Generate and Nurture Real Estate Leads While You Sleep
A career as a real estate agent can be challenging, and timeliness is key – you are expected to respond to inquiries almost immediately. According to the Properties Online annual real estate technology trends survey states that 77% of sellers expect a reply from their agent within 30 minutes, while 88% of buyers are willing to wait a whopping 60 minutes before they expect a response. Unless you are able to clone yourself and not sleep, this can be a daunting task. But what if there was a way to make it seem like you were available 24/7?
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have made this a reality. Real estate brokers can now employ chatbots and automated responders to ensure that both existing and prospective clients receive all the information they want and need at the exact moment it is convenient for them. clients
What Is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program that interacts with potential clients through online and text conversations. Simply put, they are a form of AI that can improve your customer engagement strategies by providing quick responses to inquiries at any time of the day.
Relationship building plays a large role in successful customer interactions. Chatbots engage prospective clients and free up your time in the early stages of the relationship. Bots can carry on an unlimited numbers of conversations with programmed responses. In some cases, they learn and expand their knowledge as they are used — which improves the quality of the responses without much extra work from you.
Chatbots are an easy-to-use method of communicating with clients, especially after normal work hours. They bring more benefits than an automated responder, which only responds to inquiries with a prewritten message. Your bot can respond intelligently to messages, giving you the appearance of being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How Can I Use a Chatbot to Generate and Nurture Real Estate Leads?
With a chatbot installed on your website, you have the ability to sell more properties. When potential clients visit your site, a chatbot can ask specifically what they are looking for and recommend properties that fit their needs. Bots can even assist in proactive outreach, to existing clients, by sending out automatic alerts with new listings that match a customer’s search criteria.
Prospective clients often reach out with questions about listings that can easily be answered through text or other messaging services. Bots have the ability to cross reference millions of properties to quickly answer questions related to floor plans, amenities and property taxes. Once the qualifying questions have been answered, you can step in and work directly with the clients you know are ready to buy.
Chatbots can also communicate with your clients in whatever channel/medium suits them best, and in many cases, that’s still text messaging and SMS. SMS and text messages have a 98% open rate, compared to the 22% open rate for emails. Automating SMS messages means that your prospective clients are getting a personalized note from you on their favorite device — their phone. And, in the real estate industry, clients respond.
Barry Jenkins, with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, created seven messages that, when sent to the right clients at the right time, generated 20% and 65% open rates.
The most effective messages are those that are brief (think 160 characters or less), to-the-point and include a call to action. What steps do you want the customer to take when they open your message? Make it easy for them to reach you — put the information they want within one click. By law, you also need to let them know how they can stop receiving your messages, so include an opt-out option. The best part of using automated messages through SMS is that you’ll have access to the analytics. See who is responding, what messages move people to action and make regular adjustments to maximize the tool.
Chatbots can grow your leads and help funnel potential buyers through the process. You are able to focus on profitable leads and tasks that require a human touch while your bot answers repetitive questions that don’t require human input.
What Tools are Available?
Chatbots help in numerous customer service industries. Chances are high that you have interacted with a chatbot on a retail or software provider’s website without even realizing.
Several options on the market serve real estate agents specifically. Like having a personal assistant, these services can start conversations, schedule appointments and respond to emails. Having these day-to-day tasks covered by a chatbot allows you to better prioritize your time and your clients.
Using bots and AI may seem like overwhelming technology. Companies like Botsify are making it easy to set up Facebook Messenger responders without using coding. Below are some examples of other technology currently available:
- Automabots is a real estate chatbot that can capture and nurture leads. Interested buyers can interact via their favorite channels (e.g. Facebook Messenger, Web Chat or Text) to find their dream home.
- helloAlex can engage leads 24 hours a day by answering inbound phone calls and placing outbound calls. An added benefit of helloAlex is that you only pay for the minutes you use. This can save costs versus paying a person to be available for the entire day.
- Structurely uses an inside sales agent called Holmes. Aisa Holmes will respond to interested leads within two minutes of initial online contact. The conversation will continue as far as scheduling an appointment. You are then able to take over with an interested client.
- OJO answers questions a buyer may have about a property, while keeping them anonymous until they want to be contacted. OJO learns about the consumer everytime it is engaged and the information obtained gets passed along to the agent.
- Roof.ai is a messaging platform that gathers data points and builds personas for each of your website visitors, which enables them to tailor the message accordingly with the help of a smart virtual assistant that is available 24/7, 365.
Pricing for these tools can seem daunting at several hundred dollars/month. However, you need to consider how much business you are potentially losing by not being able to respond to all inquiries in a timely manner and also how much of your time you are wasting answering repetitive questions, which in turn, keeps you from effectively nurturing the leads you already have.