Max the HomeGain gorilla arrived by mail over the weekend and we had a long discussion about lead management.
He carried on and on about orange being consumers’ favorite color, even tried to talk me into using an orange font color to write this, but one thing he said that really hit home is that consumers don’t like to be pushed.
It might seem odd that a gorilla is concerned about pushing, but he has a point.
I don’t like to be pushed.
From what I’ve learned about “systems” if you push the system to get what you want, the system pushes back, until you find the right leverage to get results. In this case, if an agent pushes his lead management system to get immediate results, the system pushes back.
Leads are set up to receive information and then, in their own time, act on that information and hopefully use your services. I believe consumers look at a company like HomeGain as an information-gathering tool.
The real estate agent might be looking at it as a business generating tool. The consumer, however, hasn’t committed to anything—they are requesting information.
If an agent misunderstands the system and pushes it for immediate results, the system the leads work within and understand differently might push back.
It seems to me an agent has to develop an understanding of the lead’s system, keeping in mind that no relationship has been built and no agreements made—the agent has to find leverage.
With my leads, I understand they have read my offer to give them information. They say, “Fine, give it to me.”
That doesn’t create an obligation on their part to do anything further. I then have to search for leverage, which is my added value in the process.
…Ok, I’ve sent you listings, now do you want to know what those listings mean in the context of the area? I can add value through interpretation. I have local knowledge and I can transfer that knowledge to you to help you make a fully informed decision…
…Dear Lead, Do you want to know the truth? I can add value by giving you facts, by making the process transparent. I can also narrow the search down to just those properties that suit your needs and I can email you new listings that come on the market so that you see them before even many of the agents in town see them. This will put you at an advantage to recognize good deals in real time…
Slowly, a relationship is built, yet it’s built on real stuff like good relationships should be built on—honesty, willingness to help, non-pushiness (I made up that word), understanding, sensitivity and response to needs, and so forth.
…Now that I know you have kids let me give you school information and take that into account when sending you personalized listings. By the way, how’s it going? Are the listings helpful? I just heard of a listing coming up that you’ll find interesting—I’ll get the information and send it to you this afternoon—it won’t come on the market for a couple of weeks, but I talked with the agent and…
…Dear Lead, So you’ll be coming into town next week. If you will, send me the listings you like the most and I’ll be glad to make showing appointments. Do you need recommendations of a place to stay? A new hotel just opened near the area you are interested in and…
By now, I’ve told them about the services I provide and I’ve shown them. Now we are both in the same system with the same understanding and I can ask to be the representing agent and make a formal or informal agreement.
To me, it’s all about timing and understanding the different points of the relationship, never assuming too much or demanding too much.
The time line would be shorter most likely working with someone who wants to list a home, but the principles of service and preparation and understanding the system are the same.
And each relationship is unique, which is the hard part.
There is no perfect formula to be applied across the board—the process will be a little different with each lead/prospect/client relationship developed.
That’s why pushing doesn’t work—it’s blind, it has no idea how it will be received and what the reaction will be. Openness, understanding, listening, getting a good feel for the unique situation with each lead, to me, are vital to establishing a good working relationship.
It’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding, in more ways than one—not only do you build a good reputation, but you feel good about what you do—this has been my experience.
A job well done—it’s a great feeling.