Agent Responsiveness Study Reveals Critical Flaws in Real Estate Lead Response

by Victor Lund on January 13, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 1.28.23 PMA new whitepaper reveals that failure to respond to leads in a timely manner is a major problem for many real estate professionals. The whitepaper is the result of the collaboration between partners at leading consulting firm WAV Group and Weichert Lead Network, the Internet lead generation arm of Weichert, Realtors. What they uncovered was remarkable and could help real estate professionals achieve new levels of service and prosperity.

In the whitepaper, WAV Group details lead responsiveness results from a sample of 384 different brokers across 11 states. Researchers posed as consumers and inquired about listings on broker websites, Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and Trulia.com. They found that:

  • 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to.
  • Average number of call back attempts after the initial contact was 1.5
  • Average number of email contact attempts was 2.07
  • Average response time was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours)

Victor Lund, partner at WAV Group explains, “These numbers reveal a staggering failure of real estate professionals to serve the consumer. But this failure actually represents an important opportunity. If brokers and agents take steps to rectify this problem, and respond more effectively to consumers, they are opening the door to a great increase in revenue.”

As previously mentioned, the research began as an effort to help one company, Weichert Lead Network, understand how they were performing. But in order to understand their effectiveness, they needed a benchmark. Because so few companies are comparable to Weichert in size or leads generated, WAV Group needed to create a sample group from the industry as a whole. They chose listings only in states where Weichert also has a presence. In addition to illuminating the industry’s failings, the results also demonstrated Weichert’s success:

  • Number of leads generated by Weichert per month: 60,663
  • Percent of buyers responded to: 100%
  • Average response time: 3 minutes
  • Number of follow-up attempts: 5-11
  • Number of referrals per year: 301,772

“Even as Weichert Lead Network’s contact center allows us to respond to Internet inquiries within minutes, the study results will be eye opening for many,” says Michael Montsko, president of Weichert Lead Network. “The industry as a whole does a poor job responding to Internet inquiries and managing Internet leads, but fortunately there is much room for improvement in this area. For example, at Weichert, we have invested in WeichertPRO, our new customer relationship management system that helps our agents incubate their customer relationships. Our ability to filter Internet leads saves Weichert sales associates both time and money and helps eliminate ‘bad lead fatigue.’ This combined with our superior response times and customer service provide a huge competitive advantage.”

The authors of the whitepaper offer recommendations for solving the problem. “This is a solvable problem if you have the correct systems in place and make the right investments. Most lead routing solutions today give you the flexibility to ensure that a hot lead never goes cold. If the listing agent is not immediately available, brokers need to ensure that it is transferred to another appropriate agent, someone familiar with the property type and neighborhood,” says Lund.

“We thank Weichert for their generosity in sharing their data,” says Marilyn Wilson partner at WAV Group. “Our hope is that this report can help other real estate professionals improve their own business and elevate our industry as a whole.”

To download the complete report click here. Note: email jenna@wavgroup.com if you encounter download problems.

About Weichert, Realtors

Since 1969, Weichert, Realtors has grown from a single office into one of the nation’s leading providers of homeownership services by putting its customers first. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. Weichert leverages its customer website, www.weichert.com, one of the most visited real estate websites in the nation, to help families and individuals realize the dream of homeownership through quick and easy access to listing information and the services of its real estate professionals nationwide. For more information, Weichert’s customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD. Weichert franchised offices are independently owned and operated.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike January 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

Please read this.

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Tari Torch Sweeney February 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

I have to tell you that it is an absolute amazement to me that leads are not followed up. I would be RICH if I had even a dime for every time a lead tells me that I’m “…the first Realtor to call them back…”, or “I’ve left messages for 6 (sometimes higher numbers over a period of time) realtors, and you are the only one to call back.” I’m sorry, at that point, I tell the lead that I am really sorry for that, but that there are a few realtors out there that do that; that we are all not like that.

I do a very good business in leads. How? Pretty simple: no matter where I am, I respond. If I am with clients showing, I email the lead and tell them that and arrange to contact them in a couple hours. I always get a “thank you for responding so quickly….” response. And they wait for me to do that…and I always keep my promise. If I am unable for any reason, I respond either email or call (if I get phone number) and arrange a time with them. They alway appreciate it, thank me, and they usually work with me, ultimately. If they are remotely ready to be “captured”, then I capture them (so to speak). I love people, and I love helping them. And they respond to that.

And, here’s another tip….I do $35,000 leads as well as $849,000 leads…and I have had both, captured and closed. The KEY is to respond immediately. Be friendly. And don’t act as if you are there and they MUST work with you. And maintain a smile, because it comes over the phone. I never assume anyone must work with me. And I tell them that. I don’t intimidate them, and I don’t let them think that. If they want information, I give it freely. Who knows what will come out of that?

So, when I hear that Realtors do not respond to leads, I think 1) “Good, more business for me” and 2) “Get out of the business because you are making ALL of the good ones, who are serious about their business, look bad.”

I also CONTINUE to “track” them. I make at least 3-4 attempts to get them to respond to me. I don’t give up (and I have heard that from clients, too). Then, still no response? I put them on a contact list that sends them my Blog, or other items of interest. After about a year, I might purge those people. And, periodically, I write asking if they are still looking. How much time does that take for me to do? Not a heck of a lot. And it DOES pay off. Trust me.

Thanks for hearing this! And knowing that I respond to 100% of my leads and continue to contact them. I care. And my business has increased.

Tari Torch Sweeney
RE/MAX Traditions
216-319-4493
http://www.tarisellsrealestate.com
taritorchsweeney@gmail.com

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