The first rule in converting online buyer leads is: “Don’t wait.” Don’t put off calling until you’ve finished the market analysis you’re working on, or until after lunch. Studies show that your best success will come when you can reach those people within 5 minutes of their initial inquiry.
When you call, keep in mind that this is not a “cold call.” These people have indicated an interest. Whether that interest is idle curiosity, wishful thinking, or the qualified intent to purchase a home is something you’ll determine when talking with them.
So just call. Tell them you see that they’re interested in homes in a certain area or price range, and offer your assistance.
Since at least some of those people will already be working with an agent, and since they might answer a yes or no question falsely in order to “pick your brain,” ask the question in a different way. Instead of “Are you working with a buyer’s agent?” say “Who is your buyer’s agent?” If they say they don’t have one, move forward.
Ask qualifying questions that can’t be answered with a yes or a no. For instance:
- How long have you been searching?
- How soon do you plan to purchase?
- Why are you moving?
- What other areas interest you?
What’s the most important feature of the home you’ll eventually choose? Mention things like proximity to work, school district, size, views, special features, etc.
Most people love to talk about themselves, so let them. And pay attention to what they say – you’ll get clues about motivation, you’ll learn whether they’re realistic about current market conditions, and you’ll determine whether those buyers are a good match for you.
Always take good notes. They’ll help and protect you, and if you end up working together, your prospects will think you’re a genius when you “remember” something that they told you a month earlier.
If the answer is yes – they’re motivated, realistic, and a good fit – go for the meeting. Again, try to avoid the yes and no question.
Instead of asking if they’d like to meet, or even when they’d like to meet, offer up some choices. Tell them you can do a much better job for them once you’ve sat down and gone over their wants and needs. Then say something along the lines of “Would you prefer to meet on Thursday evening, or would Saturday morning be better for you?” If they’re interested and those times don’t work, they’ll come up with their own suggestions.
Does this take a little time? Yes, of course, but it’s time well spent. By being friendly and letting them talk you’ll be building rapport with them and encouraging them to trust you. You’ll also be learning things that will help you later.
What if they’re not ready to meet and begin looking seriously?
First, offer to set up a more complete automated MLS search than they can do online. Then tell them you have some other things that they’ll find useful, such as a great checklist they can use in determining what is really important in their next home, and you’ll be pleased to send them.
Then get their email address and begin drip marketing with the checklist, market reports, and buyer tips.
If they’re “just looking” now but will be ready in a month or two, tell them you’ll stay in touch and will call back on a certain date. Then do it.