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Don’t Pour Cold Water on Hot Leads

According to a recent poll by Property Finder, 86% of homebuyers now start their property search online with only 5.5% using an estate agents window. (Curiously no mention was made of those that by-passed the window and just walked straight in to the agents’ office). This simply compounds what many people already believe - that the future of property sales is online and moving away from the high street.

However what was more interesting was the amount of time that enquirers are prepared to wait for a response. With the majority of respondents stating that they are most likely to contact an agent via email or online enquiry from, they are apparently prepared to wait up to two days before the get a response!

Now the internet is a wonderful tool if used effectively. However one of its downsides can be the sheer volume of information that is accessible online which can be overwhelming when searching for property.

For example a Google search for ‘property for sale in Manchester city centre’ on 8th July 2009 produced 148 million results! Globrix alone boasted some 8193 for sale in Manchester on the same day. So the point is that even when prospective buyers spend time filtering their enquiries, they can be given a bewildering choice – even in today’s market.

In my experience, waiting for a day or two before calling a client can put you on the back foot meaning you lose the initiative of responding quickly to a fresh enquiry.

Whilst it is not always possible to respond immediately by telephone, in the first instance, you should set up an automated response so that clients who make online enquiries get an immediate notification that their enquiry has been received and will be dealt with promptly. This also has the added benefit of differentiating your company from the portal that the enquiry may have originated from - if it did not come via your own website.

Once you have set up the automated response, you should make sure that you call the client as soon as possibly in person. After all, this is a hot lead. The enquirer has entrusted you with their personal details and invited you to contact them.

If you can, call enquirers the same day. They will not only be impressed by our prompt service but the property you are marketing for sale will still be fresh in their mind. It’s also reassuring for them to know that there are real people in the virtual world.

By talking to the client personally, you can not only build rapport to arrange the all important viewing but you should also conduct a mini fact find to explore cross sale opportunities. Does the client have a house to sell? Do they require a HIP? Do they need a mortgage etc?

Your objective should be to attempt to sell additional services to every enquirer. Whilst they won’t all buy, you will be surprised how many will and you will quickly start to increase your ROI from those property portals that possibly may well have produced the lead in the first place.

Richard Garland is the founder and managing director of and can be contacted via