Leads are big business in real estate that cost agents money at acquisition, through nurture and into conversion.
At Inman Connect New York, Ro Malik of Conversion Monster and team leader of Chicago Homes 360, BoomTown’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Shannon Williams, and RE/MAX Select President Rob Lyszczarz, discussed how the industry finds, manages and makes a return on their lead purchases.
Malik stressed that without systems and processes in place to ensure follow-up, agents won’t be successful. It was a sentiment that seemed to ring true throughout the panel.
But Lyszczarz stressed that speed-to-lead varies per agent and that team leaders and brokers need to find ways to improve the quality of engagement between leads and customers, something he uses BoomTown to help do.
“It’s not just the quality of the lead, it’s the quality of the conversation and the human element that really makes a difference,” she said to the ICNY crowd.
Moderator Wendy Forsythe, an industry consultant and coach, drew a line in the sand when it comes to agents and speed-to-lead, telling the panel that they’re not good at it, prompting the stage to recall their own struggles with following up.
“I needed a solution for myself,” Malik said. “I was an agent for 10 years and saw that conversion was getting that much more difficult as each year passed. Plus, you’re outside of the office all the time, how realistic is it to follow-up right away? The lead should go elsewhere first, to an ISA to be scrubbed.”
“I think if you have that quality first engagement, you also need to have the hand-off between the first person and the agent be of equal value,” Lyszczarz said. “If there’s no synergy between parties, the consumer experience is reduced.”
As an executive in one of the industry’s most recognized lead capture and nurture tools, Williams stressed that relationships matter most, and that whatever service you use to scrub or handle initial follow-up it has to be an extension of your brand.
“Follow-up campaigns are so important, whether by phone, email or text,” Williams said.
Forsythe piggy-backed on Williams’ comments, segueing into conversion times.
While Malik has found his agents average between eight and 14 months to convert, Lyszczarz warned that assuming an average time can lead to missed opportunities.
“Sometimes leads enter a pipeline late, but close within a month,” he said. In other words, not all leads are the same, and follow-up tactics have to adjust.
The group also shared with the ICNY audience a few of the mistakes they see agents make in the lead game. All agreed that it comes down to apathy and the thinking that if one lead is missed, the next one will make up for it.
Malik said he’s seen too many agents believe that when they’re provided leads, it’s OK to not follow up on today’s because three more are coming tomorrow.
“It’s hard for them to calculate the price of that lost opportunity,” he said.
“Mistakes I’ve made is assuming that a good agent is also proficient at working online leads,” Lyszczarz said. “If you love what you do and your agents, you need to hold them accountable. What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved, you owe it to your agents to hold them accountable.”
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