The Key to Online Lead Conversion? Patience, Patience, Patience

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Realtor.com Provides Ample Online Leads To The Hogan Group, But They Must Be Nurtured Over Time, Says Group Leader.

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The Hogan Group with Keller Williams Realty Richmond West in Virginia is a mega-agent office, with a staff of about 40, three quarters of whom are agents. Structured like a brokerage within a brokerage “is the best of both worlds,” says team leader Mike Hogan of The Hogan Group.

Prospecting is an important part of the business, says Hogan, noting that his agents “absolutely kill it,” when it comes to converting online leads. Working with internet leads often requires patience for relationship-building, says Hogan.

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“Most of the people don’t respond right away. Many aren’t ready to buy right away. [For] many, it’s going to be a year, two years before they’re ready. For us, that’s what prospecting is. It’s nurturing those leads that we’re receiving.”

He recommends that agents don’t ask for a pre-approval letter right out of the gate, which enables them to focus on building a rapport.

“Then that question comes naturally and that’s a much easier conversation to have,” he says.

“It’s just relationship-building and asking the hard questions at the right time instead of doing it up front where it’s a very uncomfortable conversation.”

Realtor.com is a “huge part” of online lead generation, says Hogan. The leads go directly into their CRM, Follow Up Boss, which disperses to agents based on geography and price point.

“From there, it’s the agent’s job to get into contact with that lead,” says Hogan. “Our system does a big part of it through auto-touch responders and auto-email responders…. It’s a big part of what the system does. It is enabling the agent, but the agent’s responsibility is still to get in touch with them and nurture that lead.”

On average, from the time a lead comes until that lead closes on a property is 97 days. The conversion generally comes in the third month, says Hogan, but “there’s a lot of nurturing that goes into getting those people to that 60-day mark when they’re ready to buy a property.”

Because of the lag time, Hogan says it’s important to monitor agents’ milestones rather than simply focus on sales.

“We’re watching things more like how many tasks are [agents] doing each day,” he says.

“Are they doing their follow-ups? Do we see the communication? Do we see regular communication or regular communication attempts happening? How many houses are they showing? Are they setting up appointments? Those are the things that we’re looking at. Sales come, but sales are typically a lagging indicator of what they’re doing.”

Being able to offer leads is important to Hogan’s recruitment efforts. He looks for agents who have about a year’s experience.

“We tend to go for those people that have been in the business just long enough to know that it’s difficult to generate leads,” he says. “So that when they get leads, they see the value in them and they nurture them.”

Aside from looking for individuals with “grit,” Hogan values agents who are able to build relationships with people from across a diverse background, who can “within two minutes–three minutes have some sort of rapport built whether it’s on the phone or in person. It doesn’t matter what background that person has. [The agent] can assimilate with them pretty well.”

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After earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida, Tracey set out in the real world at Florida Realtors in 1994 as a communication assistant, working her way up to editor in chief of Florida Realtor magazine. In 2004, she left the association to start her freelance writing and editing business. One of her first clients was REAL Trends, and she started working for the organization in 2005. In 2014, Tracey was promoted to editor in chief of publications for REAL Trends. She handles the writing and editing of all REAL Trends publications and marketing materials, including LORE Magazine, the REAL Trends newsletter and the blog. She is also the primary podcast interviewer where she conducts interviews with top real estate industry leaders and affiliated industry leaders. Tracey is married with two children.

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