Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

One way to fix agent responsiveness

Charlie_Bucket_(Willy_Wonka_and_the_Chocolate_Factory)To me one of the biggest challenges that faces online real estate today is the issue of agent responsiveness. How do you get agents to respond to leads, whether an email or a phone call? A recent survey done by the California Association of REALTORS shows that 45% of consumers want a response “instantly”, a total of 85% on consumers wanted a response within the hour.

I’ve helped launch a couple national real estate portals and I can say the response rates from agents is super, super low.

So here’s the idea. I call it the “Golden Ticket Powerball”:

1. Every week, you either send an email, or make a phone call to a random agent who is part of your company’s lead network. If that agent responds in 10 minutes (what I would realistically call, “instantly”) they win $1,000.

2. If the lead you send out goes unanswered then the $1,000 rolls in to next week, making the prize $2,000 for the next lucky agent. Of course you make a big deal about this to your agent clients when the prize money goes up.

You could tweak this model out. Maybe if the agent responds in an hour they get $500. Or you up the prize money. At $1,000 per week that $52,000. Imagine if you went to Trulia/Zillow/Realtor.com and said “I can raise your agent response rate from 23% to 67% for only $200,000 per year.” I think it would be money well spent.

  1. Interesting idea from an ‘appeal’ standpoint. Ultimately, by not answering nor following up on the lead, that same $1,000 multiplied by XX is NOT going into the pockets of those agents. Basically the other side of the same coin.

  2. Next – figure out how to better qualify the leads. Even though they might be poor at response, some of those “leads” might not deserve a response.

    Zillow claims 70 million visits a month, yet we only sell 5 million homes a year – so that means 835 million of those annual visits were not qualified leads.

  3. I like the idea of using a carrot to motivate, until automatic response become habitual (The Willy Wonka Golden Ticket). And Russ makes a great point about the percentage of leads that may not be leads at all, if we are using the reported traffic of the portals as a gauge.

  4. “these are the leads, the Glengarry leads”

    And isn’t that the problem-the inquiring consumer doesn’t realize that most of the industry looks at them as ” a longshot lead”..not a legit opportunity. Perhaps NAR could use some of the $70 a year “public awareness fee” to educate the public to “not be a lead”, but to become “a client”. Despite the efficiencies that should have come about with the web-the consumer is LESS likely to get an informed response to a query, than in the days when most “leads” were sign calls, newspaper ads.

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