Turning Online Leads into 3,000 Closed Transaction Sides a Year
There was a time when calling a new online real estate lead back within 10 minutes was considered adequate. Then that timeframe got whittled down to five minutes, and then to three minutes, and now seconds. “You have to be able to get to these leads quickly,” says Robert Slack, broker-owner at Robert Slack Fine Homes in Ocala, Fla. “It’s all about speed to lead.”
Speed is particularly important on Realtor.com, where leads are distributed to two different agents who are tasked with responding within 20 seconds. “I always joke that, ‘it’s no good buying a Mercedes if you don’t have money for the gas,” says Robert. “It’s like buying Realtor.com leads and not having the process to handle them.”
No Cash for the MLS
Initially licensed in the 1980s, Robert got back into real estate the year he turned 65—right around the time that most people start to think about retirement. “I sold my horse farm and then lost the money in the real estate disaster of ’08,” Robert explains. “I was looking for something that I could do in my golden years, so I sat down with a sheet of paper and made a list; real estate came to the top of the list.”
Short on cash at the time, Robert couldn’t even afford to join his local multiple listing service until he was in the business for about three months. About three months later, he discovered online leads as a viable business-generation channel. “I got some immediate traction, so I put a small team together of four fairly newly-licensed agents,” Robert recalls. “In 2014, I opened my own brokerage.”
Twice as Many Transactions for the Same Investment
Today, Robert has four offices and 226 agents, each of whom manages 40 online leads per month (and for no monthly fees or joining fee). Cumulatively, the team closes about 3,000 transaction sides per year.
“It’s become a no-brainer for us because agents like the Realtor.com leads better than any other lead that’s available out there; it’s just a total clincher,” says Robert, who also provides agents with a customer relationship management (CRM) and transaction management platform at no charge. He’s used other lead suppliers but says his team now closes “twice as many transactions for the same amount of money” with Realtor.com.
20 Seconds or Less
To say Robert takes the online lead cultivation process seriously would be a major understatement. About a year ago, for example, he started a call center that now employs 12 people and that is open from 7:30 AM to 10 PM, 365 days a year. “Their job is to call every online lead within 20 seconds (on behalf of the agent) and try to set an appointment,” says Robert, who started with a one-person call center, but quickly realized the value of having the phones manned nearly 10 hours a day, every day of the year.
“It was the most important thing that we’ve ever done because we’re able to set large amounts of appointments on a daily basis and we have all of our agents’ calendars in Follow Up Boss,” Robert says. “We can see when they’re busy on the calendar and when they’re not, and then fit the showing (or appointment) into their schedules.”