Professionals Don't Need Drips - So What About Web Leads?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

To conclude (?) this week's series on Drip Mail Campaigns (to drip or not to drip?) here are some thoughts on communicating with people who find you online - affectionately known as "web leads." 


I had a nice conversation the other day with a newer agent who called me looking for help managing his web leads, specifically asking if I knew of any drip-mail campaigns that had the SWS Seal of Approval. In other words, could I recommend a "canned" approach to communicating with online leads that didn't sound canned?

Well, sez me, not really, for obvious reasons. Drip-mails are, by definition, impersonal and yes, canned, although I'm sure it's possible to come up with verbiage that is warmer, more interesting and more sincere than your average drip.

I encouraged my new friend to consider responding to each potential client (I hate the word "lead") individually, with a personal reference to what the potential client seems to be interested in. For example, "I see you're looking at homes in the Washington Park area - I used to live there and loved it." or "I noticed you tagged that awesome mid-century modern home on Belmont - I was just in it the other day and it's fabulous."

"But," my friend protested, "I don't have time to respond personally to everyone. Wouldn't it be better to make sure every single lead gets something from me, even if it's a little impersonal, instead of just responding to a few?"

Eh... couple of thoughts here.

First, no, I think you'll have a far better success ratio if you respond personally to a relative few than impersonally to a whole bunch. Considering that the other agents these potential clients are writing to either are 1) not responding at all, or 2) sending out canned crap (sorry), your personal response will really stand out in the crowd.

But second, how much time are we really talking about here? Half an hour? An hour? It's not as if you have to write a book to each person, just a warm note acknowledging their inquiry (which, frankly, you could probably copy and paste from one to the other), along with SOMETHING personal in each that shows it's a real human being responding.

If you're currently using an auto-responder or other canned approach to Internet leads and aren't thrilled with your results, give the personal touch a try! If you already use this approach and would like to share an example how you respond personally to inquiries, I'd sure love to see it :-)

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Comments (10)

Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great perspective here, Jennifer.  I'm glad that my asst calls and/or emails everyone personally.  We do some things automatic, but not this. 

Of course, our biz is a bit different ...shorter purchase cycle and more "leads" turn into "appointments" and "customers" vs. real estate.   some of this depends on the quantity.  But, I suppose if you get a ton, maybe it's worth it to hire an asst to respond personally and get a higher conversion ratio.

Oct 08, 2015 10:13 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I myself have been a "web lead" and can count the number of times an agent has responded to me personally. And THOSE are the agents I respond back to! Go figure! 

Oct 08, 2015 10:17 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Many years ago, we were interested in purchasing beach property in another state.  I went to a few agent websites, reached out via web forms with specific questions and left a couple of messages.  ONE agent picked up the phone and called me with answers to my questions  The others responded with a canned, "thank you for your interest" email but no personal follow up.

The agent who called was knowledgable and engaging.  Over the next few years, we bought 3 properties from her, 2 of which she subsequently listed and sold for us;  we referred her to several other folks who also bought from her. 

Not a fan of the canned drip.  I AM a fan of the scheduled action plan, where we systematically reach out with something the prospect will find of value, though. Technically, sure, that is a drip but a drip with value. 


Oct 08, 2015 10:30 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Susan - I had the exact same experience. I filled out the online registration forms - one agent called me, another put me on a canned campaign and the rest ignored me. The agent who reached out personally got my business. And I'm positive the other agents complain about how "web leads are a waste of time!"

And YES, scheduled action plans are great. "Planned Not Canned!"

Oct 08, 2015 10:44 PM
Jeanne Feenick
NextHome Premier - Basking Ridge, NJ
The Agent you choose REALLY does make a difference

Great post and responses  -  I love the ad that reminds us that with all the ways we invent not to interact with a real person,  how it makes us crave interacting with a real person.  

Oct 08, 2015 11:04 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I reply with a personal email. Sometimes I find a "real" person at the other end; other times I discover my carefully and personally crafted reply falls on a fake email address. However, that first contact is personal and relates to the property the prospect asked about.

Oct 08, 2015 11:29 PM
Anthony Saunchez
Campa Properties - San Bernardino, CA
How can we be of service

I have tried both ways and have received greater success with the personal approach.


Oct 09, 2015 04:31 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Jennifer,  Lazy comes to my mind. Why so many agents want to cast a net with a hole in the bottom of it versus fishing with bait and making connections with people is beyond me.  I know ... it's a numbers game.  PUKE. It's a peoples game and so many agents just dehumanize the process in the name of not having the time. Double PUKE.

Oct 09, 2015 11:47 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Great analogy Kathleen!!!

What baffles me is WHY anyone would go into real estate WANTING to play a numbers game? I got my license so that I could competently and professionally assist people in a complicated transaction and be well-paid to do so (because I EARNED it). Not to be a glorified telemarketer.

Oct 09, 2015 11:37 PM
Russ Hunter
Real Estate Machine - Waterloo, ON
Helping real estate agents succeed online!

This is so true -- a few minutes is all it takes.  I think a lot of agents feel jilted by all of the people who have igmored them and they quickly start feeling down and then stop responding altogether.  I never used to do this back in the olden days when I spent half the day cold calling and that was way harder than typing out a few sentences.

Oct 16, 2015 12:24 AM