Speed of Response and Contact Rates
Internet leads die a quick death. Based on data from a MIT Study, the odds of contacting a lead after 5 minutes, versus 30 minutes, drops by 100 times. In fact, from just 5 minutes to 10 minutes the odds decrease by 5 times.
Here is really good information on lead conversion. This is the solo agents Achilles heel. A Solo agent handles all the details, scheduling showings, showing homes etc... So they cannot possibly respond to leads within minutes consistently. Besides the actual hard cost of the leads, the opportunity cost is a lot greater.
So what are some of the solutions?
A smart phone is a must! If you receive a lead, you should tap the number and hit call. Even if you just say hi, I am not able to talk right now, but I will call back soon.
According to National Association of Realtors about 2/3rds of buyers and sellers interview one agent. I am sure other industries are pretty similar. So basically the first one to the table gets 2 out of 3.
The next thing I recommend is carrying your top ten leads around on paper. Yes you heard me right, the geek said on paper. Call them whenever you have free moments. For example you show up ten minutes early for an appointment and the appointment text and says they will be ten minutes late. Make calls!!!
Another thing, do not leave voice mails. I am convinced that no one listens to them, besides if you call someone three times in two to three days without leaving a message, they will call you back.
Sphere of Influence or Center of Influence SOI or COI
This is probably the most underworked target in the industry. These are people that already know you, trust you and hopefully like you.
According to the research that went into the book the Millionaire Real Estate Agent the return from marketing to your SOI is 12:2. For every 12 people marketed to you can expect 2 transactions per year, one referral and one transaction.
Now the amount of deals doesn't appear in a few marketing pieces. It takes a good 12-18 months before you see consistency, however you can see results earlier, but for consistent results it takes a while. But this group has the highest rate of return, 12:2 or 6:1. Even if you hit 60 - 75% of that, times it by your average commission and see what that is.
The question is what and when do you market to them. I use post cards because of their ease to produce. Letters and newsletters have too many steps. Letters you have to print the letter, have it folded, stuff it, seal it, either put labels and stamps or at least mail merge to the envelope. Same with a newsletter, they have to be folded twice, sealed a certain way...
How often should you send them something? Well according to the Millionaire Real Estate Agent or MREA, 33 times per year. At first I thought that was way too much. But it really is just a matter of two monthly pieces consistently and some fillers. If you are marketing to a married couple they each have a birthday and an anniversary, throw in a couple more things and call them 4 times per year and you are there in no time flat.
Then there is your core or advocate group whatever you want to call them is up to you, just identify who they are and work them. Now you work them a little differently. This is the group you can call and ask them for help.
The program goes something like this. Hi, how is it going? Let's get together for coffee, or whatever... When you meet them do a little hanging out, use the F.O.R.D. method Family, Occupation, Recreation Dreams... How's the family, how's work, what did you do this summer? Then you have to ask them for a favor, ask them if they would be willing to commit to sending you a referral in the next 12 months. If they say no, then they were never qualified. So I am assuming it is a yes, and then you must ask if you can follow up to see if they have any one.
After the meeting send them a handwritten thank you card thanking them for meeting with you and for their willingness to help you. Then follow up monthly.