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By Nat Daniels

CEO, Angels Media

OTHER FEATURES

Why generating and nurturing leads is more important than ever

Seller and landlord leads are what makes estate agency tick. Without them, new business is nowhere to be seen and you are likely to soon run into trouble. Repeat custom and word-of-mouth only get you so far.

These leads are the holy grail, the thing all agencies – new or long in the tooth – crave above everything else. But they are not always easy to come by. Or, worse still, they could be slipping through your fingers without you even realising.

In these Covid times we live in, there is an increasing desire for digital, remote, automated solutions. Using the wonders of modern technology – machine learning, AI, VR, etc – to make the process of buying and selling homes faster, simpler and more efficient.

That extends to agents and leads, too. What you don’t want to do is spend all your time trawling through your database to get business, you want it to come to you, so you can spend more time booking market appraisals and winning new business, in turn allowing your company to grow. New business and growth have become more vital than ever given the economic challenges we are all currently, and will continue, to face as the country recovers from Covid-19.

You want a system that automatically filters the wheat from the chaff, giving you hot leads to follow up with, and a streamlined, all-inclusive package that not only generates leads, but also nurtures and converts them as well.

Given their importance to your business, it’s only right that leads should be nurtured in the right way once they have been generated.

The facts

We know that 18% of all those using instant online valuations – the best call to action, and the best way of capturing vendor, landlord and buyer info instantaneously – go on to sell their property, which is updated on the Land Registry. That’s nearly 1 in every 5 leads.

Remember, if you’re not nurturing your leads, you won’t get the sale. If you don’t get the sale, your competition will!

The solution

We’ve been banging our heads together for a long time at The ValPal Network to work out a way of helping our agents to generate and then automatically nurture the leads they get.

About three years ago, we came up with MovePal, which we have been working to perfect ever since. We launched during lockdown, with our first clients now coming on board.

MovePal generates new ValPal leads mainly through Facebook (with Paul Long, the Facebook Ads master, overseeing your Facebook ad campaigns). But it’s not just Facebook, they also come from your own database, portal leads and other avenues.

MovePal nurtures these prospects to keep you and your brand front of mind. It is designed to then automatically engage with these prospects when they are ready to talk to YOU, helping identify which prospects are ready to convert into a market appraisal/instruction.

MovelPal explained, in short…

At present, there is a lot for agents to deal with. Coming to terms with Covid – and the various restrictions and protocols this has led to. Getting used to new patterns of working, which may include more remote/flexible working for many.

Additionally, there’s understanding the guidance on the buying, selling, letting and renting process, and making both offices and viewings safe, as well as investing in virtual viewing technology and other forms of PropTech to enhance and supercharge your business in a world that will inevitably become more digital. The digital revolution was already happening anyway, without us stopping to notice, but Covid-19 has accelerated this by five years.

Although the market has recovered remarkably well since reopening, we don’t know what is around the corner, and there could be more difficult times ahead – particularly if further lockdowns are required. This could mean you need to reconfigure your business or let personnel go.

Alternatively, it means you need to box clever, freeing up team resources for the things that can really help your business to grow, while automating the parts that are labour and data-intensive.

MovePal, by combining lead generation with automated lead nurturing, offers an ideal solution for agencies wishing to automate the responsibility of lead generation, nurturing and conversion, leaving your agents to deal with hot prospects when they are ready to speak to you.

Even better, MovePal identifies these for you, so cold-calls and hopeful pitches are not required. It’s more targeted, tailored, specific, which all saves time.

MovePal can best be described as a personalised but automated two-way communication platform, using email, SMS and voice drops to keep your brand in front of all of your data. Included in this is a range of nurture campaigns, both short and long-term.

When it comes to the voicemail drops, we are able to record the neg or agent’s voice saying something like “Hi there, thanks for registering with us. Can I give you a quick buzz to find out more about what you’re after?” It can be recorded once and dropped out every time. It sounds really personalised to ensure consumers don’t feel they are just talking to a faceless robot.

We’re fully aware that, 99.9 times out of 100, nothing is better than a personal phone call, but the nurture campaign is there to work in the background for you 24/7 – something that even the most dedicated worker can’t manage. We humans need to sleep, after all! But, to use football parlance for a moment, MovePal is your 12th man that – like the city of New York - never sleeps.

Included in the follow-up nurture emails are trigger links such as “Top tips on how to sell your home E-Guide” or tips on the mistakes to avoid when selling a property. When downloaded, this will move them along the ‘sales funnel’ and notify you, so that the team know when is the right time to get on the phone.

Why MovePal?

Like all my best ideas, it came to me at a team lunch (back when we could still have team lunches!) in one of Beckenham’s finest delis. Back then, though, it was harder to articulate what MovePal actually meant.

In essence, we wanted to automate the initial contact between the neg/agent and the consumer, to ensure this was happening all the time, even when people are asleep. Afterwards, the system - using some very clever software with similar functionality to Facebook – can then pinpoint and target the hot leads so you don’t spend too much time on the phone with leads that aren’t hot.

You want to find that 1 in 5 quicker, and MovePal has been designed to make that happen.

Agents basically have an issue if they have too little traffic – because where do the fresh leads come from? – but they also have a problem if there is too much traffic, because there are too many potential leads to sift through. You want to identify and target the hottest leads, which are the most likely to convert into business.

If there is less time spent chasing leads and business, it frees up the time to carry out market appraisals, more valuations, more viewings. More of the things that gets sales and tenancies over the line and brings in the money.

“MovePal has been on our roadmap for ages, but the original concept looked different as it was a destination back then,” Craig Vile, who heads up The ValPal Network, says.

“But as we entered into lockdown, we recognised agents needed help qualifying and nurturing all inbound lead types; vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants from all forms of sources; digital marketing for new leads using Facebook Ads, and Google Adwords, the agent’s own database, and inbound leads from the major portals.”

We have further plans in the offing, for an agent-facing app, for producing more mortgage leads for agency, and for creating an all-in-one moving approach where we can help sellers, landlords, tenants and buyers too book in for mortgage appointments and opt in for conveyancing and surveys. Keep an eye out for further updates!

The best breakdown I can give of MovePal is as follows - first bit, drive traffic, through Facebook or your own database or portal leads. Point 2 - convert that into a lead using ValPal or another lead magnet such as top tips and guides. Then nurture those leads (we offer 111 days of emails, SMS and voice drops). Convert from there into market appraisals. Simple.

*Nat Daniels is CEO of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today and parent company of The ValPal Network

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