How to Nurture a Real Estate Lead in the Beginning
Online leads are a staple in the real estate industry and nurturing them can lead to a large return on your investment. If you’re not making time to nurture leads, even “bad” leads, you’re losing business. Want more return on your lead investment? Read on.
- What to Say
- Unexpected Greeting
- Take Turns Talking
Start by looking at what type of lead you’re receiving. I’m not talking about whether or not you’ve received a buyer or seller lead, I’m talking about whether or not they’ve been verified. If the lead is a verified real estate sales lead, you just saved yourself valuable time. If not, you will need to spend extra time gathering and verifying contact information.
Follow up right away, while the lead’s engaged
When you receive a lead alert, follow up with them right away. In the middle of a closing? Ok, follow up with them on your way out the door.
According to a Drift study, we are not responding fast enough to lead notifications which results in lost sales. Only 7% of companies responded to leads within 5 minutes, while 55% took 5+ days to respond or didn’t respond at all. Be the 7% and remember that most leads are expecting an instant response.
If you’re capturing leads from your website, set-up an automatic response (i.e. email or chat bot) that will be triggered after a lead registers, requests an ebook, or fills out a questionnaire. This is meant to keep the lead warm until you have time to call them. Avoid using this as an excuse to wait 2 hours, or until the next day, to call them. Then when you call them, start the conversation by thanking them for visiting your website and requesting XYZ information.
Think about what you’re going to say before making the first call
Being prepared for a call vs. blindly asking questions is key to getting what you want out of a discovery call. If you have a script or a general idea of what you need to say, you’re off to a good start. Through trial and error, you will figure out what works best for you and eventually have permanent phone scripts in place. Keep in mind, you will need different scripts for different types of leads, depending on where they’re at in the buying/selling process. Logging the effectiveness of your calls, including which questions you asked and what types of responses you received, leads to more success. In general, be prepared with a list of questions and avoid starting with a sales pitch.
During the first call, get to know them, really listen to their responses, and come from a place of helpfulness. Gathering facts, figuring out how you can contribute and how you can make the process easier for them are priorities. Avoid being pushy; the conversation should be friendly. Ask questions that create value, then inject their answers into future questions. Take notes on their communication style, needs, stumbling blocks, etc. and mention their responses when following up with them in the future. As you gain confidence in the conversation and they gain trust, continue to dig deeper and aim to get them into the office.
- Tom Ferry, a real estate coach, recommends asking, "What's important to you in the agent you choose to represent you?". Get to know what they're values are when it comes to choosing an agent. Then, customize your presentation based off of the criteria they've provided and then meet their needs head on. Even if they already have an agent, letting them know you meet their criteria and you could save them time and money, might be enough for them to consider an office visit.
- Getting the lead into the office. Say the lead is a reluctant buyer. Invite them to the office for a short visit anyway. Explain that by looking at a few listings together, you'll learn exactly what they're looking for. In turn, this will help you find "the" house for them, the minute the house hits the market. Ask them if it would make a difference knowing you could help them make more money and save time. Who's going to say no to that?
Open the conversation in an unexpected way
Do you start each call the same way? “Hi this is Ed from XYZ real estate. Is this Betty?” It's time for a new approach.
“It’s a beautiful day! This is Ed. Is this Betty?”
When you first call a lead, you want to catch their attention by greeting them in an unexpected way. According to Psychology Today, repetition bores the brain resulting in fewer neurons firing and less engagement from the recipient. In other words, when you start your phone calls with the same standard greeting that everyone else is using, you are not capturing their attention because their brain is used to hearing the same opener. Instead, think of a phrase that will catch the lead by surprise and keep them engaged (they might be more apt to listen to you for a longer period of time too).
What will you say to engage the lead and build rapport? Aim to build rapport in the beginning of the call. Jumping in with questions concerning whether or not they’re qualified, will likely turn off the lead. Top performing reps don’t barrage leads with a bunch of questions at the beginning of the call; they spread the questions out and work towards a natural flow. Think about how you would talk to a friend. The call should feel casual vs. the lead feeling like they’re being interrogated. Focus on the following:
- Be yourself
- Be geniune
- Be friendly
- Show interest
- Compliment their "likes"
Showing interest in them and their needs vs. hammering them with sales questions, will improve your chances of a long-term relationship, converting the lead into a sale, and future referrals.
“I'm sorry to hear your last house hunting experience was disappointing. Tell me more about that experience and what you wish it would have been like.”
When the lead mentions they really like something, acknowledge you heard what they said. When they know you’re listening, they will feel like they can trust you.
“I like the fact that you want to find a home that will accommodates your mom as well as the rest of your family. What is she looking forward to in your next home?”
Take turns talking (aka: listening)
According to an article by Gong, about deal closing discovery calls, you want to treat the call like a tennis match. Ask a question, listen to the answer, repeat. Focus on 3-4 customer problems to increase your chances of advancing the lead. You want to win their trust, and learn about their needs without overwhelming them by discussing too much during the first call. Come from a place of helpfulness, really listen to their responses, and aim to solve their problems.
If a lead feels like they aren’t being heard, your chances of talking to them again or converting them into a sale is unlikely. Consider recording one of your calls to see how balanced the conversation really is. Are you talking more than the customer? Are you letting them finish their thoughts before you ask another question? Focus on a two-way conversation to ensure the lead feels like they’re part of the discussion, not just on the receiving end.
If they aren't ready to buy or sell any time soon, plan on nurturing the lead over a long period of time. Labeling this type of lead as a “bad” lead, and not taking time to work with them, diminishes your chances of converting the lead into sale. Master the art of working with any lead at any stage of the buying/selling process and your conversion rates will increase.
- Respond to every lead
- Follow-up right away
- Come from a place of helpfulness and compassion
- Prepare what you're going to say ahead of time
- Build rapport
- Take time to listen
You've got this! Get out there and convert some leads!