How full is your sales funnel? And are you doing everything you can to keep leads flowing in—and keep them moving toward the bottom?
As a real estate agent, you understand the significance of a well-nurtured lead. Yet, many struggle to maintain a steady flow of leads and fail to cultivate them effectively. The key to success lies in understanding what to do and how to do it at every point in the sales funnel.
Why is this crucial, you may ask? Because simply adding prospects to your funnel is not enough. To secure successful transactions, you must be the foremost resource and guide for your potential clients when the moment to transact arrives. Building that trust and authority begins with delivering value at every touchpoint along the journey.
So, let’s break it down together – from initial contact to the bottom of the funnel – and explore how you can position yourself as the go-to real estate expert in the minds of your leads.
Breaking down the sales funnel
#1—Top of the funnel = Awareness (1-2 years out)
At the top of the real estate sales funnel, the primary goal is to generate awareness and attract potential leads. This stage is crucial as it lays the foundation for the entire sales process.
Awareness means these consumers have seen your brand; it doesn’t mean they know it. But these leads represent new potential conversations, which can (eventually) lead to a signed contract and a successful transaction.
These are long-term leads and could be one to two years away from buying or selling a home.
Keep in mind, as you deliver value to these leads, that you’re giving them a reason to think of you when they start thinking seriously about searching for a home or selling the one they have.
To effectively nurture leads at this stage, consider implementing the following awareness strategies:
- Content marketing: Create valuable and informative content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. This could include videos, blog posts, and buyer/seller guides that share your expertise.
- Engage on social media: Don’t just share your content and turn social media off—respond to comments, participate in relevant groups, and start discussions to increase visibility.
- Real Estate Health Check: Tom Storey provides a perfect blueprint to reach out to consumers twice a year, providing them with personalized, valuable information
- CRM campaign drip: Put each prospect into a targeted campaign drip, whether they are interested in buying, selling, or investing in the future.
The top of the sales funnel is all about building awareness and establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource—just remember that these leads may be years out from transacting. By filling and nurturing the top of your funnel now, you set your future self up for success.
#2—Middle of the funnel = Reminders (3–12 months out)
Leads that benefit from your downloads, one-to-one videos, and other awareness tools are more likely to open your emails, engage with your social media content, and even respond when you call or text—especially if they’re getting closer to transacting.
Leads at the middle of the funnel are typically three months to a year out. But these are all positive signs that they’ve moved to the middle of the funnel and are at least starting to see you as a potential partner in the buying/selling process.
This is where all the reminders are living. Strategies for this stage include:
- Email newsletter: Add enough value to your newsletter, along with great subject lines, to increase your open rate. The average open rate is 18% for the real estate industry, so you want to be in the 20s, and ideally, at least 25% to stand out and reach more of your target audience.
- Text group: Create a personalized text group for each lead in the middle of the funnel. Shout out to Phil Jones for this one. You can personalize your text group by naming it something like “The Smith single-level living dream,” and get your lead and their spouse/partner on it.
- Follow-up calls: Follow up with leads on a regular basis to stay involved in their real estate journey. Keep detailed notes in your CRM, so every call is personalized and valuable.
- Direct mail: When done consistently, direct mail is another reminder that keeps you in the forefront of consumers’ minds.
- Host events: Virtual or in-person events with people in your database can help you both identify those that are closer to transacting and to add value in a way that makes you the agent who comes to mind when they have more questions.
- Engaged search: Utilize tech that allows you to see exactly when your leads are online and actively looking at a property. Byron’s team uses RealScout, and has converted 19 appointments in the last 30 days alone using this strategy. All of these were six months or more out, but The One Team called and engaged with each client within 24 hours of seeing them clicking around the search. By making a phone call when the lead was in a home-buying headspace, an appointment was set, and that buyer moved to the bottom of the funnel
RealScout is a company that we’re using, and it connects directly with our CRM, which happens to be FollowUp Boss, where we can see where they’re clicking on the property, when they’re looking at this search. It tells us right in the CRM. It goes into a “Live Now” category.
If you can catch a lead in the act of engaging with the MLS and call them up when they’re actively looking for properties online, they’re more likely to be receptive to the idea of setting an appointment with you. And suddenly, they’ve moved to the bottom of the funnel.
Effective reminders are all about education and being consistent with your prospecting. Remember, these leads are not loyal to you, yet.
They’re aware of your brand, though, and of your desire to serve them. They know more about you than they knew at the Awareness stage. And the more they engage with your reminders, the more likely they are to think of you when they’re ready to learn more or to make a move.
#3—Bottom of the funnel = Conversions
The bottom stage of the sales funnel is where most of the conversions happen. When you’re on a listing appointment or on an appointment with a buyer who’s going to convert in 60 to 90 days, you’re definitely working at the bottom of the funnel. That 60-90 day timeframe is a great barometer for this stage.
Some bottom of the funnel leads come after years of nurturing leads throughout the entire funnel. Others come directly online lead sources—including Zillow— which helps you skip top and middle of funnel and connect immediately with leads who are ready to transact. Of course, these leads come at a cost, either upfront or after transacting.
Sometimes, for example, you’ll get a Sold.com lead with an appointment already set, tied to a referral fee, which means you pay nothing up front.
And at the very, very bottom of the funnel, the best source for bottom of the funnel leads is Zillow.
Consumers trust the brand intuitively. They’ve been conditioned over a couple decades, now, to trust and understand that Zillow is the Google. Zillow is the resource. When you get a Zillow lead, they are likely to transact, whether they ghost you or not—whether we as agents have added the education and value prop enough when we got connected with them. They’re gonna likely transact within 60 to 90 days when they’re setting appointments on Zillow.
Byron and the agents on his team have closed deals within 30 days of meeting a Zillow lead.
Here’s another source of bottom-of-the-funnel leads we’d like you to consider: expired phone calls. These are outside what are typically classified as “online leads,” but they’re worth mentioning here.
Using a Vulcan7 database, where it’s dumping expired listings into that database, and you call them that day and have a real-time conversation, that’s going to be bottom of the funnel. They were already on the market trying to transact.
Ultimately, your leads will convert when they’re ready to transact. They’re typically closest to that at the bottom of the funnel. Some of them, like Zillow leads and expired listings, are already at that stage, while other leads in your database will start at the top.
If you know what to do for leads at each stage, you know how to stay top of mind with them. So, as they move further down the funnel, you’ll be with them every step of the way.
Keep giving them a reason to see you as their best guide through the buying or selling process.