Day 12

If you attended the Tech Summit a couple of weeks ago, you’re working through the “11 Days to a Great Website.”  It’s a nifty doc that gives step by step instructions on how to customize and optimize your new Help-U-Sell website in 30 minutes to an hour a day over an eleven day period.  I just saw a real estate news story that made me realize there’s a 12th day.

RISMedia, in an article about declining consumer confidence in REALTORS, mentioned that 50% of Internet leads are NOT responded to . . . ever.   For those that get a response, the average time is 54 hours.  54 hours!  Yet, over and over, we read that a quick response is essential to successfully converting a web lead.

That’s a huge opportunity gap.  The entire industry is failing here and you can distinguish yourself and garner more business if you’re willing to devote 30 minutes today to systematizing your response to website leads.

First, understand how your website leads come about.  On your various websites — certainly on your new Help-U-Sell office site — consumers are given a number of ways in which to contact you.  These include:

  • Asking for more information on a property
  • Signing up for ‘First to Know’
  • Filling in the ‘Contact the Agent’ form
  • Registering and/or saving a property

In these cases, the leads come to you via email.  That’s fine, but you’re inundated with email and often don’t scan your messages well enough to see the leads;  you also have a spam filter that can toss almost anything into a black hole in your email client (i.e. Outlook);  and you’re rarely sitting in your office in front of your computer when leads come in anyway.

Here’s how to take control of that.  Go to each website that produces leads for you and act like a consumer.  Create a fake lead for yourself every way that you can create one on each website.  Then go to your email client and get your mail.  Where did the leads go?  Into your spam box?  Then adjust your spam filter to always allow these messages to go to your Inbox.  What do the subject lines look like?  How will you recognize similar messages as leads when they hit your Inbox?  Is there something in the subject line or in the ‘From’ address that is unique enough to permit you to create a rule that puts these kinds of messages into their own new folder in your email client?

Finally, and this is MOST important: How will you get these messages when you are out and about?  At this moment, the best solution is to have a Smart Phone and to configure it to get your mail frequently.  That’s easy with the Blackberry:  it is constantly connected to your email server and receives messages within moments of them being sent.  Other phones can be configured to get your mail regularly and frequently.  If you can catch that website lead on your phone and then get back to them within minutes of their request, you will be way ahead in converting it.  Your task is to call your moblie phone provider and find out how to configure your phone for this purpose.

Once that’s done, it’s time to think about how you will respond.  If you get a phone number, you’re going to want to call back immediately — but what ‘Item of Value’ will you be offering to enable you to continue the conversation with this lead?  If you only get an email address, what standard response can you craft now for use with these leads, and how will you quickly personalize it every time you send it?

This is not the new frontier, folks.  It’s today’s reality.  We’re going to have to take control of it if we are going to survive and thrive.

(On a completely unrelated topic — well, not completely, I guess — check out this great review of the new Help-U-Sell Mobi website, optimized for mobile phones.)

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