Real Estate Pro - Want to close more leads? Answer the phone.


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Are you a real estate broker? Learn how Ifbyphone and the National Association of REALTORS® are helping your agents close more deals.

Contacting leads if half the battle...
The odds of contacting leads increases by 100x within five minutes versus thirty minutes.
The odds of qualifying leads increases by 21x within five minutes versus thirty minutes.

93% of consumers consider REALTOR response time very important.

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  • Thank you for joining me for, "Talk to a lead in five minutes or another agent will; the importance of lead response." There is almost nothing more important in real estate than lead response. Yes, acquiring listings is a fundamental part of the business. Yes, hiring the right agents is critical. Yes, developing ongoing business is indispensable. But none of these things can be done if you don't have the buyers or the listings. Responding to those leads is how you develop all your business. And, when leads dry up, so does your business. Our position is that to close business, you need to answer your phone.
  • I recently stumbled upon a blog post on Agent Genius that stopped me in my tracks. (Show the quote) “Answering The Phone Is Not Sexy but…Being online is fruitless if we don’t pick up the phone.” Take a minute to do something for me. Stop and listen. Can you here that? In this industry, we talk for a living. You don't see many prospective homebuyers put a house into an online shopping cart. That isn't this business. Real estate thrives on our ability to communicate with clients and talk to prospects at the right time.So, I agree– being online is fruitless if we don’t pick up the phone.AgentGenius – popular real estate blog / news site (4/26/11) 
  • Today I'd like to discuss what I view as the two most pressing issues in real estate: lead response and ad measurement. Yes, providing great service to your clients is important. Yes, hiring the right agents is critical. Yes, generating referrals is key to developing ongoing business. But none of these are possible if you don't have the leads in the first place.
  • Let’s take the issue of lead response first. Our position is that if you don't talk to a lead in five minutes, another agent will. How do we know that? Let's start with a recent study conducted by InsideSales that shows us:The odds of contacting a lead increase by 100x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes (just talking to someone is half the battle)The odds of qualifying a lead increase by 21x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes 
  • “But, ‘InsideSales’ isn't in the real estate industry,” you say! So, how can that data be meaningful to the real estate industry? First of all, I think you would all agree that if you could have a one-on-one conversation with a lead, your chances of winning the business is much higher.  Secondly,a study earlier this year found two important numbers. Forty-eight percent of agents do not respond to internet leads. Twenty-three percent of responses came eight hours after the lead was submitted. Let's think about this for a minute. What is a prospect doing eight hours after a home search? Maybe sleeping? Maybe helping at their child’s school? Or, worse yet for you, maybe that prospect has already found another agent.PCMS Consulting and One Cavo Study (2011): “Approximately 48 percent of agents do not respond to Internet leads—46 percent of our inquiries went unanswered. And, what is perhaps worse, 23 percent of those that received call backs received them, on average, 8 hours after the forms were submitted.”
  • Homebuyers want responsive REALTORS(R)So what about consumers? Is lead response time important to them? Here are a few stats to help paint the picture:A 2008 CAR study shows 86 percent of respondents said response time was "extremely important" in their choice for an agent. The NAR 2010 profile of homebuyers and sellers, shows 93 percent of respondents said responsiveness was "very important" in selecting an agentA PCMS Consulting and One Cavo Study in 2011 states, “Today’s Internet consumer is expecting a response certainly within the hour but, more likely, within 15 or 20 minutes”It is safe to say consumers believe lead response is important in this industry.
  • One solution to deal with leads lost in a flood of email is better lead distribution. For example, technology is available today to help agents route leads faster. But, routing leads and responding to leads is not the same thing. Some systems ask an agent to “accept” a lead. And, in most cases, the agent has minutes to accept. That is great. It puts agents on notice and makes them respond. But, does it really? When an agent “accepts” a lead, the agent is simply telling the computer that they are accepting the lead. What about the actual person? Who is connecting with the person? It is time that technology helps us actually connect people, not machines.
  • Other products provide live people who can reach out to your leads if an agent does not respond in time. But those people work in a call center, not in your brokerage, or on your team. They don’t know the neighborhood, the inventory, or the true quality of the lead. So, yes, a live person talks to another live person, but are you willing to stake your reputation on a person you don’t know answering your phone and talking to your leads?
  • Now that you can track your leads, you want to make sure that you can answer the call, so to speak. Technology is available today to do some pretty advanced things with phone calls. For example, no longer do you need to be tied to one phone in one location. While that may sound obvious, the call tracking numbers I referred to earlier can forward to any phone, anywhere in the world. Couple that with the ability for your online forms to now generate phone calls to unique numbers and you will never be out of reach of any lead that is interested whether that lead calls you directly or simply e-mails a form from your Web site.  The advantages to using your phones in a smarter way are many. First, you can now have reporting the other brokers and agents don't have - that is a competitive advantage. In your new client pitches you can show the analytical mindset you use to sell a listing. Second, you can use the tracking ability to test ad creative and tweak ads based on the call activity. Third, because this type of technology works anywhere in the world and on any device in the world, you can go where you want to go, when you want to go and not be concerned with missing a lead.
  • People still tell me that e-mail works just fine for them. And, that may be, but email doesn't work well for your prospects. They are tired of waiting. Sixty-four percent of prospects choose to work with the first agent they interview. That agent tends to be the one who responds first. First response is most likely not an e-mail sent hours after the first contact was made. That’s why closing a lead is all about answering your phone.
  • Advertising is critical to real estate success So, let's park lead response for a minute and move to the second problem for many real estate professionals: ad measurement. At the risk of stating the obvious, the only way to sell a property is to advertise and market that property. Here is a great example, how would we know this house was for sale? The truth is, it is difficult to know how much advertising is enough. But, it needs to be done. And, all this advertising is expensive… 
  • Marketing mix is expensiveHere are some examples of the costs to market a listing – and these might even be a bit low…A premium house sign costs $50 or more.A Sunday ad in a major market newspaper costs $90 to run once.An online enhanced listing package could cost over $150 per month just for one siteTime spent on social media sites, while may not charge your credit card, is expensive time spent networking and building relationships. To paraphrase a famous ad campaign, it is “priceless”Let’s add these costs up a bit and see just how expensive advertising can be… 
  • Advertising adds up!The average agent spends at least $270 per newspaper to advertise a listing (fly in $280 line). Add in one month of an online listing. Then, add one house sign. And, the average REALTOR® advertises between 5-20 listings per year (fly in 10 listings in an average year). Using these figures, one average REALTOR® could end up spending between $2,000-$5,000 on marketing per year. That range is basically equal to one transaction. And, to be frank, one of our goals as business people is to make money, not spend all our commission on advertising. So, how can we ensure we spend on the right ads - the ads that perform and actually sell the property? Because advertising could eat up an entire transaction. 
  • A gap existsAdding to the marketing and advertising expense is the actual cost associated with the gap between your experience and your client’s opinions? Here is the situation: you believe email, internet and signage are the most effective ways to market a listing. Your clients believe newspaper, brochures and direct mail are the most effective. What!? Those don’t connect AT ALL. It is frustrating to have the conversation time and time again – even though you have years of experience you still have to listen to the arguments and buy the newspaper ads. In fact, listening to the arguments while frustrating isn’t the real problem. The real problem is the cost of this gap. Studies indicate that up to 60 percent of the total cost spent to market a listing is spent on newspaper ads. In general, those ads don’t perform. And, 61 percent! That’s expensive. Without the data on ad performance, the data on the calls from these ads, it will be more and more difficult for you to close the gap.
  • So let’s discuss how we can solve these two problems just by using the phone.  One solution is call-tracking technology where you can easily assign unique phone numbers to every type of ad or piece of marketing. When one of those ads or marketing vehicles generates a phone call lead, you'll know exactly what ad the prospect saw. And, depending on the technology, if the ad appeared online you can tell what keyword search resulted in the ad that prompted the phone call.
  • The possibilities with call tracking are pretty amazing and plenty of businesses are finding call tracking an important part of their business. One brokerage I know uses call tracking as their primary way to test creative in a market. And, that same brokerage uses the results from the ads to renegotiate advertising rates with suppliers. 43% of all search related conversions happen over the phone. 2 10% increase in click-through-rates for pay-per-click ads with a phone number. 4  1.BIA/Kelsey & ConStat Commerce Monitor Wave XIII, August 20092. 
  • Just so you are sure, I didn’t make all this up, I’d like to leave you with two testimonials from two believers in the real estate industry. Thank you for the time. If you would like to discuss further, I’d be happy to meet. To learn more, give Ifbyphone a call at 877-295-5100 or visit
  • Real Estate Pro - Want to close more leads? Answer the phone.

    1. 1. Want To Close That Lead? Answer The Phone! Irv Shapiro, CEO Ifbyphone
    2. 2. “Answering The Phone Is Not Sexy… Being Online Is FruitlessIf We Don’t Pick Up The Phone.” Missy Caulk, AGBeat Contributor and Associate Broker Keller Williams Ann Arbor
    3. 3. Problem #1 LeadResponse
    4. 4. Contacting Leads is Half the Battle… The odds of contacting leads 100 increases by 100x within times! 5 minutes versus 30 minutes The odds of qualifying leads increases by 21x within 21 times! 5 minutes versus 30 Research andAnalytics Division (2011)
    5. 5. Talking to Leads is the Other Half… 48 percent of agents do not respond to 48 percent! Internet leads 23 percent of leads 8 hours that received call backs… later! received them on average 8 hours afterPCMS Consulting and One Cavo Study (2011)
    6. 6. Homebuyers Want You to Call Percent of consumers 86% extremely who consider REALTOR® 93% very important1 response time important important2 Today’s Internet consumer is expecting a response… within 15 or 20 minutes31California Association of REALTORS study, 20082NAR2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers3PCMS Consulting and One Cavo Study (2011)
    7. 7. Existing Solutions Do these work?
    8. 8. Call CentersDo these work?
    9. 9. Respond Wherever You Are “I have a web lead interested in finding a new home. Would you like to call them?” Connect immediately with leads while they are engaged.
    10. 10. A Quick Reminder, Lead Response Is Important 64 percent! Homebuyers who only interviewed one real estate agentNAR 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
    11. 11. Problem #2 AdTracking
    12. 12. How Much Advertising is Enough?
    13. 13. The Marketing Mix Is Expensive
    14. 14. Advertising Adds Up! $270 (three paper ads per listing) $150 (one month online) $50 (one sign) ---- --- $470 x 10 (listings per year) ---- ---$4,700! Do the ads even perform?
    15. 15. A Gap Exists Marketing that Marketing thatAGENTS believe in SELLERS insist on
    16. 16. Call Tracking “I have a caller who saw an ad in the Daily about 123 Main Street.” Unique numbers in online, newspaper, direct mail, and other ads. Focus dollars on what really works.PCMS Consulting and One Cavo Study (2011)
    17. 17. Call Tracking Performs 43 percent of all search-related 43 conversions happen over the phone percent! 10 percent! 10 percent increase in click-through rates for PPC as with a phone number1
    18. 18. Thank You!I realized Ifbyphone gave me all the characteristics I was lookingfor, quality call tracking, an easy user interface with excellentreporting, and an affordable price. Brad Nelson, Premier/Signature Sotheby’s International RealtyOur real estate client is clamoring for ideas on where else wecan use Ifbyphone’s technology. We keep uncovering delightfulnew ways to leverage Ifbyphone to improve measurability andbusiness results. Tresa Veitia Founder, InkTank