I realize Real Estate Leads and Restaurants are not all that similar, but this weekend I learned first hand that they really do have something in common.
First impressions… How quickly and in what manner a customer is communicated with can make the difference between a sale or no sale.
Let me explain the similarities and give you an example of how not to handle a real estate lead:
There is a restaurant here in the Annapolis area that has recently opened a new location closer to where I live. I had heard all the raves from friends about how great this place was and got excited when I learned they will be opening one at a spot close to my house. A few weeks after their opening I took my family there for diner. To my surprise, it was not that crowded, yet we waited in line to be seated for several minutes… even though there were available tables clearly visible to all.
The diner was ok, not great as we all were expecting. The bill was more than anticipated. The service was….ok. Move forward in time 2 months -> The other night we were out and about and everyone was hungry. It was a friday night, about 8pm, and I figured the diner rush was over and we could get seated fairly quickly. Our location limited us to just a few choices of places to eat and I suggested we try the restaurant I mentioned above since it was close and, well… everyone deserves a second chance.
As we opened the door to the place we immediately noticed there were plenty of tables and booths available. Not to mention, we were the only ones in line. Five minutes passed with no acknowledgment of our presence. Both bartenders clearly looked up and noticed us yet decided not to acknowledge us. Several of the staff passed by us without a word. We gave it fifteen minutes before we said that was enough.
I have never been in the restaurant business but I would imagine when a family walks in, the owner of that shop would consider customers standing at the door their version of a real estate lead. And because of the way we were handled, we were a real estate lead that got away. We were ready, willing and able buyers standing at their door and they let us walk away due to their incompetent customer service skills.
When a Realtor receives a real estate lead, the clock starts ticking. That prospective homebuyer is allowing the real estate agent a given amount of time to contact them. What that amount of time is get’s determined by each individual real estate lead , but I can assure you, a real estate lead can never be contacted too soon.
If our existence was simply acknowledged by someone at that restaurant, we would have probably waited it out. For a Realtor, a priority should be contacting the real estate lead immediately, regardless of how busy they may be. If nothing else, acknowledge their existence, their needs, build some type of dialogue and advise them you will call them back if they are busy at the time.
It’s really a simple thing – if you get a real estate lead – call them back quickly. Good Real Estate Leads are too hard too come by. Don’t let a lead walk out the door.