As the President of a company who specializes in helping agents capture customers online, one of the things that troubles me is hearing agents say, “Internet leads are ‘bad leads’.” In fact, it bothered me so much that we commissioned our customer service department to actually conduct a survey. Here’s how it went.
First we looked at the statistical buying cycle for the real estate customer. The average search time is 8 weeks. In other words, 50% search longer than 56 days and 50% search 56 days or less. Now based on a “normal” distribution, that means that 99.9% of all real estate customers search less than 170 days. So why does that matter? Here’s why.
Our company helps our agents capture roughly 30,000 leads every month so we thought we would take a large sample of those leads that were 6 months old (in other words, old enough to be statistically finished searching) and we would call them back to find out whether they had ultimately purchased a home. The results are going to amaze you.
Here is what we learned from our survey:
- 18.4% of all the leads produced were either bogus or duplicate.
- 9.1% gave fictitious information like Mickey Mouse, email@example.com, 555-555-5555 (bogus leads).
- 9.4% had registered previously on our website (duplicate leads).
- 74% of all the leads had closed on or were pending closing on their new homes!
We were astounded! The problem wasn’t the leads. It was the agents. So why the huge disconnect between perception and reality? Here is what we ultimately determined.
Internet leads typically come across our radar screens during Phase 1 of the buying cycle, where traditional marketing brings customers to us much later in the cycle, during Phase 2. So it’s crucial for an agent to understand that the techniques used in Phase 1 are vastly different than those you would use during Phase 2.
Think of golfing. You wouldn’t even consider using the same club to putt with that you used to drive the fairway. In the same way, the techniques you use in working with your Internet clients had better be vastly different than those you use working customers coming through traditional marketing.
Over the last four years I’ve written extensively on the subject so check out my blog and read some of those articles if you’d like to dig a little deeper.
But for now, when you find yourself having difficulty working with customers that come from your website, don’t think for an instant that the problem is the lead quality. It’s not. Our coaching staff has found that it is almost always the approach the agent is taking.
Here is the good news: It’s pretty easy to learn how to work this new type of lead. So take the time to master a new skill and you will have a huge advantage over most of the other “old-school” agents in your market. Internet leads are NOT bad leads! And that’s my quick answer.