top of mind
The Silent Treatment
There’s no excuse for ignoring online leads. If you don’t have time
to follow up, you don’t have time to be in real estate.
“It took a year, but we got there in the
end.” That’s what one agent told me recently when she and I were talking about
her clients who had just bought their first
home after house hunting for 12 months.
Not only was the agent ecstatic that her
clients had finally found a home, but, as
she said to me, she now had clients for
life. After sticking with them through the
entire process, she knew she had won
their loyalty for any future home purchases they may make—and they would
also be a great pipeline for referrals for
years to come.
How did she tap into such a strong
reservoir of income potential? The clients
came to her as an online lead through a
real estate search website. They were the
exact kind of lead too many agents ignore.
It’s not just agents in my MLS footprint
that let this potential go to waste. In a
recent study by the WAV Group, researchers posed as buyers on several
major real estate portals and tracked the
response rate for all their e-mail queries.
The results were staggering: For 384
brokers across 11 states, the researchers
found that 48 percent of buyer leads did
not receive a response. This projects out
to thousands of buyers who are trying to
interact with our industry and receiving
the silent treatment.
We need to do better than this. It
isn’t simply a question of following up
on leads so that they can be converted
into a sale—though I will be the first to
agree how important that is. (Read more
about effective lead conversion on pages
34–35.) It’s also about maintaining our
credibility as professionals who provide a
When agents rightfully point out that
some of the e-mails they receive via
online contact pages are not from serious
buyers, that fact brings to mind the Internet concept of the “long tail.” Not every
article or Web page is going to receive
heavy traffic all the time, but that doesn’t
mean the steady flow of visitors over an
extended period of time doesn’t matter.
The same principle applies to following up on e-mail queries. Many of those
phone calls won’t directly translate to
a large payoff, but cumulatively, they
garner an agent a deep well of goodwill
that will inevitably generate a return on
investment over the course of their career. Furthermore, whenever people are
looking for an agent, they almost always
ask their friends and family for referrals.
The agents who take the time to respond
to an e-mail query are the ones whose
names get passed around. Following up
with leads makes a difference more often
than it doesn’t, even if it takes a while to
Perhaps the best payoff from a
follow-up call is the opportunity it gives
agents to demonstrate that, unlike third-party aggregate sites, they are the only
reliable source for up-to-date information
about the properties. A lot of information
on third-party sites is outdated. Even if
the consumer has sent an e-mail about
a home that has already gone under
contract, it’s well worth an agent’s time
to respond with a list of other homes
that fit the same criteria. That shows the
consumer the value of working with a real
person who is in the know about what is
Landing clients in real estate has
always been a numbers game; that hasn’t
changed. The only difference is what
the playing field looks like. A five-minute
phone call allows you to show your
knowledge of what is on the market right
now, and it demonstrates that you are a
responsive professional who cares about
the client. That is, and will always be,
what real estate is about.
Andrew Strauch is the vice
president of product innovation and marketing for MRIS,
a leading mid-Atlantic MLS.
Note: Opinions expressed in “Commentary” do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine.
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The agents who take the time to respond to
an e-mail query are the ones whose names get