The top online real estate search destination Homes.com recently announced a new lead conversion tool that solves one of the industry’s most puzzling weaknesses—timely consumer responsiveness. More than half of real estate consumers consider response time before selecting their agent. Yet, research by WAV Group indicates that 48 percent of buyers never receive a response and those that do wait an average of 15 ½ hours. The Instant Response Technology (IRT) by Homes.com, comprised of a fresh Lead Concierge service and a location-based application TalkNow, aims to boost REALTORS’ ability to successfully capture those leads by enabling faster direct communication with online leads. Zillow has been doing this for a number of years now.
The Lead Concierge service saves REALTORS’ valuable time by pre-qualifying online leads before transferring them directly to the agent. Brokerage giant Howard Hanna purchased tech start up One Cavo to deliver this service on their brokerage website. Experienced call center assistants answer initial inquiries from prospects and vet their home-buying readiness by eliciting information such as whether they already have agent representation or financing. Qualified leads, or those that do not have a REALTOR and are poised to buy soon, are immediately connected to an agent or broker. Leads that are less time-sensitive are forwarded to the REALTOR’s online dashboard for later follow-up.
“In effect, we’re providing real estate agents and brokers with a personal assistant to help them never miss a call,” says Homes.com President David Mele. “No one can always be available: if they’re actively engaged with a client, they can’t stop to answer a call or respond to a text. Homes.com Lead Concierge will perform that service for them, and more importantly, will help qualify and prioritize leads.”
The affiliated Homes.com TalkNow application gives REALTORS the competitive edge by facilitating even more direct online lead engagement. Agents simply set their availability to field consumer inquiries and the application automatically sends an alert when a prospect expresses interest in a property within their service area. The first REALTOR that accepts the inquiry is connected to the prospect in real time. Since nearly a quarter of online consumers expect an instant response and 50 percent anticipate communication from a REALTOR within an hour, making the connection immediately is a powerful benchmark in a successful lead conversion cycle. “These may be the hottest leads an agent can get,” explains Mele.
Both the Lead Concierge and the TalkNow application are powerful tools for converting quality online leads by connecting Realtors directly with consumers at a strategic—and timely— touchpoint. “Time may be the most precious commodity we have,” says Mele. “With a real estate market where inventory is tight, responding faster to consumers can be an essential competitive edge for real estate agents, and a definite win for consumer engagement.” The capabilities delivered by Homes.com’s new IRT tools may be the most potent solution available for advancing key consumer relationships that boost REALTORS’ bottom-line results.