Think of all your real estate leads as a garden (stay with us here!): Some grow fast, some take a little bit more time, but you want them all to thrive. That’s why lead nurturing is so important: It’s the action you take after someone connects with you via referral or advertising so you’re top of mind with prospective clients. Some leads take just days to nurture, while others might take months to develop into a client. But it’s worth it to try to nurture them all, even if that looks different depending on how you reached them and how ready they are to move forward.
Our tips for getting started:
1. Tailor your approach to each unique communication channel
Every medium demands something different from you, says Chris Watters of Watters International Realty, and the results will look different too.
A direct mail campaign in a neighborhood may require a year of persistence before you get a market share of the neighborhood. Newspaper advertising may still work wonders if you can employ storytelling about local families. The ROI on these “old school” methods takes longer to achieve than online lead generation, Chris says, but may also yield a more lasting impact.
“Every single marketing medium works if you can dial in the ingredients and a system. It’s just about figuring that out. You’ve got to be willing to embrace enough failure,” Chris says. “Think of it more in terms of building a pipeline, rather than building instant gratification through quick hits where you get lucky.”
2. Use technology to sort your leads and stay in touch.
Brian Wilson, a broker with Wilson Realty Group, uses different technology platforms to help him sort his leads — starting with online forms that ask prospective clients to identify how ready they are to get started. If someone is a “hot lead,” or a potential buyer or seller who’s ready to take action within a week, they’re approached differently to maximize results.
“All hot leads are handled virtually immediately and … we track everything through FiveStreet. Additionally, we have just started using ProsperWorks, which is the new Google CRM,” Brian says.
3. Put most of your energy into the leads who are responsive.
If a potential buyer or seller is posing questions and you’re providing answers, you’ve established one-way communication. To triple the chance of conversion, you need to move toward two-way communication, asking prospective clients to give you information about their search, says real estate sales coach Bruce Keith.
“You want to know where they’re going, when they want to be there and why they’re moving,” Bruce says. “If you make an effort three or four times to upgrade the quality of your connection, and it’s going nowhere, then they are avoiding you. They are not interested, and you’ve got to let go,” says Bruce.
4. Push toward a face-to-face connection — but push gently.
The conversion factor jumps “almost exponentially” once agents make that personal connection, says Bruce. Ask for contact information, but don’t come off as pushy. Instead of bluntly asking for a phone number, Bruce recommends asking in a way that showcases your expertise: “I have some suggestions for you on this. Probably more efficient to talk about this over the phone. What’s the best phone number for me to reach you at?”
5. Foster a sense of urgency.
“The law of diminishing intent says that the longer somebody waits to do something, the less chance that they’ll actually do it,” says Bruce.
Encourage potential buyers and sellers to take concrete steps to create a sense of urgency. Even just asking, “How soon can we get together?” and suggesting you meet at a property that interests them is a way to drive that urgency.
6. Ask questions to keep the conversation going.
Draw prospective buyers out as much and as early as possible, so you can ascertain their level of seriousness. The way to do that, says Bruce, is through what he calls “the question game.”
Bruce explains: “You never make a statement without asking a question in response. If someone was inquiring about, ‘How big is the backyard?’ You would answer their question … and then go on to say, ‘Tell me about the importance and significance of having a backyard. What are you looking for?’”
Brian similarly uses questions to keep in touch with potential buyers and sellers.
“When someone signs up and they’re not ready to be active, we are always going back to them with a question or a call to action,” Brian says. “And that question allows them to take the next step to tell us, ‘We are now ready.’”