4 Secrets to Online Leads Becoming Your Buddies
One out of 10. One out of 25. Those numbers make me sad when I ask agents and brokers how many of their online leads convert to clients and closings. When I hear such staggering statistics, my first encouragement is to “close the back door”.
What is the real estate professional’s “back door”? Many times we spend a hefty amount getting people to become aware of us by liking our social media pages, viewing our listings, reading our blogs, subscribing to our emails lists and the like - that’s great because we are getting people into the “front door” of our businesses. But, too often we have left the “back door” open for them to leave and disconnect from our services and offerings. The “back door” is left open by not befriending (nurturing, engaging, following up - whatever term you call it) with the interested person.
Imagine going to an opening party for an art gallery where you do not really know anyone. You hesitantly enter and look around for someone to connect to. You walk around and see an eye-catching image or an informative write-up that holds your interest for a few minutes here and there. But no one, particularly the hostess, actually invites you to join a conversation. You continue to meander through the exhibit without any meaningful connection and you spot the most intriguing aspect of the exhibit, an open back door. You quietly, unnoticed by the hostess, escape, appreciating what was on display but not purchasing any art because you never made a connection with the hostess.
Guess what? That may be exactly how online leads feel when they visit your websites and social media pages. You have interesting things for them to view and read but YOU have not made an unique, personal connection to the site visitor. And as quiet as it is kept, the difference between working with a REALTOR and just a website is the human connection factor. Zillow and the other guys’ websites cannot currently rival specific, personalized attention from a real estate professional - you!
So how can you “close the back door” and turn your online leads into comrades that know, like, and trust you enough to use your realty services?
SHARE informative, engaging content about real estate (including your listings and positive reviews), life, and community. Share what actually gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. If you put on your consumer’s hat, would you think the post was relevant? Or, does it at the least bring a smile to your face? If the answer is “no”, then do not pass Go! Return to brainstorming and try again.
Use Buffer, Edgar, Hootsuite (my least favorite but too each his own) and other automation apps to help you share consistently on your social media sites. Use Sniply each time you post using other people’s content in order for your information to show up and not be lost in third-party content.
SERVE your audience. You can serve your audience by offering valuable downloads and other deliverables that can make the home-buying or selling process easier. For example, you can offer a downloadable guide that identifies all of the new home communities under construction in your area along with the builder perks that are being offered. Or, you could host an online webinar for veterans selling their home, those relocating to your area, or any other topic relevant to your ideal targeted client. Use Hellobar, AddThis.com, and other similar website plugins to ensure that you get contact information in exchange for the valuable resources you provide at no fee.
CELEBRATE their successes. Social media relationships are a two-way street. If it is all about you and your great business, then you may not make as many friends as you hoped. My favorite thing to do is to use the Facebook birthday and other special moment alerts to send my online contacts an email, text message or physical greeting card in the mail (depending on their contact information that you have) using the JustWink mobile app. This sets you apart from the myriad of other people and agents that simply post to their page. Also, if you use the Hello by Facebook mobile phone app, you can now call any of your contacts that have a Facebook phone number, even if that contact never actually gave you their phone number in the past - what a great loophole that allows you to make a very personal connection in celebration of a special day.
INVITE your online buddies to meet you in person. Have lunch, grab coffee, do an informal training, host a homebuying seminar, and whatever else you can think to do. Based on your personality, you may do better with one-on-one meetings as opposed to group settings - do you! Check out Calendly or Assistant.to (for the email addresses you have) to make scheduling face-to-face meetings easy. But be safe by using apps like bSafe.