Are you aware of how much money you are potentially wasting with your leads every year?
Within your marketing budget, you are most certainly sure with how much you spend on lead generation down to the very last dollar. However, it might surprise you how much money is being wasted by leads never being followed up with. According to a 2013 Online Performance Study, 45% of all real estate leads aren’t responded to or followed up with has resulted in billions of dollars being wasted every year.
You might chalk a lot of this wasted marketing budget on the rigmarole of this business–that leads are a double-edged sword and their shortcomings are just a part of the hustle.
But what if leads weren’t all that bad? What if your whole approach to leads were wrong and a reexamination of your lead strategy could help rewire the success of your real estate enterprise? You might think we were crazy–I assure you, we’re not.
Let’s take a look at the top mistakes real estate agents make with leads and the associated remedies to help turn those mistakes around…
1. You’re late to the “Lead Party”
Studies indicate that 72% of customers will choose the first agent they speak with. A problem with leads is most of them are not exclusive. You will be competing with the vast pool of agents looking to follow up on the same leads you’re presented with.
In order to correct this mistake, you need to be the first to the scene. That’s always easier said than done when you’re traveling, with current or potential clients, or coaching your team to follow up on other leads (the list goes on and on…).
2. You aren’t contacting the lead quick enough
Aside from the other agents that are contacting the same leads you are contacting, the speed in which you contact said leads plays into your overall strategy as well. According to InsideSales, a lead will convert at a rate 21X higher if they are contacted within the first 5 minutes versus just 30 minutes.
Too many agents either don’t know how imperative it is to respond as humanly possible to the leads or they just don’t have the manpower and/or technology at their disposal to do so.
3. You aren’t working with a customer’s modern schedule
The “old way” of real estate buying and selling was much more simple:
- The agent was in charge.
- Things happened at a slower pace.
- You scheduled meeting with your customers generally between the times of 9am and 5pm.
- Most of the interaction was conducted in-person.
Things have drastically changed with the onset of modern technology. Now:
- Customers are in charge
- The vast majority of the leads come from the web
- Inquiries about real estate can come up randomly 24 hrs/day 7 days/week 365 days/year
- 72% choose the first agent they speak with
At this point, we can all agree that new technology is both a blessing and a curse. Obviously, with the spread of communication and inquiry, agents have a grander exposure to more leads. With that, the scope of the job has widened and the time commitments have expanded.
4. You’re chasing the wrong leads
In most circumstances (regardless of industry) quality outweighs quantity. In real estate, this is by no means an exception. A great mistake being made with leads is spending wasted hours and resources chasing the wrong leads. There are many reasons the lead isn’t advantageous enough to pursue:
- The lead isn’t a real person.
- The customer already has a trusted agent.
- Their loan status is less than ideal
- Their area of interest doesn’t match your expertise
There are a number of variables that result in the lead not being worthy of pursuit. On top of it all, when you look into the opportunity cost of following the wrong lead, what is wasted when you place your sights on the wrong target?
If you are experiencing any number of these issues, your head is probably spinning. This business has so many difficulties, adding a few more headaches only makes things worse.
Even with modern-day necessities that have resulted in this web becoming more entangled, there are also technologies that are helping relieve the problems. The adept technology of today’s marketplace helps you consolidate all of the minute tasks and responsibilities that go into scrubbing and qualifying leads that you just don’t have time for.
2 million active real estate agents are spending a combined $10 billion on marketing every year. So much of that money can be better allocated to leads that are actually worth your time.
So how much money are you wasting on leads?
And how much money could you gain if your strategy was better defined?
Everything we do is based on communication and we do it all day long. It’s how we form relationships and develop trust, and an overlooked aspect of the way we communicate, is body language. According to UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian, 55% of communication is done through body language. This research supports the theory that actions speak louder than words and demonstrates the importance of body language and nonverbal communication.
When you work with clients, the subtle roll of an eye can diffuse a tense situation or someone sidestepping out of our way to give us space can generate a feeling of warmth. With no words spoken, we can feel our moods and emotions shift, and our feelings about the other person are almost always positive ones. They display empathy towards us, and we then feel like we understand them.
When you work with your clients, use these body language methods to create incredible customer experiences and enhance your approachability, trustworthiness, and attentiveness. They’ll help you build a rapport that will enable you to close deals and make your customers happy:
Effective body language to build client trust
First impressions count – that’s a given in our field. And for buyers and sellers who are possibly a little stressed out about the prospect of one of the biggest life decisions they’ll make, they are craving a first impression that puts their mind at ease. They want confirmation that “This person ‘gets’ me and has my back.”
The best way to initiate that relationship is with eye contact and a firm handshake. These things may seem old-fashioned, but they’re not out of date. In fact, the actual feel of body contact through a handshake releases oxytocin in the brain, which is a natural bonding chemical that can promote a kindred feeling. You can enhance that feeling of confidence you give clients by opening doors for them, shielding their head from a low overhang, or anything else shows them you care about their well-being.
There is a scientific principle based on our tendency to appreciate the people we like, and that we especially are inclined to like people who are similar to us. One of the ways to benefit from this aspect of human nature is to mirror the physical behaviors of our clients; it’s a powerful, instinctive way to bond with people when they see us. Holding a similar pose, moving at the same pace, or crossing your legs like your client does create a shared experience.
As Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal explains, “Mirroring a conversation partner’s gestures, expressions, posture, vocal pitch or tone can reflect rapport or a desire to please, research shows. It is seen most often between romantic partners, but it happens at work, too, in networking sessions, meetings, and conversations with colleagues.”
Avoid body language that can kill a deal
Be aware that body language can also have adverse effects if not done properly. One of the principal ways you can hurt a relationship is by being generally overbearing or pushy. In the context of body language, this can mean using your presence in an intimidating way through lack of awareness about personal space, and being overly demonstrative. Backslapping, getting too close to someone’s face when talking, or charging ahead and leaving your clients in the dust while you’re walking are major turn-offs. Being too touchy can also come across as creepy or inappropriate.
Avoid overtalking as well. There’s something off-putting about someone who never stops with their running dialog, and while it’s verbal communication, it gives off a nonverbal cue of abrasiveness. The decisions your clients have to make take time and reflection. If your client is with a spouse or advisor, they also need space to have sidebar conversations, and you should know when to step away and give them quiet time.
This is a great comment from sales legend Roy Bartell: “Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.”
Reading the client and closing the deal
At some point in the process, your client will want to move forward – it’s buy or sell time. It’s important that you clue in to what the client is thinking and feeling along the way so you can anticipate and be prepared to finish the deal when the customer is ready to make a decision. The key is to read those subtle signals in the client’s body language.
People generally get a rush of emotions once they’ve made a big decision like buying or selling a house. They will exude a sense of positivity in their language and mannerisms. You’ll see a more demonstrative client and one who lets their guard down more. This is a natural phase of the end of any stressful process, and you will probably also recognize a greater sense of urgency in the way they walk, talk, and engage with you. Be prepared for once-reserved clients to make more eye contact with you and be more touchy.
Videos are the future – something that SaaS marketers can’t avoid, and a notion that is backed up by people’s natural disposition towards flashy visuals (the many sequels to Fast and Furious and Transformers can attest to this). If Michael Bay isn’t your thing, then there are also stats to provide it, courtesy of the renown IT authority –
Cisco: “Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021”. If you’re more driven by what’s happening in the here and now, Hubspot states “that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI”.
Given how the shortness of both SaaS sales cycle and attention spans, video stands as your next best piece of content.
What’s worse,by NOT deploying a strong content and video strategy, you’re ensuring that your competition will leave you in the dust. Instead, use videos to engage with your customers. Garnering more eyeballs to bolster your social media presence also works as a way to frame your business (literally) as a source of expertise.
Videos are the perfect vehicle for you to promote your brand and product. As the old adage goes: Seeing is believing. So if you’re able to demonstrate your company’s values via video, then your potential clients will more readily “buy what you’re selling”. Be sure to slap some captions on the video and boom – you have all of your bases covered to ensure that your client can consume your content while on the go.
It is a fact that videos are taking over. According to Forbes, 90% of reported customers confess that product videos help with their purchasing decisions. Clearly, this notion is most applicable when it’s applied to your most important product: your product and your brand. Again, if what you’re “selling” is yourself, then videos will aide prospective clients in their n to “purchase” you and your services.
Videos are also easier to share, and could potentially earn you some self-sustaining, word-of-mouth marketing. In 2016, we released Zillow, It’s Me, a parody of Adele’s critically acclaimed comeback anthem Hello. Keeping our finger on the pulse and capitalizing on what’s hot, this video was created with the hopes of creating our own buzz within the real estate space (at the time, our sole demographic), while connecting with potential clients through empathy and levity. Over 200k views and counting, we continue to attract new clients to our service with the help of this content. (LINK)
Of course, all of this is only possible if you’re using actively using social media channels to build your business. We’ve covered extensively how to boost your engagement on these platforms, how to advertise, and even use your social data to garner more clients/success. Even tips on setting up yourself up profiles for each platform.
As far as including videos within your social media strategy, you don’t need fancy editing or high-end production value, just something that is quick and engaging. For example, you need little more than some decent lighting and a camera phone to start your Facebook Live content engine. Everything from Q&As, product announcements, explainers, opinion pieces, or even employee appreciation videos. It would present you as transparent, authentic, and knowledgeable. Any of the above and more goes a long way towards building relationships and opportunities through video.
Thankfully, as with all things, there are many services that are willing to help you get started (or even do the work for you). A couple of them are:
- Fiverr: From animations and live-action explainers to short video ads and product photography, Fiverr is a great channel to outsource any of your video needs. If you’re looking for an affordable freelancer, check them out.
- Craigslist: A tried and true resource where budding or expert videographers are offering their services at reasonable rates. Here you can also find local companies in your area, which allows for a continued business that will continually adapt to your needs, vs. the impersonal singular nature of freelancers.
Whatever you decide to do, videos should have a presence within your marketing, as it will take your lead conversion to the next level.
Did you know that customer referrals may be the most effective tool in your marketing bag?
As a matter of fact, 42% of home buyers were referred to their real estate agent by an existing or previous client, and 74% of clients will provide a referral if their agent has stayed in touch with them. Referrals are inexpensive, produce results, and helps generate an incredibly powerful network effect. Your network, therefore, becomes critical to your success, and with the help of a smart strategy you can create an ever-growing network that will deliver a continuous supply of high quality leads.
“I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like.”
-Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone
The importance of networking
We are all bound by the laws of human nature, and scientific studies demonstrate that humans crave connections with other humans. Those laws translate into a world of business where we instinctively prefer to do business with people we like and have an affinity for. Those people mould our network, and if we treat them well, they help us expand it. Therefore, the bigger the network, the bigger the pool of potential clients becomes.
Consider that networking is the single biggest source of leads for real estate agents; 34% of all actual closed business comes directly from an agent’s network. The second most impactful lead source is from paid digital advertising, but that only delivers 19% of all leads.
What’s especially compelling about these types of leads is that they are among the highest quality ones you’ll ever get. People in your network either already know you, or they have a connection with someone who does and can validate your credibility. That immediately breaks down the awkward part of having to sell yourself and go through the back and forth dance of proving yourself. You always need to deliver for your customers, but referrals are a core part of your network because they get you closer to actual business than almost any other marketing tactic.
By definition, networks are always growing. That growth delivers you more connections and strengthens your reputation among people you already know and vouch for you. This is an especially important thing to understand in an environment where people are busy and are constantly seeking ways to reduce the burden of assessing and interviewing potential service providers. Once inside your network, the hassles of vetting a Realtor® are essentially solved for them, which gives them even more affinity for you.
Referrals are your network proof-point
Let’s think about it from a practical point of view: if you were in the market to buy a house and make one of the biggest decisions of your life, would you choose your Realtor® based on a trusted friend’s advice, or pick the first name that shows up in a Google search for local agents? We trust our friends and we rely on them, and if they have had a positive experience with a real estate agent, and then pass that recommendation to us, there’s almost a guarantee we’ll go with it. It’s just a natural progression of the relationship because satisfied customers are usually happy to refer you. In today’s market consumers have more choices than ever before, so they increasingly rely on proof points and validation from people who are like them.
According to the National Association of Realtors®, 62% of all home buyers choose their agent based on some form of referral. That statistic speaks volumes about the need to service clients, maintain a connection with them, encourage them to promote your name, and continue to deliver such excellent service that you are THE go-to person to help with real estate needs.
Growing your business and brand obviously takes a lot of smart marketing, but a vibrant, growing network will deliver referrals at a much faster paced and with overall greater consistency than any other method. Most importantly, these leads will be high quality and more prepared to buy.
Verse has created an impactful solution for lead generation and sharing called the Agent-to-Agent Referral Network. It enables agents to refer qualified leads and receive a payout for every closed deal. Major real estate firms like Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Berkshire Hathaway, and others are currently using it as a way to help their agents get greater impact from their networks. It’s also a roadmap to help agents generate better leads and be rewarded for providing others who are likely to close.
We encourage you to try our Referral Network to see how the power of networks can not only deliver qualified leads, but can begin to generate a sustainable, growing channel.
You’re already doing two things at once: working on behalf of your clients and trying to get new clients, but it’s a delicate balance. Using your network effectively changes the dynamic of lead generation so you can focus on building your business in a cost-effective way, while also closing more deals, faster.
There’s generally a difference between networking and lead generation, but the reality is we’re generally always looking for opportunities to make connections that could someday turn into leads. LinkedIn has primarily been a tool for job searchers and B2B sales opportunities, but that’s changing as personal and professional lives increasingly blend together. More people are looking to make connections not based on the tool they use, but on where they spend their time. With 500 million members (75% of whom have incomes over $75,000), and considering that 40% of LinkedIn users use the service daily, it’s a great platform for finding potential clients.
Networking is an always-on activity if we’re going to keep a steady lead stream coming in, but it’s just as critical to be astute about your activity on LinkedIn.
Robbing banks and collecting leads
Someone once asked infamous bank robber, Willie Sutton, why he robbed banks. His reply: “‘Cuz that’s where the money is.” By the same token, you can spend time networking and creating leads in a lot of different places, but LinkedIn is where the leads are. In fact, LinkedIn provides 277% more leads than Facebook and Twitter. It also presents a solution to the issue of scale; you can simply connect with more people digitally than you can going door-to-door. Certainly, quality of the connection is important, but if done correctly, you engage with potential customers on LinkedIn just as effectively as with other lead channels, but with much higher odds of reaching a massive volume.
Besides being such a dynamic source of activity, LinkedIn is also underutilized by Realtors®, so this is an opportune time to get on board. Interestingly, of all businesses, agents included, 98% have a Facebook page, yet only 66% use LinkedIn. Real estate agents need to make use of any and every tool that can deliver success; if LinkedIn isn’t on your list, you owe it to yourself to learn how to leverage it.
The site is loaded with data and information that will help make your lead generation easier, but it can also be overwhelming; Our tips will help you be smart and focused in how you take advantage of it:
1. Establish your role as a leader and guide
LinkedIn provides an easy-to-use platform for publishing original content. That means articles you write can be published for free and distributed to your connections and followers. It establishes you as a trusted thought leader and it keeps you top of mind among your connections.
John Hall, CEO of marketing firm Influence & Co, recommends using LinkedIn as a key tool for elevating your profile. He said, “…with LinkedIn’s publishing platform, you have the chance to more easily stay top of mind by publishing content and getting it in front of your audience the moment you hit ‘publish’.”
You might want to take research on real estate trends and write a synopsis. Maybe you had an experience with a great client and you want to share that. Or perhaps there’s some specialty you service as a Realtor® (downtown lofts, rural lots, houses ready to be flipped) about which you already have a lot of knowledge and facts. Write a piece that will help people become smarter as it relates to home buying or selling and they will look to you for future advice.
2. Create a success platform
LinkedIn users tend to be ambitious and achievement-focused. 54% of LinkedIn users are college graduates or have some college experience. These are job seekers looking to improve their status and the LinkedIn demographic skews towards those in professional careers; they appreciate success and like to be around it. With that in mind, use it as a way to showcase your own successes — houses you’re listing, ones you’ve sold, customer testimonials, or anything that users will see that say, “This is someone who is trusted and gets things done.”
3. Promote offline activities
As you build awareness and an audience of followers and connections on LinkedIn, you may want to use it as a way to generate interest in offline events and activities. Open houses, informal wine and cheese get-togethers, informational seminars, or other opportunities for potential customers to meet you in real-time. Awareness coming from LinkedIn is automatically trusted and the announcements you post on your LinkedIn page look professional.
4. Connect and connect more
You’ll likely start out your LinkedIn experience by connecting with dozens, if not hundreds, of people you know. Spend time to get those connections, and then start connecting with THOSE people’s connections. The concept of “three degrees of influence” actually supports the idea that second and third-degree connections can often be more effective when it comes to creating new relationships.
5. Connect, don’t sell
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is for making connections, not directly for selling. Don’t put the hard sell on, but rather, make them aware of your skill set, your success, and your ability to provide your service when needed. It’s a softer approach, but because you can create such a large network, the odds of turning connections into actual clients are much greater than when using other avenues.
“LinkedIn can be an incredible tool for real estate agents, but don’t expect a flood of leads to start filling up your phone. Professionals who are patient and know how to network effectively and engage constructively, however, will eventually find that LinkedIn can be among the more valuable tools for creating, sustaining, and delivering profitable professional relationships.”