Back in December, I gave a speech at the NAR Convention in San Diego called "Understanding the Internet Buyer". I posted my presentation here on my blog and a very lively discussion ensued. You can also see the video via a link in my prior post.
There were a lot of takeaways from my presentation, but the most important point was that if you want to close internet leads, the single most important thing is response time. If you don't get back to people quickly, they'll move on.
I've recently experienced this first hand as I've become an online lead in several different categories in the last few months, and I can attest to the importance of response time.
A sampling of my recent experiences as an internet lead in other non-real estate categories:
- I used the online webforms of three hotel websites in Bellevue and in San Francisco to book meeting space for upcoming Zillow training sessions. Of the six hotels, two meeting planners got back to me within an hour, two replied the next day and two never replied to the webform at all. I booked the first two which replied.
- I just bought a new car and I became an online lead with 7 different dealerships representing 3 types of cars. The 7 dealerships provided me with vastly different service levels in terms of responsiveness and thoughtfulness of their email replies. (Like many consumers, I did all of my car-buying research online and I wanted to negotiate the entire transaction via email, and only show up to pick up the car once everything had been completely done online.) I ended up selecting the car through online research and test drove it at one dealer. But I bought it through a different dealer because the place where I test drove it (which is closer to my house) wasn't quick enough on email.
- Last week, I contacted by email two electricians who were recommended by a friend. One replied 2 days later, one replied within an hour. Which do you think I chose?
You get the point.
We're living in a new world, a world in which I pay my bills on my iphone while I'm in the elevator, in which people reply to emails while they're waiting at a stoplight, and in which people expect instanteous answers and immediate service online.
If you want to close an internet lead, you'd better be ready to respond in under an hour, or else the client will go somewhere else.
[There's a lot more information and statistics in my actual speech, so please check that out if this topic is interesting to you.]