• Your goal should be to respond to any prospect's inquiry within five minutes.
  • Using video emails will set you apart from the competition.
  • Email drip follow-up everyone. Take on a "you never know when they will buy/sell" mentality.

Internet leads can be very profitable as long as you take the right approach and have realistic expectations. The art of converting internet leads is dramatically different than the traditional approach used in sales. It requires a different mentality for three main reasons:

  1. The difficulty in creating rapport heightens when you are following up. Often the connection is only one way.
  2. The volume of leads necessitates a more efficient approach.
  3. The motivation of the lead is often unclear and difficult to ascertain.

The bottom line is you must move faster with internet leads. It’s important to have a strategy for moving on if the connection is non-responsive or seemingly unmotivated.

Here are 10 must-do guidelines to follow:

1. Make every effort to create a two-way connection

In my experience, the probability of a sale is stronger when the communication goes both ways.

2. Get their phone number

Your initial intention should be to get a phone number. Focus on asking, “What’s the best phone number for me to reach you?”

3. Act fast when an inquiry comes in

Your goal should be to respond within five minutes. A recent study conducted by MIT’s Dr. James Oldroyd for insidesales.com, shows the odds of contacting a lead if he or she is called within five minutes are 100 times higher versus one called in 30 minutes.

4. Respond in some way, no matter what you are doing

This is a critical point: If you are tied up, send an email, a voicemail message or a text that acknowledges the inquiry.

Let them know when you will get back to them. By doing so, you will close the loop, and they’ll understand you are being responsive and committed to helping out.

The typical consumer does not expect you to be available 24 hours a day. He or she just wants to know what to expect. The key is to let him or her know when you will be available.

5. Send an email response immediately

Even if you don’t have a phone number, send an email response right away. Answer the question followed by, “When can we talk?”

6. Be conscious of the advantage of using video emails

Using video emails will set you apart from the competition. It is a much more engaging way to get your lead’s attention. Stand out.

7. Send a text immediately

If you have a phone number but no answer — send a text instead. There is a growing sector of the population who would prefer a text message.

8. Focus on creating a conversation (even if it’s through technology)

Here’s how: Play the question game. Every communication you send must end with a question. For example:

  • What are you looking for?
  • How soon do you want to move?
  • What geographic area appeals to you?
  • What’s your telephone number?

9. Understand when to let go of the personal follow-up process

Eliminate the non-responsive avoiders. If you are unable to create a personal connection (telephone or face-to-face) after three or four attempts — stop chasing them. Convert your follow-up strategy to using technology only, and keep them in your system (see next point).

10. Add everyone to an email drip follow-up system

This is part of the changing landscape of lead follow-up. Take on a “you never know when they will buy/sell” mentality — it’s zero cost.

11. Mix in these four top approaches to email

  1. Laser: Sending specific details to one individual. Example: new listing in a particular subdivision or condo building.
  2. Database blast: Market updates, tips to get your home ready, etc.
  3. Geographic blast: Specific to a neighborhood or farm area.
  4. Video emails: For any of the above three approaches. It’s proven to have a 50-percent higher open rate.

Move fast through your internet leads, and don’t be attached to the outcome.

Eliminate the ones who don’t develop a two-way connection with you quickly. Have realistic expectations.

Remember the question game. First, answer the question, and then end every communication with a question. It’s the fastest way to build rapport.

Internet leads are not the same as traditional leads generated through regular prospecting (calling, door knocking, open houses, ad calls, etc.)

Just because leads don’t convert in the same ratios, doesn’t mean they aren’t profitable or worthy of your time. Make sure your strategy supports this reality, and you will do very well. No excuses.

Bruce Keith is a speaker, sales coach and author at Bruce Keith Results. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Bruce Keith.

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