by Deirdre LePera, director of business development
Roughly one-third of all housing consumers find a real estate professional on their own, and listing portals are most likely their first point of contact in that journey. In the first quarter of 2017, Zillow had 166 million unique users across its mobile apps and websites, making it the most-viewed residential website in the United States. To give you perspective, according to Realtor.com, they “achieved record traffic in the [same] quarter with 55 million average monthly unique users.”
It is no secret that quantity of online leads presents a massive opportunity for sales associates, teams and brokerages. Why then do most real estate professionals consider single digit conversion rates a success for online leads?
REAL Trends visited with four brokerage firms in four different markets to understand their goals when working with online lead providers, including their views and experience with Zillow’s Premier Broker program. All firms interviewed use a multi-platform approach to online leads, including, but not limited to, Zillow, Realtor.com, Facebook and their company website.
Each firm expressed varying reasons for supporting the Zillow Premier Broker program. Finding that the system reduced or eliminated three main pain points.
Pain Point No. 1—Lack of Control Over Lead Response
A broker’s lack of control over how or when an agent responds to a lead creates an unpredictable experience for the consumer as well as the brokerage. “I like the fact that the Zillow Premier Broker program allows us to focus on the customer—not just on leads, but on serving the [customer] in a professional manner,” says Ken Carter, principal broker of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Watson Realty ERA.
Pain Point No. 2—No Central Hub for Lead Opportunities
Brokerages are no longer the primary starting point of a home search; thus, brokerages are no longer the central hub for lead opportunities. A brokerage’s ability to be a consistent lead source is particularly important in jump-starting the careers of newer sales associates. Mike Balsitis, principal of Bellabay Home Team, Caledonia, Mich., said that his firm uses Premier Broker primarily for new agents.
Pain Point No. 3—Lack of Agent Accountability
Tracking progress in any platform is near impossible without user accountability. Premier Broker requires principals and sales associates to actively operate in the Zillow system to remain eligible for leads. Eddie Berenbaum, CEO of CENTURY 21 Redwood said, “We’ve worked with online leads for years and believe we have a good system for servicing these kinds of customers. The Zillow Premier Broker program enhances what we’ve done, and we have learned to become more efficient [in converting leads] with their assistance.”
The end goal for all firms interviewed can be boiled down to their commitment to profitable growth. These firms are working to attain profitable relationships, not only with Zillow but also with the online consumer. The firms interviewed said that Zillow is invested in the consumer experience. As Scott Parker, vice president and sales manager at John Greene Realtors said, “[John Greene Realtors and Zillow] both work to generate more leads and increase our capture rates and [improve] customer service.”
Take a closer look at the stories of how these four firms used online leads through Zillow’s Premier Broker platform to achieve growth.
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