Hardcore Advice: Working Internet Leads (Not For The Meek, Mild, or Faint of Heart...)

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

** Disclaimer -- Hard-knock, old school advice contained within. (I usually write things with humor, sarcasm, and a certain lilt that most enjoy... This has none of that. Toughen up. This is about as serious as I can get without thinking I need coffee...or a vacation...)

“Internet leads are the new office phone call!” One of the folks that follows me on Facebook said that the other day. And, to be totally honest, I couldn't agree more.

The truth of the matter is that the internet lead is here to stay. (DUH!) And according to a recent NAR stat, 94% of all home buyers searched on the internet BEFORE they ever contacted an agent. So, agents have had to adapt to take advantage of this accepted fact.

But, the general opinion on internet leads is that these prospects are anywhere from six months to two years from making their purchase. And, in some cases, this is surely true.

But, the factual statistics simply state that the majority of internet inquiries are exactly the opposite. This data reveals that the vast majority of internet-generated leads are six months or less away from sealing the deal. Specifically, research has shown that a generous portion of all internet leads are only 4 months or less away from making their purchase.

In truth, internet leads tend to:
• Be better educated
• Buy more expensive homes
• Use a Real Estate Professional
• Have higher incomes
• Have a shorter search time
• Stay loyal to their Agent
• View fewer homes

So, why is it that sooo many agents have such a hard time converting them into prospects and, eventually, into a closing?

Well, to quote Bob Stewart of ActiveRain..."...it's not because the leads were bad, it's because you (the agent) were not good at working them."

More than half of all internet inquires are NEVER FOLLOWED UP ON!

(Excuse me for a second...I'm gonna freak out...)

WHAT?!? Over half of the people that are contacting a real estate agent asking for help are ignored?!? No wonder this industry has such a negative connotation...

And, the ones that are...? they are called as 54 hours (on average according to NAR) after they posted the inquiry online. 54 HOURS?!? That is the equivalent of an internet ice-age...

Working an internet lead is different than working someone that walks into your office or even calls you on the phone. And, the reason most agents fail at working internet leads is that they do not recognize that these individuals are merely gathering information. And, as such, they may be gathering it from multiple sources.

They have surely signed up on more than one website. There is no implied loyalty here. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are the only person they are talking to...or your site is the only one that they are checking. Thinking that you are the only resource they are checking at this point is setting yourself up for failure.

So...The goal here -- Be THE source that they should go to...Be the expert. Be the leader. Be the most responsive, best educated, and MOST WILLING to help them get the information that they need when they need it. Doing that will put YOU in the forefront in that buyer's mind. Make yourself stand out.

Which brings me to my closing point here: Follow-up phone calls. (Notice I didn't say anything about emails.)

Most agents simply do not call an interent lead. Fail. They email them. Fail. That is setting yourself up for failure. It is a cop-out. It's the easy way. And, in the vast majority of internet inquiries studied, it does not work!

Of the agents that call those inquiries, most agents do not call an interent inquiry more than two times. Fail. You have to remember that by signing up on your website, they are asking for information. They want something you have...and it is your job to get it to them. 

Text them right away. Don't text?? Call them! Call them several times. They are asking you to do your job. Following up with them is your job. That requires calling. Don't call once. Don't call twice. Call twice a day for 5 days, if that is what it takes.

What is the worst that can happen?? They tell you not to call them any more?? Awesome!! At least that way, you have an definitive answer as to whether or not they are serious, right? The serious inquiries will want to talk with you. And, the ones that aren't will tell you not to bother them. Either way, you were successful. Don't worry about "being a bother" or thinking that you are going to offend them. Again...they are asking for information. Do your job. Get it to them. If you end up offending them along the way, then you are better off knowing you are spinning your wheels by attempting to work with them. Remove them from your database and concentrate on those that are willing to speak with you. But, until you reach that point, you will never know where you sit. Better to get a 'No' than to chase someone for months, in my mind.

Following up with your leads is your job. Learn how to do it properly. And, if you can't, hire someone that can. You will close more deals! You will be a better agent! You will make more money!

 

If you want more information on working internet leads, check out our FB page and Clint... You can follow him on Twitter.

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jim McCormack 08/30/2011 05:02 AM
  2. Eric Thomas 08/30/2011 05:24 AM
  3. Kay Kerby and Sarah Campbell, Your favorite Mother-Daughter REALTORS®! 08/30/2011 02:23 PM
  4. Stanley Maeschen 08/31/2011 08:56 AM
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Show All Comments
Anonymous
Cynthia Streza

It is so hard for me to believe that Realtors are not on top of these online leads.  Maybe they get so many, they just don't have time to follow up.  I wish I had that problem.  I would be happy to take any online leads that someone want to throw my way...anytime!

Aug 30, 2011 12:51 PM #141
Rainmaker
567,705
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

The old school way still works wonders, technology is only a tool. 

Aug 30, 2011 12:56 PM #142
Rainer
50,562
Jim Gilbert
Sky Realty - Austin, TX

Good!

Aug 30, 2011 02:16 PM #143
Rainer
36,062
Lori Fischer
www.rethinkhomeinteriors.com - Fort Washington, PA
I so appreciate this post! I think this is valuable advice regardless of your business but especially when we are likely dealing with someone's largest investment. It's all about making that personal connection. And thank you for the great perspective on how often to call back--I must admit that this is a HUGE area of opportunity for me + spinning it in such a positive way makes me rethink my feeling like a bother. thank you!
Aug 30, 2011 02:46 PM #144
Rainer
39,542
Seana Yates
Thrive Homes and Estates - Encino, CA
I whole heartedly agree. Follow up is the key. Why do we spend all this money to get leads if we don't follow them?
Aug 30, 2011 06:03 PM #145
Rainmaker
365,710
Chris Dunham
NexGen Brokered by eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
The Real Estate Guy™

So true! I carry on average 10 open escrows at a time. 95% of those are people I talk to once, take them out, show them X amount of houses, come back and write it up. I very rarely go out with the same client twice (aside from inspections, signing, keys etc). Currently I am holding over 40 escows, owed solely to the fact #1 I answer my phone #2 I call every person back (if I am on the other line or with clients, I don't answer my phone) #3 I continue to call until they tell me to stop....same goes with emails.


Great Blog!

Aug 30, 2011 06:21 PM #146
Rainer
75,100
Derk Simonson
ReMax Coastal Properties La Jolla and Pacific Beach, San Diego - La Jolla, CA
Ex-builder, long time Realtor

Hi Clint,  I've worked internet leads for 9 years, the last 4 years for a top website, for companies that know all the disciplines, including compelling emails.  I rigorously follow the procedures and I'm well equipped to help someone who is responsive (I know the market, the whole market).  The reality is, 98% of the registrations don't wish to be contacted and aren't wnywhere near ready to buy and 95% don't open the emails.  I know because I use Constant Contact.  I don't know who's doing the research, but it doesn't match my experience.  From 2007 through 2010 I had 9,000 registrations and closed 9 transactions - that's one tenth of one percent.  You're probably saying to yourself, this guy doesn't know how to close.  My aassociates would tell you that I DO know how to close and I've been a Realtor for a very long time, so I have the experience to know how to interact with people about real estate.  All that said, I still work internet leads because I am very fast at it and can handle huge numbers.  My advice if you're going to work internet leads

  • Develop speed, make calls while you're driving (you won't have time otherwise)
  • Work a website that consumers like (so they come back-no good if they don't return)
  • Have zero expectations
  • Don't stop listing, doorknocking, prospecting the database, networking, open houses, etc, etc, etc.

Derk

 

Aug 31, 2011 02:18 AM #147
Rainmaker
386,369
Jenifer Lower
Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net - Bozeman, MT
Your Dream. Our Passion.

I love this post!  I preach it to my agents and work really hard at following my own advice.  Nearly all of my leads are online leads, therefore, I cannot afford to not follow up.  Thanks for sharing.

Aug 31, 2011 04:01 AM #148
Rainmaker
782,092
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Smart phones give us the opportunity to do just what you advocate - call, text or e-mail; no excuse!

Aug 31, 2011 06:00 AM #149
Rainer
103,467
Marsha Cash
RE/MAX Advantage - Stockbridge, GA

I try to follow up immediately on leads.  Can't always. 

Aug 31, 2011 06:53 AM #150
Rainer
93,371
Tamara Schuster
Naperville Glen Ellyn Lisle Plainfield Wheaton Illinois - Naperville, IL
Realtor Broker - Naperville

Following up with your leads is your job. This is important and as soon as possible!  Great post to share!

Aug 31, 2011 08:18 AM #151
Rainer
19,532
Sheila Lawrence
Coldwell Banker, Sebastopol, CA - Sebastopol, CA
Love where you live!

This is great!  I think email imay be the new snail mail soon.

Aug 31, 2011 09:28 AM #152
Rainmaker
334,102
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Excellent, Excellent advice Clint, but how many will?

Ty

Sep 03, 2011 05:24 AM #153
Rainmaker
32,348
Liz Streed
PRUDENTIAL Holley Properties R. E. - Navarre, FL
Holley By The Sea, One Stop Realty Shop!

ActiveRain needs a "Like" button, too. 

Sep 03, 2011 05:35 AM #154
Rainmaker
648,062
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Just saw this Clint.  I am working some Tiger Leads and it is very frustrating.  Always getting voicemail and no return calls or return emails, unless they are asking me to stop bothering them.  Been at it about 6 weeks.   Thanks for this great advice.  The calling is getting easier with each phone call.

Sep 06, 2011 10:30 AM #155
Anonymous
Pat Teelin Keyes Realty Tequesta, Fl

Great post! My question is any suggestions on how to generate more internet leads?

Sep 10, 2011 11:40 PM #156
Rainmaker
231,499
Liane Thomas, Top Listing Agent
Professional Realty Services® - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

This is the best business advice I have read in a long time. You hit it! Over 30% of my business is internet driven. Can't begin to tell you how often I have heard that I was the first or only person who called them!

Sep 15, 2011 07:58 AM #157
Rainmaker
590,833
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Clint,

Are you saying there are leads that come from the internet?

And that you have to provide them with good service?

Hmmmm

Phil

Oct 07, 2011 10:48 PM #158
Rainmaker
220,161
Carolyn Crispin
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes - Branson, MO
Crispin Team Sells Branson Homes Land & Commercial

Great Blog!

Jun 25, 2012 06:50 AM #159
Rainmaker
273,670
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Consistant follow up has never been one of my strong suits. Thats for the reminder.

Sep 27, 2012 12:45 AM #160
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189,766

Clint Miller

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