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.
Did you know: the way you focus on the experience of your clients – past AND present – will be either the key to your success as a top real estate adviser or the precursor to your failure?
Research shows that 92% of all consumers now read online reviews.
- Furthermore, of these online readers, 94% would do work with a business with a 4-star rating.
- Customers research an average of 10 different sources before making a purchasing decision.
And while your online presence should always be treated with the utmost strategic focus, every agent worth her salt can attest to the power of word of mouth (still the most popular and powerful method for referrals) and organic leads. For better or worse, you are always being watched. You are being measured with how well you run your business and how well you treat people you do business with. Generating valuable and credible customer reviews and word of mouth referrals that have the potential to translate into your past clients becoming your brand ambassadors can be overwhelming at times.
Here are tips to help you grow your referral influence and see the referral turn into cash
1. Maintain relationships
Every interaction you have with potential clients can have an impact on your reputation and how you are perceived in your business dealings.
A positive relationship always starts with a great first impression. We are programmed as human beings to put an emphasis on a first impression. It helps us navigate complex and novel situations where we need to rely on the little information that may be present. Luckily, there are services at your disposal that can alleviate the many stresses of making those first impressions. The relationship building continues throughout the entire buying experience and even after the purchase is done.
When the deal is over with, don’t lose touch with the individual. People don’t like to feel used during a transaction–people like to feel helped and not sold. The make of a great agent is someone who ensures their clients walk away feeling like more than just another commission check. You want people who did business with you in the past to have nothing but positive things to say about you.
Furthermore, are you making yourself accessible on the web? Are your showcasing your online reviews of past clients in order to influence potential clients who may be on the cusp of doing business with someone they trust?
2. Generate Great Reviews
When you perform great business, you should be rewarded for it. Generating great reviews can seem hard to acquire at times. The most effective way to convert a positive experience into a review is simply by asking face-to-face. Research indicates that by simply asking for a review face-to-face you are 8X more likely to convert the experience into a review.
You also can use your CRM to send out automated emails simply asking for a review of your customer’s experience. Make it simple for the customer on the other side. In the email, take them directly to the site or page you wish to have them create the review. Let them know how much in the email this is going to mean to you and your business.
The email or in-person request should lead the client to one or preferably a few of the review sites you wish to target. Google is still “king.” Most people start with Google when performing their initial search inquiries. You should also utilize Zillow, Yelp, Realtor.com and Facebook.
3. The “Tao” of Client Experience
“Offering continuous value without any expectations” – David Tal Verse CEO
People are attracted to others who do great work strictly out of the need to do great work. When you go above and beyond for the benefit of someone else, it will be rewarded. People notice this compassion. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, built his entire multi-million dollar business on this philosophy at the foundation, “We’re wired for it. And people do business with other people. So when you learn to generally give to those people without expecting them to do something in return, you win.”
We’ve been told his as a fundamental law since we were kids: If you give, you shall receive.
4. The Bespoke Agent
Knowing who your client is and what his or her likes and dislikes are key in generating a repertoire of positive reviews and achieving an excellent overall client experience.
It’s important to note that when interacting with your clients, one size doesn’t fit all. Human beings have their varying uniqueness and recognizing this is important for the potential of this person becoming a brand ambassador. Mirroring is a great sales technique one can use in order to capture the essence of making this person feel as if they are your friend and confidant during the experience.
How does this person like to interact?
- Do they prefer texting over a phone call?
- Are they showing up to the meetings in a casual, friendly manner or are they extremely professional?
- Are they a younger demographic who needs a lot of guidance or is this someone well versed in the real estate buying experience?
Your client should always feel taken care of and know that you have their best interest at heart.
When a client feels like they are the only person you care about, how are they not going to refer you?
Building positive relationships is a cornerstone facet to any successful business–especially as a real estate adviser. You are building trust with people who are engaging in the most important financial decisions of their life.
Make sure you are well equipped with the skills, tactics, and strategies necessary for building and nurturing relationships that will help you and your business prosper.