When dealing with real estate leads and converting leads to clients, there are three important questions to ask yourself:
1. How are you getting real estate leads?
2. How are you following up with your real estate leads?
3. Are you using a system for effective follow up?
How to Get Real Estate Leads
For questions 2 and 3 to even be an issue, you first have to figure out a way to GET real estate leads. You can’t follow up with something you don’t have! There are several traditional ways for real estate agents to collect real estate leads in their pipeline. One way is the direct marketing approach – basically you send out a whole lot of newsletters, fliers, and postcards with your contact information to homes in the neighborhood you’re farming for real estate leads. If you start getting calls and emails, you’ve started building your own pipeline.
A second way of getting real estate leads is to network and ask past clients for referrals. As a real estate agent, you should always be talking to be people in the outside world, letting them know what you do, handing off business cards. Whether you’re at a sports event, a dinner party or you’re child’s school play, there are plenty of opportunities to build real estate leads. Never be afraid to call on old clients for referrals either – if you did your job right,t hey should be more than happy to send friends and family your way.
A third way to get real estate leads is through internet marketing. In this case, I mean building your own website with contact pages as well as subscribing to some kind of online lead generation service. By doing both, you can both harness your own real estate leads and also get plenty of leads from an outside source.
My advice? Go with all three. A good mix of direct mailings, networking, and internet marketing should have your pipeline a mile long with real estate leads. Keep in mind though that you will have to spend a little money to get all those leads!
Following up with Real Estate Leads
Without follow up, your real estate leads will be leads forever, never clients. Following up simply means to increase the effectiveness or success of something with further action. Following up with real estate leads can involve phone calls, emails, direct mailings, dropping by the property, etc. Basically, use any means necessary (within reason) to make contact with your real estate leads to determine what you can do for them. It may take 2 weeks of follow up to convert a lead, it may take 2 months, it may even take 3 years, but as long as you are consistent and persistent with follow up tactics, you can convert your real estate leads into clients.
One thing to keep in mind with follow up is that you should always have a reason to be contacting your real estate leads. Don’t give them to much information in one mailing, or else you use up your reason for contacting them at a later date. Instead, send them pieces of useful information regularly over extended periods of time. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be directly relating to home buying or selling – you can send them information about their community they may not know, the schools, job opportunities in an area you know they were thinking about moving to, the standings for the little league championship their son was in, etc. The information you’re sending your real estate leads should be a individualized for each lead.
Are you going to convert all your real estate leads? No. Do you need to convert them all? No. Should you still TRY to convert them all? Always! Most people will need a real estate agent at some stage in their life, so you might as well be the agent right there to help them out, answer any questions and keep them informed with useful information.
Employing a System for Follow Up
A system is simply any formulated, regular or special method or plan of a procedure for obtaining an objective. In the case of real estate, your objective is to convert real estate leads to clients through follow up. Your system of follow up is simply an organized, efficient and general procedure to get in contact with your leads.
Without some sort of system of following up with your real estate leads, it’s very easy to waste precious time because of disorganization. Having a system is the most effective way to streamline your follow up so you still have time to actually list and sell your clients’ homes! After all, with hundreds of real estate leads to constantly follow up with, when are you supposed to have time for listing presentations, settlement, advertising homes for sale, etc?
By having your own organized plan of follow up, you can dedicate certain hours in your day to your follow up of real estate leads. There are services out there that “sell” follow up systems to real estate agents, but they’re really not necessary for everybody. If you’re already disciplined and organized, there’s no reason you can’t formulate your own system of follow up, like designing several email templates, dedicating a certain amount of time each day to phone calls and creating an easy to access, track and monitor database of your real estate leads which includes all the important contact information needed to get in touch with them.
A system can be something as simple as creating a schedule for yourself and then rigidly adhering to that schedule. Having a systematic approach to following up with your real estate leads is the best way to maximize your conversion rate and minimize time spent following up.