As a real estate agent or team leader, you do it all.
You help couples find their dream home. You help individuals transition into a new season of life. You give families the comfort and stability of owning their space.
You’re basically a superhero. (It’s okay — you can own it!)
But behind the scenes, running a real estate business isn’t quite as flashy as a Marvel movie.
Finding the right leads and keeping hundreds or even thousands of prospective buyers and sellers organized can be a beast all its own.
Ensuring the right communication cadence. Offering value to prospective buyers. Personalizing your message. Making sure no lead slips through the cracks.
Faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of staying on top of it all, it can be easy to blame the quality of the leads, jump around between multiple different lead sources, or worst of all — do nothing.
But no superhero does it alone. And you shouldn’t either.
Heroes have support systems of dependable sidekicks (think: Batman’s Robin) and of course, trusted tech (where would Iron Man be without his suit?).
The right lead management system is both of those things in one and can even feel like an extension of your team. Having a consistent, bulletproof lead management process lets you stay on top of your leads and keeps you and your team accountable.
That way, you can do what you do best: save the day.
Table of contents
- What is lead management? And why it’s crucial for a winning real estate business
- Is your lead management process effective? 5 key questions to consider
- 7 steps to an effective real estate lead management process
- Managing your real estate leads doesn’t have to be complicated
What is lead management? And why it’s crucial for a winning real estate business
Most marketing and sales experts define lead management as:
"The process of identifying, tracking and organizing prospective customers."
Sounds simple enough, right? That, however, is the old-school approach.
If you really want to stand out among the many other agents, brands and just general noise coming at your prospects, you’ll need to elevate your lead management process, align your marketing and sales efforts and create a cohesive experience for every lead in your database.
With that in mind, here’s a more modern definition of lead management:
"Lead management is the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, and qualifying and nurturing them by offering valuable insights and information until they are ready to convert.”
Today’s real estate customers are better informed than ever before. They’re skeptical and savvy enough to utilize a variety of research methods throughout their journey. Your job is to make sure you’re providing the right answers at the right moment to offer maximum value along the way.
Why have a set system for managing your real estate leads?
In short, because every lead counts.
The potential lifetime value of even a single lead can’t be overstated. According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 68% of sellers either found their agent through a referral or used an agent they had worked with before.
So with a set lead management process, you’re not just staying on top of your leads. You’re building the foundation for a relationship with buyers and sellers (and anyone they might refer to you) that could last for decades to come.
Being a real estate agent in the information age also means it’s more important than ever to get ahead of your prospects’ questions, doubts and concerns.
A rock-solid lead management system puts your sales strategy on autopilot and helps you know the exact steps to take in order to close more deals.
In the same report, NAR noted that 73% of buyers spoke to just one real estate agent during their home search. Having an airtight lead management system in place lets you be the first (and often only!) one to connect with your leads.
Think about how powerful that is:
How many more deals could you close if you and your agents always knew who to call, email or text next, without ever having to stop and think about it?
How much more productive could you be if you and everyone on your team knew exactly what they needed to do every day to bring in more deals?
Because let’s face it: the email, spreadsheet, or multiple-CRM method just isn’t efficient.
Too often, agents try to overcompensate for the holes in their lead management process by spending more money to bring in more leads. But why not get more ROI on every prospect, by nurturing the leads you already have more effectively?
That’s where a lead management system comes in and helps you and your team thrive.
Is your lead management process cutting it? 5 key questions to consider
Ultimately, the only way to know with 100% certainty whether or not your lead management process is effective is to take a good hard look at your conversion rate.
But if you’re reading this, you probably have a hunch there’s more you could be doing.
Here are five core questions to help you assess the current state of your real estate lead management process. Answer these to identify any roadblocks or bottlenecks preventing you from converting more deals.
1. Does your lead management system instantly capture and organize incoming leads?
Let’s face it, you can't follow up with leads you can’t find.
If you're hunting down real estate leads from your website, social media and various email accounts, you're bound to miss something. An effective lead management process starts with funneling all of your leads into one central command center.
2. Can you route the right leads to the right agents?
You don’t want to send a high volume of leads to agents who aren’t keeping up with their current lead flow, or assign high-priority leads to brand new agents. Your lead management process should automatically route leads to your agents based on internally-defined criteria that make sense for your team.
For example, you could distribute leads geographically by zip code, send leads from a listing to the listing agent and give your senior agents leads in higher price point neighborhoods.
3. Does your system keep your lead profiles up-to-date?
You and your agents have better things to do than spend the day entering names and email addresses into an Excel spreadsheet.
If you’re using a CRM to track your real estate leads, make sure it enables you to automatically populate a lead's profile with publicly available information such as job title, company name, and relevant social media profiles.
And of course, you need to be notified immediately any time a lead responds to one of your voicemails, emails or text messages.
4. Can you qualify leads based on profile and behavior?
Ideally, your lead management system should also be able to track and share insights around your leads' behavior on your website — what properties they viewed, links they clicked, resources they downloaded, etc.
Many sales CRMs include overly complex lead scoring features that are supposed to help you rank the prospects most likely to purchase. But when fancy tech functionality starts to override actual human focus — it can have a negative impact on your productivity.
If you’re in the market for real estate lead management software, look for a platform that marries lead behavior with agent action.
For example, at Follow Up Boss we use our built-in Pixel to track lead behavior combined with Smart Lists to help users instantly filter and organize over 100,000 leads so you and your agents always know who to call first.
“People complain about online leads all the time. They buy them but they have no system for converting them. That’s like buying a Mercedes and not having enough for gas.”
5. Does your lead management system empower you to convert more deals?
Every agent under the sun can relate to the tug-of-war between time-saving real estate automation and relationship-building personalization.
Your lead management process can help balance the two, meeting your prospects with what they need throughout their journey.
Spotted a website visitor who’s still in the research phase and not yet sales-ready? That’s okay!
Automate an email drip campaign that builds a relationship over time.
Noticing some website activity from a potential buyer who’s getting warmer? Maybe it’s time for that extra personalized outreach or video email.
Remember, people buy from people. And your lead management system is your right-hand tech partner that helps keep you connected to your prospects every step of the way.
7 steps to an effective real estate lead management process
Now that you’ve taken a good look at your current lead management system, it’s time to start tightening the screws.
Here’s how to set up a truly efficient — and 100% conversion-focused — lead management process in just seven steps.
Step 1. Get all your leads flowing into one central place
Before you do anything else, take a step back and look at your current lead sources.
If you’re like most agents or team leaders, you’ll have leads coming in from many different places. To close more leads in less time, you need to be able to automatically streamline all your new leads into one central location.
In Follow Up Boss, you can easily import your leads from your email account or favorite lead providers such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
But remember, a lead coming in from your real estate website will probably have very different needs than a lead coming in from an MLS site. So why should they get the same follow up?
Organize your leads via lead source or type — e.g., New leads, Website, Past Clients, Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, Sellers, Buyers, Renters, etc.
Then, you’re ready to set up customized, automated follow up campaigns for each unique source.
In Follow Up Boss, we use simple action plans preloaded with proven (yet fully customizable) high-conversion scripts. Action plans integrate all your latest communication with leads so you never send an awkward or out-of-context follow up.
Check out our recommended Action Plans!
Step 2. Collaborate with your team
Even the sharpest lead management tool is useless if the people on your team don’t use it.
Before you do anything else, get every member of your real estate team set up on your system.
At Follow Up Boss, we divide users into three core types: Admin, Agent and Lenders.
- Admin—This user has access to all users in the database and can control most core functions, such as lead flow.
- Agent—Only sees leads that are assigned to them. Agents can’t modify core functions, but they can add their own leads and email templates.
- Lender—Makes it easy to give your lender all the info on a lead, without having to take precious time out of your day to type out lengthy emails.
Even if you’re pretty good at manually forwarding leads to your team, you can bet that more than a few of those leads are falling through the cracks.
By creating a central place to connect your agents’ work emails, you make sure no lead gets lost in the shuffle. Plus, you can also see all your agents’ conversations with leads in real-time.
In Follow Up Boss, even if they do nothing else inside the system, you’ll be able to see how and when your agents are following up with leads and enable them to pass the baton to another team member with a simple click or @mention.
Increase conversions with collaboration tools like Team Inbox.
Another way to save yourself and your team a ton of time is to attach important documents (in any format) directly to a lead’s profile.
Instead of digging through your inbox or jumping back and forth from different folders and CRMs, you can keep everything you need right where you need it. You can also add important notes and details directly on a prospect’s profile to make sure your next follow up is genuinely helpful and relevant.
Step 3. Qualify and categorize your buyer leads
Once a lead crosses your path, don’t just set and forget your communication with them.
You first need to qualify the prospect by understanding where they are on their journey.
Ask questions to learn how soon they’re looking to buy and what kind of property they’re looking for. How many homes have they toured? Have they been pre-approved by a lender? These answers will shape your knowledge of the prospective buyer.
From there, you can determine whether the prospect needs immediate attention, more information to shape their research process, or simply a light introduction and updates that contribute to a stronger relationship over time.
Wherever your prospect stands, having a clear picture of their unique needs allows you to segment and schedule relevant touchpoints with them.
With the right lead management process, you can even stay attuned to their activity over time and be the first to know when they’re ready to take their home search to the next level.
In Follow Up Boss, we use Pixel for detailed tracking minus the headache of complicated lead scoring formulas. With a simple pixel, you always know what campaign a lead came from, which listings they viewed and when they’re ready to make a move.
Step 4. Automate your follow ups
While there are a ton of ultra-sophisticated ways you can segment your leads, a simple, focused approach typically brings the best results.
In Follow Up Boss, you can automate an instant text to new leads who are viewing a property on a portal site on the agent’s behalf. This text alone will bring in a 50-70% response rate for your agents.
And if the prospect doesn’t reply? The system will automatically send email follow ups without the agent having to stop and think about it. When a lead responds, the follow up will automatically pause so you never risk sending irrelevant text or email to your leads.
And automation isn’t just for staying on top of your hottest prospects either. The right lead management system can also help you automatically re-engage stale leads by keeping you in contact with long-term buyers and reconnecting you to leads when the trail has gone cold.
The bottom line? A great lead management system is one that will help you make sure everyone on your list — no matter where they came from or what their buying timeline is — thinks of your name first when it’s time to buy or sell their home.
Check out more Automations for Nurturing your Leads!
Step 5. Make sure no lead falls through the cracks
Stellar lead management ensures that you and your team never lose a single lead.
Using smart lists, you and your agents will always know which leads to call, without having to waste time on manually updating a spreadsheet.
You can easily set up a smart list to filter for any type of lead in your database, including active leads, new leads and past clients. You can even set up a customized list just for your Inside Sales Agent (ISA).
Once an agent calls a lead on the smart list, that lead will automatically disappear from the list until it’s time to follow up again.
To get started, we recommend one simple smart list for your new leads, then slowly building on and customizing your smart lists to cover all stages of the customer journey, including active and past clients.
In Follow Up Boss, dynamic filters let you easily segment your leads. Someone visited your site? Saved properties as favorites? Searched for properties between $500,000 and a million? Put them in a smart list. Then work your lists. ✔
Step 6. Get ready for improved tracking and accountability
Just as you need to follow up with your leads to keep them moving forward, you also need to follow up with your team.
With simple, visual, and dare we say fun, team reporting dashboards, you can get a bird’s eye view of your team’s performance in a simple layout.
You’ll get a complete picture of lead count and agent activity on those leads, and you can even drill down deeper to figure out who needs a little extra training or coaching.
This report helps you stay up-to-date on your team’s speed-to-lead and average contact attempts for every new lead you provide. You can also use the smart lists to see which leads aren’t receiving follow ups and regularly view your team’s overdue calendar tasks in a simple click.
With a great lead management system, it’s easy for your agents to always know what to do and where to start. And it’s easy for you, as team leader, to help them stay motivated and accountable.
Step 7. Maximize your past clients for repeats and referrals
Once you’ve got your new leads on a steady, focused follow up system, it’s time to maximize your past clients.
You can easily import these files straight into Follow Up Boss directly from an existing spreadsheet or CRM. If you’ve already got your leads grouped into stages, we’ll automatically drop them into the right place within Follow Up Boss.
All default stages can be customized to match your team’s unique lingo and lead categorization system — because an effective lead management system is never one that boxes you into a set process someone else designed.
The best lead management process is one that lets you run your business your way, with both your leads and your team. 🙌🏻
Managing your real estate leads doesn’t have to be complicated
We get it — you’ve got a lot to think about when evaluating your lead management process.
But when you find just the right tool for managing your leads? It’s like… well, not to put too fine of a point on it, but it’s like coming home. *sigh of relief*
Having a lead management system that works for you and your team, keeps track of your leads, and saves you time and energy frees you up to do the things you do best. It lets you focus on providing the personal support that makes your clients feel comfortable throughout their home buying and selling journey.
Impress every single one of your leads with efficient and personal follow up that connects every step of the way.