Understanding Lead Capture and Conversion

Posted by: Mitch Ribak on November 2nd, 2007

It’s been a fun couple of years watching the real estate world trying to catch on to the realities of the “New” Real Estate and the importance of the Internet.

On a weekly basis I get many phone calls about how agents can maximize their websites and Internet Leads. It still amazes me that most Realtors® do not use the Internet.

Of course if you are using HomeGain’s BuyerLink program you are heading in the right direction.

How many of you have Real Estate Websites? Go ahead, raise your hands! Ok, now how many of you actually get business from your Websites? I don’t see many hands out there. So let’s take a few minutes and look at why that is so.

Lead Capture

I am on the Web probably too much these days to see what the competition is doing. To my joy, they still don’t get it and aren’t doing anything except taking listings and more listings and more listings.

Wow! I must be missing something because the last I looked listings weren’t selling.

Anyway, the Internet, in my mind, is the best way to capture home buyers. Remember, sales is a numbers game and Real Estate is no different. If you want to work, then the Internet is the place to be.

Of course if you are just doing this part time or do not have a great work ethic, Internet leads are not for you. So let’s look at your website.

When someone comes to your site via the Internet, are they going to your home page? If so, that is your first mistake. The link from the Internet to your site needs to be directed at wherever you want the customer to end up.

For instance, if you want them to come to your site to do searches for property, then you need the link to go to the search page. However, if you do not have a mechanism to capture leads on your search page, you are making your second mistake. Most agents and brokers give away their IDX info on their site and don’t ask for a name, email address or phone number from the consumer. Why would you do that? If they are going to do a search on your site, you need to be able to capture this info…what’s the sense of having a site that is just informational with no capture?

Of course you can always just have them click on the “Contact Us” link on your site. You may get .00001% of the consumers to click.

With all that said, be sure to have your link on the Internet pointed to the portion of your site that is going to capture their data. Since 95% of the time they are just looking to do a search, it makes sense to have your search page as the landing page.

If you are going to do that, be sure to have them register before they can search your site. The ones that don’t register were never going to contact you in the first place.

Lead Conversion

I was talking to a company in the Midwest the other day. To my surprise they were taking all the leads that didn’t have phone numbers and throwing them away. In my experience about 50% of the Internet leads that come in do not have good phone numbers.

Again, this is a numbers game. I can tell you that we get sales every month from our customers that did not give us their phone numbers.

As long as the email is good, it’s a good lead.

The key of course is to put your leads into a follow up system. There are many drip campaign systems out there to buy.

I have built my own through my marketing company, 100 MPH Marketing. Our new software will be available in the next 45-60 days.

However, I’m not here to sell you anything. My goal is for you to understand that converting leads takes time and patience. The average Internet lead takes approximately 4-6 months to convert.

You all have an automatic update system in that comes with your MLS. Every lead you get, with or without phone numbers, should be put into this system. This way, without you doing anything, your leads will be receiving updated listings on a regular basis. The consumer believes you are doing a lot of work. The longer they receive listings, the more work it appears you are doing…without doing anything.

Once your leads with phone numbers are in your follow up system, it’s important that you communicate with them by phone. Many people I talk to that are working Internet leads are not calling them. They simply put them in the MLS update system and then forget about it.

I can tell you from lots of trial and error, the agent that contacts the buyer and continues to follow up will be the winner. We have many customers let us know the reason they used our company was because we kept in touch with them. Many times they tell us we were the only company that actually contacted them.

For leads that you do not have a phone number, its important that the follow up emails you send request a phone number or invite the lead to call you.

Just these couple of little changes will certainly make a major difference in your capture and conversion of leads. I spend a lot of time helping people from around the country so if you would like help, don’t hesitate to email me at mitch@mitchrealty.com.

Most of the time I can answer your questions quickly and simply. On occasion, I will come to your office and help train your agents for a small fee plus expenses. The reality though is I really just enjoy helping people become successful. Good luck!

Mitch Ribak is a licensed Realtor with the The Mitch Ribak Real Estate Team for Tropical Realty of Suntree, Inc., in Florida. Real Estate for sale in Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Titusville, Cocoa FL, Melbourne Beach, Suntree, Viera, Brevard County.

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Comments

9 Comments on “Understanding Lead Capture and Conversion”

Barry Karch

Mitch, Very interesting article. We run our business similar to yours. Over half of our business now comes from the internet.

Rob McCance

Mitch:

I came into retail Real Estate after 15 years in EDA Software Sales. In the latter, lead capture, lead databases and lead follow-up are well refined and basically nothing new.

I was amazed to find how disorganized and non functional the vast majority of Real Estate Agents are.

Paying high costs to generate leads and basically ignoring them. Not one agent in the office I joined could tell me anything about any of their leads. Unreal.

Anyway, nice effort to try and educate as many as possible.

Rob in Atlanta

Isaac Bensussen

Mitch: I have been in the business for 31 years. I am kind of a dinosaur. I barely scratch the surface of new technology. Nevertheless, with the help of my daughter I have been working on our website. I have been subscribing to HomeGain, BizBuySell, Bizquest, Loopnet, Multiple Listing Service of San Diego and Real Estate Brokers Association of La Jolla. I send newsletters. I have been blogging also but I am lousy at lead conversion. I am a trusted realtor but my clientele dried out. I got distracted from Real Estate for 2 years and it’s hard to comeback. Can you give me some hints or help me out on lead conversion that seems to be your specialty? I really enjoyed reading your blog and believe has fabulous advice.

Isaac Bensussen
http://www.besthomesinlajolla.com

John Whittinghill

Good article, Mitch. I wouldn’t give up on the listings though, just be selective with the ones you do take. Another thing that I have found that buyers from the internet appreciate is, in your email asking for a good number to reach them, also identify with them and where they are coming from. If we were in their shoes we might be giving a wrong number as well until we felt like we had a Realtor with integrity, and not just someone only concerned with making a commission.

Renee Kolar

Great article Mitch. I am also surprised by agents who do not follow up on leads, how do they stay in business today?

I try to also capture a mailing address and I send out monthly newsletters including articles about our current real estate market.

Mark

Really nice article I found this while searching for improving conversion thanks for the tips.

battery

[...]I noticed that the other day. I don’t know what happened to them. I’d recommend going with CamStudio, which is essentially the same program.[...]

Jodi an Atlanta Ga Agent

Got a lot out of this article and am grappling with some of the issues you have mentioned. I get lots of leads but don’t convert many. I think I am giving away too much free info with my full access searches before they register.

Rob McCance

Since writing my last post here on Nov 10, 2007, I have put up two web sites and captured (and managed) over 2000 leads! The sites are nothing super fancy:

http://www.atlantarealestateinfo.com/
http://www.georgiarealtygrp.com/

I drive traffic to the first one via Adwords and the second one is now generating 50-100 unique per day on it’s own.

Every single lead is in a ACT! database and will be managed forever, or until the email starts bouncing, or the prospect asks to stop being bothered.

RM

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