Online real estate leads are an integral part of business today. Wouldn't it be great if all leads were pre-approved and ready to buy within the next 6 months? Unfortunately, that's not the case much of the time and you're left wondering what to do with "bad" leads.
- The lead has already been contacted by another agent
- The lead isn't ready to buy within the next 12 months
- The lead hasn't been pre-approved
- The lead's budget is way below the price point for homes in their preferred area
The list goes on and on. Take a look at typical complaints about online real estate leads, new ideas for dealing with them and possibly getting them into your sales funnel.
Leads have low price points
When a lead tells you they can afford $150K, in a housing market that starts at $250K, you've got your work cut out for you. Do you tell them you cannot help them or do you take them on?
These leads are not bad leads. It’s all in how you ask questions to learn more about their needs... and how willing you are to nurture them. Work to earn their trust then get them to your preferred lender to see if they can qualify for more than what they thought they could.
- Many people have a purchasing power that is much higher than what they originally indicated on the online lead form
- By helping this type of a lead find an affordable home, they may refer others to you (possibly with higher budgets), increasing your ROI
Consider giving the lead to someone on your team who sincerely enjoys the challenge of working with this type of lead. Add them to an email nurturing campaign so when they're ready to buy/sell they will think of you.
I’m not receiving enough leads from XYZ company
Most companies have a general idea of the number of leads they produce and, therefore, how many they can deliver to their customers. If you’re unsure, reach out to the company providing your leads and ask how many leads you should expect to see and if you can receive more (the squeaky wheel gets the oil, right?).
I receive weak leads
Some of the leads you receive will be ready to buy/sell while others may be green leads (early stages of the buying/selling process). Remember, just because they visited a website and filled out a lead form doesn't mean they're ready to buy. We need to understand the difference and know there will be times we have to put in extra effort to nurture and educate them.
Be a customer-centric agent who uses long-term conversion tactics to build a relationship with the lead and increase the likelihood of a future sale. Use systems that incorporate many forms of communication including calling, texting, emailing and mailers. Send information that’s relevant and of value.
Consider this: your broker may want to put the lead into a long-term nurturing email campaign, then give them back to you when they’re ready to buy/sell. Remember, every lead has value and many become clients who refer others to you.
I can’t get the lead to pick up the phone
It's painful the amount of time agents spend leaving voicemail messages for leads. To get more leads on the phone, call them right away. The easiest way to do this is to call them as soon as you receive the lead notification -- when they’re sitting in front of their computer following a online search.
If you wait days to call them, the lead may have already forgotten about visiting your website or your listing. Another agent, who’s on the ball, may have already started working with the lead.
If you have to leave a voicemail, let them know you will email some information based off of their inquiry. In the email, let them know you tried to reach them via phone and then provide relevant information that will get them to engage. The faster you act, the more likely it is you will get a hold of them and beat out any other agents who might have received them as a lead as well.
I already received this lead from another company
There is no way to control a lead who chooses to submit their information to multiple websites. If they aren’t working with an agent, focus on asking questions about their needs and how you can serve them. If they’re already working with an agent, let them know you would be happy to help them if things don’t work out with that agent.
Buying leads is getting expensive
Many lead generation companies exist with varying price structures to accommodate real estate agents. Start by looking at where you can save money. For example, find a company that doesn’t take a commission on the leads you close. Choose a company that has a long history of providing real estate leads, as they will have a better understanding of your needs.
Despite the cost, using a real-estate-based lead generation service is still one of the best ways to get in front of interested clients. It might be time to accept you're going to have to spend money to get verified or qualified leads. Remind yourself that each lead is an opportunity to grow your sales funnel.
Qualified vs. Verified Leads
When buying leads from online companies, make sure you ask whether you’re getting verified or qualified leads or both.
- Verified: a possible buyer/seller who’s contact info has been verified/scrubbed. Look for human-verified leads.
- Qualified: a lead that knows his/her budget, is ready to buy/sell right now and has been pre-approved.
- Unqualified: a lead that hasn’t started the buying/selling process and will need nurturing.
Take time to nurture unqualified leads and help educate them through long-term drip email campaigns.
Remember, only a small percentage of leads are ready to buy/sell when they land in your inbox. It’s important to work to develop a relationship with ANY lead as they have the potential to turn into qualified leads.
If a lead isn’t qualified, consider the following script:
Agent: “I understand that you wish to spend between $319K-$330K. Is this the amount you’ve been pre-approved for?”
Prospect: “No. I haven’t talked to a lender. That range is simply what I feel I can afford to spend on a home.”
Agent: “Ok, why don’t we figure out how much the bank feels you can afford. Then we’ll have a solid purchasing price and we can fine tune your home search. How does that sound?”
Prospect: “That sounds good. I would hate to get into a position where I fall in love with a house I can’t afford. What do I need to do?”
Agent: “I’ll have my lender give you a call and help you figure out if your price range aligns with what they think you can spend. When is the best time for my lender to call you? Today or tomorrow?”
The same leads are given to me repeatedly
A typical lead looks at large number of listings resulting in agents receiving multiple lead alerts for the same lead… and paying for the lead each time.
Look for a lead generation product that sends you exclusive leads generated from landing pages, not sites that provide the same lead every time the lead clicks on a different property. Consider calling your lead generation company to see if there are ways to eliminate duplicate leads.
The lead simply wants a list of homes
There are times when you’ll receive a lead that simply wants a list of homes. To move beyond this type of request, politely tell them you will send a list of XYZ homes at the end of the call then ask questions to learn more about their needs. Your questions need to be based off of the information the lead provides throughout the conversation. As you use this tactic to ask questions, the lead will feel heard and understood and more likely to want to continue to engage with you.
Here’s an example conversation illustrating how to ask the right questions and keep the lead engaged:
Agent: “You said you’re interested in buying a home in Ann Arbor. What area are you most interested in?”
Prospect: “My son goes to the University of Michigan so I would like to be near there but not close to areas heavily populated with students.”
Agent: “Great, so you want to be in the university district. Are you looking for a home just for yourself or will you have other family living with you?”
Prospect: “I will be moving with my wife but looking for homes on my own.”
Agent: “You'll be looking on your own? Does your wife have to wait to move because of business obligations?”
Prospect: “She won’t be able to transfer her job for quite some time so I may be living there by myself for a while or buying then moving later.”
Agent: “I’ve had other clients do the same thing. Let’s sit down and look at some options for you and your wife. How about Thursday at 10am or 4pm?”
As real estate agents, all of us have complained about online leads. We dream of having leads that are ready to buy within 6 months, have been pre-approved, and are easy to please. Much of the time, it's just a dream. Consider re-framing your thinking about "bad" leads. Look at how you can serve them based off of their wants and needs and take time to build a relationship. Put them into an email drip campaign or consider giving the lead to another agent for a referral fee. Treat the online lead as if they're family, streamline your technology to automatically nurture them, and make sure you're sending information that's relevant and of value.