Technology

FiveStreet automates online lead follow-up

Maximize your smartphone by installing this clever tool

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The pitch

I must be getting old.

I spend a lot of time watching the birds in my backyard.

They flit and chirp and fly in energetic bursts among the feeders. They never sit still, always pecking at an opportunity to feed. They hover for a moment to scan for a window among the masses, then dive in again. This goes on all day.

I suppose they know the feeder eventually gets empty, so they need to pluck from the suet block as much sustenance as they can before the pipeline empties. Or until I can get back to Home Depot.

As we all know, the real estate industry is hyper-competitive. And because there are few better catalysts for innovation than competition, real estate is constantly blazing new ground. Real estate expansion teams -- teams that do business in multiple markets -- are one of the industry’s latest, and hottest, innovations ...

The real estate business is like this. Commissions are limited; there is no constant source of income. You need to be quick, mobile. You have families to feed.

Maybe FiveStreet can help.

The sale

I’ve never met a real estate agent who is uncomfortable saying, “I’m sorry, I need to take this call.”

As long as they don’t put a finger up to condescendingly silence me, I’m fine with it. I can hear your phone ringing, I know you need to take it.

It’s the nature of the business. Every call is the next listing, the next lead. So FiveStreet capitalizes on this dependency by making your mobile phone into a lead catchall, a hand-held digital cistern of prospective homebuyers and sellers.

I believe we’re beyond calling tools like FiveStreet an “app.” It’s mobile software that automates lead follow-up, facilitates collaboration among brokerage teams, and positions agent-users as client-centric and tech-savvy.

Fivestreet_AutoReply

FiveStreet does not create leads, but instead ensures you’re quick to follow up with them. It attaches to an array of common lead generation methods and routes them to its interface on your phone.

Probably the most typical FiveStreet workflow starts with a contact captured from your website. That email is routed directly to FiveStreet, which triggers an automated email or text follow-up on your behalf.

I know some may take issue with the idea of a canned response. However, I think that as a collective business community, we’re over it by now. It’s just so common.

Most importantly, don’t underestimate the value of a quick response, even if it isn’t overly warm and fuzzy. The Internet is about immediacy. If you send your personal message two days later, you’re two days late.

And technically, if you write the FiveStreet response, it’s personal. You just didn’t hit “send” right away.

FiveStreet responders are generated within five minutes. At the end of each day, import your FiveStreet list into a CRM (customer relationship manager) or email marketing tool of your choice.

There’s real value to capturing your leads in a single net. Far too many agents spread their brand thin across multiple outreach channels and online listing tools. Each one has a different method of alert. Certainly some of your leads, if not many, get lost in the folds of a scattered Web presence.

Fivestreet_Dash

FiveStreet is a marketing supplement, a middleman. You need to be proficient in online marketing to generate the leads it collects. You also need to be sure to act on them. FiveStreet provides you a contact’s basics, and links to other avenues of customer information, like social media, if available.

FiveStreet would be a great partner to Charlie, an aggregator of everything online about, well, everyone.

In terms of integration, FiveStreet doesn’t kid around. It catches leads from more sources than I’ve heard of. Zillow. Trulia. BoomTown. Top Producer. Homes.com. Homesnap. Zurple. Realtor.com. And many more.

The odds are good it will connect with whatever tool you’re using.

The autoresponders have notification parameters that prevent multiple messages in too short a time frame, or during off hours. Emails are sent at any time, while text messages are limited to just outside the business hours or your timezone, no later than 8 p.m.

When working in teams, you do have to create some internal rules about lead ownership with FiveStreet.

Fivestreet_iPhone

Because it delivers the leads it captures into a single pot, the agent who “claims” it can take the ball and run with it. However, that’s a method sure to create some internal strife, especially if some agents spend more advertising online than others.

The software has the capability to allow for the distribution of leads by brokers to agent teams. I wonder, though, would a broker want to be this involved in assigning agent leads? Is it an updesk role?

FiveStreet is affordable enough so individual agents can own accounts without the marketing support of the broker. That’s how I envision users receiving the most value.

Without a sophisticated marketing staff, most agencies would find it too difficult to trace the lead’s capture from initial website engagement all the way to conversion. A potential homebuyer can interact with marketing content from six different agents within a firm’s website before deciding to complete the Contact Us form. So who wins?

FiveStreet does let you trace from which lead source you get the most interest, a good metric to use in ongoing marketing budget decisions.

The close

If you’re the type who puts their device face-up on the table during a lunch meeting, FiveStreet may be for you.

It’s not overly complicated, and it’s not trying be something other than a temporary reservoir for leads captured online. I like it when software knows what it’s good for and stops at that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take this. …

Do you use FiveStreet? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.