By Jim Droz
We often think of first impressions as physical, such as what a person is wearing or what he or she looks like. But we’re way beyond that these days as first impressions have taken on a whole new meaning. Today, particularly when it comes to consumers, a good first impression involves what’s available on your website and how the information is presented. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so keep these things in mind when it comes to your website and initial contacts with leads.
Different strokes for different folks
Some agents use similar first-contact approaches for every lead. That’s not a good strategy because each lead has differing motivations in searching for a home. Rather than sending the same form e-mail or using the same phone script, evaluate the information you have about the lead and adapt your strategy from there. What you discover from the lead source or the search data they’ve provided is crucial to the success of your initial contact. Use the information to create talking points; otherwise you’re basically making a cold call, which nobody likes to get or make.
Assess the situation
Statistics show that at least 90 percent of consumers start their searches online. Are you and your site ready to make a good first impression? That’s important because a consumer who isn’t intrigued or satisfied with what they see right off the bat will move on to another agent’s site. That’s why it’s imperative that your first contact with the lead provides immediate value. Being the “most qualified” is great … to a point, but many homebuyers these days are choosing to work with an agent who is the “most responsive” to their needs. If you can fulfill that part of the equation, you’re well on your way to turning leads into clients.
Keep leads coming back
If someone came into your office with a question, you wouldn’t send them down the street for the answer, right? Of course not; so make sure your website doesn’t do that either. Allow leads to browse your website, so don’t hide it behind a registration form. Place a form or lead capture tool on your site with a call to action that provides additional value such as current home listings, neighborhood data, information on local schools and recommended professionals such as mortgage brokers. This will drive engagement and get repeat visitors to your site.
Dig below the surface
You can infer a lot from a lead’s online behavior, so make sure your website is connected to a contact management system that tracks what your visitors and registrants are looking at. You’ll be able to know information about what they’re searching for based on price range, neighborhood, number of bedrooms and more. Then you can tailor your first contact and make a great first impression. If they’re mainly searching for two-bedroom homes in the $300,000 range, zero in on what you have available in that sector of the market. If they spent a lot of time looking at school information, they likely have children, so be prepared to provide information about nearby schools or homes that have great yards for kids. Also, pay attention to the days of the week and times of day that a potential client is researching on your site. That way you’ll know the best time to follow up. Chances are it won’t be during dinner.