Turn leads into sales, how to increase your close rates!

Generating quality leads is something that our team here at Property Webmasters spend a lot of time discussing, for both our own business and for all of our clients worldwide. Something that can be sometimes overlooked, is the process a user is taken on after they submit their enquiry.

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Adam Jennings By Adam Jennings
Turn leads into sales, how to increase your close rates!

Are there clear steps in place to ensure your staff members are quickly approaching the lead, communicating effectively and listening to the requirements of the customer? User experience is extremely important, and the handling of leads is something that your estate agency cannot afford to struggle with. It is a fundamental part of day to day life as an estate agent, is there an effective process for lead handling within your business?

Be honest; if your agency is expending money on marketing and property portals, success cannot be seen as generating leads but instead, driving sales.

How is your current close rate? Look, we understand that an industry average figure is quite vague and it really does depend on your target market, quality of product and business plan. Converting 1 in 40 is extremely good-going if your business nets a huge commission from a multi-million-pound property, but if your business is focussed on selling smaller property, 1 in 40 would not be feasible to see a good ROI.

Either way, one thing is for sure, every agent would like to improve their close rates, regardless of what it already is! So let’s get into some of our tips that we have accumulated after working with the leading estate agents for the last 20 years.

Why Speed is Imperative!

Before we discuss setting up an enquiry handling process, you must understand one of the most important parts of any sales process is speed. The most important attribute of a good agency is one that responds, notifies and deals with requests quickly and efficiently.

Speed establishes trust among your customers that your business is reliable. Here’s why: they are guaranteed access to support almost instantaneously. If a user enquires about a property, how long does it take for you to get in touch with them? Some of the team at Property Webmasters recently attended a webinar that featured some of the UK’s leading estate agents. The most common answer to the question ‘What is the typical downfall of converting a lead?’ always came back to the lack of urgency from the agency.

Strike while the iron is hot!

We would suggest that getting in touch with the leads as soon as possible would be the best way to properly start off a conversation. Don’t leave it a few days; it is very likely that the person who has enquired about a property on your website has also been looking elsewhere and if the competition gets their word in first, your business is at an instant disadvantage and you will be forced to rely on the quality of your product to keep them interested.

To note, this should not be the case for only property enquiries, but instead, for all inbound enquiries. You only get one chance to make a good first impression!

Not only will this increase your team’s productivity and responsiveness to enquiries, but it will also help your agency drive more sales and increase the number of clients that are keen to come on board.

Lead Classification & Market Knowledge

Lead classification forms are an extremely important part of the process and they can be the difference between a prospect feeling confident in your services or like they’re just another name on a database. Not all leads will require the same type of response, so assess the enquiries and determine the most appropriate style of follow-up.

It sounds obvious but, if someone is wishing to put their house up for rent, it would be a waste of time to send generic sales collateral detailing your valuation process or sales fees. A hurried approach to follow-ups feels impersonal and makes for a poor customer experience. Instead, a tailored response to each prospect dependent on enquiry type would not lead to much additional work, however, it would make the world of difference to the prospect.

This would display that your business is professional and has knowledge of the market. One of the big driving forces behind someone’s decision of which agency to sell their home is trust and professionalism.

Find out what is working

Alongside classifying your leads, you need to understand what is and what is not working when it comes to lead source channels. Encourage feedback from all parts of your team, if the leads that are being generated from social media are not returning anything, why don’t you focus more time elsewhere, not to say you should stop focussing on social media altogether, you could attempt to change the strategy to improve results.

Without going into how to generate leads too much, as we have covered this intensely over our previous guides, it is extremely important to find out where the quality leads are coming from and to generate as many as possible. More leads coming in, more prospects for your team, more chances at driving sales, all thanks to focussing your time on what is working and returning value.

The Importance of being Process Driven & Patient

When it comes to setting up a process or funnel that leads are taken down, it can be as simple or extensive as you like. Depending on the size of your team, this is something that you may alter or change as your business grows.

Not every part of the handling has to be manually done by a human. Instead, we would highly recommend making use of a CRM that helps unlock potential by saving you time and money. There are a range of CRMs out there including Property Base, Alto, Juvo and more.

Key features of CRM software for estate agents include:

  • Lead management
  • Pipeline management
  • Document repository
  • Integration for finance
  • Marketing

Also, each CRM has its own unique features that may give it the edge when it comes to making up an agent’s mind for which one to choose.

Once you have your pipeline tools in place, make a clear and structured plan of how you’re going to cope with leads once they arrive, remembering to slightly alter your process depending upon what type of lead comes in, of course.

When a lead comes in, score it! It is extremely important to qualify a lead that enters the CRM, we don’t want you to waste your time, step one would be to get on the phone, ask them a series of questions to see if the lead is of quality or if they are at the early stage of an enquiry, just testing the waters.

Step two, make and track your phone calls with potential customers. Ask if it is a good time to chat and keep your calls brief and engaging, focus on the lead and what they are looking for, typically, people love talking about themselves, be happy to listen!

Log the details of the call, what you learned and what are the goals of the person enquiring? I’d make sure that you include enough information so that a different member of staff could view the notes and instantly understand what the person is looking for.

Next, don’t lose focus on the bigger picture, when a lead is handled they must be nurtured and looked after even after they purchase or let a property via your agency. Apart from total non-responders, there should not be any lead that is not stored and reached out to again further down the line! Set up an automated channel of contact. Add the lead to a subscriber list so they get to see regular communications from you explaining how good your services are, and what you were getting up to. You never know, their chosen agent may not do a good job or they might get another property to sell in the future.

Make sure to do your utmost, automation makes this kind of thing less tedious and potentially very rewarding.

Communication is Key

When engaging with a potential customer, you must display your ultimate knowledge on the subject in question. You need the lead to feel 100% confident within your agency, that will put their mind at rest and they will feel inclined to work with you.

It is important to create a solution to the problem!

This can throw up some spanners for international agencies that deal with clients from around the world, a language barrier that must be overcome. Some of the agencies we work with that operate in Spain and Portugal regularly come into contact with clients that are not fluent in English, especially when it comes to projects relating to visa programs and investing for citizenship.

Do you currently have a problem with this? It may not be relevant to your agency however, it is extremely important that your team can communicate with clients in a professional manner. Communication does not always point to your sales team bombarding a client with information, good communicators always listen too.

When meeting with a prospect, remember there are two parties and that communication should go in both directions. Don’t just talk; make sure that the prospect feels understood and heard. Even if a prospect is reluctant to talk, ask questions or encourage general feedback. A highly trained and motivated sales team with fantastic communication skills is pivotal to an estate agency.

Building Trust, Quality Content & USPs

Selling or buying a property can be a tiresome process for a lot of people. When choosing an agency to work with, integrity, trust and reliability are the kickers that can set your agency apart from the competition.

How can your agency build trust? This could be a whole article within itself, however, the best way to build trust for your agency is through online review websites like Trustpilot, social media accounts that are full of content and engagement, be honest and transparent, share testimonials and produce helpful online content that users can read to gain insight and knowledge.

So far, we’ve discussed how important it is to put a system in place that can help your team easily monitor and track the leads that come through your website and marketing efforts. Sometimes, the content on your social channels and website can answer questions that a user can have, without the need for the user to go the extra mile, phoning or emailing your offices.

What currently sets your agency apart from the competition? Is it the great fees and service? The virtual tour feature on your website? The speed at which you do business? To stand out, you need to make your USPs known to everyone and shout about them. For most agents, developing a USP isn’t easy but it is very much vital and the strength of your USP is more than likely what will determine your future success. Therefore it is worth taking the time to get it right from the outset and constantly monitor its effectiveness.

Going the extra mile is something that you would like to see when you’re on the other end of the sales negotiation.

To summarise…

In summary, the key points to nailing the conversion process and increasing the number of clients for your agency are:

  • Respond to all enquiries at pace, speed is essential and arguably the most important part of the process!
  • Classify your leads within a CRM, make sure to never leave any lead unmanaged and without a score or classification!
  • Find out what is working, do not be afraid to test out different techniques and tactics, lead handling and management can take time, but when it does, more sales will come your way.
  • Set up a process within your team, from one sales advisor to another, all parts of the team need to understand what their role is within the funnel.

If you are struggling to turn leads into sales and are unsure of the steps your agency needs to take to increase your close rates, feel free to get in touch with one of our growth specialists to see which services and tactics will benefit your agency!

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