Locking in Advanced Leads With Realtor.com

Zagorsky_JesseIn the following interview, Jesse Zagorsky, broker/owner of Live. Love. San Diego Homes in Del Mar, Calif., discusses client relations and customer service, lead generation and conversion, and more.

Years in Real Estate: 13
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 22
No. 1 Tip for Real Estate Newbies: Always answer your phone.

You’ve been on a few panels recently talking about converting online leads in the double digits. Assuming that you get your leads from a good source and there’s inventory to sell, how many end up transacting?
Pretty much everywhere in the country has the same low inventory challenge. In terms of conversion rates, if you buy your leads from a good source (my favorite being realtor.com®), and you have a highly trained group of salespeople working the leads, you should be able to sell 7-8 homes for every 100 leads. I have friends that run successful teams who are converting at 10 percent currently, and a few even higher than that. If you’re working the leads as a solo agent, you can probably convert even higher if you’ve got the right skills.

What is the one thing you can control that makes it more likely that you will achieve success?
Mindset. I’ve taught sales technique courses for years, and I always begin by asking the group: “What percentage of sales is mental? And what percentage is skill?” Without fail, even though we’re in a sales technique course, most people believe sales is at least 90 percent mental, and I agree. So why learn sales skills? Those skills help build confidence, which, in turn, helps your mindset. There’s no right answer for how to improve your mindset, but each person should figure out the recipe that works for them, and put effort into it every day.

What should people stop doing so as to not lose the customer?
Stop making the client jump through hoops before you will meet with them. Modern clients are savvy, knowledgeable, and expect to get what they want, whenever they want it, which is usually now. When you get a new client on the phone for the first time, give them the info they want, then give them a compelling reason to meet with you face-to-face. After you book the appointment, go back and ask questions to decide if it’s really worth your time to meet them. It’s easier to unbook an appointment than to book one.

Are you mostly selling the property leads inquire about?
Rarely do you sell the house a lead inquires about. Think of it like a sign call, or someone walking into an open house. Does it happen where that lead will buy the specific property they inquired about? Sure, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

Are buyers looking at additional online properties with others?
Before meeting with an agent from our team, they’re most definitely looking at other properties from online with various agents. Our informal in-house research shows that most buyers we work with have had contact with at least 4-5 different agents before choosing to work exclusively with us.

How do you make them look with you for all the homes they find?
It starts at the first meeting, which we call the Initial Buyer Consultation. The first half is spent focusing on the client’s needs so we can learn to see homes through their eyes. The second half explains how we work, and what we do differently. I’ve been taught that there are only two reasons why someone wouldn’t do business with you: They either don’t understand the value, or they feel threatened.

How many leads are you working with at any one time? And how do you keep it all straight?
The key is to have an easy system that you and your agents will actually use. We have 1,400 active leads in the communal account of our database right now. The average agent can handle 30-50 new leads per month. Keeping notes and leveraging a system is the only way to keep it all straight.

How long does it take for leads to convert?
Realtor.com leads are the fastest-converting leads of any type I’ve ever bought. Not all the leads convert instantly, but if you keep working them, you will discover there are some immediate sales. I recently sold a $2.3 million home to a realtor.com lead after showing a single house. While showing the home, we were sitting in the living room and the client slapped his hands on the table and said: “I’ll take it!” I wrote the offer, negotiated and had it into escrow in less than 48 hours from when the lead came in.

A newer agent on my team recently claimed a realtor.com lead in the middle of one of our training meetings. The rest of the team listened as she booked the appointment. A couple days later she was out showing homes to this client and writing offers, and less than two weeks after joining my team, she had opened her first escrow. Relative to other lead sources, realtor.com leads seem to be consistently further down the buying cycle, meaning they’re ready to go out and look at homes and start writing offers.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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