How to prioritise your real estate leads

As a real estate agent, you likely receive leads from a number of different sources. If you have very interesting properties, you may, at times, be inundated with requests for exposés, viewings and more information. Of course, you want to engage with every lead, but there is only so much time in a day! This article gives you a few ideas on how to prioritise your real estate leads, so you can focus your efforts in the right places.

Not all leads are comparable in value

While most leads are worth exploring, some of them might not be as hot as others. For example, if your client is having a baby and needs a bigger house, you know that they will want to buy something ASAP. On the other hand, other clients may shop around for a year or two before they decide to buy. Would you deal with all of these leads in the same manner? No, you would not. The former scenario is an example of a “hotter” lead than the latter. So when it comes to tackling all your leads, it is best to rank them.

In order to rank your leads, strong communication is vital. Open-ended questions are the key when looking how to prioritise your real estate leads.

Open-ended questions

The way to rank leads from hottest to coldest is to ask qualifying, open-ended questions. You cannot answer open-ended questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. They require more thought and an answer longer than one word. These questions are designed to get your client talking. That way, you can gather important information that may not have been available before. As you better grasp the contact’s needs and goals, you will know which have a more pressing need for your services. These questions also help you to relate to the client on a human level, as you’ll find out more about them. Here is a handful of questions that will help you rank your real estate leads.

1. What is your motivation for buying or selling?

The reasons for buying or selling a home are likely your best indicator as to which contact is “hot”. This is a good method to use for ranking client interests. For example, if you ask “Why are you looking for a home?” you may find out that the client is moving to the area to start a new job. Therefore, the purchase has to happen sooner rather than later.

Your client may tell you that they are a first time buyer, looking for the perfect first home, and they are in no rush to buy. While this lead is not so pressing, it gives you the chance to relate to the client and start building a nice relationship that could result in lifelong business or referral business.

2. What is your timeline for the purchase or sale?

Knowing the timeline of your client is a key indicator that can help you prioritize your leads and optimise your time. If we take the same example as previously, you can follow up the first question by asking when the new job starts to get a precise timeline. Clients who are more flexible with their timing may turn out to be great clients too. However, in the short-term, focus on the ones with a tighter time restriction. 

3. What type of property are you looking for?

Although this is clearly an obvious question to ask, the type of answer will reveal a lot about your client. A more specific, nuanced answer means they have already put thought into their property search. Therefore, they are likely more serious about the idea of a purchase. A vague answer means the buyer is probably still at the beginning of their property journey. They might have lot of thinking to do before they are ready to commit.

Furthermore, you’ll get an insight into whether the buyer has a realistic expectation of the cost and availability of their desired property. As said before, the more serious buyers have already done some research before reaching out. Less mature buyers may be fixed on a location with limited availability, or one that is out of their price range. This will require more work on your side to educate and convince the client of other options.

Finally, they may be interested in a property that falls outside of your expertise. Keep in mind referrals of colleagues who may have a better idea in this realm, so that your nor the client’s time is wasted. 

4. Which lenders have you spoken to?

This question immediately reveals whether the client is pre-approved for a loan or not. A genuinely interested buyer has probably inquired about a loan and knows what their total budget is. For clients who are not at this stage, it’s an opportunity to build trust by helping them understand the process. 

Be decisive

Now that you know how to prioritise your real estate leads, you’ll be able to assertively decide the next steps you take with them. You’ll probably want to set up a meeting with them. The framing of this communication is key. For example, asking “would you like to meet?” can result in a “no” or a possible delay. Likewise, you may end up having an unnecessary meeting with a cold lead.

For a potentially hot lead, suggest a time and date in the near future. For example, “when we meet next Monday” or “let’s meet on Tuesday to discuss your options’. This sets the tone that the meeting is already a foregone conclusion, and there is no confirmation from the client needed. If the client jumps at the chance to meet, then you can be sure she or he is a well qualified, ‘hot’ lead.

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