The single most important part of converting online lead is to first realize the difference in buying timeframe of internet buyers. While sign calls or office walk-ins indicate “ready to transact now” buyers, online leads take on average 12-18 months from the time of first contact to the time of transaction. As an agent you need to stay in front of the buyer and provide useful information during this entire lead nurturing stage so when the time comes to write an offer you will be the first one in their mind. Staying in touch with hundreds of internet home shoppers for 1-2 years could be a daunting task and that is why it is important to enlist technology to help automate this process.
Here are 5 steps and to help you convert online shoppers into buyers:
1. First Contact
Lead response study from MIT shows that responding to your lead within first 5 minutes after initial contact increases your chance to convert this lead into buyer 80x compared to responding in 30 minutes. Make the best use of your Zillow or Trulia marketing dollars by responding to your leads immediately.
Automate your first response with FiveStreet.com which can send text message and email to your leads for you 24/7.
2. Buyer Websites
The only thing online buyers are interested in are listings and information about them. This is after all the reason they reached out to you through Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com. This is our chance to move the buyer away from these portals (where they will be exposed to more other Realtors) and put them on our own property search where we have better control of their house shopping experience. The advantage of your own buyer website showing latest listings from our MLS directly is that that get the most accurate and up-to-date information about properties and they are only exposed to you as their Realtor.
There are many vendors for buyer websites feeding directly from our MLS. You can FlexMLS portal for free, have basic website built locally or use more robust systems like BoomTown.com, MarketLeader.com or Zurple which include back-end Customer Relationship Management, listing updates or email campaigns. I had a great experience with RealGeeks website www.Shore4UHomes.com and their customer service
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
CRM systems can help you stay in touch with high amount of online leads for long period of time consistently throughout the entire 1-2 year lead nurturing phase all the way up to successful closing. Automated email drip campaigns can be assigned to each lead to send out useful information about the buying process, market reports or area information. This will help you to stay on top of minds of your clients and you will be the first one to thing of when it comes to real estate. The best part is that you only have to set up the campaigns once and they then run automatically.
4. Monthly Market Reports
One of the best tools to show online buyers your expertise and knowledge about your market is to send monthly market reports showing real estate activity in their area of interest. While this can be done manually using data in our FlexMLS, it requires significant investment of tome and becomes a challenge with higher number of customers. Of course technology can help and automate the entire process.
Our association just recently competed our integration with RPR. Access to RPR is provided for free as a part of our membership benefits. RPR can create variety of visually appealing market reports you can send to your clients as PDF. Another great tool is TopProducer’s Market Snapshop which can trigger and send automatic report about specific neighborhood or property when new sale closes or new listing comes to market in the target area.
Managing and nurturing of online leads is a long term process which can be made easy with use of the right technology and awareness of the fact that your buyers are most likely at the beginning of their research.