Online marketing has been the backbone of my real estate business since 2004. What I learned quickly is that the online consumer operates at a difference pace — they want answers fast. It’s good to have systems in place so you can respond to these buyers and sellers in a timely manner and win their business before they move on to the next agent.
1. Learn to sort the three lead types quickly.
Before you fire off a blanket reply to a potential customer, identify whether the consumer is looking for a fast answer to a question, for research and insight, or for you to reach out with a phone call, and respond in the best way.
- If they’re asking for information on a listing or to set up a showing, you need to respond immediately with answers or an action plan for meeting their needs.
- If they are asking for your thoughts on a real estate situation or have asked multiple questions, they are expecting a more thorough response, so you may need more time to answer thoughtfully. For this lead, respond immediately with a message acknowledgement and let them know when to expect a more complete response. You never want to leave one of these high-interest leads waiting.
- Finally, here is the most important rule of dealing with an online consumer: If they give you a phone number, CALL THEM. Pick up your phone without hesitation and as soon as you can. They wouldn’t give it to you if they didn’t want you to call.
2. Draft your responses in advance.
Set yourself up for success by having pre-written email responses and mobile replies saved that you can paste in, customize, and send out.
The first draft response, which is an easy go-to if you are out with clients and can’t customize a response, is “Thanks so much for your inquiry/showing request/question. I’m out of the office right now but I will be back in touch at x pm today with an answer to your question.” You’ve given the instant response that the online consumer is looking for, and you can follow up with more information at a more convenient time later in the day.
You may also find it helpful to pre-write email answers to common questions that many of your clients or prospects ask. My two most used email drafts? One explains the difference between short sale and foreclosure listings, and the other gives my list of recommended lenders. I’ve used both of these more times than I can count.
3. Set up smart alerts and filters on your smartphone.
Use technology tools to give you a leg up. Your smartphone is smart for a reason, right? Filter incoming email leads into a priority folder so you can find and respond to them easily from your phone or tablet while you are on the go. If you’re a Gmail user with an Android, this is already set up for you. If you’re not, take advantage of the “rules” function in your Outlook or email service setup to automatically sort inquiries from Trulia and other lead generation tools into a special folder.
In addition to filters, you need to make sure you have special alerts set for incoming leads. On any smartphone you can enable text and voice notifications of new Trulia leads and set a noticeably different ringtone for leads coming in from your custom Trulia phone number. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you should also download the Trulia Agent App for iOS and be sure to set up custom alerts in your phone’s “Settings” app.
As busy agents, especially during the spring market, we have to keep an arsenal of time-saving tips within reach. Using these fast response ideas will help you easily win over the consumer who is ready and waiting for your assistance.