In my last post about lead management, I identified the top 3 things your lead management system should do. If you can't do this with your current lead management system, then you are not going to produce the results you should be. Leads cost money; in effect, not following up is flushing money away. Thousands upon thousands of companies exist in hopes that YOU will be the next Realtor to flush your money down the toilet into THEIR bank account, while you cross your fingers for a closing. Goal for upcoming year: Just say NO to dumb dumb lead management!
1. Identify your best lead source.
Once you enter the lead's contact information, you should identify where it came from, and be able to pull the leads up by category. When you get to the end of your 30-60 day time frame, you should be able to analyze where the highest number of leads are coming from. THIS is where you should focus your time. Here are some examples of what I mean by 'focus':
- You find out your highest lead source is from your subscription online lead service, xyz company. You should work to improve your response time for these leads, and improve the follow up system you have in place. If the leads are buyers, they should only be 'off' your lead follow up system if there is no way they can qualify for a loan, now or in the future. What if a large number of these buyer leads can't qualify? Then you need to team up with a lender who specializes on credit repair and stays with the clients for the long haul, and returns them to you once the credit is cleaned up.
- You find out your best lead source is referring agents in your area. Maybe they don't like short sales or investor clients, so they send them to you. What can you do to focus on this? Spoil them! Gift baskets once a closing happens (WineandCountryGiftBaskets). Thank You Notes. Start a newsletter for all of the sources and state how much you pay out in referral fees as a reward. Cultivate MORE referrals.
- You find out your best lead source is a handful of past clietns, they keep sending you more and more business. What are you doing to thank them? Do you make them feel truly special? Do you call them every so often, not to talk about real estate, but to ask about things going on in their lives? Have you seen them lately?
As you can see, your highest and best lead source can come in a variety of ways, and it's up to you to make sure it is nourished and keeps producing.
You will also be able to see what is contributing LEAST to your business. Facebook? Your Blog? Cold Calls from CraigsList? Take the energy you are giving to the smallest contributor and give it to your biggest contributor, and watch you business grow!
2. What is your conversion rate for buyers? For sellers? What is the average conversion time for each?
At the end of each month, quarter, or semi-annually, you should be able to tally up all of the leads you have received, and identify how many of those have turned into actual clients. Don't worry about the ones that are turning into closings, that is for another time, since today's clients take so long to get to closing (longer listing times, more choices make buyers take longer to pick homes). For example, you received a total of 35 leads for the last 60 days. Out of those leads, 4 are active or pending listings, and 3 of those are buyers who are currently pre-qualified and working exclusively with you to find a home, or are under contract. Your conversion rate for sellers is 11%, and your conversion rate for buyers is 8%. What if you prefer working with buyers over sellers? Then those numbers tell you what you need to focus on. Go back to your lead source for buyers, and see where you can focus to improve it.
3. Why do leads not turn into clients?
If you spend time cultivating leads, then you are obligated to find out what happened to them, especially in this market. Too often a client stops interacting with us and we just let them go. You paid for that lead with your time! You deserve an answer! If you go on a listing appointment, you don't get the listing, and the house never shows up in the MLS, why are they not selling? Don't be shy! There is information in this part of your lead management, and it will help you develop your skills and improve in areas you are lacking.
Second, it helps you with your follow through. When you have a client who chooses another Realtor, you don't have a closed door, you have an opportunity. The sellers should get a Thank You card from you, along with some sort of small token of thanks; a magnet, a $5 Starbucks card with your address label on it, and an explanation that you are still there for them should they need you in the future. If buyers are working with another agent or even say they went under contract with someone, their new address belongs on your quarterly mailing list. Agents who are in the business now may not be in 5-10 years, and that potential client could come back to you.
So the next time your coach, or your assistant (ahem), engages you on the topic of Lead Management, don't assume they are talking about the leads that come in that day and your response time. They are talking about the WHOLE ENCHILADA, because the big picture will greatly impact your bottom line, and your success in the Real Estate business.
Stay tuned, more to come next week on how to get even more detailed in your lead management - keep in touch ideas, new and innovative approaches (or maybe just approaches that you have been too stubborn to try!), and time savers. In today's market, managing leads is CRITICAL to not only your success, but to your survival!