Sure, every agent wants a hot lead: buyers or sellers who have made the decision to move forward in the real estate process. But warm leads can be just as valuable as hot leads — as long as your agents take the proper approach, according to Suzanne Zinn Mueller, chief marketing officer at Coldwell Banker Bain Seal in Seattle.
Mueller spoke at the National Association of REALTORS® Broker Summit this month about what constitutes a warm lead. They are buyers or sellers who have visited your site multiple times, she says, and they keep coming back to look at certain listings or neighborhoods. This is the type of lead that requires incubation, Mueller says.
“You can’t just call them and say, ‘I’ve seen you on my site eight times,’” She says. “That’s a little shocking.”
Agents should take the persistent “handle with care” approach, she says, which can last weeks, even months, until the leads get to a point where they’re comfortable enough to move forward.
Mueller discussed strategies for nurturing warm leads during a panel discussion with Mark Hughes, chief operating officer of First Team Real Estate in Southern California; Ron Mintz, executive vice president of Bay Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco; and moderated by Russ Cofano, senior vice president of industry relations at Move Inc.
Here are three ways to attract and convert leads at the company level.
1. Use data to learn a lead’s story. An agent should find out everything they can about a lead, and panelists say it’s up to the broker to equip agents with the right technology to understand what the online behavior of a lead reveals about their intentions.
Mintz prefers FiveStreet, which automatically collects information about a lead from social networking sites and property data and integrates the information into other programs, such as Top Producer. However, agents should use that data wisely, he says. If an agent finds out that his or her lead is a Republican who likes to eat fish, Mintz says it’s not going to go over well if the agents calls the lead and says, “Hey, I see you like eating fish.” Look at data that’s relevant to the needs of that particular buyer or seller, he says, such as how long that person has lived in their current home, the price of the home when he or she purchased it, and the lead’s current employment situation.
Mueller says it’s also imperative that brokers provide agents with mobile-friendly tools. “Look at your website from your phone. Try out the tools you’ve given your agents [from your mobile device],” Mueller says. “[Agents] are using these tools while they’re in a car with their clients or in a house.”
2. Set up systems to nudge leads. Mintz says that instead of focusing on continually generating more leads, his company concentrates on how they handle current leads. That means holding agents accountable and applying lead follow-up shortfalls to future training sessions.
“A lead lasts until it generates business,” he says. “We look at a lead like a kid going to a new school. We make friends with them and show them the ropes.”
For Hughes, it all starts with agents being conscientious of timeliness. At First Team Real Estate, Hughes says they had an internal networking system developed for agents to share information about upcoming listings, open houses, and other opportunities in order to leverage premarket knowledge for their leads and clients.
“Leads are an opportunity to consult, serve, and nurture,” Hughes says. “But it’s predicated on how fast you make that first response.”
3. Content is king. Don’t rely solely on online listings and squeeze pages — pages designed to capture opt-in e-mail addresses — to generate leads, Mueller says. To truly be an attractive and relevant real estate source for potential clients, brokers still need to offer hyperlocal knowledge and information on their websites. Think community statistics, construction updates, dog park information, school enrollment boundaries, and, of course, localized housing data. “You’re the only ones with the hyperlocal knowledge that clients are looking for,” Mueller says.
Reprinted from realtormag.realtor.org, August 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright August 2015. All rights reserved. realtormag.realtor.org