The National Association of Realtors statistics tell us that over 90 percent of consumers start their searches online so there must be a sea of Internet leads for an agent to feast on, right? Yes — if you know what you’re doing.

  • Sadly, most agents have never closed even a single deal from their existing website.
  • Before an agent can expect to do any business from their website, he or she must first learn to sort, discard and keep the right leads.
  • Give more than enough attention to the leads who are ready to buy now. Frankly, these leads expect this kind of undivided attention from you.

The National Association of Realtors statistics tell us that over 90 percent of consumers start their searches online, so there must be a sea of Internet leads for an agent to feast on, right? Yes — if you know what you’re doing.

The sad truth is that few agents convert leads into closings and sales. Another unfortunate fact: A vast majority of agents have never made a dime in commission from their website. It has simply been a drain on their bank account.

There are plenty of IDX providers and real estate website designers just waiting to take your money and build you a website.

Unfortunately, not a lot of IDX providers teach you how to convert the traffic from your website, and being the techie broker that I’ve become — that is one of my biggest pet peeves.

All websites today will have an area where a visitor might sign up for some options, such as:

  1. More information about a specific property
  2. Sign up to receive new listings as they become available
  3. Contact you and ask questions about a property

These are called CTAs — calls-to-action. It means that you are encouraging a visitor to take some kind of action, such as signing up for an area of your site.

Once you start getting those leads to sign up, it’s time to take your website to the next level: learning to sort, discard, keep and convert leads.

There are generally four types of leads who will sign up to your website, and each one needs a unique approach.

1. The looker

This person is stalking a home in their neighborhood, and they simply want to see photos, get listing price information and compare their home to the one for sale.

Don’t spend a lot of time on this lead. This person should be in the “maybe” stack, but I wouldn’t devote a lot of attention to the looker in the beginning.

Nine out of 10 of them will die out after a day or two on your site, and they’ll never return. They’ve gotten the information they came to get.

2. The already-has-an-agent visitor  

I have to admire this website visitor because they will frankly tell you that they are already working with another agent who is showing them properties, but they were looking at your site because they like it better.

However, I wish some of my clients were as committed to me as these visitors seem to be to their current agent. The odds of you converting this person into a client are very slim.

Further, it’s against the Code of Ethics to continue conversations with consumers who have stated they are represented by an agent. This visitor definitely goes in the discard pile.

3. The just-started-looking visitor

OK, this one is a strange and curious breed. Spend some time with this visitor, but don’t be too pushy in the beginning as this type of visitor has a propensity to be scared away easily.

Nurture this lead. Pay attention to this type of lead’s searches and the frequency of their visits to your website. Try and take mental or written notes about what areas this lead is searching on a consistent basis and really pay attention to what kind of amenities and price range this lead is searching.

This is where a good drip campaign that offers solid content packed with value will help you land this lead as a client. Sometimes this lead will be ready to buy in a month, or it might take as long as two years.

I have leads on the backend of my website who have been there for over two years but continue to contact me and update me as to the progress of their homebuying time frame.

This is because I’ve built a relationship with good drip campaign content. The lead has learned to trust me as a professional and not just a salesperson.

You want to be the name they remember when it comes time to buy. The quality of content is critical when having this type of lead on a drip campaign.

Do not send sales-based content proclaiming that you are the best agent, and you can do X, Y, Z for this lead. This type of lead is not into your self-promotion and propaganda campaigns. Instead, this lead wants solid information that will assist in making the best decisions moving forward on their purchase of a home.

What kind of good content? The information you would want to know and learn if you were in a buyer’s position.

What types of areas are best in your market for young singles looking for a place with bars and restaurants steps away? What are some of the extra fees a buyer can expect to pay such as title policies, insurance, prorated taxes, etc.?

Teach them how to start the loan process and why it’s an important first step. Build a relationship with this lead by educating them and becoming the local expert they feel they need on their team.

4. The ready-to-buy visitor  

It’s rare, but it does happen. Most visitors will fit into the first three categories above, but you will find the ready-to-buy visitor in about one in 10 leads. You must stay in constant contact with this lead.

Put in the effort of searching your MLS and handpicking some properties that might interest them. Shower this lead with attention, they expect it. If you don’t show availability, somebody else will.

Converting leads is all about how you approach a lead and knowing which leads need to focus on. Experience will help you get a gut feeling about leads and whether they are serious.

But, don’t be discouraged if they aren’t serious right now. If you sense there is a chance they might be serious in the future, you’re probably right.

If you plan on having future success in the real estate business, you better start learning the Internet game now.

Jeff Knox is lead broker and owner of Knox & Associates Real Estate Brokerage. Follow him on Google Plus and Twitter.

Email Jeff Knox.

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