Tuesday, March 11, 2008

E-leads Are Perishable – Use Immediately

E-leads are becoming more popular and valuable to builders and salespeople, but they’re a perishable commodity. They have an expiration date – almost no shelf life if not acted upon immediately.

Some people are very impatient – that’s why they’re using the internet. They want instantaneous results. Others will wait a day or two for you to respond to them, but don’t count on your e-leads staying “fresh” for very long.

E-leads should come with a warning label: “Use immediately, subject to rapid expiration.”

In the beginning, it’s not important what prompted someone to email you for information – just that they contacted you.

This sets in motion what I look for in a solid e-lead. There are a minimum of 3 steps. First, the e-lead contacts you by email. Second, you respond by email. Third, they contact you again with another question or request for additional information. Then it’s your turn again.

By the time 3 contacts have occurred – 2 from them and one from you – you are building a relationship that has a better chance of resulting in an actual visit to your sales center than if you just send them a brochure or a standard response – hoping that this is sufficient to answer their questions.

In fact, a generic, one-size-fits-all, standard response may be the expiration of your e-lead.

Instead, say that I receive an email request for information, and I email back and thank them for the inquiry. I state that we have several homes and floor plans that we offer. I mention that in order to help them and provide the answers they are looking for – especially when the request is for general information – I need a little help. So I ask a question about the size of home, investment amount, included features, delivery schedule, or something else to which the answer is not “yes” or “no” – even if they’ve already indicated something on the “contact us” survey.

Next, I want them to respond. They can call or they can email. They can ask questions or provide more clarity about their needs. Then I can make the fourth contact and include a call to action.

This is how an e-lead is kept fresh and turned into a customer.

* For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website stevehoffacker.com.

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