I’m so glad you stopped by. Below are some easily downloadable pdf files that can tell you about me, my company, and my areas of expertise.
Here are a couple of other pages on the site that offer you more info too:
From Her Blog: Debbie McBee’s Blog
“I’ve discovered a wonderful systems coach in Kelly Sparta and highly recommend her literature to other agents. She has a spot-on system for qualifying divorcing sellers that saves a lot of time and confusion during the course of the listing and contract negotiations.”
I’ve Been There
When my mother passed away in 2010, I hired an agent while I was in the height of my grief. I picked someone who seemed to be successful from his approach and demeanor, but honestly, I didn’t do any homework on him. I was just too tired. I did do one thing smart, I refused to give him a year listing. I wasn’t willing to have the house on the market that long. I did sign a 6-month listing but I told him I wanted it sold in two and he should make that happen. I gave him the price he asked for and two months later, I insisted on a price reduction. At the end of 6 months, nothing had happened and I had heard from my agent a total of about 6 times. I was a very motivated seller since the house costs me $2K per month to maintain.
The Search for a Good Listing Agent
So I was faced with picking new agent. I went into the marketplace online since this is how most buyers will find their house. I searched for houses in the area that my mother’s house was in and I started pulling up listings. I found a few agents in the area with listings that might cross-promote nicely with my mom’s house. So I started making calls. Not one of them answered their phones. In fact, not one of them went to a cell phone. They all went to office answering machines. (Can you tell my mom lived in a rural area?) So I went back to the computer again. And I did another search based on the lake that my mother lived near. This time I got better results. The top items in the search were from Homes.com. So I started digging through and the strangest thing happened.
No Profiles Filled Out
Almost every listing that I looked at had information about the house on it, but very little or nothing about the agent. So I checked to see if the lack of a profile was price related and discovered that you can actually fill out a profile for free on Homes.com. It costs you monthly to post your listings. Which means that the agents whose listings I was perusing had paid (likely $29 per month – their base fee) to post their listings, but had completely failed to fill out information that was free to enter and which made it easier for me to find them as a seller. Can you say “missed the boat?”
The Stand-Out Choice
And then I found one where the profile was not only filled out, but the listing was an enhanced listing as well. The agent also had several other listings in the same area. He also had an 888 phone number that I knew would follow him to wherever he was. There were signs that this was a professional agent!
And so I decided to call and see how he was on the phone with potential buyers. Because we know that if you can’t convert a buyer call, you’re not likely to make the sale yourself. He answered the phone himself. He answered questions about his listing (although he did have to look some stuff up – he had 30 listings after all). He was professional. So I came clean and told him that I wasn’t a buyer, but a seller and I needed some help.
Despite the fact that we had a couple of weeks before my last listing expired, he got right on the job of providing me with a new market analysis and staying in contact. Given that my last agent barely spoke to me, I found this to be refreshing. He worked with a partner and he told me about her.
Introducing the Partner
If there is one thing that I would have liked to have had happen, it’s that I would have liked to have gotten a phone call from his partner to introduce herself. This way when he wasn’t around and she needed to talk to me, she wouldn’t be coming in cold to the relationship.
Turns out I wasn’t wrong about him. He brought me a buyer and we negotiated a sale just shy of a short sale. (After the horrid experience I had already had with Bank of America, I wasn’t about to try doing a short sale with them.) And we closed nice and smooth.
How Do You Look To Out Of Town Sellers?
When was the last time you did a search on the internet for agents in your area? Do you know how you look to someone coming in? Are you one of those agents who didn’t even fill out the free profile? Or are you the agent who spent the time to look as professional as they act? Might be time for a checkup.
You spend a lot of time and effort on your social media campaign, your blog posts and your tweets. You invest a lot of money in sites that promise good leads. And yet, the conversion rates on the leads you get still aren’t great. This is because you haven’t optimized your web presence to create relationships with your prospects. They simply don’t care about you by the time you contact them. In fact, they never really cared about you at all – they just cared about the information you had to offer. And that’s not their fault – it’s yours.
The next seven tips are going to show you how to program your internet leads to care about getting in contact with you. The tips below will increase your conversion rates dramatically and help you close more of the leads you’ve already got coming in, rather than you trying to bring in more leads that don’t do anything.
Lead Conversion Tip #1 – Set Yourself Apart From The Competition
You need to find something about you and your business that is unique – a reason why they would really want to work with you over working with any other agent. It might be that you’re a great negotiator or that you have a background in finance or that you specialize in working with their type of market. It might be that you’ve got something in common with them. It doesn’t matter what it is, just find SOMETHING and then highlight that differentiator in ALL of your communications.
(Let me just say one thing here – please read other agents’ marketing materials before you settle on something. If I see another agent who thinks that “your real estate agent for life” is a differentiator or that “I’ll help you find your dream home” is valid marketing, I think I’m going to scream. If you’ve seen it anywhere in real estate before – DON’T USE IT!)
Lead Conversion Tip #2 –Build a Relationship
Once you’ve got your differentiator identified, then it’s time to start building a relationship. On the internet this means that you need to do things to get people to know who you are. These days, visuals are just as important (if not more important) than words.
Plan out your next three months’ worth of blog posts and then get some interesting photos taken related to them – have a sense of humor about them if it fits your personality. Have you standing on top of other agents, or swooping in on a rope to get the buyer for the home, or signing the deal for the house with a big grin and the sparkle on your teeth (like in the Orbitz commercials). Feel free to spoof other fun commercials of the moment – you can ride on their good feelings. Whatever you do, it should reflect YOUR personality – because you’re using these photos to attract people to you.
Then include these photos as you write your blog posts. No blog post should be without a photo – whether it’s one of you or one you got online. The reason for this is that Pinterest won’t pin an article without a photo to attach it to – which means you don’t get the traffic from people sharing it. You want to spark people’s desire to pin your stuff – especially since more than 80% of Pinterest’s 11million (and counting) users are women and women make 95% of the real estate buying decisions. It also means that when you post it to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it has an image attached and that is increasingly more important for getting noticed.
The purpose of all of this is to give people an idea of who you are. This is one example. You could also create a podcast (FYI this is a lot of work – think carefully before committing to this) or a video to get people to know you better. Be creative and let people in behind the scenes into who you really are – not some “professional” mask you’re wearing to look cool. This keeps people at a distance. They want to know you’re a real person – show them you are!
Lead Conversion Tip #3 – Give Something of Value
Now offer them something of value to them. For buyers, this is easy. Offer for them to sign up to have listings sent to them according to their criteria, so that they don’t have to go looking for them. You’ll need to explain how the MLS works and that you will have the listings from all the companies, but it’s something they want, so offer it. If everyone in your marketplace is offering this then come up with a free report or training program on “6 ways to save money on your home purchase” or “5 unexpected ways to ruin your chances of buying” or something of that nature.
For sellers, you’ll need to be more creative (remember, you still have to differentiate yourself). Everyone offers a free CMA. Most sellers have already gone on Zillow, so they think they already have what that offers anyway. Instead, offer something they don’t know. A free report on “the 10 simple repairs that make the most money on resale” or “7 ways to get your house sold faster” or something similar. In short, offer them something that no one else has. I’m going to do this for you at the end of this article by offering you a free viewing of my hour-long webinar on how to Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine. Compelling title, right? Don’t forget that the title will help sell people on signing up for whatever it is you are offering, so make sure it’s a good one.
The offer of a valuable item gives you the opportunity to turn someone from a lurker (where you don’t know who they are) into a lead (where you know who they are). So make it worth their while to identify themselves. You’ll have to test your marketplace to determine whether you can get away with asking for phone numbers or not. Ideally, you’ll run a split test (look up Content Experiments to learn more about these) to determine which gives more conversions AND better leads. After all, if you have a choice between getting 15 people to give you only an email and you convert only one of them into a client or you can get three only people to give you their phone number but all three become clients , clearly asking for phone numbers is the better choice even though it is fewer overall leads.
Lead Conversion Tip #4 – Have a Follow-Up System In Place
When you get the lead’s contact information, you don’t want it to get cold (and internet leads go cold within an hour or less). Since you know you won’t always be able to respond in that time frame, make sure your computer does it for you. Use an autoresponder program to launch a whole email campaign to your prospects from the moment they sign up for one of your value services. You will want to customize the program to the offer that you made so that it looks consistent with what they asked to receive. AND you’ll want to make sure that they know that they’ll hear from you again – both by email and by phone.
Lead Conversion Tip #5 – Find Something That They Didn’t Know They Didn’t Know
Other than first time buyers, most buyers and sellers think they know everything they need to and that an agent is merely a convenience to get the job done. If you can find something to tell them about the pitfalls of a transaction that they didn’t even know to worry about, then you have proven that they don’t know everything and that therefore, they need you. This sort of thing is great for a Facebook status update or a tweet as a “Did you know…” comment. It can be expanded into a blog post if it’s more complicated. Don’t forget a photo to make it pinnable!
Lead Conversion Tip #6 – Educate and Stay Open
Hard sells are a turn-off. So staying in an education mode when you are wooing your prospects is the best recipe for success. But beware – if you educate too much, then they will think they don’t need you anymore. So you should have a set amount of education that you offer – either in an autoresponder or as a podcast or as blog posts and then if they want to know more, they need to talk to you in person. The key phrase when doing an educational piece is “whether you work with me or somebody else, here is what you need to know”. Continue using this phrase in your listing or buyer presentation and you’ll immediately associate all of that knowledge they got online with you – and you’ll really come out smelling like a rose.
Lead Conversion Tip #7 – Tell Them That The Next Step Is A Meeting With You
People need direction – especially when they are in a new situation. If you don’t tell them what the steps are, then they don’t know. If you don’t say that they should meet with you, then they think that they are fine still wandering about on their own. When you get to a certain stage in your marketing and you’ve played out all of your education that you’re offering, tell them it’s time for them to make a phone call to you. Even if they aren’t ready to buy or sell now, they will want to put their name on your preferred buyer/seller list so that when they are ready, they’ll get to be first in line to work with you over other buyers and sellers. (Scarcity marketing – we love it!)
Remember that your communications are a pathway that you are walking your leads down. Don’t allow them to stray from the path until they have reached the final destination of talking with you face to face and allowing you to close the deal. Keep distractions to a minimum and keep the momentum moving them forward and you’ll find that your ability to convert your internet leads increases dramatically. Happy prospecting!
The Information Above Can Only Scratch the Surface.
If You Want To Learn More About How To Convert Your Internet Leads, Watch My
Did you know that almost everyone these days starts their search on the web? I’m sure you did, but have you actually stopped to think about what this means for you? Most agents haven’t – at least this is what I assume from looking at the websites that are out there. Most agents are relying on the IDX interface to convert their leads for them. The problem with this is that people sign up for the IDX on only one site and then they keep searching. If you don’t happen to be the first person they saw, then they didn’t sign up for your IDX and you have missed the lead because you’re not offering anything different than what the other agents have.
How Fast Are You?
The other thing I see agents failing at on a regular basis is following up on those internet leads. It is an instant gratification world and if you are getting back to your leads 24-48 hours after the lead came in, you’re missing the boat big time. People want an instant answer. And you can’t always be there to offer it, but there are systems you can put in place to help you.
The Secret to Conversions
If you hope to convert your website lurkers into leads, then you had best have a plan in place to get them there. You need both lead conversion tools that offer people something of value to them in exchange for their contact info, and autoresponders that respond immediately when they ask for more information. If you don’t have these two critical factor items, you can kiss your leads goodbye because someone else who has these tools will be converting them into clients – not you.
This Is Just the Beginning…
OK -so those are the technology pieces. And they are important. But more important is the content. The content is what actually gets them to bite. And then, it’s all about the follow-up and consistently getting your message out there to draw more people in. It’s a whole process.
If you’d like to know more about what it takes to turn your website into a Lead Generation Machine, sign up for my free webinar. In it, I’ll take you through all of the steps it takes to make your website work for you. This content-rich webinar will teach you more about internet marketing in one hour than you could learn from taking many courses online – and even better yet – it’s specifically targeted to real estate business. You won’t find anything else like it!
Turn Your Website Into A Lead Generation Machine!
Join me, Kelle Sparta, the expert on creating (and profiting from) relationships, as I teach you how to create relationships online – without ever having met the prospect. I’ve been practicing these techniques for years on my own website and now I’m going to teach you something I’ve never taught anyone before!
You’ll learn the art of:
- Separating Yourself From the Competition and How to Get People to Work With You
- Getting Leads To Your Site – And How to Make Them Stay!
- Converting Lurkers Into Leads – Making the Most of the Leads You Already Have
- Getting the Flow of Leads to Come in Consistently So That Your Pipeline of Business Is ALWAYS FULL.I’ve spent many years and countless thousands of dollars testing and refining these lead conversion techniques. Don’t miss out on how you can get these tools to work for you!