Many real estate agents complain about online consumers creating leads which contain bad information, leads which cannot be pursued, a.k.a. “bogus leads”.
This is no doubt the case a large percentage of the time. However, it seems that recognizing a “good” lead has become clouded by the expectation that online leads are all “bogus”. By this, I mean that, in many cases, when an agent receives a new internet lead, they already feel that it is not worth the effort to follow up.
Is this simply a case of recognizing what constitutes a good lead? How much consumer information is needed for a lead to be considered “good”? In our estimation and in keeping with online consumers’ behavior, only minimal information is required or should be demanded or expected. Most online consumers do not want to work hard to get to where they want to go.
Whether this is accessing the MLS on your website or requesting assistance with their current real estate situation, most consumers do not want to be forced to divulge too much information until they feel comfortable doing so. If you come away with the consumer’s name and a valid email address through the consumer’s first experience with you or your web site, that is all you really need to get started turning them into a “good” prospect.
During your first communication with them, you can further qualify them and get the answers to those questions which will help you turn them into a prospect which you can pursue. If the consumer is required to generate a lot of information, particularly personal information, they will tend to get frustrated and either not complete the process or provide “bogus” information.
So, to avoid this, just ask for minimal contact information on the first touch and then gather more information during subsequent communication with them.
Another important aspect of recognizing a good lead is to understand that most consumers are not ready to transact immediately or even in the very near future, As such, it is important to set your expectations properly. We all want closed transactions immediately; this is how agents get paid. However, this is unlikely for a variety of reasons and it is important not to get frustrated when a deal cannot close right away.
Even if a consumer wants to transact immediately, can they get credit? Will the lender accept a short sale offer? Will the title company insure title of a foreclosure. There are any number of things which can delay a transaction from closing.
This does not mean the prospect is bad or that they should not be pursued, but it does require patience and the proper expectations. It also requires a follow up system which should be as automated as possible. This will make it easier to stay in touch with longer term prospects and also keep your time free to pursue other business.
So, when you get a new internet lead, look it over and pursue every one that you can for as long as it takes to close it. Don’t worry about getting every bit of information from the consumer the first time they reach out to you. Happy prospecting!