Lead routing has always been difficult to manage for real estate brokers. They have tried and failed at many strategies, including call centers. Beckoned by the industry’s call for innovation, today artificial intelligence and machine learning is introducing external data coupling and improving lead conversion rates.
On firm listings, almost every broker sends leads on company listings to the listing agent unless that agent opts-out. The rest of leads on other firm listings are distributed using automated lead routing rules.
Proximity is not a good lead routing strategy
The most common rule is to distribute a lead to an agent in the office closest to the subject property. Idealistically, the hope is an increased likelihood of connecting the customer with an agent who knows more about the house that is not in the data. You can think of this as ignorant geotargeting. What makes these solutions ignorant, or lacking intelligence, is that the only criteria for sending a lead to an agent is that the agent is associated with an office in the area. I always believed (pre-COVID) that it would be interesting to only send property leads to an agent who has attended an open house, allowing those firms to live up to the promise of being a local expert.
Next in line or who is fastest to respond is not a good lead routing strategy
Another common rule is brokers setting office lead routing to the next agent up “round robin” or first agent to respond “jump ball” distribution. The idea is to make lead routing fair to all agents in the office and make it harder for them to complain. An enhanced method takes responsiveness into account by not sending an agent a new lead if they have not responded to the last lead. Again, common sense. The lead routing system suspends unresponsive agents until they update the status of the last lead they received.
Why not route the listing to an agent who knows the customer?
With all of these solutions, if a consumer inquires about more than one property, all of those inquiries should go to the same agent. This happens some of the time, but not always. A good test is to inquire about three listings on your broker website and see who responds.
I have always wondered why broker solutions are not smart enough to try to match a lead to a customer record in the agent’s CRM.
It seems to me that as a consumer is filling out a form – the site should start searching for matches to see if they have an agent who already knows this person and has been prospecting this person. Or worse yet – a customer who has purchased a home in the past from the brokerage, or has a mortgage relationship with the firm is not routed to the agent who helped them on their last transaction. Leveraging existing relationships is a new frontier for lead routing that instinctively should lead to higher lead conversion rates, and leads me into the latest solution I discovered.
Relationship Mapping to second-tier relationships is another inspired innovation.
This last new technique worth looking into is rather mind blowing. Let’s say that the consumer is not already in the CRM or working with an agent. WAV Group has been monitoring a pilot program developed by a new big data firm called Aidentified. In the real estate industry, Aidentified is an add on feature with MoxiWorks, Chime, Contactually, Compass California offices, Sotheby’s, Coldwell Banker, and more. They are also represented in the luxury industry, working with Four Seasons and Ferrari, as well as the financial, insurance, and non-profit industries. The product represents the first relationship mapping technology that I have encountered in real estate. With Aidentified, firms can direct leads to an agent who either knows that customer directly (CRM or Contact Database record match), or knows someone that knows that customer.
If you use Linkedin, you understand this last part. You may not know someone directly, but you have a mutual connection (2nd or 3rd tier contact).
It’s well known that over 70% of all transactions performed by an agent are repeat or referral customers but until now, today’s lead routing solutions were not considering relationships. I would tell all of my friends and co-workers to work with my broker who helped me buy my house in 1999. I have become friends with them and sent them millions of dollars in referral volume over the years. If I sent a referral to the broker website – the website should know to connect that referral to my agent, but it doesn’t.
By the way, the primary service of Aidentified is that it monitors dozens of sources to identify executives benefiting from wealth events on a daily basis, and collects additional data like inferred income, home address, household members, etc. This data can be used to complete contact records (match and append) in an agent’s CRM and send signals to the agent to reach out when wealth or life events are reported. If your customer just sold a chunk of stock, you may want to call them. If your customer has kids entering college, you may want to call them. There is a lot more to this product, but you can contact Aidentified to learn about that. My friend there is Darr Aley. You can connect with him on my LinkedIn page.
It seems obvious that brokers should be routing leads to agents who know the customer, yet they don’t. Aidentified fixes that, creating a better customer experience and improving lead conversion by simply connecting the customer to an agent who has some sort of known relationship. That’s a game-changer.