Successful Internet Lead Conversion: From Prospect to Client

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace NV License # 56750

People buy and sell real estate every day, no matter which way the market is headed. Many begin their search online to find out what kinds of homes are available or how much their homes are worth. Agents who can effectively provide this information are well positioned to generate many leads.

The number of prospects is virtually unlimited. Every request for information or question about the market is an opportunity to develop business. Each new lead is neither good nor bad, just different -- and each is unique.

Every lead and every contact has value. Even if a particular person doesn't buy or sell, they may refer you to to others who will. A combination of personal and systematic contacts over time will lay the groundwork for a rewarding relationship. With that mindset, here are some elements of my internet lead conversion system.

 

Source The Lead

Each lead that comes in is sourced in two ways: by point of origin and type of transaction. Points of origin include my ActiveRain blog, websites, Facebook pages, Facebook ads and Twitter. Knowing where the lead came from helps guide my online marketing efforts, and in cases like Facebook or Twitter, may provide additional background on the prospect to help build rapport.

The type of transaction starts with Buyer and Seller, but it's important to dig deeper. For sellers, are they an owner/occupant or investor? Are they underwater on their mortgage, and if so, will this be a short sale or will they be bringing cash to closing?

Buyer leads also come in several variations. Will they occupy the home ful-time or is it a second/vacation home or investment? Are they first-time buyers or members of the military? Do they need to sell an existing home in order to buy? Are they local buyers or relocating? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you provide relevant, useful and valuable information to the prospect.

 

Clarify The Prospect's Needs

Many buyer's agents limit their client's choices by not adequately clarifying their needs. Just like with lead sourcing, it's important to dig deeper. Here's an example:

Agent: How many bedrooms will you need?
Prospect: 4.

Most agents take this answer literally and move on to the next question on their list. But let's lake a look and see what happens when we dig deeper:

Agent: And how will you use those four bedrooms?

Prospect:
Well, my husband and I will be in the master, our son and daughter will have their own rooms, and we'd like to have a guest room when my mother visits twice a year, plus some extra storage for the kid's toys.

Agent: In that case, would three bedrooms plus a den also work for you?

Prospect:
Yes! I hadn't considered that. My mother only visits 2-3 weeks per year, and we can change the den from a playroom to a study area as our children get older.

Expanding the search to include three bedrooms plus a den might be just what you need to turn this prospect into a client and help them meet their housing needs. And it's all because you used clarifying questions to dig deeper. 

 

Provide An Easy-to-use IDX Solution

Online buyers want to see what homes are available, and they want to see them NOW. In looking at IDX solutions, one of my key criteria was to get valuable content to consumers in as few clicks as possible. My choice is RealBird. Here's a sample of the RealBird search results page:

RealBird Property Search

With RealBird, buyers can search by location, price range, bed/bath, and keywords. Results can be viewed in a list (as shown above) or on a map. Individual listings have more details about the home, Google Street View, and a quick form to request more information. RealBird also has some great widgets for ActiveRain blogs and Facebook pages, as well as the ability to create custom niche searches and add analytics to your search page.

 

Build A Content Library

I mentioned in the introduction that "a combination of personal and systematic contacts will lay the groundwork for a rewarding relationship." The systematic part is automatic search results, your drip system, or a subscription to your blog or RSS feed. Personal content is a one-to-one, human-to-human interaction. Green Valley Ranch in Henderson NevadaIt's that extra step beyond the agent-client relationship.

To effectively and efficiently add personalization to your conversion system, you need to build a content library. Think of all of the information about your area that never or only rarely changes -- maps, neighborhoods, schools, amenities, market statistics, area attractions.

One of the best sources for customized content is your ActiveRain blog. Here's an example of a post that uses Google Maps: Henderson Nevada's Green Valley Ranch. And here's how you can incorporate a blog post into a quick, personalized email:

Hi Teri -

In your email you mentioned that Tommy enjoyed baseball. Henderson has some great youth baseball programs available, and in 2008 our Paseo Verde Little League team was just one game away from going to the World Series!

Henderson's Parks & Recreation Department offers a wide variety of activities for all ages. The city was also recently named a Playful City USA.

I look forward to helping you find the perfect home when you visit in April. Have a great weekend!

People don't just buy homes, they buy communities and lifestyles. By providing area info that is above and beyond real estate and taking an interest in them as people, you become their go-to source and solidify the relationship.

 

Measure Your Results

Take time each month to review your lead generation and lead conversion efforts. How many leads do you have from each source? How many were converted to appointments or contracts? How many escrows were opened? How many closings? Are one or two particular sources accounting for most of your business?

Answering these questions will not only help you tweak your online marketing plan, it will also give you a better understanding of the internet buyer and seller. And when that knowledge is applied, it leads to a more productive lead generation-lead conversion-closed business cycle for the agent, and a rewarding and profitable experience for both agents and clients.

 

 

Purchase SHIFT at giftofshift.com/activerainFor other methods of converting internet leads, be sure to check out giftofshift.com/activerain where you can purchase a limited edition hardcover of Gary Keller's book SHIFT, which comes with a free version of the eBook Soci@l: Attract Friends, Followers and Connections to Your Business, written by Ben Kinney and Jay Papasan (in which Ben shares his 'ten days of pain' lead conversion method) as well as free audio versions of Millionaire Real Estate Agent and Millionaire Real Estate Investor all for $19.99.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Oikos Realty 01/16/2010 08:29 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
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Rainmaker
747,513
Claude Cross
Homes By Cross, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Homes For Sale

John - I really appreciate the Human aspect of your approach. There definatelly is value in remembering that real estate is a contact sport and profession. Great points and and a system I can relate to.

Jan 16, 2010 04:39 PM #47
Rainmaker
711,133
Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan
Keller Williams Capital Properties-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Washington, DC
How much is my Washington DC House Worth?

Gary Keller's Shift and Google Analytics -two things that I need to put on my to do list. Many buyer's agents limit their client's choices by not adequately clarifying their needs-That is sooo true. Thank you very,very much for sharing this with us John. Have a great weekend. Congrats on the Gold star. Great post.

Jan 16, 2010 05:12 PM #48
Rainmaker
199,951
Marc Iafrate
Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. - Raleigh, NC
MBA - Wake County Real Estate Search

Great Advice  I never thought of using Google maps in my posts, but I certainly will in the future.  You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words....

Marc Iafrate, MBA

Jan 16, 2010 08:23 PM #49
Anonymous
Anonymous

John, Thanks for an inf0-filled post and comments. Do you know how the google map graphic you used here eas produced?

Jan 16, 2010 10:08 PM #50
Rainmaker
1,517,244
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Margaret (#30) - You're welcome! This approach works for any kind of lead, whether it comes by online methods or not.

Suzanne (#31) - I've learned a lot from AR as well. Glad I could share this with everyone.

Anthony (#32) - The process is pretty simple. Having the discipline to execute it consistently is my challenge.

Michelle (#33) - You've got it. We need to relate to our clients as people, even more so than a source of business.

Karen (#34) - Thank you! Putting the system together is easy for me, following it consistently is a little tougher.

Ryan (#35) - It sounds like you have an impressive online presence across several types of social media. Google Analytics is something I need to pay a lot more attention to in 2010.

Dagny (#36) - You're welcome! RealBird is a good basic choice for IDX, and even the free version has some nice features.

Gary (#37) - Thanks! Digging deeper just takes a little thought, and the rewards can be great.

Jeffrey (#38) - Hope this inspires you to make improvements in your systems.

Sally (#39) - I do like to be in control, and hate waiting around. One good thing about a system like this is that it has a little built-in patience.

Lisa (#40) - Big win for the Saints today! I've been lucky to have a great team leader who drilled the "Dig Deeper" concept into me relentlessly. It works!

Chrystina (#41) - Great comment! Having a list of questions will guide the conversation, make your time more productive, and deliver great info for the prospect. It's even better if you can schedule a quick 30-minute appointment to go through the financing process and explain their options face-to-face.

Tom (#42) - Thanks! It's important that we not pre-judge the quality of a lead based on the source or type of info provided by the prospect. Every contact is an opportunity.

Jan 17, 2010 01:11 AM #51
Rainmaker
147,182
Carol Pease
Pacesetter Properties - Cedar Park, TX
CRS, Broker-Associate 512-721-6320

John:

Source the lead!!!  Since most of what I do comes from the internet,  I don't spend any money on print advertising. 

Great article with lots of substance.  Thanks for writing it.  It got me thinking.

Jan 17, 2010 01:37 AM #52
Ambassador
1,458,187
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

John you really went in depth with this post.   I like the point you made about digging deeper, most of the times the buyer clients buy something totally different from what was first mentioned as their criteria.

Real Bird is an awsome product, I just need to get enough people in my area using it so I can get more of the features available.

Jan 17, 2010 04:47 AM #53
Rainmaker
895,509
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

John,

 

This was a very good article and offers a plan and strategy to succeed. I have made a copy and I will come back to it for reference.

Brian

Jan 17, 2010 10:19 AM #54
Rainmaker
333,353
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

John:

Well written and I see you have a great system of qualifying and of providing information. I am sure your business is successful.

Ty

Jan 17, 2010 10:45 AM #55
Anonymous
Linda Cobb Smith

Great post.  I especially liked the client who said she needed 4 bedrooms and how you determined perhaps 3 bedrooms and a den would work just as well.  I need to do more of that type of questioning.  Thanks!

Jan 17, 2010 11:39 AM #56
Rainmaker
1,280,997
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Building content to share is one of the best ways.  I use blog post to build drips for my prospects.

Jan 17, 2010 01:51 PM #57
Rainmaker
264,391
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is very helpful information John. I need to develop a content library.

Jan 17, 2010 04:03 PM #58
Rainer
128,921
Deena Cottingham
GreenApple Staging & Images, Calgary Staging & Photography - Calgary, AB
Home Stager & Photographer

Hi John. I like what you said about every lead having value, whether they buy from you or not. I believe that your reputation and your customer service will pay off in the end, even if you don't seem to get anything immediately in return. You never know what happens to those seeds you plant!

Jan 17, 2010 08:36 PM #59
Rainer
8,940
Bob Sweazy
Prudential A. S. de Movellan Real Estate - Lexington, KY

Orders Shift last week and am looking forward to the info. Thanks for a great post.

Jan 18, 2010 09:26 AM #60
Rainmaker
720,734
Ann Hayden
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri - Wildwood, MO
SelectAnn.com

John,

Yes, I see your point!

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Jan 19, 2010 10:24 AM #61
Rainmaker
192,900
Alan Grizzle
Chestatee Real Estate - Dahlonega, GA
Full Time Realtor, Lifelong Resident of Dahlonega

Great post. Seems there is always something else to learn.

Jan 22, 2010 07:27 PM #62
Rainmaker
728,463
Real Bird
RealBird Inc. - Redwood City, CA

John - Great post and thanks for the mention ! 

-- Zoltan

Jan 22, 2010 09:45 PM #63
Rainer
10,379
John Fiorelli
Premier Realty - Richmond, VA
REALTOR Richmond, VA aka fiorealtor.com

Internet lead coversion comes down to one thing or maybe 3!! Follow up, follow up, follow up.

I train agent for my office on internet leads and you can tell in a matter of minutes if an agent can get them to the closing table.

Not everyone is geared for internet leads. I'm not geared to walk a neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon...
No what you do well and what you don't and act accordingly

John Fiorelli, REALTOR 
Recruiting Director
Marketing Consultant
Century 21 Signature Realty
2800 Buford Rd. Ste 204
Richmond, VA 23235
Direct: 804-908-2046
Office: 804-330-4222
Fax: 804-330-4249
 
Email:
john.fiorelli@century21.com
Web:
www.fiorealtor.com

Jan 27, 2010 09:59 PM #64
Rainmaker
271,598
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

Great post John, I walk away with a few things I will look into for my own systems so thanks again!

Jun 25, 2010 02:06 PM #65
Anonymous
internet lead conversion

really nice information about internet lead conversion

Sep 16, 2010 08:14 AM #66
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Rainmaker
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John Novak

Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
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