The 7 Deadly Sins of Web Lead Follow-up

Education & Training with Chief Evangelist 15067

What percentage of your commission income last year came from pure website leads?  

  • 80% to 100% -  You're a lead generation & follow-up rock star!
  • 50% to  80% -  You're doing better than around 90% of your competitors.  Keep it up!
  • 30% to  50% -  You're doing OK, and doing a lot of traditional marketing as well.
  • 10% to  30% - I hope you're out knocking on doors, and handing out cards.
  • 0%   to  10% - A website is something you look at on a computer.  A computer is...
PMCS Consulting released survey results, and this is a quote from their release:

Nearly 75% of online generated real estate leads are lost

Asleep On The Web
The simple fact is that we're asleep on the Web, and we're simply not following up properly on the leads that come in.  So, let's take a look at The 7 Deadly Sins in follow-up:

  1. You just plain DON'T! - 48% of agents do not respond to Internet leads.  48% of Web requests went unanswered.
  2. You're slower than a turtle with a limp. - Today's searcher for any information on the Web expects a fast response, not in days, not even in hours, but in minutes.  They may settle for hours, but you better show up with the goods when you do respond.
  3. "I'll get back to you when I'm ready". - The old "Your email is important to me..." response is useless and not appreciated.  They don't believe it, and your auto-responder actually verifies that you are simply trying to get them to wait until you want to respond.  They're as tech savvy as most of us, and this just says to them "I know how to build an auto-responder."
  4. You ASK instead of ANSWER. - If you receive a request for information, give them the information they want FIRST, then you can try to get more information from them.  Don't pepper them withEmail Spam Filter Abuse questions first that send them packing.
  5. Humans buy houses, so prove you're one. - Spam filters that require proving you're human make it easy for you, but are losing you deals ... believe it!  It's far better for you to spend a couple of minutes a day looking at your spam box to check for good emails than to make every new prospect jump through hoops and fill out a form or take another action just to get their email delivered.
  6. Buy now or I'm going to the beach. - The average real estate buyer or seller now begins their research months earlier than they did before the Web.  They may like your initial response, but forget about you when they're ready to act, simply because you failed to continue to follow up.
    Email Overload
  7. "I'm going to be an email nightmare." - If you immediately start up an email drip campaign that is the same old stuff they see everywhere, and you send them an email every day for a month, THEY'RE GONE.  Drip email follow-up is good, but make sure that what you're sending them is useful information about your local real estate market, and not just "I am the greatest!" stuff.  And, space it out a little.
The punishment for committing email deadly sins is banishment to NO LEAD PURGATORY, where you'll suffer alone, devoid of Web human contact, and worse yet, you won't be cashing many commission checks.

Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Mike Parker 08/12/2011 09:15 AM
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Donnie McKinney
Purchase Realty Group - Paducah, KY
Donnie McKinney CCIM, Purchase Realty Group

Timley post. I've been guilty of letting leads lie around too long before responding in the past, and I have always regretted not taking action. Good goal to set is to respond to every lead the same day it's received.

Aug 11, 2011 11:48 AM #1
Eric Crane -- Your Full Service, Discount Fee Realtor®
DPR Realty LLC - Gilbert, AZ
Greater Metro Phoenix Arizona

Hi, Jim -- great post that I have bookmarked for future review.  I want to make sure I am not guilty of any of these marketing 'sins'.  have a great weekend!

Aug 11, 2011 02:56 PM #2
JoAnn Borelli-Mardesich
Placentia, CA

Great Post, Jim.  This is a terrific eye opener.  I too have been guilty.  Almost like a start & stop action.  Most of time I'm 'on it',  but some do get by me.  Thank you!  

Aug 11, 2011 07:28 PM #3
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Great post Jim.  Lead follow-up is critical to success no matter what lead generation source you are using. 

In fact, I know of agents who will buy "dead" leads from other agents and simply follow-up on the leads and turn them into closed transactions.

Aug 12, 2011 03:19 AM #4
Peter Baumbach
Search Homes for Sale in Maryland at - Owings Mills, MD

I'd like to hear more about your 7. What kind of local information doesn't get stale in a drip campaign?

Aug 12, 2011 03:47 AM #5
Jane Becker
Keller Williams Home Team AdvantEdge - Worcester, MA

Great article, Kudos, I did not realize one so it was well the read.  I am guilty of asking and not giving information. 
Actually, I just said for the consumer to call me.   Was that wrong?  They didn't.

Aug 12, 2011 04:03 AM #6
Jim Kimmons Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


A few years ago I decided to limit my original drip campaign that's automatic on first form contact to four emails.  Each highlights a portion of my site that is visited a lot.  In other words, one sends them to the map of our 40+ MLS areas, as we cover an entire county+.  It helps people to identify where listings are in the area.  I send them just four over two weeks, each pointing them to information others find useful. 

I tell them in the first email, which is also the thank you for filling out form or other action taken, that I am only going to send four.  This cut my opt-outs significantly.  I tell them in the last one that they're going onto a special list for market statistics reports each quarter, so four emails each year.  Then I send out a link each quarter to my report of sold properties out of the MLS.  That's the extent of my contacts with them unless something important related to the marketplace requires a blast email to the entire list.

Aug 12, 2011 04:04 AM #7
Randy Elgin
Keller Williams, San Antonio, Helotes, Leon Valley - San Antonio, TX
Sells Affordable Homes for sale in the San Antonio

Thank you for this. I do follow up and follow through however struggle with keeping it fresh sometimes.

Aug 12, 2011 04:08 AM #8
Faye Y. Taylor
StepStone Realty, LLC - Floresville, TX
Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni

I have used a phone capture system which is really good to teach you how to respond to the calls.  It has a really good coaching system.

The hard part about the emails is not having a phone number.   Most of our emails go unanswered so the phone call works best.  

Do you suggest a short response to an email or a more detailed email?  Also if the house is under contract or actually sold do you explain that in your email?


Aug 12, 2011 04:24 AM #9
Kristi DeFazio
RE/MAX Advantage - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468

I am pretty good with follow up. I try to follow up within the same day, but I know minutes is best. Great post!

Aug 12, 2011 04:51 AM #10
'The Diamond Group' 'A Cut Above The Rest'
The Diamond Group @ Keller Williams - Lubbock, TX
Lubbock Texas Real Estate

Thanks Jim, interesting information and so timely in our internet world

Aug 12, 2011 05:16 AM #11
Jim Kimmons Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


My experience with web users is that they don't want a phone call.  If they come in with an email or on a form, they expect an email reply, and prefer it to a live person on the phone, who they fear will try to "sell" them something.  I don't even ask for phone numbers on my forms.


Aug 12, 2011 06:53 AM #12
Rob Kittle
Kittle Real Estate - Fort Collins, CO
"We Specialize, You Benefit!" -Kittle Real Estate

Great article Jim, clients appreciate very soundly response. I am trying my best to do that but sometimes, i am a late responder but i make it a point to respond with 24 to 48 hours time period and i have my team to help me with these.

Aug 12, 2011 08:07 AM #13
Tim Ventura
Independent Consulting - Blaine, WA
Digital marketing & technology executive.

Great article, Jim - I'm in software, like yourself, and I've found that Agents do better with phones than with email. I personally just think this comes from the fact that they're mobile and until recently email has required sitting in front of a PC, but whatever the case may be we now live in a world where you have to manage sales leads regardless of where they come from.

I'm working on a new application called "Team Callback" that should address some of these issues, but not all of them, and a big part of it is just ingraining that idea of followup into the agents mind. We'll be launching in about a week with it, and I'm hoping it helps with the followup piece of things.

For me, personally, I use email to build interest & gather information, but the phone for closing the sale. That's what seems to work the best. If nothing else, it's because most people can't write well enough to close a sale via email, but even if they could think about the amount of time it would take to write each message!

Aug 12, 2011 10:14 AM #14
Natalie Arndt

Thank you so much for your post. It has been an eye opener for me.

Aug 12, 2011 10:55 AM #15
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

This is great - thanks for the post.  I am going to share it with my buyer agents who are just starting to recognize the importance of website lead follow up!

Aug 12, 2011 01:55 PM #17
Rhonda Burgess
Southern Living Realty Partners - Smyrna, TN
Moving to Nashville TN Real Estate Specialist

I know that I definitely need to work on my response time and make connecting with the lead a priority.

Aug 23, 2011 05:33 AM #18
Carolyn Crispin
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes - Branson, MO
Crispin Team Sells Branson Homes Land & Commercial

Thanks for the information!

Jun 26, 2012 02:27 AM #19
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Great information!

Wow, it is unbelievable that so many inquiries are left unanswered.

I'd say, it would be opposite for me: I answer most of them fast, but I don't hear from those web leads again.

Sep 05, 2013 07:22 PM #20
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