Rapid Response: Do Early Birds Get More Worms?

Services for Real Estate Pros with API Network

Call me, right awayI'm always trying to learn about what works in my own industry. Because I have connections to this industry, I try to combine my research so I have something to write about here.

Response time.  How quickly do you get back to potential customers/clients?  Do you have a published target? e.g,. When someone calls/emails someone will respond in x minutes.

Some think quick follow-up is pestering. I don't agree. My feeling is that there are few things more important.

Quick follow-up is a sincere form of "what you want matters to me"

How all of this came to me...  I'm currently looking for some new office space, so I visited local real estate websites who pay Google for clicks. (I chose those because anyone paying for traffic clearly understands internet marketing) I compared these agent websites to others in remote locations like India, China and Romania. The difference was noticeable.

A common theme:

It seems we US folks are often slow on the draw when responding to website generated inquiries. In my search for local office space, most of the agents/brokers made it challenging to find a quick way to make contact. Many had multiple phone numbers buried on a contact page along with a link to an email address.  (One mega agent had four phone numbers on their contact page.   Good intention, but wouldn't one primary "hotline" be better?  Would you ever publish four email addresses for the same person?)

In contrast: I came across an IT consulting firm website that caught my eye.

On *every* page I was invited to REGISTER TO LEARN MORE.   It made it clear there was no obligation and that it would only take a minute. I did it.  About 20 minutes later, my mobile phone rang.  It was Jimmy calling from China to introduce himself. I asked him what timezone he was in and he assured me, that whatever timezone I was in was all that mattered. We have a meeting at 10AM tomorrow.  (he really was named Jimmy)

On the half dozen emails I sent to the local agents:  So far, no response.  That was four hours ago.  And within each email, I included my phone number.

I'm not bashing real estate folks.  I would never do that.  Hey, I'm just as guilty.  Contact forms on my website point to a generic email inbox where they are processed with the Viagra ads and offers from wealthy princes in Africa.  No sense of urgency, not even an option for a new potential client to express urgency when making the first contact.

There's no reason we don't use our available technology to improve how we respond to leads.   It's trivial AND costs almost nothing to create email filters that gets important email delivered via a text message.  We all get too much spam, so you would never want everything going to a phone, but when a fresh lead hits the Contact Me! button, don't we want a near realtime connection?

I think we should.

As I like to make these instructional, I documented the three steps of how to get urgent email to arrive as a text message explaining how easy this really is.   We would all be guilty of sales/marketing negligence to not implement something like this into our standard business practices.

If you think I'm all wet on the topic, let me know.  Just seems to me, early birds do gets more worms.

PS.  The above form was intended to be as simplistic as possible.    In the real world, we might want to include a simple CAPTCHA or something to keep spam robots away.


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Jen Bowman
Keller Williams on the Water - Holmes Beach, FL
Realtor - Anna Maria Island & Bradenton FL

I just started sending out letters to Expireds, on the letter I say that I will return their call within 90 minutes. Calling back within 20 minutes could be tough when we are with other clients. I may try something like the form above. Thanks for the info.

Dec 01, 2009 12:41 AM #1
Suzy Morris
The Morris Team - Carlsbad, CA

Something as simple and basic as returning phone calls in a timely manner can make all the difference.  I'm always amazed how much time and money people spend prospecting and then don't return phone calls!

Dec 01, 2009 12:44 AM #2
Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

I hear from clients all the time, "I called the agent on the sign, but they never called me back"  Not that i am complaining because it makes those of us that do want to work look better by just being courteous.  I try to return calls asap, even if i am busy or with a client I at least can call and say, Hi, I would love to help you, I am with a client at the moment so I will get back to you this afternoon.  How hard is that?

Dec 01, 2009 04:13 AM #3
Kasey Kase
API Network - Mequon, WI
I'm not really a pirate

@Jen: Fully agree that 20 mins would be a tough promise to keep.   I realized I have a bad habit of giving people an exact time, then missing that target.   My work-around:   ASAP.  I will call you back ASAP.   If I can do that in 20 mins, I'm impressed, maybe them too.  If it turns out to be the next day, I can still fall back on that was as soon as possible.   You pretty much can't be late with ASAP.

I just added a RAPID FOLLOW-UP module on my site if anyone wants to see what can be done in Joomla in under an hour. (it's in the left margin of every page)

@Suzy: Darn good point.  Start with the basics and work up from there.   I have someone I know know spending big time/effort/money on a full-blown CRM, yet when you send them an email, it takes days to get a reply.  Fix the speed-of-reply first, then figure out how to have a CRM make that better.

@Lori:  Agree!  I have developed a new standard on call-backs.  I *always* begin with "When can we talk?" (even though at that moment, we are already talking) rather than assuming that time is ideal.   I don't have any hard data, but I'm pretty sure I get more "let's talk now" when you give them the chance to control the schedule.


Dec 01, 2009 07:59 AM #4
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTORĀ®, Blogger, Principal BrokerĀ®, Owner

Just wanted to stop by and wish you a

Merry Christmas!

From your friend who sells Charlottesville Real Estate

Dec 18, 2010 12:33 PM #5
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