Below I am going to share with you 5 steps to better real estate leads, but first, you need context. If done right, lead development could be described as having your very own fish pond where you’ve mastered fishing from, whereas, buying leads is like going to a roadside fish market where the fish are out-of-sight and already wrapped for purchase. As you might imagine, the second scenario is disgusting and really doesn’t require further elaboration. But, because the sting of a bad lead isn’t quite as impactful as experiencing bad fish, many agents keep buying from various roadside fish vendors – or written more accurately, buying stale and mostly worthless leads instead of developing their own.
In many ways, the lead originator isn’t completely at fault for selling poor leads. There are two primary variables that drive lead quality; one, agents have been trained to think that they need hundreds of leads for one viable lead so most lead originators focus solely on the volume of leads without much concern for the quality of leads. Agents themselves often set this precedent by asking more questions about quantity of leads instead of asking about quality.
The second variable is the inconsistency within the real estate industry itself – while some agents are sales slaying giants there are many other agents with the superpower of disappearing when they’re needed most. The result of this inconsistency is inconsistent feedback to lead originators. The lead originator needs continuous feedback on lead quality to improve their attraction and conversion process.
The only real solution is to develop your own lead generation tools – and this isn’t as painful, costly, or as frustrating as you may think. There are plenty of tools in the marketplace that makes lead development easier than in years past or you could buy a turnkey solution and save yourself even more time and money. Improving real estate lead generation is possible by focusing on any one of five steps to better real estate leads below. Better yet, focus on all five and you’ll experience tremendous improvements in your lead development process.
Two Big Reasons for developing your own lead generation.
- Quality & Control. By focusing on your own lead development you’re able to hone in on the type of people you want to work with. For example, do you want luxury home buyers, first-time home buyers, or the folks in the middle? With your own lead generation tools, you can create the mix you want.
- Financial Sustainability. We’ve worked with real estate agents for over 15 years. We’ve worked with agents in times of boom and bust. And guess what? Real estate agents cannot afford the normal 1% to 3% lead conversion rate of purchased leads when real estate slows down. It is times of economic growth that agents ought to be looking at investing in themselves so these investments not only pay out today but are there for them when the market cools. One of the secrets of real estate agents that have been around as long (and longer) than we have is that they’ve learned to invest in themselves for success and not directly depend on other companies.
Ok, so now you have the context. It’s time to carry out these 5 Steps to Better Real Estate Leads and see your pipeline grow with qualified new contacts.
Step One: Have A Specific Offer
The first key to successful lead development is having an offer, or a reason, for people to respond to you and convert by sharing with you their real estate interests and contact details. Having an explicit offer bridges the gap between a person being passive about their real estate interest and turning them into an active prospect. People often mull over the idea of moving or selling their homes months before contacting a real estate professional. Often the procrastination has less to do with any substantive reason besides lack of knowledge (or incorrect knowledge) on the process. By positioning yourself early in the process you often can help shave a lot of time from the process.
The most common type of buyer-focused offer you see with real estate agents often center around listings – and the most common type of listing-focused offer often centers on discovering a home’s value. So, if you want to stand out, you’ll need to a different offer.
Of course, you have a lot more to offer prospects – and explicit offers that are different from the above examples stand out for the very reason of being different. For example, we’ve recently created a real estate life stages platform around the 12 most common reasons people sell their homes, each reason represents an explicit offer for a real estate agent to provide them with assistance.
Step Two: Be Responsive
“80% of success is just showing up.” It’s a quote that has become so popular that we’re not even sure who first coined it. Yet, despite the seemingly obvious truth represented in this idiom, a lot of real estate agents don’t bother. This means, that if you show up, follow-up, and follow through you’re 80% closer to succeeding than your peers who fail to do these simple tasks. Are there excuses for the appearance of dropping the ball? Of course, many of which may be completely out of an agents control, but don’t expect a prospect’s life to pause while you work out the reasons.
According to a study by WAV Group, 48% of buyer inquiries were never responded too, of those who did try to respond, the average call back attempts after the first attempt was 1.5; the average number of email contact attempts was 2.07, and the average response time was over 15 hours. These are the industry benchmarks you as an individual agent should strive to beat, remember, 80% of success is just showing up.
Step Three: Be a Problem-Solver
A key part of representing yourself as a problem-solver means understanding the problem. Why is someone looking to buy or sell a home? If you position yourself (or your marketing) as one who understands their specific challenge you’ll more likely be the one who represents them in the transaction.
Presenting yourself in terms of being a problem-solver is very much consistent with the above step of being specific – being a specific problem-solver then is really the true point of this step. Create your marketing around the problem you’re prepared to solve. For example, we’ve created a landing page around the topic of divorce – a situation too common in our modern world – yet this very real and frequent situation often comes with unique challenges, would you be able to help them? If so, you too ought to have a place on your website regarding this topic.
Step Four: Be intentional in your goals
There are many parallels between the sales process and personal dating – intentionality being a big one. Do people accidentally meet, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after? Sure. But, just because some people win millions of dollars playing the lottery doesn’t mean it’s the norm and should be at the core of your retirement plan. For most people, the dating process starts with one person intentionally taking a step to initiate contact. In my day, that required face-to-face interaction, I suppose today people just swipe their phone in one direction or another.
In real estate lead development, intentionality looks like actively sharing landing pages, it is an agent sharing the news of their specialty with past clients asking for referrals, it looks like an agent perpetually seeking to improve in how they manage their client service. Long-term success in real estate is never an accident; it takes purpose, it takes work, it takes driven intention.
Step Five: Be active in the lead development process
The simplicity of purchasing leads has made most agents complacent about understanding the lead process and the control they could wield in the process. For example, a client recently told us that while she was getting good relocation leads they were leads not expecting to close for many months. She was going to have to take a break from promoting until some of these leads closed. In the meantime, we developed a different strategy to attract leads with a shorter sales cycle – and it is part of that development that eventually brought about the Livified™ Life Stages platform.
Being active in the lead development process means evaluating the entire lead-prospect-to client process. It means understanding the types of leads you’re generating, the quality, the timeline, and the types of adjustments that can be made to improve the process. In these terms, think of lead development like buying a long-term home, it serves an immediate purpose, but also a future one, whether that is room for a family, a home business, or room to build and turn it into your dream home.
We hope you understand that lead development is not complicated nor is it difficult. It starts by addressing specific needs within your real estate market and as you’re seen as the solution to that need the leads start pouring in, slowly at first, but eventually you’ll see a consistent flow of workable real estate leads. Best of all, you’ll own the mechanism that is producing the results which keeps you (and your pocketbook) firmly in control.