According to Redfin CEO Glen Kelman, the volume of real estate leads generated in 2021 was more than six times the number of leads generated in 2015. Most of us in the industry have experienced this growth—there are a LOT of leads being generated right now. But, it’s not all good news. Conversion rates have fallen sharply, hovering at an average of 2%. 

Why do some Realtors dominate lead conversion while others flounder? Do they know something the rest of us don’t? The answer may surprise you. 

Are All Real Estate Leads Created Equal?

Lady justice statue

Technically, no. There are a lot of different ways to measure the quality of real estate leads, but the one that makes the most sense to us is conversion rate, or the number of leads that convert to active clients relative to the number of total leads. 

A lead’s conversion rate can usually be tied to where they fall in the lead funnel—a popular marketing term for the journey a lead takes from acquisition to activation. The closer a lead is to activating as a buyer or seller, the higher the conversion rate. 

But, that’s just a short-term measurement. If you zoom out and look at your sales funnel as a whole, nearly all of the real estate leads agents get are part of the same funnel—they’re just at different stages in their buying or selling journey.

This means that if you’ve got an effective strategy for moving your leads down the funnel and toward activation (and building a relationship along the way), it matters much less where they start. In fact, you might classify them as short-, medium-, and long-term leads and consider the explosion in lead volume as an opportunity to nurture relationships for years to come. 

How Do Successful Real Estate Agents Move Leads Down Their Funnel? 

The process of moving real estate leads down your sales funnel toward activation is known as lead nurturing. Effective lead nurturing strategies are what separate top-performing, high-converting agents and teams from those who just barely break even. 

A solid lead nurturing strategy has lots of moving parts (something we’ll talk about in a moment), but at its core, it is: 

  • Repeatable: Real estate agents get a lot of leads—at least the successful ones do. Your nurturing strategy can’t be recreated with every lead; you need to create a process that you can replicate and scale. 
  • Measurable: An effective nurture strategy allows you to measure your results, both in terms of your overall conversion rate as well as the performance of each individual component.
  • Adjustable: As you learn about what your leads need and want from you, you need a strategy that you can easily adjust to accommodate those needs. 
  • Dependable: Effective lead nurturing has to be done consistently in order to be effective. The systems you use for lead nurturing must be dependable, and when possible, autonomous.
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The 4 Basic Real Estate Lead Nurturing Strategies Every Real Estate Agent Should Use

Now that you know what real estate lead nurturing is and why it’s important, it’s time to outline the basic nurturing strategy all agents should use (or at least start with).

1. Connect With New Leads Immediately

In the age of live chat customer service, real estate leads expect real-time connections and follow-up from Realtors. You can do this by creating automated, immediate responses to any new lead inquiry. We recommend a two-pronged approach: sending an email and a text message the moment a new lead is added to your customer relationship manager (CRM). 

Why two messages? Because they each provide unique value. 

  • Email: With an automated email response, you can give your new lead all the resources they need to connect with you on social platforms, check out your website, start property searches, or take in a digital listing presentation. Think of this introductory email as a chance to answer all your new leads’ most frequently asked questions before they ask them. 
  • Text message: Using an automated text message response, you satisfy your new leads’ expectation for immediate contact. You give them a direct line to ask questions and start a dialogue—something less likely to happen with email.
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2. Begin Delivering Value Immediately & Consistently

After you’ve made initial contact with your leads (an act that shows you’re engaged and active), you need to continue to deliver value consistently. This means creating a communication strategy with them that will offer them your knowledge, experience, and expertise pursuant to their goals. 

Some great examples of consistent value delivery include:

For Buyers:
For Sellers:
  • Custom property search alerts
  • An initial and then periodically updated CMA
  • Drip campaigns delivering buyer best-practice blog content
  • Drip campaigns delivering seller best-practice blog content
  • Strategy guides for effectively preparing financially to purchase a home
  • Market updates for property sales similar to the seller’s property

Often, the best way to deliver this type of value is via email. Email can be easily automated, with messages that are rich in information and links to further resources. Plus, it’s easy to track a recipient’s interaction with the value you’re providing using basic email marketing tools.

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3. Spark Regular, Relevant Conversations

The passive delivery of value to the leads you’re nurturing is a great starting point, but it’s often more active, relevant conversations that will move your leads more dramatically down the sales funnel. 

These conversations typically take place via text message (or other instant messaging apps) and phone calls. However, take this step with caution. A text message or phone call that feels forced, inauthentic, and irrelevant to your lead will actually drive them away from activation, and in some cases, out of your funnel completely. 

To help avoid this pitfall, here are a couple of pointers: 

Start Phone Calls With “I was thinking about you this morning because …”

Leads love to hear that you were thinking about them, their needs, and doing so first thing in the morning. Make notes about the things that are important to your leads; spark conversation specific to those needs using this opening line. 

Try the “Quick Question / Open Question” Text Message Strategy

This two-question approach to text messages is very effective. Start by asking a quick, easy-to-answer question that’s relevant to your lead. Something like, “Quick question: How do you feel about mid-century modern homes? Is that a style you’d consider?” This will trigger a response from your lead and spark a conversation.

Once you’ve engaged them, you can then ask an open-ended question to trigger their lead response. “I see a lot of homes get listed every day. Are there any specific styles you want me to keep my eyes open for on your behalf?”

The closer your leads are to activation, the more frequent these conversations should be.

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4. Include Your Leads in the Community You’re Building

Another key component of lead nurturing is solidifying your reputation as someone who is active, knowledgeable, and experienced in the real estate space. Invite your leads to take part in your client appreciation events. 

Offer “coffee shop happy hours” where you supply the coffee and snacks at a local community spot. Invite them to check out open houses you’re hosting, if only to get inspiration for when they’re ready to buy or sell. 

Well-nurtured leads don’t only connect with you through their devices—they see your face and feel like they’re a part of your business, making you a part of their real estate success.

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Want to Supercharge Your Lead Nurturing? Try Market Leader

Market Leader interface on different devices

Applying these four strategies would be challenging to tackle on your own if it weren’t for customized tools designed specifically for real estate lead nurturing and conversion. We recommend Market Leader as your home base to manage these four lead conversion strategies and so much more. 

Market Leader, recently named The Close’s top pick for real estate lead generation, has rolled out a comprehensive real estate business platform that takes lead nurturing to the next level. Here’s what they have to offer: 

  • Fantastic paid lead generation: In order to nurture your paid real estate leads, you have to get them in the first place. Using an industry-leading, guaranteed lead volume approach, Market Leader agents know exactly how many paid leads they can expect every month, and in what geographic areas they’ll be coming from. Also, these leads are exclusive, so you know you’ll be the only agent advancing a relationship with them. 
  • An MLS-connected CRM: All your Market Leader-generated leads (plus the option to connect directly with other lead sources) are automatically integrated into your Market Leader customer relationship manager (CRM), a place where you can track all your lead activity, including their responses to your lead nurturing communication and value. Best of all, this CRM connects directly to your Market Leader website, natively logging your prospect’s website activity, including properties viewed, saved searches, and preferred communities. 
  • A lead-generating website: The Market Leader website search functionality feels a lot like the sort of Zillow experience many of your prospects are used to, except with Market Leader, you can set up custom pop-ups to prompt your website visitors to enter their lead information in order to unlock more searches, save favorites, and access buyer and seller strategy guides. 
  • A full-featured Marketing Center: Practically a standalone product of its own, the Market Leader Marketing Center is the launchpad for all your automated marketing, including sophisticated automated email marketing campaigns as well as automated or on-demand print marketing through a partnership with Shutterfly, allowing Market Leader users to bring mailbox marketing into their lead nurturing strategies in ways their competitors can’t.

📌   Pro Tip

Market Leader’s automated listing alerts are the #1 driver of website traffic from new leads. Partnered with 500+ organizations, Market Leader has one of the largest networks of MLS relationships in the U.S. Use it to drive more interaction and convert more leads into active clients.

Final Thoughts

The real estate industry has largely solved the lead generation problem; there are dozens of options for all sorts of leads available. Now, it’s time to figure out the best way to nurture these leads to activation. 

Following the four-pronged approach of speed to lead, consistent value provision, regular and relevant conversation, and community inclusion are a great start. You can improve the delivery of these strategies and better evaluate their effectiveness by using a platform like Market Leader to automate more of your work, adjust course where needed, and prioritize more effectively. 

Visit Market Leader today to learn more about how they can help solve your real estate lead nurturing challenges.

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