Speeding Through the Real Estate Drive-Thru

Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

So, there I am...sitting in the drive-thru at McDonalds. (Not that important really...everyone reading this has been there more than once, I'm sure. So, you know what I'm talking about.)

I pull up to the little speaker and bark out my order from memory (probably a bad sign considering...) and wait for the voice of approval to squawk back at me with my total amount owed and telling me to pull forward to the first window...which I do willingly and with much anticipation (OK, so I might be over-exaggerating that 'anicipation' part. I mean...this is McDonalds...).

I sit in my Sport Family Truckster (that's what I call my Dodge Caravan Sport...its better than saying I drive a mini-van, isn't it??) and politely hand the dude on the other side of the sliding glass window my debit card. Swiped and freshly charged $4.35, he hands it back to me...and without a word, shuts the window.

Puzzled...I sit there.

And....I sit there.....

And..........I sit there.........

And..................I sit there....................contemplating why I didnt just go to Burger King....I mean, its been a long time since I have been there. It's just right up the street. And, the service there is always faster anyway. Dang it. Should have gone to Burger King...I could just drive away right now...After all, it's only $4.35...Not much of a loss...Yeah, that's what I will do...I will just drive away...OK, one more minute...

And...................I..........sit..............there...........waiting..........for what must have been a good three, maybe even four minutes!!!


The horror!!

The drama!!

The unmitigated gall!!

Making me wait that long...what were they thinking??? Don't they know that I want what I want and I want it right now??? Isn't that the entire point of using a service like this???

Suddenly, the window flies open and Silent Bob hands me my food and WHAM! door is closed again and I drive off feeling like I just wasted 4 minutes of my life. (This had better be the best breakfast burrito I have ever eaten, damn it...)

Now, correct me if I'm wrong...(and I'm willing to bet dollars against donuts that I'm right)...but, there are WAY more real estate agents in your town than restaurants. Knowing this, and knowing that all of you have said "yes" to those last two questions I asked about wanting what I want and that being the entire point of using their services...Why on Earth would you wait to follow up on a client??

By hitting your website and requesting information...aren't they sitting on the other side of that sliding glass window in your drive-thru lane just waiting for you to hand them the bag full of goodies they requested??

Let's examine a couple things to prove my point...

Did you know that the average real estate agent waits 54 hours to follow up on an internet inquiry?? 54 hours!! In case you aren't that quick at math, that is over 2 days!! (If you remember from the example above, I was ready to leave after 4 minutes...)

According to a recent study done by Kellog and MIT, you are 21 TIMES more likely to turn an internet inquiry into a client if you contact them the first time within the first 5 minutes of them being on your website versus waiting only 30 minutes.

And, that percentage chance drops to single digits if you wait longer than 90 minutes.

Let me give you a quick example of what that difference is...(There is some physical involvement here. Trust me, this little exercise will drive my point home nicely...)

Find a box of paperclips.

Once you have done that...take out one paperclip and lay it down on your desk. Now, take out 21 paperclips and lay them out end to end across your desk in front of you.

See the difference??

21 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET A CLIENT by calling them back in 5 minutes versus 30!!

So, why would you wait over 2 days?? Or, 90 minutes?? Or even 10 minutes?? In the internet world, 90 minutes is an entire ice age!! What do you think making them wait for over 2 days seems like?? Yeah...in the internet world, that's an eternity!!

Bottom line -- If you do not have systems in place to allow you to respond to an internet inquiry within the first 5 minutes of having it, you are losing clients. They are leaving your site and heading to another site that will give them what they want with the response times they require. Your clients want the same thing you do while you sit in the drive-thru. They want what they want and they want it right now. And, if they cant get it from you, they are going to find somewhere else to get it.


* For the record, The chart I used above is from the Kellogg Lead Response Management Study.

** Also, for the record, the McDonalds and Burger King logos were posted on other blogs that I read and were posted with permission from those other bloggers.

*** Oh yeah...In the interest of full disclosure and a generous dose of CYA...  All opinions with regards to either restaurant's quality, speed, location, value, taste, convenience, or any other noun you can insert here are STRICTLY MY OPINIONS. They are not fact. And, should not be taken as such.


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Monika McGillicuddy 02/25/2010 01:51 AM
  2. Cheryl Ritchie 02/25/2010 05:35 PM
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Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Great analogy with the restaurants, Clint.  I think your CYA covered everything, although I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV.

Feb 25, 2010 08:41 AM #51
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Dawn -- I just wanted to make sure someone doesnt try to claim I was crossing the line. ;-) A little CYA is always a good thing. ;-)

Feb 25, 2010 08:43 AM #52
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

I saw this post referred t on Twitter (talk about your real estate drive thru) and I had to take a look.  Here is my contrarian point of view (and forgive me if it's been stated before but I didn't read all the comments.  I got here late.

I understand the "need for speed".  However, but, and in any case, I am sick and tired up to my eyeballs of running my life to jump like a bunny at every available lead.  Nine times out of ten they just want to know the price or they expect my to jump in my car to run over and show them the house they saw on the Internet regardless of their financial ability (or lack thereof) or they want a 7000 sq ft house with a pool and tennis courts for $149,900 and all closing costs paid by the Seller.

Sure.  Sometimes, that Internet lead is a hot one with good chance of becoming a client who will sell or buy a house with ME.  The Internet lead will be respectful of my experience and expertise and understand I have a life outside of real estate.  This fantasy lead will appreciate that I got back to them in a timely manner and answered there questions knowledgeably and thoughtfully. [end of dream]

Why do I have to sacrifice my sanity and dignity to be the first one to respond to them within 10 seconds OR ELSE they will just go to Burger King instead.

I'm sorry, Clint. I love ya, dude.  I hear this BS all the time about how you really, really, really need to be the first one there or else.

Here's a more important question:  do you want to be a slave to the Internet lead or do you want to enjoy your life.

Feb 25, 2010 08:49 AM #53
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Ken -- I completely appreciate your stance on this...And, I would like to thank you for posting a dissenting opinion. :-)

I think there are exceptions to every rule. And, being in lead generation, I understand that not every lead is stellar. But, being in the PRACTICE of treating them all like they are golden is what will win in the long run.

A man grew up his entire life hearing that the lake near his village had a magical rock on the shore...a rock that would grant his every wish. The person that found this rock would know it because it would smooth and polished...and warm to the touch. Now, having heard this story his whole life, he set out to find that rock. He started at one point along the shore of the lake and started picking up rocks...and as he checked them to see if they were the stone, he would disgard the bad ones into the lake. Thus making sure he never checked the same stone twice. Months went by of him picking up stones, checking them, and tossing them into the lake...then one day, he picked up a stone that was warm to the touch...smooth as glass...and he knew this was the magical rock he had been searching for for months....and he threw it into the lake out of pure habit.

Moral of the story?? If you go at them all thinking they are all going to be bad...they are all going to be bad. If you go into it thinking they are all gold, you know how to react when you do find the golden one.

Feb 25, 2010 08:59 AM #54
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Ken, that is a great post. Most my clients are from the Internet and there is definately a correlation to how fast you respond.

Feb 25, 2010 09:35 AM #55
Jenna Dixon
Momentum Real Estate Group LLC - Marietta, GA
55 & Over | New Constructions | Horse Farms

LOL...love the McDonalds scene & the Sport Family Truckster.

Feb 25, 2010 10:01 AM #56
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


That is powerful info. The 5-minute rule is a lofty goal to achieve, but is something to aim at for maximum efficiency. 

Feb 25, 2010 10:02 AM #57

Great advice and well written post Clint. Over two days to return an lead? Duh! Obviously no one will be there! 

Feb 25, 2010 12:41 PM #58
Kelly Schipper
Keller Williams Fort Worth, TX - Fort Worth, TX

Right on Clint! At the first sign of intent we must convert them immediately!! We ARE in an era of EXTRA EFFORT!


Feb 25, 2010 12:42 PM #59
Coleen DeGroff
Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors - Gainesville, FL
Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL

Clint -

As I read this I kept thinking to myself "dude was waiting at the wrong window for his food"  :)

Seriously, though....what a great analogy....and I'm with you.....we need to respond quickly to our leads if we want to garner market share...which is why having a smartphone is IMPERATIVE in this business!


Not sure a smartphone could have sped up your drive-thru meat scenario, but still....


Hope you enjoyed your burrito thingy!

Feb 25, 2010 01:06 PM #60
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

That's why we have all the tools so we can respond quickly. We need to appreciate the client on the other side of the glass.

Feb 25, 2010 01:24 PM #62
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

OK, so I'm glad to see some references to the response being the same as the type of inquiry received.  If someone asks for info via email, I assume that is their preferred method of communication.  Same with text messages and phone calls.  That said, response time is absolutely critical. 

The only time I don't feel guilty about not getting to someone right away is when they are sitting at their computer in the middle of the night sending requests....they are responded to first thing in the morning, since I assume they work shifts and haven't found an agent who will answer email at 3 am (although I've done that too!).

Feb 25, 2010 02:52 PM #63
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

Hey there - two points. We often have shocked prospects on the phone when we call them back instantly - happy but very surprised that somebody actually cared enough to call. Two - I get frustrated with our e-mail on occasion - sometimes mail doesn't go through eventhough we think it does. We recently sent a response to an e-mail from a seller - after a couple of back and forths - that we would come by to look at their home. Here were were thinking everything was fine and dandy as we had within minutes confirmed and acknowledged the time of the appointment. Which was set for 2 days later. Morning of the day when we were to visit the seller - we e-mailed the seller to confirm and got a very upset response back that they did not want to consider working with us because we hadn't responded - WHAT!!!??? We had. Instantly. and had thought everything was a go. sigh

Feb 25, 2010 04:13 PM #64
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

21 times is unbelievable. Makes you really consider the benefits of a speedy response.

Feb 25, 2010 05:36 PM #66
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Thanks, Ted. Yeah, any agent that has any reliance on internet inquiries would agree, Im sure.

Jenna -- Love my SFT. ;-)

Esko -- Shouldn't all goals be lofty? ;-)

Kelly -- The era of extra effort........hmmmmm.....you may have just given me a title for a blog. ;-)

Colleen -- I know, right? I even have a smartphone...it is a MUST in my world. I cant imagine being an agent without one.

Terry -- Yes, yes we do!

Lisa -- Good morning, one of my favorite GRITS. ;-) Response time is critical. Yeah, if youre getting requests at 3am, I think sleep trumps a follow up call right then. ;-)

Rita -- Hi Rita!! Awesome points, my dear. With regards to your email issue you brought up.....one simple phone call would have saved that whole thing. :-) Just sayin...

Cheryl -- 21 times...Its an incredible difference.

Feb 25, 2010 11:13 PM #67
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

We are a society that wants instantaneous satisfaction, and most of us feel as you do.  It makes sense to contact the internet lead immediately or they'll move on until they find someone who does.

Feb 26, 2010 03:54 PM #68
Marguerite Wherry
Associate Broker / Teles Properties, Inc. - Malibu, CA

Good post.

It blows me away when agents don't return calls. How can they do any business

Feb 27, 2010 07:59 AM #69
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Christine -- Exactly. You have it all wrapped up. ;-

Marguerite -- I agree completely!

Feb 28, 2010 11:27 PM #70
Marianne Snygg
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Monument, CO

I'm sorry I've been slow to get back...been slammed lately. (Not complaining, just sayin') You asked, "Are you working with RealtyConnect or Goomzee for your text options?" I haven't heard of either of these, and am not up to speed with the system ERA uses...I'm still trying to figure out how to get my super profile done! Right now, I'm just using my regular carrier.

Mar 09, 2010 01:26 PM #71
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Your story made me laugh out loud, Clint! Great points you make in your post.



Aug 17, 2010 02:23 AM #72
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