LeadTrax was developed in 2003 as a solution to help real estate brokers collect, assign, follow-up, and convert internet leads generated through various online lead sources. In fifteen years since we first launched, the real estate industry has seen a lot of changes, but the same internet lead conversion and management issues persist. However, with solid strategies and flexible software real estate companies can implement a successful lead management program for their company.
The fact of the matter is virtually all home buying is going to start online. With that, there are a massive amount of inquiries, questions, spam, and other types of contact forms submitted that a real estate company must sift through on a daily basis to find leads that may turn into a customer. The central challenges become:
- how does a real estate broker follow-up with every lead within minutes of receiving a request?
- how much effort should a broker invest in staff, technology, and training to develop a strategy that will be profitable?
- how is success measured?
- A lead may take up to three years or more to convert. Is it feasible for a broker to be able to collect a referral fee on a lead that was assigned to an agent several years ago?
It may seem like a lost cause. No matter the strategy taken, the technology used, and the staffing thrown at the problem, it is a never-ending game of catch up for what seemingly amounts to a few referral dollars collected from an agent if the process works somewhat smoothly.
Below are a few strategies that real estate brokers playing the lead management game can implement based on the challenges listed above.
The Passive Strategy: The passive strategy means leads are sent directly to agents and those agents are not held accountable in any way for following up. If there is a closing from a lead generated from an online form, no one will ever really know, nor does anyone even care to know. Now, the methods of distributing leads can range from rudimentary (manual forwarding of emails), to somewhat sophisticated (automated round robin via software). The majority of real estate companies find themselves in this situation, being passive in their tracking and follow-up of the leads generated, and it is understandable why.
The All-In Strategy: What this means is that everything is tracked and continuously monitored for improvements. Continuous monitoring takes a tremendous amount of effort, in some cases staffing, and most definitely sophisticated technology. When done correctly the All-In strategy can be very profitable. The goal is to follow-up with leads immediately (usually within five minutes of form submission). Whether it is an agent (usually a designated "E-Team" agent) or a customer service representative, someone is responding within minutes. After a lead gets placed with an agent, follow-ups are required to ensure the lead is nurtured through the sales process. When the lead closes, there is a referral fee that the broker collects. As stated above, when done well, it can be a lucrative program for a brokerage.
The Hybrid Strategy: The hybrid strategy is a mix of the "passive" and "all-in strategies." It uses elements of the "all-in strategy" to track leads and assignments, yet doesn't go all the way in tracking every follow-up and closing. How do real estate companies monetize leads when using this strategy? A simple way is by charging a small fee ($5 for example) for each lead assigned, whether that lead closes or not. The Broker makes some money off of their lead generation efforts, the agent receives referrals they otherwise wouldn't have, and if a closing occurs, the agent doesn't have to pay a hefty referral to the broker. The hybrid strategy still requires software to handle lead collection and distribution; however, a broker reduces the time and effort of tracking leads from acquisition to close and collecting referral fees.