One of the most powerful features of your iHOUSE website is that it helps you develop and track clients. This is done with your Client Database which is built from those visitors who register on your site. (See Yes, You (Probably) Should Require Website Registration
for a discussion of requiring registration.)
The first thing that happens when someone registers on your site is you get an email from your site that looks something like this:
This gives you the person’s name, Test Anne Test Test in this example, her email address, phone number, the date she registered and her most recent search, if she did one.
What you know
People love to look at houses online. It’s impossible to tell for sure, but most of those looking are not (yet) serious. They are just poking around, classic looky loos.
When someone registers, however, that’s a signal that they’ve moved, at least a little bit, beyond the looky loo status. You don’t yet know much except that they’re interested enough to give up a bit of information about themselves – a way for you to contact them at least.
It’s certainly a good idea to send an email thanking them for visiting your site and offering to help them. Keep it short. Something like this, adapted to your style, would work:
Hi (their name), thanks for visiting my real estate site (your url – believe me, folks rarely know how they find anything on the web). I’d be happy to help you reach your real estate goals… feel free to email or call me with any questions.
Keep it short and vague because at this point you don’t even know if they are a potential buyer or seller. Put them in your tickler file to followup in a week or so.
Some suggest you call the person who registers right away. I think this is a bit too pushy – an email to offer to be of service seems to be the right initial touch when you don’t know more than they’ve just registered on your site. But do follow up with an email or a call.
If they’ve done a search
If they’ve done a search, you know a bit more about them – at least the area they are looking for. With luck they will fill out more information. If they use the Advanced Search feature you’ll have the beginning of a good client profile. Remember, however, lots of people aren’t comfortable doing anything but the minimum on a website.
You’ll want to send at least an email that focuses on your ability to meet their needs as defined by their search, always keeping in mind that the search they do is just a guide to their thinking. If your a particular expert on that area or you just listed a new property, then a phone call might be in order, perhaps along these lines:
Is this Sandy Jones? This is Anne Wayman – you searched my real estate website yesterday for homes in the Kensington area. How can I help?
Keep in mind that they didn’t ask you to call so be prepared for them to sound confused and even annoyed. But also keep in mind that a simple question like “how can I help?” is a great way to ask both an open ended question and to get them to talk about what they want. That’s what you want – to get them talking about what they want – they aren’t particularly interested in you at this point.
You’re really saying ‘hello!’
When you reach out to someone who has registered on your website, you’re really saying ‘hello.’ The more you’re able to move the conversation so they are talking about themselves. the quicker you’ll get an idea of what they want and if you can help them.
In some ways it’s not unlike meeting someone new at a party, the office or other location. In the beginning you have no idea where the conversation will lead if anywhere. The friendly, low key approach is likely to produce good results over time.
Any questions about starting the conversation?