(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1, "Sure-fire ways to boost Web leads.")

Does your Web site consistently generate leads that turn into closed business? If not, today’s column explains how you can take your Web leads and turn more of them into closed business.

(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1, "Sure-fire ways to boost Web leads.")

Does your Web site consistently generate leads that turn into closed business? If not, today’s column explains how you can take your Web leads and turn more of them into closed business.

You have a great Web site that is rich in content, that is highly targeted, easy to navigate, and is focused exclusively on the lifestyle of your Web visitors. The challenge for most agents is that they generate leads, but don’t convert them.

Consumers do not want to give you their contact information because they are afraid that you are going to bombard them with marketing materials. To address this issue, Michael Russer encourages his clients to use a privacy policy. A well-crafted privacy policy guarantees that any information the Web visitor provides will be private and that the information will not be shared with anyone else. Without a privacy policy, most Web visitors will leave your site if you ask them to fill out a form to receive information.

Russer suggests that your privacy policy includes the following language: "We understand that you are probably in the information-gathering stage and that you may prefer to remain anonymous. There is no obligation for you to provide your contact information." Russer reports that when you use this approach, 80 percent of your Web visitors will provide their contact information.

In addition to a privacy policy, "opt-in" is also a necessity. With the changes in the spam laws, you must offer an "opt-in" feature for any communications you send from your site. "Opt-in" means the visitor voluntarily signs up to receive communications from you. It also means the individual may "opt-out" at any time. People are more receptive to your marketing efforts when they have made a conscious decision to request what you are sending.

The most important reason that agents fail to convert Web leads is that they don’t respond to those leads in a timely manner. Web consumers want information and they want it now. Furthermore, the younger the client is, the more likely they are to have this expectation. To respond more quickly to your Web leads, you can use any of the following approaches.

1. 800 call capture
This is a tried and true technique that works on your signs as well as for print and Web marketing. When people dial your 1-800 number, they can listen to a pre-recorded message and leave messages for you about their wants and needs. The system captures their contact information so you are able to follow up with them by calling or texting them back.

2. Autoresponders
Autoresponders handle requests from Web site visitors quickly and efficiently. Most Web site companies have autoresponders built into their agent Web sites. You can also set up your own by providing complimentary reports on how to save money, Web coupons, or other valuable information. Web visitors then click on the items they want and the system sends to them automatically. Most systems notify you as well and include the e-mail address of where the report was sent.

3. Instant messaging
If you enjoy chatting online, add instant messaging (IM) to your site with Meebo or Plugoo.

4. Click-to-talk
Click-to-talk systems allow your Web visitor to click on an icon on your site. The visitor enters their phone number and the click-to-talk system calls you and conferences you in with the consumer. RealPing.com, a privately branded version for the real estate industry, allows agents to control the images that the Web visitor sees online. The system allows you to take the consumer through listings on your site, simply by using the keypad on your cell phone. You do not need to be at a computer.

5. Call center
For high-volume agents or teams, a call center is another viable approach. Companies such as LeadQual.com will "scrub" or qualify incoming Web site leads. If the lead meets the appropriate criteria, the lead is handed off to a live agent in less than five minutes.

6. Delegate!
An in-office assistant or a virtual assistant are other alternatives. Competent in-office assistants can be difficult to find and even more difficult for a busy agent to train. In contrast, virtual assistants work with you on an independent contractor basis and are not based in your office. They have their own computer, phone and other tools required to conduct business. They can be available while you are sleeping or anytime during the day.

7. Caveat for Gen X and Gen Y agents
You’re comfortable being in constant contact with your peers. If you are working with someone who was born before 1946, sending text messages while you are with them is perceived as being rude and disrespectful. It can cost you the relationship. Baby boomers are generally OK with you sending text messages or taking a phone call, provided that you ask their permission first.

If your Web site is not providing the results you want, don’t wait to start improving your conversion rate — why not start today?

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of "Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters" and "Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?" Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at LuxuryClues.com.

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