- Want to save time?
- Want to be the helpful agent that consumers choose over everyone else?
- Want to stop wasting time in the office and spend more time in the field, showing homes?
Take a minute to think about how many of your monthly bills are set-up online to be paid automatically each month -- credit card, magazine subscription, Netflix, etc. The convenience of paying bills online saves a lot of time and, in many cases, money. Automating the way you follow up with leads will not only save you time but grow lead conversion.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, approximately a quarter of our time is wasted on activities that machines could handle for us. By letting automated systems nurture your leads, you could save as much as 2 hours in an 8 hour day.
Let’s start at the beginning, when you receive a lead alert. Are you receiving verified sales leads? Save yourself time by focusing on acquiring verified leads, instead of wasting your time calling Sara “Somebody” and Larry “Laughsalot”. Let's explore some options to automate the way you handle leads.
Lead Generation Forms: Website/Blog
If you have lead generation forms on your website and blog, you’re off to a great start. If not, contact your web designer / blog provider and find out how to add lead generation forms to your sites. Lead generation forms should be short and sweet; 4 fields gives you the highest conversion rate, according to a study by Unbounce. The most common fields include name, email, phone number, and price range. The following are options worth considering:
- Use a pop-up lead generation form that displays 15-30 seconds after they’ve been on your site, instantly catching their attention.
- A checkbox at the bottom of your form stating “I agree to be contacted via text” to satisfy those who don’t like to take phone calls.
- Use “click here” or “go” at the end of the form instead of “submit”, to increase conversion rates.
- Offer a free, downloadable PDF. This should be something of value that draws them in (ex. “Making Sense of Hidden Costs When Purchasing a Home”).
Lead Alert Received. Time to Follow Up.
Talking to each lead is essential in establishing a baseline relationship; you call them but find yourself leaving messages the majority of the time. You follow up the next day and leave another message. Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Research by Topo HQ found that it takes 18 calls to connect with a buyer. Wowee!
It's time to find a CRM system that will automatically follow up for you and nurture your leads. Take advantage of a CRM system that automatically triggers a follow up email, once you've indicated numerous phone call attempts have been made (more information on CRM's later in article). It's important not to give up on these leads when they don't respond to your emails; try different email templates and keep nurturing them. You can even take advantage of automatic call reminders that many systems offer so you never lose sight of those leads who never answered your call. It can take a lot of work to get in contact with a lead, but your persistence will pay off.
Drip Email Campaigns
Drip email campaigns are an important part of the nurturing process, are available through many apps, and will save you a lot of time. Drip email campaigns are a series of automatic emails designed to nurture leads through the use of targeted topics, helping the lead make informed decisions about buying/selling real estate. These campaigns will help keep leads engaged and, if you play your cards right, ultimately nurture them into a sale.
Consider the following features when purchasing a CRM program:
- Automatically imports leads and contacts from various sources
- Allows you to segment your contacts
- Allows you to personalized email templates
- Provides built-in, easy to understand analytics
- Includes a dashboard
- Provides a scheduler (when emails will be sent and the frequency)
- Automatically shares drip messages on social media
- Offers A/B email testing
Your email should include a brief introduction about yourself, why you're reaching out (ex. reference the site they used to register), and how you can help with any questions they have about the buying/selling process. If they registered on your blog, after reading an article about staging to sell, include information on that topic to help keep the lead engaged. Closely match their level of knowledge, address their needs, and aim to solve common problems. Deliver the most relevant information at the most ideal time, and you’ll likely become the go-to agent.
Tip: pain points of previous buyers/sellers make ideal topics for nurturing, engaging emails. The lead will feel like you wrote the email especially for them, addressing and solving their problems.
Example Drip Email to Buyer, Addressing a Pain Point:
Subject: Win the Bidding War, Once and For All
When trying to buy a home in today’s market, you might find yourself in the middle of a bidding war. Chances are, you ended up on the losing side of the war. Heck, it happened to me a couple of years ago!
I’m here to help you through the process so you can win the house of your dreams. What does it take to win?
- Bidding High: how high are we talking?
- Contingencies: bargaining chip?
- All-Cash Offers: maybe it doesn’t have to be “all” cash
- Letter to the Homeowner: suggestions that have worked for my clients
You may find my blog post helpful as well: Why Bidding Wars Keep Happening to Me.
Let’s schedule a call, discuss your options and win the bidding war.
Also, consider a catchy, unexpected subject line to increase email open rates. “Are you going to be around on Sunday?”. This subject line will likely grab their attention and is great to use when you're hosting an upcoming open house. In addition to providing information tied to their previously determined needs, you're also extending an invitation. Think about the emails you receive on a daily basis... which subject lines catch your eye? Using appealing subject lines can increase your open rate and engage your recipients.
Live Web Chat: Satisfying Leads Instantaneously
Consumers expect prompt attention and accurate information at their fingertips, and live web chat can provide just that. You've probably seen once of these live chat pop-ups on a website, asking "Welcome. Do you have any questions?". By including live chat on your website and/or blog, you're extending your professional services by accommodating leads exactly when they need your assistance. Potential clients are engaged instantly and don’t have to waste time searching for answers. You can set up live chat and monitor it yourself, but consider having a third-party support team do it for you to save even more time. Consider the following as you research live web chat:
- Real-time answers create a better user experience
- Builds rapport and relationships
- Multiple chats can be managed at the same time
- Increases interest in online listings
- Bolsters positive reviews
- Generates repeat business
- Keeps your business competitive
Adding live web chat to your website can be a very effective tool for converting leads into transactions. Focus on replying within 15 seconds to satisfy leads who are expecting instant responses. Save yourself time by pre-programming auto-responses to avoid entering common responses over and over again. Another great benefit of using live chat, one person can manage multiple live chats at the same time.
The great service you provide through live chat can lead to more positive reviews and, in turn, repeat business. Many live chat solutions are available at reasonable prices (as low as $17/month). Consider adding live chat to service your website/blog visitors and increase your chances of converting them into transactions.
Automate Lead Routing and Follow-Up
Tired of trying to sort, distribute and manage your leads? Save time by using a CRM program that does the work for you, nurturing leads and improving your ROI. Consider the following features when looking for lead routing software that fits the needs of your team:
- Automatically routes leads to agents (ex. round robin, first to accept, best/worse agent)
- Automated agent reminders, email templates and notifications to increase productivity and convert more leads into sales
- Data import capabilities (ex. imports leads for various sources)
- Supports the type of real estate you represent (commercial, residential, lease, etc)
- Team management: track team member activity, lead progress, sales, etc.
- Assists in helping agents ask for referrals
- Supports various file formats (ex. JPEG, PNG, gif, etc.)
- Rates and score leads
- Data and reporting
- Mobile optimized
A CRM system that includes the features listed above will save you time and increase productive. Many CRM software platforms exist specifically for real estate and vary based off of your needs and the size of your team. If you have a team, look for software that has role-based access to ensure the team leader sees leads before the sales team and gives you the ability to control routing. Some systems include re-routing capabilities so if a lead comes in but doesn’t receive a call from an agent within 5 minutes, it is sent to the next available agent. You might even find a CRM system that eliminates the need for many of the systems you currently have in place, centralizes your processes and saving time. Finding a CRM system that fits your needs will help you use your time more efficiently, nurture your needs, and improve your ROI.
When it comes to nurturing leads, there are many options available to help you automate follow-up and convert leads into sales. Focus on a CRM system that meets the needs of your business and size of your team. Use the system to store your leads, remind your agents when to follow-up with leads and ultimately generate sales. Consider utilizing lead generation forms and live web chat on your website and blog for greater customer service and lead generation. Make that first call when the lead is warm then take advantage of automation to nurture the lead no matter where they’re at in the buyer/seller journey. Automate your lead follow-up processes so you can spend more time in the field, with your clients, while closing more deals.