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At Smart Inside Sales, we’ve written a lot about cold calling in real estate. It’s one of those activities that most people, even the best salesman, don’t really enjoy doing so much. The leads you’re calling also probably don’t look forward to being called by some stranger trying to set an appointment with them either. Cold calls can be awkward and sometimes uncomfortable for everyone involved.
But the thing is, however scary and uncomfortable, it is sometimes a necessary activity and something real estate ISAs should master. In the end, cold calling successfully in real estate ultimately comes down to your mindset, how you enter the call, and whether or not you are able to handle the objections (sometimes multiple objections) that the leads throw at you.
If you want to learn more about how to cold call the right way, then check out this previous article of ours.
As you may have guessed by the title of this article, we’re not discussing cold calling. The topic is texting in real estate. Texting has taken off in terms of its use when it comes to marketing and sales. This fact is as true for real estate as it is for a number of other industries. Whether reaching out for the first time or following up with a real estate lead, texting is thought of as more personal, quick and easy to send and receive, and they don’t interrupt whatever the lead happens to be doing at the time.
According to PEW research from a couple years ago, more than 70% of Americans prefer texting or emails over phone calls. And that number will have only gone up in 2020. As Millennials and GEN-Z Zoomers become more and more of the population looking to buy and sell homes, texting will become even more important.
According to another study, 90% of people both open and respond to text messages within five minutes. That number is compared to about 5-10% of leads picking up the phone and about 20% opening an email you send them.
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The answer is Conversion University.
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Calling will always be a necessary activity and skill for real estate agents and inside sales agents. However, they also have to be able to adapt and adjust to changing market conditions. More than many other industries, real estate is extremely dynamic. If you don’t keep up, then you will quickly be left behind in the dust.
They way agents should start using texting is as a part of a multi-channel strategy. Hit leads and prospects from all angles using calling, texting, and emailing. Doing so gives you the greatest chance of actually communicating with them and explaining to them how you can help them achieve their goal.
If you can’t reach a lead through a phone call, then send them a text, an email, or both. The exact number varies, but somewhere between 80% and 90% of people no longer answer phone calls of numbers they don’t recognize or have saved in their phone. So it’s likely that, no matter how much cold calling volume you can do, you probably won’t see as large of a return as you will if you also contact leads through other methods.
Whether you’re calling or texting or emailing, however, the speed with which you reach out to the lead is everything. A study from MIT about lead response management highlights the 5-minute rule to convert leads: the odds of qualifying a lead is 20 times higher if you contact him or her within the first 5 minutes of outreach versus in 30 minutes. Texting makes accomplishing this tight timeline much more possible.
For example, if you have thirty new leads come in, you can easily send thirty texts in thirty minutes. I challenge you to try having thirty phone calls in the same amount of time.
Texting is a fairly low commitment activity that can help you qualify a lead and learn whether they are serious or not about working with someone. People may not answer a phone call for a number of reasons—maybe they are in the middle of doing something else, already on the phone, in a meeting, etc. However, if they don’t text you back then their non-response is a strong indicator that they might not be fully qualified.
Another advantage of texting leads is that you can more easily share information about your company with them. You can send a link to your website, an area report, or past sales to add legitimacy to your brand. When you call someone on the phone, you’re limited to talking about yourself and you’ll end up likely agreeing to follow up via email and share the same information anyway.
Cold calling and following up with leads via phone calls still has its place in the real estate world and probably will for the foreseeable future. However, it’s important to recognize new trends and new tools that you can put to use. It’s to your benefit to incorporate texting into your repertoire.