To help outline the keys to lead incubation, I have consulted our Metrix Head Coach, Julie Youngblood!
Julie believes that when it comes to lead incubation, it is important to recognize that the incubation period depends on where leads initially come from. Are they coming from a direct contact like an open house or a sign call? Or, are they using an outside source to find you, like a web search?
The more intimate the reaction to begin with — meeting someone at an open house or receiving a sign call — the less incubation time required. On the contrary, if you meet someone via a pay-per-click ad online, the incubation time may be longer as you will need to work harder to develop and foster the relationship. Let me explain a bit further…
Since we live in the information age, with an ample amount of data available at our fingertips, potential homebuyers can begin their research at anytime — whether they are ready to buy a home right now or if they are just toying with the idea. What I mean by this is, let’s say that you receive an internet lead that is thinking about moving from California to Phoenix next summer, after his/her kids graduate from high school. At first it could seem that this lead is no good since it is 14+ months aways from an actual transaction, but this is absolutely not the case. With the right follow-up systems in place, you can maximize the incubation period and by the time that lead is ready to buy, they will think of YOU!
The key to lead incubation? Follow-up!
Understand that an internet lead requires an average of 17-19 months of incubation, whereas if you meet someone in person at an open house or via a sign call, the incubation period may be anywhere from 3-6 months. Since not all leads require the same amount of incubation time, we recommend that you break up your active sales pipeline into time frames and establish your frequency of touch. For example, the closer the lead is to becoming a transaction, the closer your touch frequency should be.
To quote Julie, “we don’t matter until we matter.” Meaning, until the buyer is ready, he/she will likely not be as responsive. That being said, the key is to make sure that you are following up with them systematically so when they are ready, YOU are the one they call. On average, it takes 7-10 phone calls for someone to call you back or answer. In fact, Julie will frequently have clients who stop calling a lead after three tries because the leads are not answering. In these cases, Julie coaches them and helps update their follow-up systems such that they can further cultivate the relationship with the potential buyer.
At the end of the day, Julie believes that when it comes to lead incubation, rather than focus on the labor involved (i.e. the follow-up and time), your mindset should always be around the potential opportunity to cultivate a relationship such that the lead thinks of you when they are ready.