Andrew Szatan

With so many leads coming in the front door it may not seem like a big deal if your team drops the ball here or there. “What’s the big deal about a single lead?” you may ask. Unless you’re very careful, this mentality can be dangerous.

The big deal is that every lead matters, that when you lose a lead you may be losing one of the most important deals of your life, and when a lead is gone it can be incredibly difficult to get it back. In short, the stakes are high.

How Losing Leads Can Lead to the Death of Your Business

It may seem like an overstatement, but losing leads really can kill your business. Now, this doesn’t mean that a single lead will drain your bank account and leave you destitute. Instead, losing even one single lead is a symptom of a sales process that has major flaws. These flaws may be hiding well, but if even a single lead falls through the cracks it’s an indication that there are cracks. Over time, these flaws compound with other issues until you reach the point where you’re looking back at your business wondering what went wrong.

By understanding how losing leads can kill your business you’ll be in a better position to take action. In that vein, the biggest risks you need to be aware of are listed below.

Unknown Value

You may think that when a lead comes in you can reject it based on its size. After all, you say, it’d be impractical to chase down the small leads that will only bring in a marginal amount of profit. Instead, you want to focus on the big deals that will help establish your firm’s brand and put your name on the map. It may be harder to close the bigger sales, but the payoff is much more rewarding.

This type of thinking is a shortcut to disaster. While it may seem like small leads can safely be ignored, you never know the full value of a lead until the paperwork is signed. A lead may show up on your radar tagged at one price, only to quadruple in value as you work with them and market realities sink in for the homebuyers. In this type of situation, the fact that you pursued even the smallest lead helps keep your operations on the rails.

As Good as Cold

There are certain real estate seasons throughout the year that impact how well your team can work. In slow months, your team may have trouble scraping together enough leads to go around. In more frantic months, however, many leads aren’t opened up. Your agents aren’t acting out of malice, but with the thought that they can always go back and respond to the lead.

Regrettably, a willingness to put off responding to a lead is the first nail in the coffin of your future relationship with the lead. This is because when you receive a lead, oftentimes your competitors are receiving the same exact lead. That means that a lead may show up ready to be sold, and instead of seizing the opportunity your competitor sweeps in and grabs the glory – and the money. This is why it’s so important to not just respond to leads but to respond within minutes of first establishing contact.

Long-Tail Value

It’s not the end of a relationship when you close the deal for one of your clients. Sure, the contracts may be filled out and the money may be transferring, but there’s still a world of opportunity for you to make money off of your lead. It doesn’t take the form of commissions or direct payments, but instead it takes the form of referrals and bonus leads.

For example, the moment you close the deal with one of your customers is the exact moment you should be leveraging the great relationship to surface new leads. You can ask for introductions and explain that referrals are what keep you in business – either way, there are some that will really listen and try to help out.

This situation doesn’t happen if you drop the original lead. What originally looked like a standard mid-tier lead actually has the potential of bringing in tens of thousands of dollars of business that’s currently unknown. As many people won’t refer any new customers, it’s technically a risk to spend too much time trying to make referrals work for one specific individual. This risk is worth it though, as it creates additional value for everyone.

Reputational Toll

Many of the systems that distribute leads to real estate agents inform your potential clients that they should expect an email from you within 24 hours. This is good news most of the time, as a well-functioning real estate team knows how important it is to respond as soon as possible after the initial message is received. When teams don’t respond, it leaves a negative impression on them that will be nearly impossible to overcome without genuine acts of heroism on the part of the real estate teams.

Why is the 24-hour mark so important? Well, there’s nothing about it in the latest version of the Mayan calendar, but it’s safe to assume that waiting more than 24 hours often feels like an insult to other people. This insult is true in the real estate world as well. Not only will potential clients work with other real estate teams, but they’ll also actively advocate for your competitors. It may just be one lead, but it can quickly cascade out of our control.

The Buck Stops With You

If you set the goal for your team that they can’t drop any of their leads, there’s a good chance that they’ll strive to hit 100% perfection – but they won’t be able to. That’s where you step in. The buck needs to stop with you, meaning at the end of the day, you have a responsibility to take ownership – whether that means hiring more people or responding to the leads that aren’t going to be contacted in time. Whatever it means, the ultimate responsibility for your business lies with you.

Finally

A well-organized leads tracking system is table stakes for nearly all non-consumer startups. Sadly, it can be impossible to keep track of every single lead manually. This change isn’t set to happen by a specific deadline, but the sooner a leads tracking system is in place, the better off everyone is. Now that your course on Losing Leads 101 is finished you’ll be able to base your decisions on solid, unquestionable reasoning.

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