Time is of the Essence

Posted by: Eric Blackwell on September 2nd, 2008

As a guy who does search engine marketing, I believe in testing. I test a lot.

During a typical week, I will visit quite a few real estate websites. This past week, I took the opportunity while visiting them to “Mystery Shop” 50 of them. I was not mystery shopping to see who had the prettiest website or the coolest interface, or the most search criteria.

I was simply registering with my name, phone number and email address to see who called me back first. This post is a BASIC report of what I found.

(Note: I am going to do a more detailed study on many more sites in about 2 months for publication – if you would like a copy of that study, shoot me an email! – it should be out in December / January and I would be happy to share it with you. It is going to not only include how quickly people responded, but HUNDREDS of examples of their responses as well).

Out of the 50 real estate websites that I registered for, I did not receive a callback or contact at all on 27 of them. (I was STUNNED at that one.) Nine of them called me back within two hours. By the end of 24 hours, I had received calls from 19 of them (including the original 9). The other 4 trickled in between 24-72 hours.

A couple of other things: I ONLY called during business hours and I did not register on any website or web page of HomeGain’s.

One of the things that we have found at our brokerage is that calling people back quickly pays off. Big Time.

Time is of the essence when responding to a registration, a customer inquiry, or whatever piece of information they are offering you.

Mitch Ribak’s 100 MPH system for converting leads is something that I am trying to learn from. Getting conversion rates like his require speed and consistency in my opinion. Anyone who can convert BuyerLink real estate leads like he does (in my opinion) is worth listening to and emulating.

The point that got driven home to me was that as an industry, we still have a LONG way to go in this regard.

That is not a problem. It is an opportunity for those who are willing to develop the systems and put them into play.

Time is of the essence.



5 Comments on “Time is of the Essence”

Mike Taylor

You are so right Eric. I think getting to them within a matter of minutes is crucial as well. Buyers are surfing the web and if you wait even an hour, they are most likely off your site and have forgotten all about you. If you can contact them by phone while they are on your site, your chances of converting them go way up. BTW, I would love a copy of that report when if comes out.

Mark Eckenrode | HomeStomper

i spent time in internet marketing in the auto industry and the results you mention could be the same for the auto industry. why? dunno, but it’s also the reason the consumer often found someone else (or the interest had passed) by the time the return call was made.

eventually we put systems in place to time the gap between incoming lead, initial email response and phone call. when we did this, results shot up… speed is definitely a factor.

Jay Thompson

“Out of the 50 sites that I registered for, I did not receive a callback or contact at all on 27 of them.”

Wow, not even an auto-response email? That’s nuts.

I am *terrible* about using the phone (but I do have an auto-responder). I don’t require a phone # on my IDX registration, and of the last 157 registrations (since I turned on registration 28 days ago), 52 provided phones numbers. Of those 52, 8 were obviously fake.

I find it interesting that only one third of folks registering provide a number. I wonder how many of those included it because they think they have to?

I know I should be making these calls. Part of me says “web surfers don’t want to be called and hassled” and “if they wanted to talk to me, they would call me” (and many do).

But another part of me says, “If they leave a number, they are all but asking you to call them”.

So I struggle with whether to call or not. I know many say you should, and very few say you shouldn’t.

I ‘advertise’ that we won’t bombard with emails and calls, and “when you are ready, call us”.

While one quick phone call would hardly be construed as “bombardment” by most, I still struggle with it.

But hey, it took me three years to require IDX registration. And despite the huge increase in contacts, I still struggle somewhat with that decision.

Eric Blackwell

Jay- I still struggle with it (registration) on our main site (and it also is not totally up to me…with 120 agents in our office-grin)…but I cannot argue with the success that the registration sites are having.

Here’s a way that some of our agents are dealing with calling registrants…they call and say something like this:

“I just received your registration from our website. I am not sure whether you put the phone number in because you thought you needed to or because you wanted me to call…either way, I respect your privacy…would you prefer me to hang up now and just send you an email??

Almost all of the time, they will say, No problem, don’t hang up. We have had our best success by turning control of the conversation totally over to them and just sitting back and listening….I am not sure how it would play in all markets, but it seems to work well in ours.

Hawaii Real Estate Reporter

Have you seen this web based lead responce study by MIT: http://www.leadresponsemanagement.com/mit_study.html ?

Basically it says that The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour.

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