Real estate

Online real estate leads 101: How to respond

A person has to really, really want what’s being offered to willingly type their contact information in a website’s form. Throwing privacy to the wind isn’t something we Americans do without there being something in it for us.

Well, not adults anyway.

By the time a real estate consumer coughs up her contact information, she’s kicked the tires on other real estate websites. In fact, nearly 80 percent have visited at least three other websites before taking action on yours, according to the NAR.

This doesn’t mean she won’t keep surfing after filling out that form on your site, only that the ice was broken with you.

Will you jump in immediately or let the next agent answer her questions?

Please jump in – and soon

If you want to win the online-lead-lottery, you need to be a first-responder. After all, between 35 and 50 percent of sales go to the agent who responds the quickest.

How quick is quickest? Five minutes is the sweet spot for not only actually making contact with the online real estate lead but converting him or her as well.

Wait 30 minutes to respond and your chances of success with this particular online real estate lead shrink 21 percent.

Does anyone wait as long as five hours to get back to a query from an online real estate lead? If so, they deserve what they get—ghosted; the chance of reaching that lead dwindle 3,000 percent according to an older piece by Steve Olensky at

Even if you don’t reach the lead at the five-minute mark, keep trying, suggests Ani Stepanian with Mercer Vine.

“You will probably feel like you shouldn’t make that extra call or send that extra text, but it might make the difference between getting a deal and missing out on one,” Stepanian says at

Absolutely can’t reach out in person? Develop your funnel to reach out automatically when a lead fills in their information.

When you make the connection

Now is not the time to be shy, nor is it the time to come on too strong. Remember, this person initiated the conversation, so just introducing yourself and asking how you can help is the only ice-breaker you’ll need.

If you know which property the person is interested in, pull up the MLS listing so you have all the information you’ll need to answer questions.

Don’t forget to check its status. Yeah, that would suck if it was under contract but you didn’t notice until midway through the conversation with your new online real estate lead.

Overall, your job is to listen. But, do have a list of questions to ask when there’s a lull:

  • Do you currently own a home?
  • When do you need to move?
  • Have you spoken with a lender for mortgage preapproval?
  • Are there other neighborhoods you’re interested in as well as this one?

Ask for permission to text new listings and don’t forget to offer a CMA if he or she is a current homeowner.

It’s conversion time

Nope, we promise, we aren’t going to get all religious on you here. This is about converting that online real estate lead to a prospect and then, a client.

Depending on where the lead is in the purchase/sales process, this could take some time. “The average incubation period on an internet lead is 6 to 24 months,” according to real estate trainer and coach, Kevin Ward.

So, summon up some patience and use the “incubation” time to build rapport with your new online real estate lead. While emailing or texting them new listings is one way to help with rapport-building, Ward suggests another strategy.

“First, email them 2 times a month, once with a market update and once a month with your ‘Featured Listings of the Month.’  Second, call them once a month just to touch base and stay in touch with them until they’re ready to move.”

That old “know, like and trust” thingy is far more than just a reminder about how to get people to work with you. It’s a process, according to Joe Sesso, national speaker for

“Getting to the ‘know’ stage is essential in the lead conversion process,” he suggests. “Prospects must know you because, when they do, they’re more likely to like you … when your clients trust you, advice has greater weight and the sales process goes more smoothly.”

Sesso offers up 10 tips to take you through the rapport-building process, at

Generate more leads with these 53 lead gen tactics – plus 1 secret that will blow your mind!

The five-minute follow-up strategy you NEED to incorporate into your business:


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