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You can sit back and bemoan the market. You can try to ponder how to get more leads. You can do many things that will keep you busy doing "real estate stuff". The end result will be much the same as you are experiencing now.
Why not take a new approach and actually work the leads that are sitting around in your in box or cms or where ever.
You may have heard of the "10 Days of Hell" for lead conversion (link), so I have invented something better!
You guessed it! "9 Days of Hell".
Why do in 10 days what my system can do in 9 Days?!
Ok, so I can't go with that name, how about the
P90X of Real Estate Lead Conversion?
Why write about this epic post? Actually more like a 2 hour seminar (need a speaker, let me know).
Because I found myself training agents on lead conversion and doing it in piecemeal. Saying "But did you do this.." and "What, you haven't done this yet...?"
So finally I want to put all my tricks into one place and start a new ActiveRain Group called Lead Conversion.
Too much energy is spent on Lead Generation and not enough on CONVERSION!
Stop wasting money buying more leads and focus on the leads you have and "milk them like the tit of a cat" (see video)
Contact your lead 9 times! in 9 days, 9 tools, 9 ways.
The 9-9-9 Plan for Lead Conversion
9 Tools to Connect
9 Days in a row
9 Different ways.
I have seen some posts on how to trick the lead into calling you back and I don't agree with that. I don't agree with saying you have some secret foreclosure list that you will only give to them, or that your manager gave you coupons for free home inspections only if they go out with you this Sat.
I question whether that is borderline lying. However, what I agree with is persistent follow up. FOLLOW UP!! Borderline harassment. Until somebody says STOP, FOLLOW UP!!
If they gave you their contact info you better hound them. None of this 90% of agents only call once or twice stuff. Because the other 10% of agents are getting ALL of your leads.
Another line I have seem in the blogsphere is "Leads Don't Suck, You Do." A little harsh for my taste, but it gets the message across. While I have seen really sucky leads, with fake numbers, fake emails, fake names. Ok, they suck.
But from my site FranklyMLS.com I get 80% of the time:
Real Phone numbers
They say they have no agent
They say they want to buy
They picked a price range over $400,000.
Are you kidding me? These are real buyers.
One agent said: "But I don't want to bug them too much. I wouldn't want somebody doing that to me."
To which I replied "would you ever give out your real number on a form and say you have no agent?" The answer was "NO!" Well these people DID. They are not you. They gave you the green light to contact them. And they have the power to tell you to stop. And if you don't contact them again and again, somebody else will.
9 Tools to Hound a Lead
1) Rapportive.com Social Lookup. Free. If you don't have this, you are still using a brick cell phone. This tool is built into Gmail (only with Firefox and Chrome) and will show you in one click ALL the social networks of the email address. A photo, job title, full name etc. It is amazing. So for starters it tells you whether the person is real. Then in one click connect with them on LinkedIN (while sending a message), or Facebook friend them as a last resort.
2) OnVerify.com Phone Verification. 100 free, 1c per lookup thereafter. ($20 minimum). This service will tell you more about a number then you can get anywhere else. It will tell you a) is it real b) is it a cell phone c) is it a landline.It will also tell you the person's name about 50% of the time if it is a landline. Note that fake numbers sometimes come up as real , beucase they put in a random number that was real, so don't be like "No, this has to be you!" Referral agents from FranklyMLS can email me for this private link to do lookups via my account.
3) WhitePages.com Phone to Home Address Lookup This works about 50% of the time for landlines and it is free (sometimes they charge, depends on the number). Fancy high tech Realtors can sign up for an API that allows 200 free lookups a day and will allow your CRM to pull out the address for easier processing.
4) Google a Phone Number (Link to my custom Google form since ActiveRain won't let me embed a form here.) This form removes many of the spam sites that will interfer with your search. It has stuff like "-reverse" and "-iswhocallingme" to remove 100 spam sites.
You have to turn on 2 SMS options in gmail LABS (a tab under your settings) to make it work. Note that sometimes the gmail sms didn't send a text, while my cell phone did/could. Not sure why.
6) Trillian Cross Platform Instant Messenger, that will let you add multiple programs under one account. Including Gtalk, AOLIM, YahooIM, MSN etc. When you see a person with a Gmail account, send them an invite to chat. AOL is the best for this, they let you add a person and actually see when the person is online (Gmail & YahooIM asks the person permission first). Yahoo IM is also now built into the user's Yahoo mail account.
7) Real Time Call Patching. We are testing this out now for FranklyMLS. A new registration of showing request lead comes in and within 30 seconds it is calling an agent that presses 1 to connect to the lead. The lead manager can either do Step Dialing where it calls 1 agent at a time (per area) or Simultaneous Dialing where it calls 5 agents. And "Where agents compete you win!" (not a fan of Lending Tree).
Also our system allows the agent to program the caller ID to say "FranklyMLS lead" with a special ringtone. One agent uses the Billionaire song. Soon we might experiment with different caller ID based on the price point! SO NOW will you pick up if it is a $1M client? "Sorry Hartly", gotta hold it in another 3 minutes, Daddy has to take this $1M leadcall"(my son).
If you don't have realtime call patching, use gmail filters to route lead emails to your cell phone as a text message. Do this using this format firstname.lastname@example.org (formating for all carriers).
8) Call Center (for brokers). Starting at $100 a month you can have a small call center answer your calls as your company. A safetynet if your agents can't answer their phone.
Also a must for agents is to have a YOUMAIL voicemail transcribing account. Google voice stinks at transcribing. Youmail uses humans and you get a text of your VM within a minute. I haven't heard a voicemail in 4 years! Can't imagine living without it, and I actually get mad when I hear people not using this.
9) CRM. I think I FINALLY after years of hunting found a CRM that will do what I need it to do. Lead management and disbursement to other agents. This will help with the flow.
(I had to use some "b" and "c": to stay within the "9" theme.)
9 Day Plan, starting with 5 calls in 4 days.
Day 1: Call Twice!
1) Call #1, Instantly call the lead. None of this waiting 2-4 hours or 24-48 hours (as per Zillow recommendation). Look at the charts on this lead response study. Everyone focuses on the first hour. Forget that. Look at the stats on the first 5 minutes vs 15, a 80% drop. The consumer is already thinking about something else or is on a competitors site and talking with another agent (maybe one of ours!!). While waiting to reply to a friend for a few hours might work, it doesn't work with sales.
Treat an email like a phone call from a lead. Would you take it? Maybe not... but if you would take the call, take the email!
2) Call #2 Call again in 20-30 minutes. Many people won't pick up the phone from a number they don't recognize. But most will listen to the message. Tell them you will be calling them back again today.
Have something to offer when you call. I don't like the tricks about "we have a secret foreclosure for you" but you can help them in other ways like sign up for email alerts for new listings. Try: "80% of the best deals tend to sell fast. Sometimes in the same day. Let me sign you up for alerts so we* can know the same day something great hits."
Note the "we" since you should get a copy and are part of their team. Did you know, 90% of those that sign up on my site (which doesn't even force registration) don't sign up for email alerts properly! Offer to help them out. Find out what they like, what price range, and offer to set up alerts for them. If you get them on the phone, also ask if they have a lender. So you can connect them a partner that is also going to drip on them and keep contact.
3) Email them. Obvious, but try to pull out 3 or 4 listings and say: "Can you tell me what you think about these? Can I set up email alerts for you to get alerts for similar homes to these, or shall I adjust the search to another area or price range."
Keep it short and sweet!
(Sidenote email tip, CLEAN UP YOUR EMAIL HEADERS!! Read my post on this. So your from looks like a Realtor and not a high school buddy)
4) Send a postcard!
If you reverse searches the number and found a home address, have a stack of cards, or a simple envelope where you can drop in a couple cards and maybe even a magnet card, the heavy kind, buy it from Ebay. I have also seen people send a nickel, so it has some weight and makes them more likely to open it. Wouldn't you be impressed if you filled out a form on a website and got a thank you letter handwritten the next day? (there are automated options for sending dropship 1 by 1 postcards, please add those in the comments)
Day 2: Text Message them, call them and LinkedIN/FB them
Send them a text message using gmail or your cell phone. Gmail is easier so you can cut and paste the same thing. Try John, hope you got my Voicemail, trying to help you set up alerts. Will call you again in 5 minutes.
Facebook message or LinkedIN message them. Via Rapportive.
Day 3: Call again, at a different time
Call #4 This voicemail you can say "I hope you don't mind me trying to reach you. If you trust me to be your agent, I promise to be just as aggressive negotiating an extra $10k- $20k off a home as I am in trying to reach you. I hope you will reach out, my # is 703---- and my email is john@..."
(Mantra reminder! Repeat this: THEY FILLED OUT A FORM. THEY SAID THEY HAD NO AGENT, THEY SAID THEY WERE A BUYER. Come on, don't give up yet. 80% of agents give up after 2 calls.)
Day 4: email and Instant Message Them
Plug their name into your Trillian program and try and reach them that way.
Day 5: Personalized Video Email with Eyejot
You can either send a video you have for everyone, or make a custom video JUST for that client saying
"Hey Sally, just wanted to introduce myself so you have a face to the voice and text messages. Just trying to touch base with you to prove that I can be reliable and be your partner in helping you find a home. Whether it takes a year or a week. No rush, but I would like to set up a phone call and perhaps a real face to face. Grab coffee or something. I will be just as aggressive with your negotiations as I am trying to reach you, hope you see value in that."
Here is a sample video from my cell phone. I think the stuttering is fine. It is better to look natural than all stiff and perfect.
Day 6: Call again, and use IM
Try another call and ping over IM.
Day 7: Rest.
Email another home buying tip and ask if they know how to set up alerts specifically for REOS or for homes that are 50% below tax assessment.
Slydial them. Leave a final VM. Say you will try back in a couple of weeks to see how they are doing and just check in.
Well, except for the extended follow up. Drip them with a "how is it going" on day 23 and day 60 with a "Are you still in the market to buy a home". Heck for all those old leads that you only called twice, do that tonight. EMail them a one liner to see if you get a bite, you might be surprised. Again on day 180, and of course if you have a monthly drip newsletter or blog that you can add them to and they can unsubscribe to, that can't hurt.
So what do you think? Doable? Impossible? Annoying? Regardless it will work, it will get you that first contact. State show that buyers will 92% of the time pick the FIRST agent they get in contact with.
Recap the Goals
Get a reply from them
Get them on the phone
Meet them in person. Either for coffee, or better yet try and say "before we meet for coffee, lets just walk through one house together so I can get a feeling for what you like" (make sure to take a buyer agent photo album for them).
Get an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. The pitches I have seen for having clients sign this are either a) all about benefiting the agent or b) bogus scare tactics about "otherwise I represent the seller and I have to screw you." Instead read this blog post on Exclusive Buyer Agent Contracts.
Help them buy a home.
I hope you got a few tips from this long a** post. Please report types. Hope you will join the new Lead Conversion Group on ActiveRain and post comments here and your own blog posts with your ideas and suggestions.
Remember these leads don't suck, our follow up sucks. Until now.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.