Relationship Sales and the Persistence Problem

Most Real Estate and Mortgage veterans generate a significant portion of their business from referrals. We are relationship based sales people. We came up with Buffini, Stumpf and Duncan promising to eliminate uncomfortable cold calls by nurturing a handful of quality relationships. The unintended consequence of our referral mindset is that we haven’t taken persistence seriously enough to win consumer direct business. The bottom line is that most of us don’t make enough dials and don’t have enough patience to successfully work in the tech focused coming market.

Don’t tune me out, I have attended and advocate Buffini’s Success Tour, Stumpf’s BRO, and Duncan’s High Trust Selling.  They have pioneered best practices that fuelled the growth of our industry for the last 20 years. The problem is that in our zeal to build businesses that feed themselves effortlessly, we risk missing out on the next generation of consumers that are learning, engaging and soon, buying via technology platforms.Persistence Pays Off

The facts that can no longer be ignored:

  1. In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts. Source: Telenet and Ovation Sales Group
  2. The average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect. Source: Sirius Decisions
  3. 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first time voicemails are never returned.  Source: RingLead
  4. The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. Source: InsideSales
  5. The average Realtor converts Lead to Close at 2%, (per Zillow), but results of 15-20% are not uncommon. Source: ReelGeeks interview a top Zillow Converter.

We aren’t calling our leads enough.

The other day I asked a team member about a follow up and they said, “Yes, I connected with them, I left a voicemail.”  Leaving a voicemail isn’t connecting and two calls are not enough. Now, I understand when we receive a referral from a business partner or friend, we are very sensitive to not agitate our leads to the point they report us to the referral source.

What is the answer? Utilize multiple channels and add value with every call. If you are dealing with a busy professional it is possible that they would like to do business, but you have not caught them in the opportunistic moment. By increasing the number of attempts, you increase the possibility of making the connection.

You are writing off leads too quickly.

At any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready and 40% are poised to begin, (Vorsight). While these numbers may be slightly skewed in the real estate market, most of us aren’t patient enough. When a potential buyer engages with a portal and actually inputs their e-mail address to get information, they are at the early phase of the purchase cycle.  Recently, I sent 300 e-mails to an MLO’s Cold lead list that were over 6 months old. Eleven people reached back out with an affirmative response. In our market that is $45K in income, back on track with one e-mail.

What is the answer? Keep connecting with your lead pipeline and acknowledge the reality that everyone isn’t ready now. You got there first, so stay in touch.

So, are you persistent enough in your lead conversion strategies? Even if you have to pay someone to do the long term follow up, the ROI calculations are pretty easy to justify. Persist.