Side Talk: 3 Steps to Converting Online Leads with Mike Ramos
Our Side Talk video series is designed to give top producing agents insight on creating, growing, and powering their business. In this Side Talk, Santa Clara County top producer and Side Partner Agent, Mike Ramos, gives a step-by-step explanation of how he converts online leads.
Meet Mike Ramos
Mike Ramos is the Founder of Momentum Realty and a top producing Realtor in the South Bay. He prides himself on being a Santa Clara County expert, and though that’s the county he calls home, Mike also helps buyers and sellers in Monterey County, Sacramento County, and San Joaquin County. His main area of expertise is single-family residential properties, but he also specializes in supporting first-time homebuyers and out-of-state sellers.
On his website profile, Mike says, “I go above and beyond the duties of the typical agent to ensure that I exceed the expectations of everyone that I work with.” And it shows! Just this year, Mike was named one of America’s Best on the RealTrends Rankings with $34.8M in volume. That puts him in the top half of the top 1% of real estate agents in America. He’s also on track to grow his business by 45% from 2018 to 2019.
So why did we choose Mike to host this Side Talk? Well, he’s a bit of an expert on the matter, due to the fact that he’s been working with online leads since 2009. Over the years, he’s learned a thing or two (...or three) about how to increase conversion rates.
In his video, Mike shares the three most important steps to take to increase online lead conversion. Below, we’ll explain how and why Mike incorporates each one of these steps into his daily routine and how it affects his conversion rates.
To start, it’s important to understand why having a lead conversion system in place is valuable.
- You Save Time
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You’re busy, saving time is good, following this formula saves time and increases efficiency so you can focus on more important things.
- You Save Money
Mike explains that in his case, converting 6-7% of online leads results in a cost of acquisition, also known as CAC, of about $2,000 per closing.
- You Can Scale Seamlessly
Volatility is one of the most nerve-wracking things about the real estate market. That's why being able to replicate efforts, generate predictable results, and implement reliable processes that continue to work as you grow is paramount to success.
Now let’s get down to the step-by-step details.
Step One: Be Speedy
Many agents find themselves working with millennials on a daily basis, and if this generation is known for any one thing, it’s their desire for instant gratification. If you’re asleep at the wheel and you take too long to get back to an internet lead, they won’t hesitate to find someone else. Mike reiterates this in his talk, when he says, “You have approximately five minutes to reach out to them before someone else does.”
But how can you be responsive when you’re out showing homes or meeting with clients? Sometimes you can’t, so Mike suggests a two-tool approach. He says, “You need to have an auto responder.” He suggests you choose a system that can send a thank you email to your lead as soon as they come into the system, and one that can also send a text message letting your new lead know you’ll be in touch shortly.
The second tool Mike suggests using is actually already built into your phone. It’s called ‘do not disturb’ mode. Mike explains, “I rarely put my phone on silent because I don't want to miss a call. But sometimes there are calls that will distract you.” So when he’s busy, he activates ‘do not disturb’. This allows him to filter out sales calls and the like.
To avoid missing important calls and opportunities to connect with new leads, he added his online lead tool system (Zillow, Realtor.com) numbers to his phone and set them as favorites. Then, he set his phone’s ‘do not disturb’ settings to make an exception for calls from his ‘favorite’ numbers. Doing so allows calls from new leads to ring even when ‘do not disturb’ is turned on.
Want to give it a try? Here are instructions on how to do this: iPhone | Android.
Step Two: Add Value
This may seem obvious, but it’s an area where many agents falter when it comes to effective lead follow-up and conversion. But what, exactly, does it mean to add value, and how do you do it? Mike explains, “You need to be the local expert in that area. You need to know the market; you need to know the home. You need to know what's going on. You need to know more than anybody else.”
Mike suggests enhancing value by resisting the urge to hire an Inside Sales Agent, or “ISA”. ISAs typically call your leads back as soon as they come in, which is great from a speed standpoint, but they can really drop the ball when it comes to providing value.
He elaborates, “[An] ISA's job is to talk to the lead and send them over to you when they're ready. However, they're either not licensed or not selling, so they can't provide any extra value on the phone call.”
Your lead is going to have questions when they call. They may want to know about things like the status of the home, when they can see it, why the owner is selling, and what the market is like in that neighborhood. These are things many ISAs can’t answer effectively.
So how do you handle all your leads without spending hours each day prospecting? Mike suggests revisiting the tips in step one to work around your schedule in a way that lets you and your team personally connect with each incoming lead. If you have other trusted agents you work with, you can divide and convert.
Step Three: Meet ASAP
Mike says, “Let's say it's a Sunday, and [your new lead] wants to see a home next Saturday. That is too long.” When a potential buyer is interested in a home, they have a serious sense of urgency. That’s why it’s important to try and get a meeting on the books within 24 to 48 hours of capturing a new lead’s information.
Doing this allows you to get to know what your new lead (and hopefully, soon-to-be client) is looking for. It also allows you to offer value by providing relevant market insights, real estate expertise and guidance, and a comprehensive explanation of how you can make their real estate transaction as efficient and rewarding as possible.
Mike sums up his formula for effective online lead conversion nicely in his three-step process. By using it, he averages a 6-7% conversion rate, which is impressive when you consider that the average conversion rate is 2.35% across all industries, and data analysis suggests the average may be closer to .5%-1% in the real estate industry. That being the case, Mike’s approach generates 3-14X better results, ultimately leading to lower lead acquisition costs and better return on investment across the board.
Implement these tips into your day-to-day processes and reap the benefits of repeatable, predictable, scalable efforts that will help your business grow and thrive.