Buyers are increasingly using the Internet to search for homes, view homes and find the home they ultimately purchase. If you want to properly service today’s Internet buyers, you need to speak their language and service them quickly and competently.
The greatest challenge is developing rapport with your Internet leads. This is much more different and difficult than developing rapport over the phone (in many cases …). Don’t be surprised if you may find after awhile that you EXCEL at developing rapport online.HOWEVER, your follow-up techniques must be light years ahead of your competition!
NOTE TO INSTRUCTOR: Tell a story about how you made an online inquiry and suddenly your phone rings. On the other line is a sales person letting you know they can help you ….(buy a car, a house, life insurance, etc.)
Follow-up faster (than everyone else!) – Things happen fast on the Internet. If the rule for follow-up on phone leads is two hours, make your follow-up for Internet leads instant. Change the medium (frequently) People who inquire via the Internet do so because it’s a quick easy way to obtain information anonymously. Your job is to get them to identify to themselves so that you can continue to communicate with them.Make it personal and relevant – If possible, gently ask for personal information by reassuring the prospect that you respect their privacy, but would like to continue to forward them information that could be helpful. Explain that in order to make sure the information is helpful and to expedite the process, you’d like to schedule a short conversation to determine what type of information would best meet their needs. Your next step should always be to have a phone or face to face conversation.Invite for a visit – Resist the urge to send all of the information. Keep your response brief and to the point. You goal should be to leave them wanting more. Chances are they’ve done their homework and know about you and your services. They are however contacting you for a reason. This your opportunity to demonstrate what a great problem solver you are, they can find numerous sales people on the web, you need to be different. Focus on them first and you second.Establish urgency – Give them exactly what they are requesting, in order to do this, you will need to follow several critical steps.
Listen carefully to their situation without selling. If the request or inquiry is not clear-cut, ask if you can call to discuss further, in order to clearly understand their needs. Unfortunately communication can be misinterpreted when exchanges happen electronically. Try to obtain the best time to contact them or even better meet at your office.Find out who is the decision maker without offending. One of the largest groups of first time homebuyers is single women. You also have unmarried couples buying homes together. Some couples like to involve the entire family in the home buying process. Ask delicately, NEVER make assumptions. Establish a relationship with the inquirer. You do it over the phone, try doing this electronically. Create scripts for yourself with key phrases that will get someone to engage. We’ll review these a little later.Find out the real issues behind the request for information.Prioritize their interests, then do your homeworkProvide a date/time they will hear back from youAsk if you can call them to discuss – or better yet meet in person
In reality consumers are always looking for information, in real estate, perhaps more so. Agents often respond to requests for information with merely the information the consumer asked for and then an inquiry back of “Are you interested?” . No communication or relationship building. Basically the agent is just order taking, not cultivating a relationship. Another reason email leads are deemed “BAD” is simply because the agent is not comfortable communicating effectively via this medium. We’ll talk more about this as we go on. The issue of email skills is critical. If the buyer is not in an immediate transaction mode the agent is not sure how to work this email lead.
You are the mercy of search engines, people won’t find your site unless you are #1 or #2There are many REALTOR® websites available that most buyers have many optionsBuilding a website that ranks well in the search engines is time consuming and just plan tough, but well worth the effortOptimizing your website is an ongoing process, be prepared to spend time and moneyThere are a lot of tire kickers or people who want free information that can waste a lot of your time. If they are unwilling to provide their contact information or specific details regarding their search, its safe to assume they don’t want or need your help.
Not only do agents not recognize the relationship building opportunities that come along with email communication, they often merely see it as a marketing distribution tool. Email should not bombard consumers with self-promotion.Sales is now a complex processCommunication has taken on many formsIt takes time and involves strategyOccurs in multiple stagesMost written email replies do little to gauge the consumers’ time frame for buying or sellingOften the responses are vague and contain listing data or “call me if you need anything … “Email is not often seen as a relationship building tool
Leads need to be incubated! -- If this were untrue there would be no need for agentsAutomated advertising is not “incubating”Agents interpret consumer inquiries as a request for more propertiesJust because a consumer is receiving computerized alerts does not mean the agent is done “prospecting” and building a relationshipConsumers can already get as much information as they want
We know that most leads, whether they be walk-in, call-in or arrive via the Internet will not act for at least 30 days, they need to “massaged”Send them branded messages, the eCampaign tools were created for exactly this purposeAllow people to get to know you. Pass along your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles so they get to know you on their terms
Most people who use the Internet are typically EARLY in the buying or selling stage. This requires a great follow-up program. Most buyers will start with the Internet 6 months before actually buying.
This is a very SIMPLE model. You’ll want to get more detailed than this. Add social networking activities to this list. Keep them updated on local market activities and community events. Always ask for referrals.
Treat ALL leads equallySpeed - respond timelyPrioritize appropriately – regroup to learn if the priorities have changedConvey urgencySell what they really needListen and observe what they are telling youFind out who the decision make is without offendingFind out the real issues and feelingsUse a Contact Manager to keep track of communicationIdentify any knowledge gaps“Just so I don’t sound repetitive, how familiar are you with _______”
Assess your written and verbal communications with your “e” Contacts? Does your communication reflect a desire and willingness to build a long-term relationship and an understanding that this process may take some time? Does your communication demonstrate your local knowledge and local market expertise?Does your communication provide information that is relevant to the customer ?Is your first communication timely? Faster is always better. Do you continue to Call if the opportunity is provided ?Does your email communication contain information the customer might want to share?Does your communication tell the customer that they are in control and that is fine with you?Does your communication inspire not just inform?Does your communication reflect your personality?Does your communication demonstrate that you can be a knowledge resource?Does your communication demonstrate a passion for the business?Do you tell all on the first date or is there a reason for them to come back and want more?Are you worthy of TRUST?Naturally you will not be able to incorporate each of these into every communication, but it will serve you well if you evaluate how you are communicating against these ideas. Naturally it may take some time to create specific tactics, dialogues, practices that will help you address these concepts but the more you try the more you will learn and improve.
SJ: Have you heard or SAID any of these things?Which ones have you heard or said? They could use THEIR POINTER ARROWSThese are many of the excuses we’ve heard for real estate professionals not wanting to follow-up promptly on Internet leads. There are cures for many of these hurdles, if you don’t write well, customize some of our pre-written scripts located in the CLS Library. I have some additional tips I’d like to share with you on the next slide.
CLS Library – Scripts area – Check out our customizable email scriptsWrite your own scripts and have someone critiqueEspecially a frequent user of Internet communicationStart building your own communication LibraryIt needs to be friendly, and convey a conscientious attitude, but at the same time be briefCheck out the eCampaign tools!Use Spell Check! – ALWAYS!Read more books!Ask for help from someone who enjoys writing for some assistance.
Internet leads have a longer cycle…the competition is fierce….however your persistence will pay off…….
Internet Leads<br />Managing and Responding to Internet Leads<br />
Objectives<br />As a result of today’s session, you will learn to:<br />Understand the Internet Buyer<br />Build rapport with online consumers<br />Capture online buyer and seller opportunities<br />Increase your potential for generating MORE business!<br />
The Web has changed the way we communicate<br />The Internet has replaced the yellow pages. Not responding to email compares to not returning a potential business propect’s phone call!<br />According to NAR …<br />90 percent of home buyers used the Internet in their search*<br />36 percent of buyers found their home online*<br />60 percent of buyers were likely to walk through homes they’d viewed online*<br />*NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report 2009<br />
Today’s REALTOR® is Evolving …<br />According to the NAR Technology Survey …<br />84% of REALTORS® are using social networking or plan to in the future<br />58% of REALTORS® have a website<br />These numbers are increasing!<br />What changes are you planning to make in the way you do business to adapt to today’s consumers and stay competitive?<br />
Internet Leads Are Not Going Away!<br />The greatest challenge is developing rapport with your Internet leads.<br />Much different than developing rapport over the phone. <br />Don’t be surprised if you find yourself competing for the attention online customer<br />Your follow-up techniques must be light years ahead of your competition!<br />
Lead Tracking Is Important to Your Business<br />National Statistics<br /><ul><li>50% of Internet leads never get a response
For every email you receive, consumer has emailed 5 others
50% of eBuyers need 12-24 months of incubation (care and feeding)
70% of consumers work with first agent to respond (NAR stats)
80% of home buyers use the Internet to find a home and a real estate professional to represent them </li></li></ul><li>NAR Statistics<br />Email inquiries sometimes take several days to respond<br />Email inquiries need to be responded to immediately, especially in the age of Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter<br />Today’s consumer wants real time results, that allows them to be in control<br />You have to make them want to give you MORE information<br />
Rules for Following Up<br />Follow-up fast: The first person to get back to the consumer is the most likely to win their business. Put a person and a process and place to follow up on email and Internet leads.<br />Communicate use with the medium they chose to initiate communication. Ask before you move to different type<br />Make it personal and relevant ask clarifying Questions<br />Invite for a visit on phone or virtual<br />Establish urgency Always discuss Now<br />
Solve NOT Sell<br />Listen carefully to their situation without selling<br />Find out who is Purchaser is <br />Establish a relationship with the inquirer<br />Find out the real issues behind the request for information<br />Prioritize the interests, then do your homework<br />Provide a date/time they will hear back from you<br />Ask if you can call them to discuss<br />What is the Hook: Home/ Area/ Amenities<br />
Characteristics of Internet Buyers<br />1%<br />9%<br />9%<br />61%<br />20%<br /><ul><li>Median Age = 37
Average Length of Search = 12 weeks</li></ul>NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report 2009<br />
Some Say “E-leads are not real Leads…<br />Online Leads are bogus, they’re just not serious<br />Merely requests for information<br />You’re just simply providing information to the consumer without receiving anything back for your time<br />Online consumers are disloyal<br />It’s a one-way communication<br />
Loyalty Can Be a Problem<br /> Are you at the mercy of search engines???<br />There are many REALTOR® websites available, people do have options<br />Building a website that ranks well in the search engines is worth the effort.<br />Optimizing your website is an ongoing process, be prepared to invest time and money.. Check out C21 Websites<br />There are a lot of tire kickers or people who want free information that can waste a lot of your time. Identify them quickly and move on … get a talk track together.<br />Take this FREE class: “Search Engine Optimization: Solutions for Real Estate Pros” <br />
Communicaton is all that is needed<br />Sales is now a complex process<br />Communication has taken on many forms email text fb<br />It takes time and involves strategy and occurs in multiple stages <br />Need to identify the consumer’s time framefor buying or selling<br />Responses should not be vague, ie. “call me if you need anything … “<br />View eCommunications as a relationship building tool<br />
What is the time frame for ACTION?<br />One of the FIRST things you need to determine is what their time frame is.<br />
Process of an Internet Lead / Buyer /Seller<br />Intro Idea Stage<br />Research Gathering Stage<br />Filter sifting thru all the info<br />Focus Look for clarity (Agent) (Brand)<br />Find Ready for you… <br />This process could be 18 to 24 months<br />
What is the definition of Lead Incubation?<br />What does it mean to “incubate” a lead? What is the value in doing this?<br />
Leads need to be incubated<br />Automated response advertising is not “incubating”<br />Many agents interpret consumer inquiries as an opportunity to SELL (versus SOLVE) look for the reason..<br />Just because a consumer is receiving computerized alerts does not mean you are building a relationship<br />Consumers can already get MORE information than they truly want they want some one to govern the flow..<br />
Incubation is not a new concept<br />Most leads, whether they be walk-in, call-in or arrive via the Internet will not act for at least 30 days, they need to “massaged”<br />Branded messages, such as the eCampaign tools were created for this purpose<br />Allow people to get to know you. Let them know you are on Facebook and LinkedIn<br />Practice building relationships. This is a very valuable skill!<br />
Lead Communication Flow<br />In-person meeting<br />“A” Lead30 – 60 days<br />Immediately<br />Categorize the Lead<br />Every 2 to 3 weeks, vary the method<br />Regular follow-up<br />“B” Lead60 – 90 Days<br />Internet Lead<br />Request their time frame first and foremost<br />“C” Lead90 days or More<br />Email and mail communication every 30 days<br />Drip Campaign<br />
Build a Strategy for Each Category<br />Invite to chat by phone or meet in-person. Add to CMS. Have them complete Buyer Needs Wishes Worksheet<br />“A” Lead30 – 60 days<br />Add to CMS. Contact 2 to 3 weeks. Call once per month to check in. Send post cards and add to eCommunications distribution list.<br />“B” Lead60 – 90 Days<br />Email and mail communication every 30 days. Call every other month to check-in. Ask for referrals.<br />“C” Lead90 days or More<br />
Some Strategies to Use …<br />Treat ALL leads equally<br />Speed - respond timely and prioritize<br />Convey urgency<br />Solve vs. SELL<br />THEN SELL what they TELL YOU they really need<br />Listen and observe what they are telling you<br />Find out who the decision maker is without offending<br />Learn as much as possible about their situation<br />Identify any knowledge gaps<br />Use a CMS to keep track of communication<br />
Communication for Engagement Checklist<br /> Assess your current strategy. Does your communication …<br /><ul><li>Respond quickly to inquiries
Reflect a desire and willingness to build a relationship
Demonstrate your market knowledge and expertise
Do you tell all upfront or do you leave them wanting more</li></li></ul><li>Some Agents have said…..<br />I don’t know what to say or write…<br />I don’t Write/Spell well<br />I have a hard time expressing myself<br />I really don’t receive email leads<br />I don’t have a Smart Phone<br />I’m too busy….<br />Excuses…<br />
Don’t sweat it you just have to be good at responding<br />CLS Library – Scripts area<br />Write your own scripts and have someone critique<br />Start building your own communication Library<br />It needs to be friendly, but at the same time brief<br />Check out the eCampaign tools!<br />Use Spell Check! – ALWAYS!<br />Read more books, magazines, publications, blogs<br />Ask for help from someone who is!<br />
Are You Using these eMarketing Tools?<br />My Contacts area<br />Segmentation<br />eCampaign Tools<br />Tracking Reports<br />Relevant content and communication<br />Offers that engage and bring consumers back<br />“ It is all about gaining confidence and trust”<br />
Closing Thought …<br />If someone has taken the time to ask for your help, BUILD the relationship, ASK for their business and SEAL THE DEAL!<br />
Action Items<br />Develop an online Plan for responding to and managing Internet leads.<br /> C21 Tools: Build rapport <br />CRM: Capture the online buyer and seller<br />Incubation: remember 18 to 24 months <br />Seek to assist not sell… That will come<br />Take a CLS class: Increase your income and generate MORE business! <br />