How To Speed Up The Real Estate Lead Nurturing Process aka Getting To The Sale Faster

2 common questions I almost always get asked by potential clients is (A) how can I generate quality leads and (B) how can I get those leads to buy (or sell) faster?

This video is focused primarily on the second question – how can get those leads to a sale faster, but we’ll spend a few brief minutes discussing question A first – how can I generate quality leads.

Watch the video:

Transcription continued…

So, the short version answer to question A is: ta dah! Advertising online (and offline, but that’s not my primary area of expertise, so we’ll focus on the online space)

You can run ads on Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and a whole bunch of other sites and services to attract people that have some level of interest in what you sell.

Whether you’re a standard listing & selling real estate agent looking for seller leads, or a property management firm looking for investors who want someone to manage their rental properties or even a firm that sells investment properties as well as offering the property management service, it’s easy to get ads up and running to find potential clients.

Now, let’s be clear here. I am NOT saying that it’s a walk in the park to set up your ads AND generate a heap of high quality leads for a small amount of money in a short time frame. All I’m saying is that one or more of these ad platforms could easily serve your needs in finding potential customers.

Truth be told, finding enough of them at a reasonable price is a LOT more difficult than you can imagine, especially if you don’t have much if any experience at digital marketing, web design, copywriting, analytics and a range of other marketing areas.

HOWEVER, we’re not here to discuss how easy or hard that is to do. That’s a story for another day.

Instead, I want you to assume that somehow, we have actually generated those leads and now you want to know how to get them from a semi-cold “maybe, possibly, I might be interested in what you’re offering, in 6 months, a year, maybe even 5-10 years” all the way through to a “Where do I sign?”

This process of taking a cold suspect (someone who does not know you, your company and may not even be in the market for what you sell) through to a prospect, then a lead and finally a customer is termed – in the marketing world – as lead nurturing.

And lead nurturing is the fine art and science of getting to the sale faster AND also bringing more of your suspects and prospects with you.

[2.29 min] Now, let’s be clear at the beginning. The journey to a sale is often a long complex road. It’s pretty rare that you meet someone at a café or make a cold call or even get a referral to a prospective client and they sign up with you on the spot.

Most products and services sold in real estate have a longer sales cycle that might take days, weeks, months and even years! And during that journey, things will often go in unexpected directions and get complicated, annoying, frustrating and even despressing.

BUT of course, the end result is what we all want, which is to get the sale, and earn that commission, etc.

So, let’s get into it.

[3.10 min] So quickly, I want to introduce a diagram to you which I first encountered back in 2007 when I first brought and read this book. Titled “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes, who sadly is no longer with us, having passed away in 2012.

In the book, chapter 4 to be precise, Chet talks about the Stadium Pitch. He asks you to imagine that you have been put on stage in a giant stadium where the entire audience is composed of your most perfect prospects, and you’re given the opportunity to present your offer to them all at once.

[3.41 min] Now, on page 64 is this diagram, which demonstrates how that pitch would go, assuming you were even ready with a perfect pitch.

As Chet said, there’s always a very small % of folks who are “buying now.” In fact, about 3% is fairly typical. And that 3% is what drives all commerce.

Next, there’s about 6-7% of the audience who are open to the idea of buying. Maybe not this instance, but for whatever reason, they are open to the idea.

Then we’re left with 30% who are definitely absolutely NOT interested, so we can ignore them from here on.

30% are not thinking about it. They’re not for it, they’re not against it. They just aren’t thinking about it right now.

And the remaining 30% don’t think they’re interested.

However, here’s the CRUCIAL point to this entire diagram. That big 60% chunk in the middle aren’t a definite NO, not now, not ever. Rather, they’re a maybe, just not sure when or why.

In other words, they’re your prospects, leads and customers of the future.

You’ve just got to get them to the future, when it’s right for them.

And that’s what this video is all about. Not how to find them, but rather, how to take them on the journey with you until they’re ready to buy from you, preferably sooner than later.

Now, obviously when I say “buy”, in real estate terms that could mean listing with you to sell their property, signing with you to manage their investment property or properties, buying a home from you or even purchasing an investment property from you.

So, this is where lead nurturing comes into the picture, because it’s the strategy we use to take suspects, prospects & leads on the journey with you until they’re ready to sign on the dotted line, preferably with you rather than your competition.

So, at this point, you’re probably asking yourself “OK wise guy, that all makes perfect sense. But how the heck do we do this?”

[5.34 min] And to answer that question, I briefly need to introduce you to another sadly deceased business guru. This is Mr Eugene M. Schwartz, who was one of the highest-paid copywriters of the 1950s and 60s.

Schwartz made millions of dollars for his clients – back in the days when a million dollars was really a LOT of money – Clients like Rodale Press who once paid him $54,000 for just four hours of work.

[6.02 min] Eugene wrote 10 books, of which this one was perhaps the most famous.

Breakthrough Advertising, which was released in 1966 [I said 1952 in the video but discovered afterwards that this is wrong!] is almost impossible to buy now, and as you can see, if you can even find a copy on Amazon, it sells for hundreds, sometimes even in excess of $1000 for a used copy.

Now, in this book, Eugene talked about the 5 levels of awareness that prospective customers have when it comes to your offer.

And these 5 levels are key to understanding how to nurture your leads from cold to warm, to hot, to sold!

You see, probably the biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to marketing is trying to use 1 message for all their market, when in fact, all markets are different.

They have segments within segments, even though the end result might end up with you listing and selling their home.

[6.56 min] So, let’s briefly look at Eugene’s 5 levels of awareness and then I have some examples for you to consider in the typical real estate related markets.

  1. Unaware:  No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, their own identity or opinion.
  2. Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses they have a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
  3. Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result they want, but not that your product provides it.
  4. Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for them.
  5. Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal”

[7.54 min] Now, let’s look at some examples for 3 different real estate market segments.

On row 1, these examples are for your standard listing and selling agent. Row 2 is for those that offer Property Management services for landlords, and row 3 is for those of you who actually sell investment properties.

If you’re not in one of those segments, I am sure you can still figure out how to break down your own market into Eugene’s 5 levels of awareness.

So, as you look over each of these, think about how the message you might be leading with in your advertising should – in fact NEEDS to be different – to speak to where your prospect is currently at.

If your sole message as a listing and selling agent is “get a free market appraisal” or similar, then you’re going to either be alienating everyone who’s not at the Product-Aware stage and actually ready for this OR they’re just going to ignore your ads because they are in an earlier stage of awareness, or for that matter, in the last stage.

[discussion of the different examples]

So, let’s be clear that one message for all is NOT going to speed up the lead nurturing process, because everyone is at a different stage in their journey.

So, lead nurturing done right using digital marketing techniques relies on several key factors:

  • Getting a message in front of people that best speaks to where they’re at right now. And
  • Once you have “made contact” with someone via your ads, you then need to be able to serve them additional ads that help move them further down the journey path until they get to the point of buying or selling (as the case may be).

So, let’s look at a simple example of a listing & selling agent wanting to find more potential sellers or vendors.

One ad they could run to reach the Unaware crowd would be to promote an article about the 10 best kitchens or bathrooms in $600K homes in Perth (as an example).

That might get in front of someone who is dissatisfied with their current kitchen or bathroom.

From there, once they have seen that article, you could show them another ad leading to an article or video about the costs and hassles involved in renovating their existing bathroom or kitchen. And you could just slip in the idea that the cheapest or easiest way to get a better kitchen or bathroom would be to just buy a house with the kitchen or bathroom the reader loves.

That second ad hits the problem aware crowd – it’s taking them to the next stage of awareness.

So, now that you have introduced the idea that buying a new home is an easier or better way to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom, you then lead them into Solution Aware and talk about selling homes in today’s market via another ad. Whether that’s discussing the demand for more home stock to buy or the fact that it’s a seller’s market and a good time to sell, it can all be made to work.

Now, once they’re well and truly past the “sell my home” stage, people often start doing research on Google for what are their options. What is their home worth? How can they sell it for more? Would they be better off trying to sell it themselves or go with an agent? And then which agent and agency.

It’s at this stage that your advertising can really start to kick into gear and answer all those questions. Google is a great place to run ads like this, because you can actively target people when they start to type in searches like these.

This is also typically the stage where people will respond to an ad offering them a free market appraisal or CMA. NOT back in the first 3 stages.

And then finally, once the person who has been through multiple stages of your ad nurturing and reaches the most aware stage, THIS is whether they’re looking for “the deal” – they want to know what your commission rate is, or what your sales track record is like or whether you’re a proven and trusted agent in their market.

So, as you can see, it’s simply a case of having ads out there that talk to people at all the 5 stages of awareness. What’s really interesting AND exciting about this is that you’ll capture the attention and interest of a LOT more people which you can bring into your sphere of influence at a lower price than just trying to find those ready to list and sell right now!

That’s why lead nurturing is so important. If we go back to Chet Holmes’ diagram again:

[17.05 min] You can see that a nurturing sequence of ads draws people from all the way near the top (ie at the 70% or less level) down towards the final 3% who are ready to buy or sell.

That means your prospective market is not actually 3% but in truth, if done right, 70% of the market.

Sure, not everyone is going to do business with you here and now, but once they know you from seeing your ads and content answering their questions, they’ll go down the know, like, trust scale towards the “I’m buying now, here, with you, today!” point, which is what we all want.

So, at this stage, you’re probably thinking, well this all sounds grand, but how the heck do I do this? It all sounds extremely complicated AND time consuming. I don’t know how to do this stuff and goodness knows whether it will actually work anyway.

Now, it’s true that you may not have the expertise and time to do all this, which is where I come into the picture, if you want someone to do it for you.

Heck, you might not even have the budget to do this. We’re certainly not talking about a $100 per month solution here. In fact, to fully implement something like this across the 5 stages of awareness, including having ads and content to meet the most common client types you work with is likely to be in the thousands of dollars per month for an agent or agency targeting a small market.

If you were a big agency with multiple offices spread across a whole major city like Perth, Melbourne, Sydney or so forth, this would likely require in excess of $10K a month in ad spend and the time and expertise of an expert to set it up and run it ongoingly.

Obviously the budget is an issue that anyone watching this has to get more clear on, keeping in mind of course that if this is done properly, it will usually bring in a LOT more money in the form of new sales you didn’t have before.

However, let’s leave the money aside and talk instead about HOW this is done. Now, I am running out of time, so this will be relatively short. I’ll just give you an introduction to the subject, and if you have more questions, you’re welcome to reach out to me to ask them.

[19.12 min] The key to make this all work is a digital marketing technology called Retargeting or Remarketing.

Now, you may have never heard that term before, but I guarantee you have seen it in action.

So, have you ever noticed that sometimes when you visit a website and then leave it, you see ads from that site start to follow you around. Whether it’s from ebay, a travel or hotel booking site or even a fashion brand site.

That is retargeting or remarketing. It’s essentially the ability to show follow-up ads to people who have engaged with your content on Facebook or who have visited your website, etc.

AND, that’s how you set up a full lead nurturing sequence or funnel.

By using retargeting technology, you can pre-set a sequence of ads to take people from 1 stage of awareness to the next to the next on autopilot. All you have to do is set up the ads initially, and define when they show to people and in what order, and then you are off and running.

Now of course, I’ve just taken a very complex process and made it sound simple. The implementation is by no means simple, but the CONCEPT is simple to grasp, once you understand Eugene’s 5 levels of awareness and that’s what’s important here.

[20.19 min] OK, well that’s it from me for now. If you’d like help with implementing this in your business, you can connect with me via my website and click on the Contact link. Just drop me a line and I’ll get back to you to schedule a time to talk about what you want.

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