Recognizing when a real estate prospect is getting ready to move off the sidelines and jump into the market is tough. It takes experience to get the timing right on warming up a cold lead. The first step, however, is knowing what a warm lead looks like.
Most real estate agents devote a lot of time to finding and nurturing leads, whether through referrals from friends, online research or lead generation services. An important part of this process is understanding how prospects act when they are getting ready to buy, sell or make another move. Let’s dig in.
Cold vs. Warm vs. Hot Leads
Chances are you’ve heard these terms before, but what do they actually mean? There are three types of potential clients encountering and interacting with your real estate brand on a regular basis. These are cold leads, warm leads and hot leads
- Cold leads are people who are learning your brand for the first time;
- Warm leads are people who are familiar with your brand, but aren’t customers; and
- Hot leads are people who have engaged with your brand and are ready to buy at any moment.
Your goal as a real estate agent is to take measured steps to turn cold leads into hot ones. Let’s dive a little deeper into the differences between the three.
Cold leads are individuals who have never engaged with you or your services before. They are totally new to your brand.
This includes people who found you through:
- An online search
- A Facebook ad
- A billboard
Cold leads can also be people who may have interacted with your brand at some point in the distant past, but dropped out of your sphere for one reason or another. This is especially relevant in email marketing. It’s likely your email contact list has a few individuals on it who haven’t opened an email from you or engaged in the conversation in quite some time. Those folks are considered cold leads even though you might have their contact info.
For comparison, warm leads are people who are engaging with your brand on a regular basis, but aren’t actively buying or selling.
This includes people who are:
- Opening your email newsletter
- Reading your blog
- Attending a webinar or open house
- Answering a survey
In the world of email, warm leads are leads who are opening your emails and perhaps clicking on a few links, but aren’t necessarily converting into customers. We like this explanation from SalesBuzz.
The end game is to get your prospects to reach out to you! A warm lead is when a prospect raises their hand (i.e. picking up the phone and calling you or filling out a form on your website and submitting a request to be contacted.)
Warm leads are the people standing at the edge of the swimming and dipping their toes in the water. The weather is beautiful and their friends are beckoning them to jump in, but they’re not quite ready to commit to a swim.
The third type of lead is a hot lead. This is an individual who has been interacting with your brand for a while—two months or more—and is ready to buy at any moment. They just haven’t found the right moment. In the swimming pool analogy, these are the folks who are suited up and standing knee-deep on the pool steps. One more step and they’re in.
Start creating your own showstopping content today.
Diving into the world of content can be a bit intimidating for a solo real estate agent or small marketing team. It helps to have a bit of inspiration.
4 tips for warming leads over email
How do you take leads from cold to hot? It’s about building trust. Your clients need to know they can trust you before they can do business with you. Rushing in with a sales pitch too early in the relationship upends that trust.
The key to building trust without being annoying or pushy is to provide a wealth of education and resources to your prospect. The more useful information you can provide them, the more they start to see you as a real estate agent who knows their stuff and can help them navigate the market.
Email marketing is a low-cost method for reaching out directly to prospects with information that is useful to them. We like email newsletters in particular because they are designed for sharing relevant information with a specific group on a regular basis. They’re the perfect trust-building tool.
Here are a few tips for converting warm leads in real estate over email.
1. Be consistent
If you’re only sending sporadic email blasts when you’re in desperate need of deals, your leads will notice and tune you out. You have to be consistent in order to warm leads over email. Keeping a regular presence in a prospect’s inbox shows that you are invested in their success. Make it a point to develop thoughtful content to share with leads over time.
2. Hit on hot buttons
What problems do your leads face? Make sure to highlight those hot buttons in your email subject lines and blog titles, while also keeping the language short and catchy. Here’s an example.
- Not so great: Sell Your Home With Jane Smith Realty!
- Better: 10 Key Questions to Ask Before Listing Your Home
3. Offer help
Warming leads isn’t about flexing your sales muscle. It’s about demonstrating exactly how you’re able to help a prospect tackle whatever problem they’re facing. Sharing information on your background, your agency or your services should not be the focus. Instead, center your information on a problem your leads have that you have expertise solving as a real estate agent. Then offer free advice for addressing that problem.
That said, not all leads have an immediate problem that needs to be solved. Your efforts are still worthwhile. Once your prospects start to see your brand as a problem solver, they’re more likely to think of you when they have a real estate need they can no longer ignore.
4. Make a request
Your emails should include a clear call to action for those prospects who need your services right now. Include a brightly colored button readers can click on to reply directly to your email. A clear and visible CTA makes it easier for prospects to “raise their hand” in the form of an email response.
Make sure all of your email communications display your contact information. Prospects shouldn’t have to search to find your phone and direct email address. Make it prominent and visible.
The last step is to have a specific plan for following up with warm leads. Have a system for earmarking warm leads in your customer relationship management (CRM) software and develop an outreach plan. Following up with a warm lead looks different than following up with a cold lead who is just coming into contact with your brand. The last thing you want is for a warm lead to email you with a specific question and then receive a generic response like “Do you have a question I can help with?”
Cold and warm leads need to be treated differently. Take time to practice learning the difference between these prospects. This practice allows you to build stronger client relationships and boost sales over the long term.