|Getting From Text To Conversation
BY ROB WICKER
Texting is more popular than ever. An astounding 10 trillion text messages will be delivered in 2014. More and more real estate buyers are using text messaging too. The California Association of Realtors reports that homebuyers now prefer text messages over phone calls.
Homes & Land makes it easy for homebuyers to connect with you via texting by including a text code in your printed magazine ad. When a buyer sees a property she likes, she enters the property text code in her phone, and receives back a link to your listing on HomesAndLand.com, complete with photos and a property description. Here are some examples.
So how should you respond to a text lead?
Buyers expect you to respond to their inquiry in the medium they used, so when the buyer sends you a text message, text her back. Also, respond as quickly as possible. The reason consumers prefer texting is immediacy.
You want to use the text message to establish a relationship with the buyer. To do that, ask questions that will lead to a phone conversation or a meeting, and try to get the sender’s name quickly so that you can personalize your dialog. Here are some approaches to try, along with the language you might text:
- “Thanks for the inquiry. Would you like more info about the property?” If the response is “Yes,” then ask if you can call to discuss.
- Another option is to text “Is this the price range you’re interested in?” If the answer is “Yes,” text back, “Can I call you to get more details on what you’re looking for?”
- Texting is universally used to set up a time to meet, so offer a meeting time to the prospective buyer. For example: “I’ve had several recent inquiries on this house. I am going to be there this afternoon at 4, would you like to meet around 4:30?”
- Have a compelling reason to keep a prospective buyer engaged. If you get a text inquiry about a listing, giving the sender some kind of "pocket" or new information to compel him to "act now." For instance, "Thanks for your inquiry on 123 Estates Lane. Your timing is terrific. We are about to reduce the price. Would you like to meet for a showing before it is made public?" Or, "Thanks for your inquiry, just listed another home in the same neighborhood. Would you like to meet today or tomorrow for a showing before it goes in the MLS?" Just like your advertising has a "call to action," the text message should too.
If you get no response or a negative response to a question, don’t give up. Wait a week and text the buyer a link to a property you think she might like. The buyer may have been too busy to deal with you when she sent her inquiry.
Contact your local Homes & Land Publisher to find out how interactive texting can help you generate leads.
NOTES FROM ALL OVER
How Fast Is Fast Enough?
However an inquiry is made, today’s home shoppers expect a quick response, says Eddie Earnest of Inman News. Drawing statistics from the 2014 California Association of Realtors Home Buyer Survey, he writes: “An astonishing 49 percent of buyers reported that they expect an INSTANT reply from an agent upon inquiry — up nearly five times from 10 percent in 2007. An additional 29 percent have generously tapered this expectation to ‘within 30 minutes.’ Earnest concludes: “In the absence of a prior relationship with a lead, you can assume responsiveness is the most important characteristic for you to convey as an agent.”
Good Photos Make All The Difference
Lousy listing photos, or even so-so ones, can make a good house look like a bad investment. The slide show “Avoid These 9 Real Estate Photo Mistakes” clearly demonstrates what doesn’t work — and what does.
See Slide Show
Converting Web Leads
“Stop burning leads, and your time and money, and start nurturing your web leads to actually turn them into clients,” says Vinny La Barbera of the Real Estate Marketing Blog. “A common misconception is that a web lead is the same thing as a phone lead, walk-in lead or any other type of lead you may have received before. In rare cases they can be, but a majority of real estate web leads are different in nature and require special interaction and follow up.”
To Get The Most Impact, Cover All The Bases
From a RISMedia Real Estate magazine column by RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly, “View Online Real Estate Portals as Business Partners”:
“Remember, most of your leads still come from your sphere of influence. Whether or not you advertise on one of these portals, it’s always smart to diversify your ad spending in multiple avenues, including your website, social media pages, print advertising and direct mail marketing, among others.”
And as a Homes & Land advertiser puts it:
"I recently expanded my real estate marketing plan with a full page ad in Homes & Land and the results were immediate. From the very first ad I received a new $2M client and quality property showings increased for my sellers. The quality exposure provided by Homes & Land in print, Internet and direct mail is now a consistent part of the successful marketing service I provide my valued clients."
Put The You In Your Business
Will Caldwell, CEO of real estate app-maker Dizzle, on cultivating your sphere of influence:
“Create a story around you: People remember stories better than advertising slogans, because this is just simply how humans are wired. Create a compelling story about how you got into the business, where you came from, or why you are the best agent in your neighborhood. Do something people will remember you by to stand out from the rest. Always remember to keep it simple and concise.”
Tough Clients, Tender Tactics
Real estate writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson offers smart strategies for dealing successfully with high-maintenance clients, and believes they come with their own rewards: “These folks often know that they are high-maintenance and will rave for a lifetime about the agent who can deal with their demands, and therefore represent a great way to improve your online reviews and reputation.”