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Many times when I discuss marketing campaigns with agents, we end up discussing a specific marketing engine they are using and all the great features, bells and whistles it has to offer. When we start talking about the results they are getting from that engine, the conversation quickly changes from one of elated 'pumping up' the platform, to annoyed disappointment with how the platform is not getting them the leads they were promised when they first signed up with whatever marketing vendor was selling them the platform.
This is not an uncommon occurrence at all. In face, it comes up so frequently when we speak with prospective Real Estate clients that it compelled me to write this article today. While of course not all platforms are created equal, and some truly are very, very bad, that's not always the case. We've found that even agents that are using some of the top marketing platforms out there are frustrated because they are not getting the response rates they either feel they deserve or were told they would receive.
So how is it that these amazing platforms are missing the mark? Is it the sales person from that particular company overselling the agents on potential results? Is it the agent is being unrealistic with what the expected results should be? It's generally neither of these things. The solution is a simple one, but a critical one. In fact, so critical that if you have this wrong, you are going to fail, every day of the week. What is this simple solution, you ask?
Improve Your Response Time
All prospective home sellers (and buyers) expect on demand, or as close to on demand service as possible. It's the society that we are a part of. With the age of the Internet and the wealth of information that is at their fingertips, if you can't quickly and effectively follow up with a prospect, many times in a matter of minutes, they are going to go onto the next Realtor® and forget that you even exist. Timing is so critical, believe it or not, you only have two to three minutes, before they are on to the next thing.
How do you meet these demands? With automatic responders? Sure, those will work better than not responding at all, but most auto responders simply spit out one generic, canned response. Law of averages says this response is not going to fit for everyone getting in touch with you. If you come off as 'generic' in the eyes of prospects, because of your robotic response, they are not going to be impressed and they will go on to the next Realtor®. Surely you can see the puzzle. If you wait too long to respond, you lose the potential client. If you use a canned automated responder, you risk the chance of seeming removed from the business, turning off your prospects and also losing them.
You are spending your hard earned money on your marketing platform. You deserve to have a maximum chance at capturing EVERY single lead that comes through that platform, wowing them and turning them into clients. With that in mind, today I thought I would share three EASY ways you can maintain the rigors of immediate follow up with your leads, but also doing it in a way that is 'human' and not 'robotic'.
This one is an easy thing you can do on your own smartphone. Especially if you own an iPhone. The idea behind it though, no matter what type of phone you own is to think ahead of time of things that people will regularly ask you, given the landing (squeeze) pages you are using to advertise your services.
Rather then spend all your time texting on your phone, when you are out of the office, at an appointment, or even worse, having family time that you don't want to be distracted from for too long, use short codes to quickly respond to prospects. What does this mean? Take the most common things you would use for responses and pre-load them into your phone with short codes that allow you to quickly disseminate lots of information with the smallest amount of keystrokes.
Granted I'm an Apple fanboy so the below steps are specifically how to do this on an Iphone, but the logic behind it is the same, no matter what phone you have. Here is how it works:
• Open up the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen.
• Tap the General section.
• Tap the Keyboard section.
• Swipe down to the bottom and tap the button labeled 'Add New Shortcut...'
When you add your shortcut, think of things in terms of some sort of code scheme you can remember. For instance, perhaps use the code 'hvfu' to stand for 'home value follow up'.
The message that could be saved with this short code could be something to the effect of:
'Thank you for asking me to give you a detailed valuation of your home. I have received all your information and will have your home valuation to you shortly, for your review. In the meantime, if you have any other questions, or immediate needs, please feel free to call me at 408-555-1234 anytime. Thanks!'
So using 4 letters in a response window on your text message app can accomplish all this, allowing you to immediately get back to what you were originally doing.
REMEMBER- NOT ALL AUTOMATION IS CREATED EQUALLY
What if you don't want to use short codes, but want to play it safe and employ some sort of automated follow up system, ensuring that even the times you are completely 'off the grid' that your prospects still get followed up with in a timely fashion? This is a fantastic idea, BUT with the one catch that you have to find an automated platform that doesn't make you sound like a robot.
For instance, our Behavioral Marketing platform helps our clients deal with automatic responses to online landing page responses, but it does so in the most human way possible. Let's use text messages as an example. One specific tip is to skip the platforms that simply use canned responses like:
'thank you for your inquiry. I received your information and will follow up with you as soon as possible'
What you actually want to do is find a platform, like ours, that allows you to customize the messages, based on the information that was given to you on the form the prospect submitted. For instance:
'Hi <<Name>>! Thanks for contacting me about getting an accurate home valuation for your home on <<Property Street>>. I will get to work on that right away and call you on your <<phone preference>>, tomorrow, at <<time preference>> as you have requested. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at this number at any time.'
So as you can see, our message specifically responds to the lead with the specific information and details they have supplied and requested. This is a much more human (translation: non-robotic) way to respond. Not only that, our platform is customizable enough that each landing page can use a specifically constructed response message, making the level of customization even deeper.
These types of responses are so personalized and 'non-robotic' sounding, it is very possible that the lead will actually respond to the text message, asking more questions, or giving additional follow up. Based on that reality, it is critical that you verify that your automated text follow up system allow for two way communication between yourself (from your own cell phone), and your prospects. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many platforms only allow for outbound communication from you to your lead, but not communication from your lead, back to you.
MAKE SURE IF YOU ARE USING AN AUTOMATED FOLLOW UP PLATFORM, YOU HAVE CONTROL OF IT
This kind or relates to tip number two, above, but having control of your follow up platform is critical, if you want to give people a very humanistic, curated follow up and lead cultivation experience.
One classic form of control you will want to maintain is not only how you follow up with leads, but more specifically when. You need to plan your follow up response windows. That is where Delivery Windows come into play.
Above is an example of a delivery window that can be set up, inside our automated behavioral marketing platform. I know we discussed that following up in two to three minutes with an online lead is critical, BUT there is an exception to this rule, if you want to come off as non-robotic and truly follow best practices.
For instance, what if I am on your website, and I request a home valuation? What if though, I'm an insomniac and I am requesting this information at 3AM on a Tuesday morning? If you simply use an auto-responder, even with the customization I've described above, your auto response will immediately shatter the illusion of human touch, lessening my user experience with you and your brand.
If though, you use time windows, you can avoid shattering this illusion, by using windows that are realistic with the hours you keep as a Realtor®. In this example, for instance, you could time it so your auto-response to me doesn't trigger until 9AM, reinforcing that feeling that you are personally handling my request.
THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL
The truth is, there are many ways to handle your follow up with your prospects. The main thing to consider, above all else though is to ensure that 1) you have some sort of plan in place to quickly deal with incoming leads, 2) if you choose the automation route, you have to be able to customize it to the specific things your prospects are asking for, and 3) with automated platforms, they need to mold around the way you run your normal day to day business, offering the complete feeling that you are personally handling every aspect of your lead's important questions.
Tag Archives: real estate postcards with capture codes
I have written many articles about how many Realtors® postcard farming practices are outdated. It’s such a true statement, and such an important topic, that it comes up time and time again with our clients, prospective clients and even people … Continue reading