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Real Estate Lead Conversion: The Complete Guide

Whether you are an inside sales agent, sales team leader, or an owner of a real estate company, this article is for you. We’re going discuss how to convert real estate leads on your calls and which lead sources you and your team should be working.

First, let’s dive into how to consistently have successful and enjoyable sales calls and increase your conversion rate. These strategies are key for both individual agents looking to better their numbers and for team leaders who are looking for ways to increase the profitability and success rate of their team. 

Real Estate Lead Conversion Is All about Mindset

Mindset is the key factor that will determine success as someone who makes sales over the phone. It doesn’t matter how many scripts you study, how many objections you practice handling, or how much research you do on your leads. If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t be successful on your calls.

And the critical element to a successful mindset is positivity. Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount. What this means is that you need to be telling yourself the right stories in your head about what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish.

Because let’s face it, our heads are filled with crap when it comes to cold calling and sales in general. It has an almost visceral negative connotation to many of us. Put that to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you.

If your sales person has good stories in their head—if sales and cold calling have a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t have successful calls and they won’t generate leads.

Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and interaction:

  1. Know and understand the benefits you bring to every person BEFORE you dial them. 
  2. Know what you are offering them and how it is going to palpably improve their lives.
  3. Live and breathe mantras like “they are waiting for my call” or “they need my help”. 
  4. Repeat these between each dial to keep your energy up on your entire list of leads.
  5. When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefitting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.

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Enter Your Real Estate Calls Confidently

This may seem obvious, but if you don’t project confidence when you get on the call you will not be successful. This means that when the lead picks up the phone always sound as though you know exactly who the person is that just answered.

Believe me, they will tell you if they are not the right person. Quickly identify who you are and ask your most important question, usually some form of “are you buying” or “are you selling”.

Remember, you are a stranger and most people typically do not want to talk to strangers on the phone. So you are fighting an uphill battle. The minute you hesitate, the minute you sound like you don’t know exactly what you are talking about, or the minute you sound like you don’t want to be on phone, you have given them the excuse they are looking for to hang up.

Real Estate Objection Handling

You’re going to hear a lot of “no’s”. You can’t escape this, it’s the nature of the business. But what you can do is learn how to properly deal with objections and turn more of those “no’s” into “yes’s”.

To do this, you need to understand where objections come from. At Smart Inside Sales we have a technique we call the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome.

The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation. Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are “I’ve sold my home myself before”, “I’ve already met with an agent”, and “I can do what an agent does, you guys don’t do much.”

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. Examples of a process is “I’m going to sell my home myself”, “I’ll just use the agent I used before”, and “I am just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal”. The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.

And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them. Examples of these are “not wasting time”, “avoiding disappointment”, and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or to the world that I am right”. 

These are the three components that make up an objection. The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:

  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

Follow this process, understand where the prospect’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given the lead’s perspective and goal.

Real Estate Lead Sources

Once you understand the strategy for how to efficiently and successfully make sales calls, you have to, first, have leads to call and, second, know where to get those quality leads. 

These days, you and your real estate team are—hopefully—getting leads from a variety of sources with varying levels of interest and who are at different stages of the buying or selling process. So how do you determine which leads should be worked, when they should be worked, and by which of your inside sales agents?

Work All Your Real Estate Leads

The short answer is this: work all of your lead sources. This includes inbound leads, inbound referral leads, expireds and withdrawns, for sale by owners, and even past clients and sphere leads. Although there are definitely more and less valuable lead sources, each source is a potential for business, and it is smart not to avoid any of them. 

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that this isn’t always practical. Depending on the size of your team and stream of leads from certain sources versus others, you may have to focus on the most productive sources at the expense of less productive ones.

If you have a real estate team with multiple inside sales agents, then the critical thing to do is prioritize lead sources for your different ISAs, depending on their skill and experience level. This is where having a larger team starts to exponentially work to your advantage. You can have your newer inside sales agents work the less productive or less valuable lead sources, while your more experienced ones work the more valuable sources.

What this does is twofold. This allows you to work all of your lead sources (because even those “less valuable” sources can still generate a lot of business for you) and also allows your newer ISAs to gain experience and hone their skills so they can graduate to also working the more productive sources.

All Real Estate Lead Sources Are Not Created Equal

Like we already established, all lead sources are not the same. And as such, they should be worked in a specific order, depending on different factors like the size of your real estate team, and how much bandwidth your team has.These lead sources should be worked in the following order, from top to bottom:

  • All inbound leads
  • Inbound referral leads
  • Expireds, withdrawns, FSBO leads
  • Past client sphere leads
  • Circle prospecting (If this is in support of a farming strategy or if the ISA has NO ONE ELSE to call)

Inbound Leads

Inbound leads is the key lead source for your real estate team. The reason they are so important is in the name itself. Inbound. These leads are people who have followed the trail of breadcrumbs you have laid for them. Through going on your website, signing up on a lead form, responding to an email, responding to direct mail, looking on Zillow, or whatever the avenue may be, they have expressed interest in your company and what your company offers.

They have exerted at least some effort in finding you, and have expressed enough interest in order to drive them to your website and give you their contact information. At a minimum, these leads are somewhat active and most likely have some problem they are trying to solve. That is what makes them so valuable to you and your team.

These are the leads that your inside sales agents should be targeting and contacting first. They are looking to solve a problem and your business can step in and be the solution they are looking for.

Inbound Referral Leads

Inbound referral leads are similarly valuable. For some types of referrals, the concept is essentially the same as for other inbound leads. People actively trying to solve a problem and so are going on websites like Dave Ramsey, Agent Machine, or Upnest in order to look for a real estate agent who can help them solve it. They are primed and ready for you.

Traditional referrals can also be tremendously valuable to you. These leads may not have come directly to you via a website or advertising response, but were brought to you by a friend or family member they trust enough to listen to.

The Rest of the Leads

The key is to work all of your lead sources if your ISA team has the ability to. There are three common mistakes that ISA teams often make:  

  1. Only putting the ISA on working cold outbound leads (which are much more difficult to convert and don’t typically provide enough contracts and closings to make the ISA position profitable.
  2. Ignoring outbound altogether and only having the ISA work low quality inbound.
  3. And the WORST mistake: hiring an ISA to solely do circle prospecting, which is randomly calling every phone number in a neighborhood looking for a potential lead.

There is a lot of business to be found in expired listings, withdrawn listings, for sale by owners, past client sphere, and circle prospecting.

These aren’t necessarily the low-hanging fruit that inbound leads can sometimes be, but if your inside sales agents know how to get to the heart of the desire of leads and prospects who fall into this category, then there is ample business here that a lot of other teams will not be taking proper advantage of.

There are plenty of lead sources out there, and you can take advantage of them all!

If you are going to scale or sustain your real estate business or team, then you need great inside sales agents providing you with a constant stream of new leads. The most important thing is finding someone who wants to grow and produce value for the company and themselves (if you find someone who understands that producing value for one produces value for the other, you’ve struck gold). Then just make sure they are good at talking on the phone and train the heck out of them.

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