In the real estate market, sales tactics grow stale quickly. Let’s say a team comes up with a new technique to reach customers. They begin to test it out and realize that it engages leads and increases revenue. You may think that the next step would be the creation of a real estate empire built on this tactic, with dozens of local competitors scratching their heads wondering how their business was stolen out from underneath their feet.
You would be incorrect.
Instead, what happens is that other teams notice the utility of the new tactic and are “inspired” to try something similar. The more people that try it and realize how powerful the new tactic really is, the more people will hear about it. Quickly, everyone is using the new tactic and there’s no longer a competitive advantage.
That’s why you need to always be trying out new things. You need to try new tactics, brainstorm new ways of communicating with leads, and carve out specialized niches that your competitors can’t steal. To begin with, you need to start instantly responding to leads as they come in.
Imagine that you aren’t in the real estate business and you’re looking for a home. You begin to search for local realtors and stumble across a couple that seem promising. Each of them has a form on their site to get in touch and you fill it out with the expectation that they’ll get back to you within the next one or two business days. You hit “Submit” on the forms, and within minutes you notice that your phone has a new message – one of the real estate teams has gotten in touch.
This is the scenario you’re aiming for with instant responses. The messages come in quickly, feel personal, and the person who is looking for information will remember your name. Not only were you the one that got in touch first, but you also provided meaningful information. Even if the other real estate teams get in touch, it’s almost certain that they’re always going to have a better impression of you than anyone else.
Let’s say that you’re in the checkout line at the grocery store and you overhear someone talking about how they’re looking for a realtor. They aren’t sure who to work with but they know they want to work with someone who knows the field inside and out, and who can get them the best deal. Now, you’re going to quickly join their conversation and explain that you’re a realtor, but even if you make the connection, you still have to quickly think on your feet to explain why they should work with you. This leaves your pitch open to last-minute mistakes and misstatements, with a good chance that the lead is lost.
This is true in-person and online. If you don’t have a pre-formulated reason people should work with you, you’re going to inevitably lose potential business. This becomes even more apparent when you want to respond quickly to inbound leads, and doubly so if you’re responding instantly.
When you begin to respond instantly to inbound leads, you’re forced to come up with one-line explanations for who you are, why you’re worth listening to, and why people should work with you. Having these responses pre-written is mandatory for an instant response system. However, they also have the added benefit of being useful in everyday situations – both with instant responses and in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Assume for a minute that people live busy lives – this shouldn’t be hard. Now, in the middle of a jam-packed schedule, a couple decides that they want to start looking for a new home. They set aside a good amount of money and they think they’re able to afford something a bit larger than before. They both have full-time jobs and need to take care of their kids, plus the 1000 other things that come up day-to-day, so they don’t have much spare time to devote to their real estate search in the beginning.
One day, they set aside 20 minutes to search for someone to work with and they stumble across your website. After filling out your lead capture form, they’re prepared to call it a night and come back to the search the next day. Hold on, though! Just when they’re about to leave, they get a message from your team with an ebook on the local real estate market. If you had manually sent it to them 10 minutes later it would have gotten stuck at the bottom of their crowded inbox, but now it’s at the top of their mind as they go on with their day. This immediate engagement means people will not only remember you, they’ll associate your name with their real estate search.
And the next night when they go back to researching the market? Your name will be the first that comes to mind.
Instant responses do not need to be immediate. Yes, the point of an instant response is to engage an inbound lead while they’re thinking about you. However, you want to make sure that people don’t think of you as an automated service. If they receive a long message from you within minutes of submitting a form, they’re going to know that you say the same thing to everyone.
Instead, wait a couple of minutes. Even waiting only three minutes can change people’s perception of how you’re treating them. Instead of thinking that you’re an automated service, people will realize that there’s a real person on the other end of this email that was kind enough to immediately get in touch. It’s a small change to how most instant responses are done, but it will make all the difference.
Getting the upper hand in a local real estate market is no small task. It requires constant innovation in communication with homebuyers and necessitates keeping a close eye on your competitors at all times. With so much time devoted to staying in business, you need to have systems in place that will automatically engage inbound leads. Sure, it won’t be foolproof, and yes, people may always prefer that high-touch manual outreach, but in spite of those shortcomings, it’s more important than ever to respond to leads quickly – almost immediately.