Realtors are a super competitive bunch. They compete over properties, zip codes, and buyers. The stakes are high -- it's relatively easy to become a realtor, but hard to succeed. Those who succeed can make millions of dollars. The others die a slow and painful (business) death.
Entrepreneurs face similar competitive dynamics. Developing products and services is the easy part. Getting people to pay for them is a whole other story. It turns out, small businesses can learn a lot from the way realtors prospect.
What Rainmaking Realtors Have to Teach Us about Lead Generation
For years, realtors have been using a lead generation technique to build their businesses that hasn’t seen a lot of use elsewhere and it’s a shame. It’s called free recorded messages.
Simply it works like this:
Record a voice message (systems like Grasshopper make this very easy).
Distribute your message’s phone number to your prospects.
Capture lead information from prospects who call before they listen to your message.
Realtors frequently use these messages to record information about their current properties for sale. In their messages, these sales powerhouses include a lot more descriptive information about their listings than they can in print. The good ones even provide educational advice in the message -- all in an effort to capture the caller’s details at the end.
TIP: With our unlimited extensions, you could use a different extension for every listing, that way your prospects won’t have to waste time listening to messages they don’t care about and it’s a lot easier for them to remember an extension over another phone number.
3 Reasons Why Free Recorded Messages Capture Leads
This type of low-stress marketing resonates with a lot of buyers. It does so because:
It’s not threatening: If the prospect is listening to a recorded message, chances are they feel safe; they're not getting the hard sell. Instead, they’re receiving a free service to use at their convenience. The psychology is important here.
Businesses own the message: The recording is a monologue, so businesses have a lot of flexibility in how they market themselves and how they define their value proposition. By owning the message, people using this technique build credibility and expertise, which helps to funnel the prospect into further action.
Weed out the lurkers: The free recorded message may be easily accessed, but it still requires work on the customer’s end. They have to pick up the phone and dial and if they’re interested, leave their name and number when asked to do so at the end of the message. The prospects that make it through this gauntlet are primed to buy.
Tips to get leads by using recorded messages
Give something valuable away: Like any good marketing, successful techniques move the prospect closer to buying in successive steps. By providing a valuable service in the message -- maybe a buying guide or tips to purchase a product, or common pitfalls in the buying process-- prospects are more inclined to listen. They’re in learning mode, the stage leading up to a purchase. The recorded message helps inch them closer to opening their wallets.
Mention that it’s recorded: In your sales literature or marketing copy, give out your toll free number. But also make sure that people who see it know it’s automated. Knowing that no hard-nosed salesman is going to pick up their call lowers the barrier to picking up the phone.
Use it anywhere: Marketer Joe Polish mentioned that he’s advised carpet cleaning companies to place a magnet on their customers’ vacuum cleaners with a toll free number to call in case of carpet emergencies (egads, a spill!). That's awesome automated customer service. How can you take advantage of something like this too?
Hyper-target interested buyers: If you get a phone system with multiple extensions, you could bring your listeners through successive hoops to gauge their interest (e.g. if you want to spend $x, press 3). The ones who make it through could be connected directly with you or given another phone number to reach the business directly. Rest assured that anyone who gets through that process will be eager to buy.
In a world of instant gratification and real time media, businesses run the risk of getting swept up in online marketing. But some simple offline marketing techniques combined with basic technology tools (like a virtual phone system), still work to bring home the bacon.
How else could you be making your virtual phone system work harder and better for you?