them wanting more What Are Some Ways You Can Engage the Internet Consumer? Tools That Help The Smart Phone Enable you to receive and respond to quickly There are many different varieties You ll need to evaluate your budget and preferred phone carrier as well as necessary phone features Consider a device that has a multitude of real estate tools Camera Voice recorder MP3 player Page 7 of 9

8 Are You Using the CENTURY 21 branded emarketing Tools? My Contacts area ecampaign Tools Tracking Reports Segmentation Relevant content and communication Offers that engage and bring consumers back Create an emarketing Strategy Don t just respond to an you are trying to engage, make a friend, build trust, be relevant and add value that s not available via the Internet 1. Who is your audience? 2. What is your purpose? 3. What is the message? 4. What is the timeframe? 5. Frequency of Contact? When do you use a one-time , drip campaign or make the contact more personal? 6. Build a model a system Use the tools on 21online.com Website Resources: Google.com long tail search strategy, lead generation and lead conversion Page 8 of 9

9 Best Practices Tips List! Make your topics relevant to consumer Get out of the Box.. 75% of people who open your will do so within first 24 hours 84% within 48hrs Open Rates have experienced a small decline Monday is best day to send newsletters Subject lines shorter (35 Characters) will be opened more frequently. Personalize your newsletter whenever possible. Deliverability is generally increasing. Smaller lists ( those that are more targeted) get better open rates due to relevance Make sure your sender or from name is recognizable, use your Vanity Including your Brand name will reduce SPAM deletions Writing, design, brevity Use social networks..facebook, LinkedIn, 21Communities, Twitter to drive consumer to website to increase subscriptions ex: send tweet: sent out Aug newsletter with new information on local stats.. Clicks..include links to your website..and make sure website offers other opportunities to subscribe or ask for info not if you need help buying or selling 3.45 % of consumers who open Real Estate s click on additional links. Real Estate is usually one of the top industries with a 6.34% open rate For Newsletters: Avoid: Large files, irrelevant content, formatting problems, broken links Subject line: 18.93% opened with less than 35 characters % opened with more but you should test different lengths. Review subject line, confirm it is clear what the message is about and free of spam words, ex. Free, $$$ Popular subject line words: News, Party, Sale, Update, Week, Holiday SOURCE: Data from Marketing Metric Reports July-Dec 08 If someone has taken the time to ask for your help, ASK for their business and SEAL THE DEAL! Page 9 of 9

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