Lead Conversion's newest Permutation - Lead Response Time

 "Hello, I was just waiting for you to call so I can sell you a home..."

Once the Consumer has filled out an online lead generation form, 48% of the leads fall by the wayside (according to California Association of Realtors). The common sense reason is realtors focus on higher potential convertible leads and disqualify those requiring incubation for lack of patience or resources. Inman's Bernice Ross points out in her article today that the key step in the process is lead conversion, and describes approaches used to qualify candidates and get them in front of a realtor pronto.

It seems LEAD RESPONSE TIME is the new flavor of the month. Ross cites (no source) in her article that 68% of web leads interview only one agent, implying that the first to tag has the best chance to win the client. Mosthome and Leadqual, lead response companies I met at RE Connect, says 56-58% of online leads choose the first realtor to respond to them. This is really where CRM ("Customer Relationship Management") rubber meets the Realtor road... up to now, most Realtors could care less about CRM beyond their Outlook address book.

Come to think of it, I've never ever heard any connection between CRM companies and real estate. Look at one of the biggest enterprise CRM providers SAP - check out their
"Business Solutions by Industry" link - no mention of "Real Estate". How about Salesforce.com? After all realtors essentially function just like any sales force... On their customer list, I see only Coldwell Banker (oh, CB Rochester, Minnesota - population 95,000) and GMAC Residential (oh, the application has nothing to do with real estate, it's the lending side) and one obvious mortgage processing company... hmm, I'm shocked all those mortgage companies on the radio aren't clients.

So a completely new type of CRM is required because, based on the reasoning in the Ross article, the sale of the realtor to the lead does not follow the standard sales process that traditional enterprise CRM has built around. The new CRM is... qualify ("scrub") the lead ASAP and connect that lead ASAP to a realtor who is waiting at the phone to be the WINNER of the first client contact contest.

So Rice discusses a variety of systems employed by Coldwell Banker, Weichert and others to direct lead phone calls to waiting agents by push to talk or fast callback. Enter the "lead response" companies... according to the article,
Leadqual monitors its broker client's online inquiry function. It seems to initiate a phone call to a lead from an online inquiry, asks a few qualification questions, and "live-transfers" the call to a waiting agent within minutes.

So it's Friday night 10:30 PDT and I'm wondering if a sample realtor client of Leadqual will really respond quickly to my online request for information. So first I send a complete online inquiry to the
Lissack team, a Leadqual client, and wait for a phone call within minutes... Well, I do get a auto-reply email... I guess it's 1:30am there, so I give them the benefit of the doubt and will see if they follow up tomorrow morning (hopefully not at 6am PDT, but then I turn off my phone). Then I'm wondering whether the Leadqual team will pick up stray phone calls to the office # at night. So I dial, but some guy, probably Michael himself, must have forwarded his phone and he answers it... and I profusely apologized for the late night call (and again online too if you're reading this Michael). Hey,I really wanted to talk with a lead qualifier to hear the qualification questions, maybe tomorrow...

"I'm standing by waiting for your phone call..."

So back to business... these lead response time companies add fuel to what Mr.
Kropper said about how lead incubation specialization will separate the two realtor roles of lead generation and selling. And the lead is not coming from the typical Housevalues-type lead generation website, but ostensibly from the broker's own website with Leadqual interfacing between the potential client and the broker's agents. On top of that, Leadqual offers SEO services to get clients to the broker's site.

What does this mean? In the future, Consumers will be pursued directly by lead incubation facilitated brokers who use SEO solutions and will fight for traffic currently going to the big sites like realtor.com. This will appeal to brokers who don't just want to buy leads passively. So in conclusion, as lead incubation efficacy improves, Kropper's concepts begin to appear more inevitable... agents will increasingly specialize in selling.

Final thought - while writing I just couldn't help thinking the fit Leadqual has with
match.com and date-line services. Maybe it's because 58% of online leads don't fall in love with their first match?

Further reading - How Internet Lead Generation Shifts the Realtor's Lead Acquisition and Selling Process.

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  • 8/26/2006 4:10 AM Teresa Boardman wrote:
    Studies have shown that consumers want a quick response when they inquire from a web site. I have a system of my own in which I am alerted on my blackberry when some one logs into my site or inquires about a listing on line. I do respond quickly but for my own self preservation I have my blackberry set up to turn it self off around bed time and then back on in the morning. I am sorry all to pieces but I can't be on 24 X 7. Some of the Coldwell Banker lead generation services are backwards they turn email into phone calls. A big yuck for both the consumer and the Realtor. I respond to email with email and phone calls with phone calls until I know what the potential buyers preferences are.
    Reply to this

  • 9/11/2006 1:08 PM andrew coleman wrote:
    Hello Pat,
    Just want to let you know that yes, we do respond to each and every lead within minutes of the consumer hitting submit during the time frame our clients request (typically 9am to 9pm). For those leads that are generated outside of the business hours, we call the next business morning (again, it depends on our clients to see if they work on the weekends). In terms of your "test" thru Mr. Lissack's site, we do not manage all of his leads, only those thru specific sources that go to custom lead forms. It does not include leads generated via his own site, so that's why you never heard from us. I request that you 'test' our system thru our own site (www.leadqual.com) and not via our clients, as we don't want them to have to fund your inquiries. Thanks!
    Andrew Coleman
    co-founder, LeadQual, LLC
    Reply to this
    1. 9/11/2006 10:19 PM Transparent RE wrote:
      Thank you Andrew for the insight... I will be posting a followup based on conversations I've had with Mr. Lissack who is a strong advocate for your company. And I will test out leadqual myself tomorrow to confirm...

      Reply to this
      1. 9/19/2006 6:05 PM Andrew wrote:
        I'm curious - I didn't see a lead on the 12th come thru from you. I'm hoping you're not using Firefox as we are having problems with our own web site database reading from this browser - we are upgrading the site this week to accomodate this issue (and changing web development vendors).
        Note that this does not impact our clients, only our own leads.
        Reply to this
        1. 9/19/2006 7:54 PM Transparency Advocate wrote:
          I do use firefox and likely input my data via firefox and the followup slipped my mind. Is there any other website your company is operating that looks more like an online real estate search/valuation site like homegain? I will input data via IE tomorrow... btw, I happen to be looking at South Florida investment properties and Mr. Lissack has been very capable and generous in explaining the market to me.

          Reply to this

  • 10/13/2006 10:58 AM Tom Tobin wrote:
    Salesforce doesn't make a Realtor/Real Estate application specifically. We do, however, have partners that took the standard CRM features of salesforce.com and made them work in the real estate space.
    AppExchannge: http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange/category_list.jsp?NavCode__c=a0130000006P6IoAAK-a5
    has the listings of real estate applications on the salesforce.com platform.
    Reply to this

  • 10/13/2006 7:04 PM Greg Tracy wrote:
    Good post- The consumer today expects a quick response and they deserve a quick response. And with all the technology and resources available today every real estate agent should deliver on this expectation.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/13/2006 9:05 PM P Kitano wrote:
      Thanks Greg - hey, here's a quick response back to you - I just have to say it... I've admired Blue Roof from afar since your site went up - your graphics are clean and snazzy... (I don't make public comments on design because I have no design sense, but I see the difference from the other web2.0 apps)... And I admire your business model - it mirrors my philosophy of making real estate value-based and transparent for the consumer. And finally I admire you can build such a sophisticated web property that rivals/outrivals the big boys with VC bucks. I confess sometimes to Silicon Valley- centricism... it happens to Californians all the time... and I'm pleased to hear from you.

      Reply to this

  • 6/20/2007 8:38 PM David Elkington wrote:
    InsideSales.com is a CRM/Lead Response Management system that is builds specifically to address the issues discussed. There is a specific tool that ties to a web form that facilitates an immediate call back by connecting to reps using ACD technology, and if not available, calls the lead, plays a message, then offers IVR options.
    Reply to this

  • 5/24/2008 6:59 PM Robin wrote:
    "Once the Consumer has filled out an online lead generation form, 48% of the leads fall by the wayside"

    beyond sad! Here in my office I would lose my religion if we accepted a 48% lead loss. How can any business accept that!
    Reply to this

  • 4/13/2009 12:55 PM John wrote:
    48% falling thru the cracks is rather pitiful. quantify that with revenue loss.
    Reply to this

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