15-3. That’s the battle cry of our expansion real estate team, Hergenrother Realty Group. 15 minutes of script practice, followed by 3 hours of lead generation every morning. Well, I say lead generation lightly. We’ve been calling it that for the past 6 years (and as an industry on the whole, we’ve been calling it that for decades!). But our team has been making a mindset shift over the past couple of weeks from lead generation to lead follow-up. Because the reality is, our team doesn’t need more leads. They need to follow-up and convert the leads they have.
Do you have a lead generation problem or a lead conversation problem?
I’ll make it simple for you. 80% of you have a lead conversion, a lead follow-up problem, NOT a lead generation problem. This is not unique to the real estate industry, but any sales profession. Take a look at the number of people in your database. If you have more than 100 names (and I’m sure some of you have more than 1,000 leads between online leads, sphere of influence (SOI), open house leads, etc.), then you don’t need more leads! You need to learn how to master the boredom of extreme follow-up and conversion. Our team isn’t even calling it lead generation any more! It’s lead follow-up. Sure, I would encourage them to lead generate for maybe 30 minutes a day. But the secret to success is in the follow-up. That’s where the money is. 3+ hours a day of follow-up and your career will be made. Don’t commit to 3+ hours a day of follow-up and you’ll continue to ride the sales roller coaster, a few sales one month, and then no sales for several months. That is no way to build a career, a business, or a life.
Let’s break this down:
Lead Generation – The process of procuring new names and contact information for your database. This can be done online, through networking events, sales seminars, product demonstrations, open houses, etc. Yes, you do need to add new names to your database regularly. However, most sales professionals are either on a team or part of a company that generates the majority of the leads for them (through radio ads, online leads, direct mail advertising, etc.).
Lead Follow-Up – The process of calling, texting, emailing, dropping by, Facebook messaging, etc. existing leads between 6 and 12 times in order to connect. And when they tell you no, you put them on a follow-up campaign to reach back out at a later date. It’s never a NO, it’s just a not right now. Be there and be ready for these leads when they do finally raise there hand, because they will.
Lead Conversion – You have made contact! Maybe you’re having several conversations and are starting to develop a relationship (clients for life, am I right?). Time to move them out of the friend zone and into a paying customer. Conversion is all about getting a lead to say yes to whatever you are asking (usually a sale or potential sale). They have committed to working with you and your goals are aligned. This comes with a lot of practice (yes, knowing your sales scripts), but even more importantly understanding your industry and the market backwards and forwards, being a master of practical psychology, and being able to consult with your lead, understand their goals and their challenges, and provide the solution for them. Conversion complete. However, conversion’s not going to happen if you are not relentlessly following-up.
Need even more convincing that lead follow-up is the game you have to play to win? Check out these stats:
- You must respond to online leads in less than 5 minutes (30 seconds is better). After 10 minutes your qualifying rate drops by 400%.
- You must attempt contact with a lead 6-12 times before a connection is made.
- 80% of real estate agents give up after the third contact attempt!
- Potential buyer/seller leads are entering their contact information on an average of 19 websites. 76% of them will work with the first agent or team that contacts them.
- Over 30% of leads are never contacted by a sales representative.
- The best time to call to qualify a lead is between 4pm – 5pm, the second best time is 8am – 9am.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to qualify leads.
What does that mean for you? You will have a competitive edge by just calling and following up with at lead! Speed to lead is critical. And never, ever, let a lead go untouched.
Your database of leads is your bank account. There could be tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, just sitting there waiting for you to make your move. Forget about generating leads. Make it all about the follow-up, before, during, and after you’ve made the sale. That’s right, just because you’ve made a commission, doesn’t mean you get to walk away from that lead. That was one sale. How about their friends, family, colleagues? Did you get a referral? What about 3 years from now when that client moves? Or two weeks from now when their parents are looking to downsize? Will you be the first person they thing of, the first person they call? Probably not, unless you have developed some sort of post-sale follow-up system. This one lead, could generate 5+ more leads! Check-in regularly, invite them to community events, send them handwritten notes every time they have a milestone in their life, email them discounts or articles of interest – provide value and keep your name in front of them (by the way, most of this can and should be automated). Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
No matter what industry you are in or where you keep your list of contacts, go take a look at your database right now. How many potential clients do you have right in front of you? How many of them have you talked to recently? Following-up is the first step towards conversion. Get after it.