Since 2006, I have implemented Internet buyer lead generation systems into my business, including pay-per-click marketing with Google and third-party lead systems such as Zurple.

The way to acquire prospects into your funnel has somewhat changed over the years, but the way to follow up has not. Here are my five tactics to turn “lookers” into buyers.

1. Mindset

Many agents feel that Internet leads are a waste of time. Effective follow-up starts with the proper mindset. Change the term “leads” to “conversations.” Remember, these are “real” people looking to do something now or in the future or maybe do nothing at all.

To be highly successful at making more conversations, you should understand that 80 percent of people registering on your website might never buy a home or connect with your message, and that is all right.

Focus on the 20 percent of people that need your help. From that, focus on the 5-10 percent who need your help in the next 30 to 60 days.

Lastly, stay in contact with the remaining percentage of people who need your help in the future. The future buyer is what many agents neglect, and these are the ones that pay dividends.

Look at it as having stock in your business. At some point, they will mature into real buyers, and you will be there to help them. When you understand the buying cycle of a real estate consumer, you will change your mindset from a hunter of leads to a farmer of conversations and relationships.

2. Speed of conversation  

Once you have the proper mindset in place, you will need to make contact, have a conversation and do it fast. There have been many debates on how quick you should follow up.

My advice is to get back to the person making the inquiry or registering on your website within five minutes or less. This conversation might be by text, phone or email.

Everyone communicates differently. Many agents never follow up — they procrastinate or get busy. The key is to follow up promptly to get the desired information to that person. People appreciate when you get back to them.

Follow-up is an acquired trait. Systems such as Conversations by Zurple, connects with the consumer within minutes, so you can build a relationship much easier. Automated systems such as this and others are great, but in the end, you the agent, need to make that final connection.

3. Customer service

Many agents attempt to sell when following up with people, which can cause distrust. My advice is always to treat every call, email or text by providing customer service.

Your primary objective is to gather information and provide a solution or a plan for the consumer. Typically, when I follow up, I say the following- “Hi, this is Bob McTague, with XYZ Realty, and (insert where the lead came from). I am following up to your recent inquiry and wanted to see how I can help you….”

Now let them talk and listen. Do not sound scripted, be human, real and personable. Remember, most consumers will appreciate and see the difference when you use this customer service approach.

4. Follow up on the follow-up  

To build lasting relationships with all the people you connected with, you will need to keep in contact or follow up many times before they will do business with you.

There are many lead management systems; I have found great success with Zurple. For email follow-up, there are many choices, but I recommend or Contacutally.

The key is to make sure all your efforts you built on the front end do not go wasted with poor follow up on the back end. Remember, the buyers of tomorrow are gold in most lead systems.

5. One step beyond  

Follow-up is in the details. After you speak to the consumer, learn about their needs and wants, fine tune their search criteria, and set them on a follow-up sequence, the last thing to do is to go “one step beyond” what every agent does.

My recommendation is to send out a personal note or thank-you card that simply states, “Thank you for using my website to search for homes and thank you for talking with me today! Call me at (fill in phone number here) when you need my help!” Send this to every person you connect with, and you will build deeper present and future relationships.

Effective follow-up is the lifeblood of your real estate business. Follow-up can be time-consuming and frustrating. It is hard work. But if you are in the real estate business, you cannot avoid it. There is a saying: “Real estate is the lowest paying easy work and the highest paying hard work.”

Robert McTague is the team leader of CNY Agent Team of RealtyUSA in Syracuse NY, where he simplifies the process of buying and selling and offers assistance with marketing, coaching, and speaking.

Email Robert McTague.

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