It’s a typical day in the real estate office, meaning it’s not typical at all. There is a never-ending list of varied tasks and responsibilities to take care of, waiting for you to jump into. You dive into your emails responding to the underwriter from the mortgage company that’s jeopardizing your deal closing in two weeks. Another email begs your attention containing an appraisal that came back for less than sales price. You start making contacts to renegotiate the contract based on the appraised value.
Suddenly you get a ping notifying you of an internet lead that has just come in. You think to yourself, “It’s probably just another overzealous homebuyer who’s watched too many episodes of HGTV and isn’t serious about buying for another year. They can wait to be called back later, right!?” Wrong! Research has shown that contacting internet leads as soon as possible is critical to retaining the lead and growing your business. Even if the entire process takes a year from your initial phone call until closing on a home, contacting a lead within the first 5 minutes after input will assure that you are the agent these buyers work with.
Changes in Acquiring Internet Leads
Real estate internet lead conversion has seen tumultuous activity over the past decade. In 2007, online leads accounted for one-third of home sales. Real estate teams were seeing a 38% return on investment from internet leads. By 2015, internet leads took a drastic turn resulting in only .5% of sales. Most real estate teams were losing money on their investment for acquiring internet leads.
Why is there such a drastic difference in such a short period of time? Especially during a timeframe when internet usage is higher than ever? The internet and social media have made it so that consumers have access to anything at their fingertips allowing buyers to get recommendations on what realtors to work with. Combine that with a competitive market saturated with qualified agents whose websites and bylines all look the same. Suddenly, there’s a situation that makes it seem impossible to obtain a lasting client through the internet.
With the decrease in activity from internet leads, making the most of each lead acquired is integral. The good news is that with the proper lead conversion strategy, you can see a return on investment up to 300%. The first step is by focusing on your lead response time.
The Ideal Lead Response Time
The research continually shows that the optimal time to contact a new lead is within 5 minutes of input. Industry leaders such as Brian Icenhower have substantiated this research. Any leads that are left for longer than 5 minutes see a decrease in 80% for lead qualification.
An estimated 78% of buyers work with the first agent they speak to. That is a significant number and a great opportunity to earn a client’s trust and business. If a buyer puts in online inquiries with 3 different real estate agents, be the first one to contact them. Make a call within the first 5 minutes of their inquiry to guarantee that you’re the first respondent. Waiting even 15 minutes can make you lose the opportunity of earning their business.
Why Lead Response Time Must Be 5 Minutes or Less
There are many factors that go into needing to contact internet leads within 5 minutes or less.
Here are some of the factors:
- Buyers are available. A client is likely still near their phone and ready for a call within 5 minutes.
- Each minute that passes drastically lowers your chances or making contact. 30 minutes after submitting an inquiry, buyers are 100 times less likely to be available to take a call.
- Responding to leads within 5 minutes yields a 900% increase in contact rate.
- The average website visitor stays on a site for no longer than five and a half minutes. After those 5 minutes, their attention has moved elsewhere.
- You are a resource meeting their real estate needs when you contact them within 5 minutes. After that, you are an interruption in their day.
- 78% of buyers choose to work with the first respondent. Calling within 5 minutes will give you a competitive edge of being the first realtor they’ve spoken with.
If a 20 minute phone call today assured that you’d receive a commission check for $8,000 six months from now, wouldn’t you want to make it? The good news is that you can hire an inside sales agent who will make sure your lead response time is always within 5 minutes. You can keep working on the other pertinent tasks that need your attention immediately, such as saving financing on a contract or challenging an undervalued appraisal, all while an industry professional assures that your business continues to grow for the future.