How to Win with Online Leads

By Wendy Forsythe

More than 90 percent of consumers rely on the Internet as a primary source of information for real estate. Typically, consumers request more information through a website and it becomes an online lead. There are millions of online leads per month flowing into the inboxes and CRMs of real estate professionals all over the country. However, 79 percent of online leads never turn into sales.1

My definition of a “loser” is someone who wastes an opportunity, and I see a lot of lead losers in our industry. It’s unfair to consumers, and it reflects poorly on our profession. It’s time we started winning at the game of online leads.

Here are three simple but effective strategies to win with online leads.

1. Response Time: The Five-Minute Window
Studies confirm that there is a 90 percent or higher success rate in making contact with a lead if a response is sent within five minutes of receiving the inquiry.2 The contact success ratio declines drastically after the initial five minutes, so be a proactive first responder.

Obviously, it’s unrealistic for someone to sit in front of a computer with a cellphone in hand at all times. However, you can use a CRM that’s equipped to send alerts whenever a lead hits your profile so you can respond as soon as possible. Most agents prefer text message alerts in addition to email alerts.

2. Number of Attempts: Six Is the Magic Number
Forty percent of online leads are only contacted once. Typically, a consumer will receive a reply email (which is usually an auto-response and not very helpful) or a voicemail, but that’s it. This is a big contributing factor of why conversion rates are so low for online leads. Research shows that a successful contact will be made with 93 percent of leads within six attempts.3 If you only contact a potential client once, you’ve left the game before it has even started. Commit to those six attempts.

3. Use e-Alerts: They Work
A lead is 2.5 times more likely to contact you directly when you set them up on an e-alert. Leads with e-alerts are 15 times more likely to return to your website than those without e-alerts. To be successful with online leads, it’s all about using a system, working that system and creating good, lead-nurturing habits. It takes commitment and focus, as does any worthwhile activity.

The online world is not going away. Online contacts or leads will forever be a part of our business, and those who commit to working them will continue to excel. Sales professionals who don’t make a commitment to the online world will continue to be lead losers. Lead loser or lead winner…it’s up to you.

1 Source:
2 Source: The Lead Response Management Study,
3 Source: Six Calls Equals Success,

Wendy Forsythe is the executive vice president and head of global operations at Carrington Real Estate Services.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.


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