Realtors face an unexpected problem, and here’s the refrain I often hear from them, “Chris, I need to generate more leads!” I’d argue that that’s not true. As an industry, lead volume has increased more than sixfold since 2016. We’re actually generating more leads than we ever have before.
Our real problem isn’t a question of volume—it’s conversion. Despite this explosion in lead volume, agents nationwide aren’t turning them into clients at nearly the same pace. How do we solve our conversion problem? First, we’ll share the four primary reasons real estate leads don’t convert, and then give you an effective real estate lead management strategy that can address them. Plus, we’ll provide the tools you’ll need to get started.
The 4 Reasons Real Estate Agents Aren’t Converting Leads
Real estate agents everywhere are suffering from terrible conversion rates. Only a small margin of that sixfold increase in leads we discussed are becoming actual buyers and sellers. It’s not uncommon for typically performing agents to convert only 1-2% of their online leads—sometimes even fewer. Why is this rate so low? Here are four major reasons.
1. Speed to Lead
We live in an instantaneous customer service environment. When a prospect completes a real estate lead capture form, they expect to hear back from someone on your team within minutes. The reality is, the typical real estate agent is responding to leads within days, not minutes, starting a relationship off on exactly the wrong foot. Any delay will immediately lower your potential conversion rates.
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2. Fumbled Lead Handoff
It’s rare that a real estate lead is generated, addressed, and converted by the same person. More often than not, there are multiple services or people in the process, which generates opportunities to miss important details when a lead is handed off to the person who will ultimately service them.
In marketing, we call this a “leaky funnel.” As leads are progressing down the sales funnel toward a transaction, they drop out because of poor communication and unmet expectations.
3. Consistent, Multitouch Follow-up
Many Realtors make the mistake of thinking that the leads they generate online from their website, social media, or services like Zillow Premier Agent will be consistently hot, ready-to-buy-and-sell-tomorrow leads. That simply isn’t the case.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for leads who have personally requested a direct follow-up from you to require multiple, varied messaging before you ever make contact. Too many Realtors will reach out to a lead once and never do so again after they leave a single voicemail.
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4. Effective Lead Prioritization
Your leads aren’t just names and numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re people with their own timelines, priorities, and levels of urgency. Realtors who don’t have a system to sort leads by priority based on opportunity, need, and customer-service value will end up missing a chance to convert because they’re not striking while the proverbial iron is hot with the right clients at the right time.
Solving the Conversion Problem: Real Estate Lead Management Strategy in 4 Steps
To solve the lead conversion problem and overcome these four hurdles, you need an effective real estate lead management strategy and ideally, an easy-to-use platform to help you execute your plan.
Top Producer, paired with their exclusive real estate lead management platform FiveStreet, offers tools to respond to your leads faster, follow up consistently and effectively, create a seamless handoff to the right person, and prioritize your high-value leads above all others.
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Step 1: Activate Your Lead Autoresponses
Which conversion problems does this step solve?
Speed to lead + consistent, multitouch follow-up
Autoresponders are your first line of defense against poor conversion rates. An effective autoresponse tool both answers questions before they’re asked as well as opens the door to conversations that will lead to active clients.
In an industry when an agent’s time is often gobbled up by showings, closings, and other vital face-to-face client interaction, we can’t always jump to provide a personalized response in real time. Autoresponders allow you to meet consumer expectations without sacrificing the important face-to-face interaction needed to get you to the closing table.
Ready to activate your lead autoresponses? Here’s what to do:
First, you need a customer relationship manager (CRM) or a lead management system like FiveStreet that offers autoresponders. When a new lead comes in, we suggest sending two messages:
- Email: Send an automated email to any lead that introduces yourself and your team (if you have one), and connects your prospects with any of the important places you’re active. We recommend links to your social media, your blog, and your website, as well as links to client resources like buyer-readiness checklists, your digital listing presentation, and more.
- Text message: Send an automated text message to any lead who acknowledges that their request has been received and you’re looking forward to helping them. Encourage your recipient to respond directly to the text message with questions, specific needs, and more.
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Step 2: Distribute Leads Seamlessly to the Right Person
Which conversion problem does this step solve?
Speed to lead, fumbled lead handoff, effective lead prioritization
If you’re a solo real estate agent covering the soup-to-nuts operation, this step isn’t for you. But, if you work with a team, or even if you hire a virtual assistant, an Inside Sales Associate (ISA), or engage in any type of paid lead generation, your leads need to be handed off.
A manual, ad-hoc lead handoff process leads to missed communication, sloppy follow-up, and low conversion rates. An automated, trackable lead distribution system like the one offered by FiveStreet takes the guesswork out of getting the right lead to the right person in a timely fashion.
Ready to start assigning leads seamlessly to the right person? Here’s what to do:
Depending on the size of your operation, you can take one of two approaches:
- Solo agent: Set up a tracking system using a spreadsheet (or, if you’re a FiveStreet user, use their lead tracking dashboard to get a sense of exactly when and where your leads are coming from). Next, record your efforts to reach out and convert them in your CRM (like the one offered by Top Producer).
- Real estate team: First, determine which types of leads are right for each team member; for example, send listing leads to listing agents and buyer leads to buyer’s agents. Then, set up a lead broadcast system (FiveStreet offers an excellent option here) that directs the right leads to the right team members, at the right time.
Step 3: Prioritize Leads Based on Need + Opportunity
Which conversion problem does this solve?
Speed to lead, fumbled lead handoff, effective lead prioritization
There’s no way around it—not everyone can be your #1 priority all the time. Effective lead prioritization is all about understanding the specific needs of each unique lead and measuring opportunity gained versus lost if you don’t act immediately.
Put another way: Part of increasing your conversion rates is better understanding of who needs your attention today and who doesn’t need it until tomorrow. A great way to do this is to get consistent with the use of tags in your CRM profiles, marking your immediate, medium-term, and long-term nurture leads.
Ready to start effectively prioritizing leads based on need + opportunity? Here’s what to do:
Use your CRM’s existing tagging system (or create custom tags of your own) and classify all the leads coming into your system as one of the following:
- Buy / Sell NOW (follow-up daily)
- Actively Considering Buying / Selling (follow-up 2x weekly)
- Passively Considering Buying / Selling (follow-up 2x monthly)
- Undecided to Buy / Sell (follow-up 1x monthly)
- Cold Lead (follow-up 1x quarterly)
After these tags have been applied, make the first part of every work day about follow-up. Emails, phone calls, or text messages are all acceptable, but make your leads receive and interact with effective communication. Don’t forget to provide value every time you talk—lip service is worth nothing in the real estate industry. Your words need to be backed up by action.
Step 4: Create Multiple, Automated Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Which conversion problem does this solve?
Consistent multitouch follow-up, effective lead prioritization, fumbled lead handoff
It’s not uncommon for real estate leads to require upward of eight marketing touches before they begin to actively engage with you. And, even after they engage, your leads may not be ready to become a client just yet, which is why consistent, automated nurturing campaigns are so important.
A lead nurturing campaign is designed to bring your lead from their starting point all the way through to when they are ready to actively begin working with you as a client.
“But Chris, leads aren’t all created equal. How could one campaign effectively nurture the people who need two weeks, two months, or two years?” One campaign won’t do that.
That’s why you need multiple, automated campaigns you can apply to all types of leads based on your most common lead experiences.
Ready to start creating multiple, automated lead nurturing campaigns? Here’s what to do:
Start by assessing the leads you typically receive. Are they buyer leads? Seller leads? Both? Next, assess the typical time frame you’re spending getting buyers and sellers to the starting line. Then, use CRM resources like those available from Top Producer to implement lead nurturing campaigns based on that expected timeline.
If you want to create your own automated campaigns, you can do that too. The Close has resources that can help:
My 6-Day New Lead Text Messaging Campaign + Agent Texting Scripts
Lead Nurturing: Tools & Strategies for Conversion (+ Scripts)
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Bringing Your Real Estate Lead Management Strategy Together
You’ve read each of the steps individually, but sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. So here’s a quick snapshot of what a typical day might look like for an agent who has put this strategy into action.
The day starts when they open Top Producer to see what the lead activity looked like overnight. Hey! Five new leads. Each lead received a welcome email and a follow-up text message, so you know they’ve been engaged right out of the gate.
If you lead a team, you can then check FiveStreet and learn that the two buyer leads were forwarded to your buyer agent, the two seller leads to your listing agent, and the luxury listing lead has been sent to your inbox. You can look at the FiveStreet dashboard to see who’s engaged these leads and who hasn’t—something you can bring up in your team meeting later today.
Next, you head back to your CRM to review your new lead’s information and check on your daily priority tasks, reaching out to the people who you’ve tagged as daily touches. Finally, you review your nurture campaign stats to see that you’ve got dozens of leads in the pipeline, high open and click rates for all your emails, and lots of website activity.
Your leads are converting at a higher rate than ever before, and it’s good to be in real estate.
Top Producer + FiveStreet: A Potent Combination for Real Estate Lead Management
If you’re looking for a platform to help you put this strategy into action, we suggest Top Producer’s exclusive real estate lead management tool, FiveStreet. Combined with their CRM, Top Producer X, and the strategy we’ve spelled out here, you’ve got every opportunity in the world to crush your conversion goals. Visit FiveStreet today to get started.