Industry visionary Brian Boero, of 1000 Watt Consulting, recently wrote about how many top real estate companies are working their leads in highly aggressive ways — in short, he says, real estate agents are starting to “digitally waterboard” their leads with between 21 and 43 touches designed to convert at any cost.
What agents aren’t considering, Boero, says, is how these potential clients want to be treated after they come in as a lead. And while you can certainly work to repair a relationship that commenced with light stalking, wouldn’t it be better to start off on the right foot?
Below are four tips for keeping it real and finding the human connection when you are working to engage and convert new leads.
1. Do some research before you reach out
Yes, the five-minute response is important. You may consider automating an initial response to a lead saying that you’re busy at the moment but will be in touch soon. But in the time between that automated text (or email) and your initial call, be sure to spend a few minutes thinking about how to engage the lead on a personal level.
If they’re a clear buyer lead, Google their name or look them up on Facebook. If they seem to be recently married or have an expanding family, work that into the call by asking if they had any major life changes recently or if they’re just looking for a new home. By giving them an opportunity to talk about their personal circumstances — and not just the deal you’re after — you’re stoking a real human connection that sets the right tone for them to work with you.
If they’ve requested a CMA or price analysis on their current home, do some digging on the home’s exact location. In your call, discuss its proximity to a local park, pool, restaurant or emerging commercial district. Show them that you know about more than just their home’s value and local housing trends; you also know about all their community and what makes it special.
2. Create your own script
Have you ever worked with a coach or service that offers scripts… but you end up tongue-tied or embarrassed as you work to get your point across?
Scripts can be great, but they also don’t take into account your personality, your attitude and how you prefer to engage with potential clients. If you’re an inherently amiable person who’s using an aggressive script, you’ll sound as natural as a vegan working the cashier at a butchershop.
And it’s not just awkward for you — when you fumble a script, your leads will notice something is off and they may even choose to hire an agent who seems a little more comfortable with their pitch.
Review the scripts you use and think critically about the parts you like, the calls to action that seem to work and most importantly, the sections or pitches that trip you up or make you squirm with discomfort. Revise them and ask your broker or a fellow agent to sit in on a 30-minute session where you review each revamped script until they’re fully memorized.
3. Talk about why you’re different
Plenty of buyers and sellers start their search on the web long before they officially sign on with an agent. If your potential leads have been on real estate sites for more than 5 or 10 minutes, there’s a high chance they are already being… ahem… “digitally waterboarded” by other agents.
This doesn’t have to be a roadblock; it can be an opportunity. In that initial call or email (if you don’t have their number), explain that your approach is different and you want to offer them real insights and valuable information that can help them.*
Reinforce that you have a no-pressure, no-obligation approach and see if this change in tone helps you engage with more buyer and seller leads on a deeper level starting on day one. If it does, you’ll know that treating your leads like people — and not a stray herd of cattle that needs prodding — is a unique, effective approach that will pay off in the short- and long-term.
*Of course, you’ll want to be sure they haven’t signed an official contract with any of the other agents who consider them an active lead.
4. Vary your approach (and keep track of it)
There’s nothing wrong with having multiple approaches to engage a client. In fact, we’d say giving them an opportunity to see different sides of your business and personality is a good thing. In fact, that’s why SmartZip’s SmartTargeting system comes with an intelligent, flexible outreach app called CheckIn.
CheckIn reminds you to get in touch with your leads and prospects, giving you the option to email, call, door knock or door drop, or to invite them to a local community event you are hosting. CheckIn also tracks any automated marketing touches you send their way, so you can be sure you aren’t overloading them with too much information.
How do you keep it real?
We’re eager to know how you meld your real-life personality with a focus on closing more business. Finding the right balance can be tricky. Tell us how you navigate the process in the comments!