I remember my first lead. I was so excited I thought this person was going to be my new best friend. But much to my surprise, she never even answered the phone! Sound familiar?

Fast forward 12 years and many thousands of calls later, I learned some hard lessons about leads. My leads didn’t suck—I just wasn’t working them properly.

To save you from learning the hard way like I did, here are the top five excuses agents make when they can’t convert leads (and why they’re wrong).

1. My Leads Don’t Answer the Phone!

woman drinking two glasses of wine

The phrase “speed to lead” has been drilled into the industry for years now. Industry leaders claimed that the first person a lead spoke with is the agent they ended up working with. But is that really still the case?

Fast forward to today and look at how our own responses have changed to the ringing of the phone. Heck, when we’re in public and hear another person’s phone ring, we all cringe. No wonder our leads don’t answer the phone. Do you answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number?

If you think only the “good leads” are going to answer the phone when you call the first time, no wonder you think your leads suck. Instead of thinking your leads suck when they don’t pick up, why not change your approach?

Yes, speed to lead is still important, but so is consistency. So when you receive a new lead, yes, reach out immediately. But don’t stop there.

When a new lead registers, make your first call attempt. Organize your leads that registered over the last 14 days into a call filter so you don’t have to think about who to call. Just keep making at least six attempts within those 14 days. Ideally, you want to schedule your time to call at different times of the day to maximize your chances of them answering the phone.

People do business with those who make it convenient for them. It is up to us to be convenient for them and build loyalty.

2. My ISA Isn’t Good Enough!

woman in deep thought

Don’t even get me started here. Early on in the beginning of my training days, I used to think the same thing. When I started my company, I was on a mission to create a certification for inside sales agents (ISAs) to help them be more of an asset to the industry. While I was beta testing teams, I came to the realization that it wasn’t so much about the person making the calls, it was more about the expectations that were created and not met.

Picture writing your shopping list, then going to the grocery store with your list in hand. Once you get in the store, you realize the shelves are empty and there are no signs in the aisles telling you what is in each aisle. You ask a sales clerk where you can locate the items on your list, and they tell you to go back to the storage room and there are a bunch of unmarked boxes to sift through. Your first thought would be run, your second thought would be: “Are you kidding me?”

Well, let’s face it, this is how most agents’ databases work. A hot mess. How can we expect anyone to get results when they are diving in blind? Even some top-producing teams have databases that are a mess. The leads don’t have proper notes, they are in the wrong category, and we give up on the leads with bad phone numbers.

Having proper systems is imperative to setting an ISA and database up for success.

You can’t give someone a phone, sit them down with thousands of leads, and say “get me appointments” and then blame them when they fall short. Could you come home with groceries successfully if you had to rummage through the storage room?

So instead of sending your ISA to the storage room, organize your database, make sure it’s up to date, and create a system to follow with sensible expectations so your ISA will be able to convert.

3. My CRM Isn’t Good Enough!

Paleolithic human and an old computer model

Which customer relationship management (CRM) software is the best? This question is asked almost daily in most real estate Facebook Groups—along with that smart-ass response of “the one you use” being one of the only real answers agents get. I have worked with many of the best CRMs in the industry and actually trained for a CRM company for a few years, so trust me when I say this: There is no perfect CRM.

What I have learned is that every CRM, from the cheap ones to the most expensive ones, require some kind of work-around. Let me repeat this, there is no perfect CRM, so stop looking!

Instead of complaining about your CRM, focus your attention on the lead’s value and quality and how to have more actual conversations with your leads. It is more about how you are working the leads than having the best CRM.

Get into the mindset of having more conversations instead of focusing on your conversion percentages.

Always remember: The conversion can only happen after the conversation.

The problem is usually more about lack of conversations and actually working the leads than it is the wrong CRM. Before investing hard-earned money into yet another CRM, really consider your intentions. If you are already invested and you think your leads suck, start working them and you may be pleasantly surprised.

4. I Don’t Have the Right Lead Source

an angry cat

There are a ton of companies to buy leads from in 2022. Agents today can choose between real estate websites like Zillow and Realtor.com, community platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook, pay-per-click (PPC), remarketing, home valuation landing pages, expired and FSBO—the list goes on.

What do all these lead generation sources have in common? The truth is that leads from any source need to be worked and organized if you want to have a prayer of converting them.

It is so easy to blame the leads, when in reality there is high potential that the lead source you’re using may not be the right lead source for the market. One agent may be killing it with Zillow leads and tells another agent in a different market. That agent in turn takes on the expense with great expectations and it’s a flop.

Before you blame your leads, know what is moving in your market. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? Are there expireds and FSBOs? Are you in a move-up market, first-time homebuyer market, relocation market, or maybe even a destination or luxury area?

A great way to determine the problem is proper tracking. This involves conversations with the leads. The more conversations you have, the more you can understand the need in your market. Focus on the customer’s problem and how you can provide the solution. That will give you the highest return on leads generated.

5. I Need Better Scripts

interactive meeting

As a real estate coach, I hear this all the time: “Do you have scripts you can share? What are the best scripts?” I have to be honest here. Active listening is the best “script” you can have. Always remember:

She who asks the questions controls the conversation.

Most of you have probably heard the acronym LPMAMA: Location, Price, Motivation, Agent (working with), Mortgage, Appointment.

While this system works well, I would like to add one more: Situation. It’s important to know their current situation to identify their needs. Situations like, do they own or rent? If they own, how long have they been in their home? If they rent, are they in a lease term or month to month?

So if you want more success with your conversations, learn the process of active listening, ask great questions, then pause to listen. I am not downplaying scripts here, I am just saying scripts make you focus more on what you are supposed to say next rather than actually listening to what is being said.

There is no one-size-fits-all conversation; everyone’s needs are specific to their situation. We should be looking for their problem and figuring out how we can be the solution to that problem.

Here is an example of how to easily break into conversation and ask the right questions to get your leads engaged in conversation.

Hi, [first name]? This is [agent name]. I saw you were looking at homes in [location, or however the lead was generated]. I am just checking in to see what your situation is, and what exactly you are looking for. [Pause and let them respond.] Most likely you get, “Well I am just looking.”

Great, tell me, what has to happen in the future for you to be able to make a move? What are your future plans? What is your current situation now—do you own or rent?

Get them talking and let the conversation flow, and you might finally start to realize your leads are way better than you thought they were.

Over to You

What are some common excuses you or your agents make about leads and why they suck? Let us know in the comments.

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