What to do when your online leads aren't converting
There's a pathway to success that almost every real estate agent we work with has followed. It starts with a website to help users find information quickly and efficiently. Then, real estate agents add in digital marketing services, using PPC and eventually SEO to drive more leads to their site. Once this is done, our clients start seeing significant improvements in lead generation.
But then their progress stops. The leads accumulate, yet nothing happens. We've watched agents generate more leads than they can handle, yet... no sales. In the end, these agents end up thinking their leads are garbage and their website investment was a waste of money.
What went wrong?
They only did half the job. These agents didn't realize that lead generation is only half the path to success. Once you get a lead, you have to follow-up and you have to do it aggressively. The agents who've really mastered this online lead generation thing are the ones who get that.
Let's talk about lead follow up...
Regardless of what your lead follow-up looks like now, if you aren't hitting conversion rates in the 2 to 3%, then there's still work to do. In other words, 2-3% of the leads that you receive online should buy or sell a house with you within the next year. That's exciting!
When we look at the data from our partner company, Inside Sales Agents, we know without a doubt that a regimented follow-up routine is effective. It does work. The leads you're getting to your site are good enough leads, and they will become closed transactions, if you know what to do with them.
It all comes down to follow-up. But here's the rub... most agents don't do it. Or if they do, they don't do it well enough.
Why don't agents properly follow up with their leads?
Because they don't want to. But can you blame them?
Our CEO, Morgan Carey, touched on this in his 12 Days of Christmas launch blog and he said:
"When most folks get into real estate, they do so planning to work their sphere, network, and do what they are truly good at: belly-to-belly relationship building and sales! They do NOT get into the business for a telemarketing job. As such, asking them to dial for dollars is often-times asking too much."
Agents don't call leads well enough because they don't want to do it. It's boring, it's unfulfilling, and the many leads who say "no thanks" (or worse) can be quite discouraging. It takes a very special type of person to want to call leads and those people don't tend to be real estate agents.
With this understanding, there's two routes you can take to complete the pathway to success. Let's talk about them both.
1: Use a reward system to force the follow-up
This is an option we often see real estate teams take and it makes sense. If agents want leads, they have to work them. It's a quid pro quo arrangement, where you'll invest in leads for your team but they're required to do all the work in following up.
This system typically rewards agents who work their leads, providing them with more. Agents who don't work the leads are given fewer leads or removed from rotation entirely. It's a simple system that does require some oversight, but it can be highly effective for the right type of team.
2: Hire an ISA to scrub the leads
The second option still requires work from the agents, but there's a little less of it. In this route to success, teams will utilize an inside sales agent (ISA) or assistant to scrub their leads, which means agents only work with leads that are genuinely interested in hearing from a real estate agent.
With an ISA on the team, agents only connect with leads who are interested in working with them, removing the "dial for dollars" aspect of the job that most agents loathe. By alleviating them of the work they don't want to do, you're enabling your team to focus on the parts of the job that drew them to real estate in the first place—helping people buy and sell homes (and making lots of money!) This tends to inspire and motivate agents to perform better, ultimately leading to higher commissions and team sales.
How an ISA fits into the process
Here's a quick look at how you can incorporate an ISA into your lead generation and conversion process:
- Step 1: Continue generating leads through online and traditional advertising
- Step 2: Assign all newly registered leads to your ISA
- Step 3: The ISA calls each new lead as quickly as possible to vet their interest level, record the outcome of the call, and assign a basic heat score.
- Step 4: Warmed up leads are assigned to an agent for follow up.
That's it! Your ISA will do all the calling your agents don't want to do and only hand off leads who are actually interested in buying or selling a home.
Agents need to work their leads
Of course, with either of the routes above, your agents have to do their part. Lead conversion absolutely requires ongoing follow-up and initiative and there's no way around that.
Exactly what your follow-up process should look like will vary by team and you should experiment with different ideas to find the most lucrative system. For a good starting point, we recommending reading through Mitch Ribak's recent guest post that outlines a strong lead conversion routine that any team can try.
It's time to start converting your leads
At the end of the day, if you aren't seeing the results from your website that you expected, you might be missing a piece of the lead generation and conversion journey.
We know that digital marketing is effective, because we've personally seen teams of all shapes and sizes with ROI of 2x their investment or more. While these teams vary in location, size, and even specific strategy, they all have one thing in common: they get leads, they follow up with leads, and they close leads.
So, ask yourself a tough question: what's limiting your success?