Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing commercial real estate leads roll in. After weeks of planning, designing, writing and executing, those leads are like the stamp of success on your marketing plan. They bear testament to the fact that you “really do know what you're talking about”. Leads are like the collateral that provides the clout, rationale and reason for putting your next campaign in motion, so when they do roll in, you should be treating them as such.
Recently, we were reviewing the results of our own inbound marketing efforts. After the rhetorical high-fives and congratulatory back slapping about our successful engagement of the marketplace, we knew that this was just the start of creating meaningful, on-going relationships with prospective clients and deepening those with the current ones. If you've been in this situation or maybe you're now planning a commercial real estate lead generation program, then it's time to think about “what's next” for those leads you're going to generate.
What happens after the lead comes in is just as important as how you go about creating it. The modern approach to market development focuses heavily on lead nurturing. Just because good website design has motivated a visitor to fill out a form on your landing page, doesn't mean that person is ready to buy. However, how you respond next could mean the difference between increasing your chances for a sale or losing an intrigued party forever. Here's four ideas for making sure you get the most from your commercial real estate lead generation efforts.
Make someone your lead captain
One of the most important considerations of the post conversion process (meaning, when a lead
comes in), is figuring out who is going to be responsible for that lead. That doesn't necessarily mean knowing who is going to eventually work with this prospective client. It does mean having someone in place to make sure all of the upfront funnel activities are taken care of. This person, will ensure that the lead makes its way into your customer contact management (CRM) system and that it's not a duplicate. If leads get distributed by territory or seniority, then this person would handle that aspect as well. Your lead captain should also own responsibility for monitoring lead development and ensuring that follow-up is happening in a consistent, timely manner. To know that your commercial real estate lead generation program is really working, you have to inspect the results so you can adjust as needed.
There's one last point on this topic. A mistake that many commercial real estate businesses make is having leads pooled and letting whomever has the bandwidth follow-up. That's a bad call, because if nobody is directly responsible, then nobody is truly responsible for making sure those leads are worked, followed-up with or re-marketed as needed.
Qualify the lead
Have you ever thought about how birds in the wild are able to know which berries are safe to eat and which are not? It's pretty amazing if you think about it. Every day, no matter the time of year, or where they are, distinguishing good from bad routinely happens. Imagine if we had the same power with leads and we could separate the habitual content downloader from the genuinely interested party. It would make our lives as marketers vastly easier. However, qualifying a lead is an important step for figuring out what's next. When a lead comes in, examine what you know about the lead. Is the lead affiliated with a company that's like your typical customers? Is the industry one that you typically work with? Are they a motivated prospect that's checked the little box indicating that they would like someone to follow-up with them? Assessing the answers to each of these points will help determine whether this lead becomes part of your next email marketing drip campaign or gets forwarded along to a sales representative.
Personalize your follow-up
Commercial real estate is an industry built on personal relationships. To instill trust in clients and deepen your relationships with them, there's a personal aspect to the selling process. Don't miss the opportunity to do this in following up with a lead. Take note of the action they took. Know what content they downloaded from your site, research their company, industry or region and try to incorporate that into your follow-up. There's plenty of great systems to help you do this, but they're only as affective as the effort you put into doing some of that upfront research. Once you've done this, you're ready to connect, but remember, if they're serious about moving to the next step, they want to believe that they're making a personal connection, not an automated one.
Stick with it
Commercial real estate lead generation and follow-up is not a one time activity nor something that can happen on a haphazard basis. To turn that “lead collateral” into cash you need to make a plan and stick with it. Success comes from being methodical about your approach, adjusting as needed and creating a level of expectation with your target audience.