For today’s real estate pros, business comes from a wide variety of places, off- and online. For those not maximizing leads from the Web, a lot of prospective clients – and money – could be left smack dab in the middle of the table. For Galand Haas, operating principal of Keller Williams Realty Eugene and Springfield, in Oregon, and Lane Hornung, CEO and founder of 8z Real Estate in Boulder, Colo., and the co-founder of COhomefinder.com, appropriately capturing and managing Internet leads is the reason why they garner hundreds of added leads each and every month.
In the latest of RISMedia’s Agent Webinar Series entitled, “Spark Sales Success…Online!” and moderated by Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, Haas and Hornung informed attendees how their companies handle these valuable online leads and what systems they have in place to facilitate the process, all while sharing a few tips for how agents and brokerages can tackle the seemingly endless terrain called the Internet.
“There is no one source for Internet leads,” says Haas, whose companies pull in 250-300 buyer leads and 150-200 seller leads per month from the Web alone. Some of his business comes from pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ad Words, postcard campaigns, and plenty of other sources. Using a variety of systems such as Real Pro Systems and Client Creator, Haas is able to manage these leads and ensure that his agents have plenty of leads to work with.
“All of our systems work in similar ways, but we have adapted them differently and have them all funneling into one system,” he said.
With a conversion rate of 3 percent over the first 6 months, Haas is pulling in an exceptional monthly number that he says is a “reasonable number to attain.”
“If we can convert somewhere between 2-4 percent over that first 6 months, we feel like we’re really doing a good job.”
Haas then ran webinar attendees through what he believes to be the critical components of conversion. Exposure through PPC ads is a must. Consumers are out there, he says, but companies must market and obtain phone numbers, names and emails. “If you get those three components, you have a pretty good chance at converting that lead into real business. Phone numbers are essential. Having that ability to contact them and speak with them directly is a really important component in conversion.”
Thanks to the aforementioned systems Haas has in place, leads are dropped into a database and put into groups (buyers, sellers, etc.). Drip campaigns are then automated to auto-email leads which has been highly effective for Haas and his companies. That said, personal emails, phone calls and text messaging are still a crucial element, with Haas noting that “a personal touch is huge.”
“You’ve got to open up some sort of communication with that prospect. Get them to respond back so you can open up that conversation,” he said.
Haas doesn’t rest on PPC alone, however. He still uses weekly email blasts to update everyone in the database, hitting 15,000 people each week with information about what’s happening in the area or an informational news piece that someone purchasing a house may need to know. He also works in newspaper ads to his strategy, placing ads in the Sunday classifieds section, which pull in an additional 20-40 buyer leads every weekend. After everything is said and done, Haas says he spends around $4,000 a month, and the ROI is very strong.
Hornung has found similar success in navigating digital waters and was one of the earliest adopters of online lead generation. He remains a big fan of using Facebook ads, which allow him to get hyper-local and hyper-targeted. Out of 80,000 visits to his sites, 5 percent (4,000) become prospects, and 8-10 percent become referrals to agents (300-400 monthly leads).
Hornung said that online marketing is akin to online dating – “It’s all about the eye candy. Nobody reads text online. We work with Studio, out of Canada, to produce killer digital fliers and this attracts people. I don’t think too many Match.com profiles without photos are getting dates.”
Like Haas, Hornung believes phone numbers are key. Even if the number of people who sign up on the form decrease, the quality of leads you receive in the end will go up dramatically, along with your ability to convert them, he said.
BoomTown helps his company stay organized, allowing them to tackle large numbers and decipher between prospects they’ve spoken to and those they have not yet connected with. Users can slice and dice the database to pinpoint exactly the person or type of person they want. “The whole goal is to move from an online relationship to a real world relationship, so we can do what we’ve been doing in real estate forever – provide belly-to-belly service,” said Hornung.
Hornung offered some quick-tip advice for those looking to expand their online lead generation efforts:
-Consumers want help, so be the experienced professional you are and guide them through the process.
-There is never a better time to flex your market knowledge muscle – so do so!
-Don’t be passive or you run the risk of losing prospective clients.
-Let your consumers know that you’re ready to take charge and can drive the process.
-Add value and banish the “checking-in” calls by giving them something to ACT ON.
-Try to make eight touches in the first two weeks. “Be their REALTOR® until they tell you otherwise,” Hornung advised.
To hear more of Haas and Hornung’s time-tested methods and recommendations, listen to the webinar in full: