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Yesterday I wrote an article about methodical and responsible ways to go about increasing your marketing budgets, in the hopes to generate more leads. Along those lines, today I want to discuss the idea of which is better? Should you focus on the quantity of leads coming in, or the quality of the follow up you are giving leads?
This is an interesting question, but it has a very simple answer. Specifically:
The Better You Follow Up With Your Leads, The Fewer Incoming Leads You Will Actually Need
It’s true. If your lead follow up and nurturing systems are on point, you will never be hunting for more leads. This will benefit you because not only will you be doing more business, but you will also be more profitable, as you will be able to reduce the budgets for your lead generation, to the sweet spot you desire.
So that sounds ideal, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to do more business, with less work and expense? Because of this, today I thought I would share some ways you can increase the quality of your lead follow up, in the hopes of converting more of those leads, allowing you to conduct business more efficiently, with less expense.
The Only Thing Worse Than Having A Bad System In Place Is No System At All
I know it sounds strange, but you cannot imagine how many agents we come across that have no lead follow up system in place at all. They get leads in, they’ll call or email them, and if they don’t respond to that first inquiry, that is it. That is not a way to do business. The fact of the matter is that very few of your leads, if any at all, are going to respond to you right away and just say, “I want to sell my home now, let’s do this.” You’ll need to follow up with them many times, nurture them, educate them, and become the thought leader in their mind’s, when they think of Real Estate.
Here are some specific things you’ll need in place to craft the perfect lead follow up system:
A Robust, Cloud Based CRM System
If you don’t have a CRM system in place, and you are lying to yourself and tricking yourself into believing that you can simply remember every interaction with every lead you have and know exactly when to follow up with them next, you are crazy. A CRM is a pre-requisite for anyone that wants a solid lead follow up and nurturing system.
First off, it has to be cloud based. I know many of you may think I am saying this simply because we are partners with Salesforce.com and have our own cloud based Real Estate CRM offering. While that is true, that is not why. The reason I believe so much in cloud based systems is because as a Realtor®, you are a mobile professional. Cloud based systems lend themselves very nicely to this type of environment. Because cloud based systems are device agnostic, you can access your information from any device (e.g. laptop, desktop, tablet, smart phone), no matter where you are, anywhere in the world. The minimum barrier of entry is an Internet connection.
An Immediate Lead Follow Up Message
When a lead comes in, how and when you follow up with that lead is critical. Web leads especially. Let’s discuss web leads. You literally have 2-3 minutes to follow up with those leads before they are off to the next agent. It’s not their fault. It’s just the nature of Internet leads. Now I realize that you can’t be 100% available to online leads, all the time. You have meetings to take care of, listings to prepare, negotiations to be making, and when time permits, family time.
Because of this, having some sort of automated follow up tool that can acknowledge you have received their info/request is a requirement. My two favorite ways are email and SMS. When you send these messages, be sure you have mail merge features available, so you can customize the message as much as possible. Your message may look something like this:
“Hi [First name here],
This is Sally Smith, Realtor®. I just wanted to let you know I received your inquiry this [time of day (e.g. morning, afternoon, etc)], about [Reason they reached out to you]. I am gathering the necessary info to get you the answers you need and will follow up ASAP.”
With this type of follow up in place, it will buy you some time. The second you are freed up from whatever you were doing, you need to jump on this lead and take care of it.
Team Lead Assignment Is A Plus
One of my favorite features in our Real Estate CRM system is the ability for teams to auto assign leads. For instance, maybe you are the team leader. When you get notification of a new lead, if you are busy and can’t handle it, or if you are not interested in it, you can click a button on the lead notification email you receive and it will automatically assign it to another member on your team.
Or, what if you have team members that work different geographic areas? Based on something like zip code, for instance, we could automatically assign specific leads to specific team members. This will free you up and let you focus on your day to day work, while at the same time ensuring that nothing is slipping through the cracks.
Drip Message Follow Ups Are Critical
Remember, many of these leads you get are going to be a marathon and not a sprint. Because of this, you need some sort of drip nurturing system in place. Any Real Estate CRM worth it’s weight will have drip marketing email templates already in place. For instance, our CRM system has buyer campaigns, seller campaigns, open house campaigns, past client campaigns, 8×8 campaigns and 33 touch campaigns. All of these are ready to go out of the box, or can be completely customized to your liking.
These messages are important, because they will keep you top of mind and engaged with your leads.
You Have To Log Calls And Follow Up Tasks
Again, to me this is a no-brainer, but you won’t believe how may agents we see using CRM systems that simply do not allow for an effective way to do this. Again, the idea is that you cannot remember everything about everyone at all times and keep everything straight in your mind. The only effective way to do this is to log your phone calls and set follow up reminders for future times you should contact these leads again.
When you talk with a lead, go to their contact record in your CRM, and click the button to log your phone call. When on the phone with them, make notes of everything you discussed. Then, as soon as you hang up, also set a follow up reminder for when you need to contact them next.
If you are anything like me, this will be invaluable. I talk with probably about 80-100 people per day. Without this process in place, I would never remember anything. This makes things so simple. Right before I call or meet with someone, I simply pull up the last logged call to see what we last spoke about. That way, when I’m chatting with them, I can pick up right where we left of and it’s like we lost no momentum whatsoever.
So if you start with this short list of things, you will be on your way to mastering your lead nurturing and conversion. I have some pro-tips I’d like to share with you that cover time saving, tech related follow up tools as well. I am going to be hosting a live video stream, later today, about this topic on our Facebook Page. If you want to check it out, it will be at 12:30PM PST. Also, for those of you that miss it, we’ll be posting it in tomorrow’s post on this blog as well 🙂