The 5 Components of Successful Real Estate Lead Nurturing from Century 21’s Billy Ekofo
By Elizabeth Christensen
About Inbound Marketing
Billy Ekofo, director of leads management at Century 21 Redwood Realty in Norton, Virginia approaches it, stresses that the interaction with the client and the takeaway experience they have is the most important aspect of his business. In our webinar (which you can watch below), he talks about his passion for people and his lead nurture strategy.
Here, Ekofo shares what he believes are the most important aspects of a successful real estate lead nurture process.
Familiarize Yourself with the Right Technology
“What is the tool that allows you to redirect all that traffic through a central hub where you, the agent, or the lead manager, can essentially open it up and see all the inquiries that came in?”
Ekofo said those are the capabilities to focus on when selecting a customer relationship management (CRM) system. He explained how technology can allow for the consistency and flexibility that’s needed when it comes to lead management, and also believes you must strike a good balance between automation and individual communications to let the agent’s personality shine through and to make the agent-client interaction more genuine.
Prepare for Success
Ekofo explained once you have an effective lead management system in place, ask yourself: “What is the one thing that’s going to allow me to capture more business?” Take the time to really learn the system and see what types of information it captures about your leads. He recommends, “Spend a good month, two months with it. See how it works, see how it integrates with your already existing platform.”
He explained that 90% of your reach out efforts should be automated and the other 10% (which is hopefully the cream of the crop), should not. “To get to that 10%, you need to learn the 90% and understand how it works effectively for your goals.”
Zero In on Your Best Leads
“The beauty about automation is that you can assign specific attributes to a prospect coming into the system, and if they [the lead] match those attributes then it’s worthwhile.” Ekofo said it’s important to use the tools available to you to categorize leads as they filter in. He also cautioned it’s best to only reach out to prospects who seem most interested based on the information your CRM gives you, rather than getting ahead of yourself just because a prospect came in. “If you have someone that’s actively looking on your website, that’s the person you want to engage and have a conversation with.”
Once you have successfully qualified a lead, the next step is making the effort to pick up the phone, begin a conversation, and showcase your natural skills and enthusiasm. As Ekofo puts it, “the phone is only an extension of your excitement.”
He went on to explain what he finds most important about connecting with prospects and lead nurture: to always think of them as people, rather than sales opportunities.
“People want to feel like they’re being talked to. They don’t want to feel like they’re part of a system. That’s key. Prospects are not just a set of numbers. They’re not just random figures looking at homes and ready to be converted. The point is there’s a human behind a curtain and so the more you act like a human, the better the experience is on both parties.”
Humanize Interactions with Your Prospects
Throughout our conversation with Ekofo, he stressed the importance of really connecting with people. He said that’s the crux of his business. “I always try to focus on people having a great experience, whatever that leads to, because that’s what makes you memorable.”
“I always try to focus on people having a great experience, whatever that leads to, because that’s what makes you memorable.”
— Billy Ekofo
Since Ekofo is a lead manager and regularly reaches out to and passes qualified prospects over to agents in his office, he is familiar with the reality that sometimes people have questions beyond his level of expertise. When that happens, he’s happy to direct a prospect to someone who can provide help.“That’s the way I approach lead generation. Sometimes it’s not so much setting an appointment, per se, it’s being aware enough to help people, regardless of their inquiries, and guide them to where they can find the answer.”
Ekofo discussed the time constraints he’s under when having a conversation with a prospect, and why it’s important to get to the heart of an inquiry as quickly as he can. “Time is of the essence to me, so within five minutes, I need to be able to find some key points to make the appointment worthwhile for my agent.” This point is further proof that it’s necessary and important to segment and score your leads using your CRM before reaching out.
Focus on Conversion Tactics
Ultimately, the goal is to convert the leads you’ve been nurturing into clients. Ekofo explained that lead conversion is all about the experience clients have with his agency, and he believes you never know where a connection can lead down the line, even if a sale never materializes. He operates under the positive effects of social proof, and considers a referral from a client’s friend or family member the ultimate compliment.
“At the end of the day, if the transaction fails, which tends to happen, what do we want them to remember? That the transaction failed, or that they were with one of our best agents who carried them through, and regardless of the circumstances, they’re still able to say, ‘yes we lost on the home, but the agent had it all together’.”
Another trait Ekofo possesses that he says makes him unique compared to others in real estate is that he prioritizes client relationships ahead of money. “If money trumps the experience, I think you’re doing a disservice to every lead that comes in. But if you’re focusing on giving them a great experience, that dictates everything you put in place. That’s how you get to the conversion.” He, of course. acknowledges the importance of a paycheck, but says that for him, it’s not the driving force behind his business. “My passion in real estate was always about people. It’s always about giving back.”
Missed our conversation with Century 21’s Billy Ekofo the first time around? Watch our webinar here and learn even more about his thoughts on lead nurture!
How do you approach lead nurture in your own business? Share with us in the comments below!
Published on January 23, 2017
Written by Elizabeth Christensen
As a content writer at Placester, Elizabeth is excited about helping real estate professionals enhance their brands and discover new ways to form connections by sharing their stories and experiences. She enjoys equal parts print and digital media, and is always seeking inspiration.