Articles

Don’t Waste Time Calling Real Estate Leads

By / September 2018

Wasting time calling real estate leads? We did a study of 3,142 leads to test how effective calling leads actually is in helping convert them.

Your phone rings. It’s from an unfamiliar number. You’re currently at work. Would you (A) answer it or (B) just let it go straight to voicemail?

If you chose (A), then you pretty much understand the mindset of the typical real estate lead.

However, from a real estate agent’s perspective, you’re used to hearing, “call your leads within 5 minutes or you’ll never be able to get in touch with them”. Have you wondered how true this advice really is? We dug into the data and here’s what we found!

Research shows leads prefer texting

Zillow recently released results from a study they conducted and found that between 16-18 percent of Millennials and Gen X buyers prefer text messaging to communicate with their agents.

To add weight to this fact, the Pew Research Center recently organized an interview which revealed 80 percent of American adults text, making it the most common mobile phone activity.

And compared to calling, 90 percent of leads prefer to be texted.

So we put the research to the test ...

In order to put this to the test, we spent 60 days calling exactly 3,142 real estate leads and here is what we found:

Calling real estate leads is highly ineffective

74.5% of the time call goes to voicemail (lead does not pick up)

Leads do not pick up the phone either because they are in the middle of something or because they don’t recognize your number.

While calling real estate leads is popular, recent data show that only 5 to 10 percent of people pick up their phones. Even with email, one can expect a 20 percent average open rate. And less than 1 percent of people will respond to a voicemail if you leave one.

22.5% of the time leads pick up the phone, but ask to be called back

Although a majority of leads prefer to have calls go straight to their voicemail, some leads answer, but request a call back at a more convenient time. Having to call again at a different time without any information on the lead’s preferences or seriousness can delay your lead qualification process.

3% of the time the leads pick up the phone and share the same information they would have if you had texted them

We’ve found that a small percentage of leads answer the call and are happy to share their preferences. But, they shared the same information on the phone as they did via text. In addition, this strategy seems to be only successful after business hours (9a - 5p).

It means real estate agents are missing out on a lot of leads that could have been engaged and qualified via text message!

How does calling compare to texting?

Okay great, so what about texting as compared to calling? How effective is it?

Texting has a 99 percent open rate

According to a report by SinglePoint, text message open rates is at least 99 percent. What’s more awesome is that roughly 90 percent of texts are read within the first 3 minutes of  being sent. In fact the average response time for texting is 90 seconds and the average response rate is 45 percent.

Leads will most likely open a text message rather than answer a phone call from an unknown number because it is not as intrusive. A lead can respond to a text a lot quicker even when they’re at work or out having lunch.

Texting is asynchronous

Leads can respond to a text whenever it’s most convenient for them. The advantage is they already know who you are and what you need. They can answer your questions during their free time. It also helps that text messages keep a history of the conversation that you or the lead can scroll through at any time for context. Phone calls, on the other hand, are not as easy to keep track of as text messages.

Texting is more personal

Getting in touch with leads via text establishes a more personal connection. Your first message should contain your who are are, who you work for, why you are reaching out, and what you need from them. Reaching out to a lead via a phone call is less personal. What leads most often see a missed call from an unknown number or a voicemail they seldom get back to.

Texting is quicker

Today’s buyers are more proactive and want information immediately. In fact, 49 percent of buyers expect an instant response from an agent.

Speed to lead is a crucial element for any successful real estate operation. For agents that prefer calling, most business take almost 47 minutes to pick up the phone and respond to a lead. When you miss an opportunity to contact a lead within 5 minutes from when they sent their inquiry, they’re more likely to contact another real estate team.

So ... Is calling real estate leads a complete waste of time?

Despite the data and research, calling is not a complete waste of time. In fact, calling works when it’s scheduled and the lead knows who is calling and when.

One way to find a middle ground is to text your leads a link to your calendar promptly using an auto-responder. Interested leads can quickly select the most convenient time slot they’d like to be called or reply back to you right away if they want to talk (or prefer texting with you first). Use a service like Calendly which allows anyone to book time on your calendar!

 

If you are still calling leads promptly after they come in, you might be wasting a lot of time! The best strategy is to start off your lead interaction with a warm text conversation and direct qualified leads to schedule an appointment with you over a phone call. You can use the information you gather via text to best prepare for your phone call and personalize the conversation!

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