Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions people make in their lives, and it can take a lot to close a transaction. A typical conversion rate is anywhere from 3 to 10 percent — often lower in highly competitive markets. For every real estate agent, increasing lead conversions is key to growth and success.
Being charming, responsive and knowledgeable isn’t enough in this environment. The agents who stand out and close deals are those who embrace new technology to streamline and enhance their practice. In 2018, there are four technologies that real estate pros can use to increase their lead conversion rate.
AI is taking over the world, but not in the sinister way of sci-fi movies. IDC predicts that 75 percent of developer teams will use AI technology in one or more business applications or services in the next year. For real estate pros, AI can help boost lead conversion in a variety of ways.
One is by helping agents focus. Traditionally, real estate agents identified trends by manually sorting through data and opportunities. Their success hinged on their ability to spot up-and-coming neighborhoods (before everyone else) and identify prospects who were actually prepared to buy. AI can uncover opportunities for agents by compiling and analyzing multiple data sources for insight. Instead of pouring time into prospects that are unlikely to close, AI helps agents focus their energy on high-quality leads. Furthermore, AI can enrich leads with information, such as if a family is mostly looking at three-bedroom homes or in a particular neighborhood so agents can better serve their clients.
AI is also helping agents be more efficient. An AI-enabled smart dialer, for example, can serve as an intelligent companion that enables quick performance and limits downtime between calls. It allows agents to quickly dial prospects with just one click, add notes, do follow-ups, schedule appointments and send texts or emails from within the tool. In addition, it could come equipped with AI-based smart scoring that dynamically scores leads and updates them dynamically in real-time. Using tools like this, real estate pros can optimize their time and energy.
CRMs will enable agents, team leaders and brokers to improve lead conversion rates in 2018 by streamlining workflows. Real estate agents tend to be “people” people, as success can depend on their ability to form strong, trusting relationships with their clients. Those types of relationships take time to cultivate, and time can be in short supply for agents who are bogged down by mundane tasks and paperwork, such as updating lead profiles, responding to queries and sending documents.
Operating systems/CRMs can handle many of these nitty gritty tasks with automation and smart integration. These platforms help agents identify leads, track their activities and build relationships based on that information. In addition, CRMs allow users to keep a better handle on their funnels through analytics and real-time data tracking. Instead of being chained to a desk, agents can focus their energy on building connections with people — connections that lead to deals.
Real estate information has been migrating to the cloud over the past 10 years, making home evaluation reports, sale prices, demographic data, etc., more accessible. However, that data only has value if it’s interpretable. Big data means agents can turn the troves of data at their disposal into insight to make the sales process more transparent. Appraisals, for example, can be based on numbers instead of intuition and guesswork.
Heightened transparency leads to better decision-making. When computers take care of the number crunching, they can produce analogies, conclusions and insights from that data. This allows buyers and sellers to speed up their decision-making process, as well as conduct more objective analyses about value and the potential of investments. This reduces the risk of paying an inflated price or investing in a property that won’t appreciate. If an agent can prove to clients that a property is a smart investment backed up by data, that proof can help clinch the deal.
In 2018, real estate agents can set themselves apart and boost their sales by integrating drones into their practice. The National Association of Realtors states that 90 percent of homebuyers rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources. Capturing the attention of browsing users requires beautiful, detailed visuals. Drones can serve as flying cameras and take sweeping shots of the landscapes around homes and 360-degree views of home exteriors, giving buyers unprecedented insight, from afar, into what a property looks and feels like.
Moreover, drones enable agents to conduct virtual open houses. A Redfin survey found that fewer than one-in-five buyers makes an offer without first seeing a house in person. However, open houses can be inconvenient for buyers and sellers alike. Drone technology makes it possible for agents to give virtual tours. Sellers don’t have to deal with a parade of strangers trooping through their homes or the hassle of keeping it constantly open house-ready, while buyers don’t have to carve out time from their busy schedules to visit properties that aren’t a good fit. Drones also make properties more accessible to buyers who don’t live in the area.
By enabling real estate pros to focus their time and energy on high-quality leads and relationships, equipping them with actionable insights, automating some of their workload, and enhancing how they present properties, these four technologies will improve the real estate process for buyers, sellers, and agents alike in 2018.
Matthew Murphy is the chief marketing officer of Chime Technologies. The company offers a podcast, Ring in the Sales, that shares insights from top agents.
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