Real estate marketers have for long been concerned about the number of leads they can generate from a given activity. Often, this obsession with the volume of generating leads gets them into a situation where their actions are effective but inefficient. What I mean by ‘inefficient’ is that the marketers always achieve the targeted number of leads, but the sales team only manages to convert a small fraction into paying customers.This mismatch between the number of leads and the final achieved number of sales will always, if not most often, trigger a blame game between the real estate marketers and the sales team, each trying to justify their actions and outcomes.
This above issue can be rectified by understanding the behavior of a prospect, or in general a client before they become a lead. This goes a long way in helping marketers to increase the number of leads without compromising on the quality. The core concept a maketer needs to understand is the fact that buying a house is one of the most important decisions an individual or a family would make in their lifetime. A few of us have already gone through this journey and know how difficult it is to zero-in on the location, appropriate property and a trustworthy developer.
This blog is intended to give all the real estate marketers an understanding of the journey a prospect goes through before going in for their final purchase. First, we will look at the two scenarios, one used in the past and the one currently being deployed, and its major talking points.PREVIOUS SCENARIO
Until a few years back, folks who were trying to buy a house, primarily depended on the following ways to connect with a vendor:
1. Word of Mouth: Talk to their relatives or friends and connect with a company through referrals. This concept involved a prospect getting in touch and talking to their relatives or friends and then connect with a company based on their suggestions. However, the whole approach was not based on any research but an association a vendor might have had with one of the relatives in the past. The suggestions or recommendations given by relatives or friends can be based on many aspects, and does not necessarily lead to an informed decision by a client looking to buy a house.
2. Traditional Advertisements: Referring to ads in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, hoardings and exhibitions among many others.
This idea of creating an impression in the minds of clients was efficient until a few years back. This scenario has lost its sheen because of the large investment required to ensure its operational success. It’s still being followed by many vendors, but is no longer the only solution to achieve the goals targeted by any business.CURRENT SCENARIO
The digital medium, in its current form, have brought about a massive change to the way people think and the above-mentioned scenarios are no longer the threshold for real estate marketers to depend on. The digital medium has empowered people and given them a different option to make a decision not entirely dependent on Word of Mouth or Traditional ads. The new medium has given a potential buyer a whole new perspective and also simplifies their journey towards being a homeowner. A few of the advancements include:
1. Anonymously research information about a particular product or vendor - An individual now has the option to log-in to a website without revealing any information about themselves, hence keeping the whole privacy aspect in check.
2. The ability to chat directly with a representative of the vendor group to gather specific information which may not be available on their website.
3. To communicate directly with social network connections, mainly previous buyers, about their experience and procedures to be followed.
4. To gather an overall opinion about a particular vendor by visiting third party websites and reviewing their ratings/feedback.
The different stages a lead goes through in the real estate sector:
The digital transformation of marketing is giving more control to a prospect than the marketer. However, this challenge can be turned into an advantage if a marketer can understand the scenario and help a prospect by responsibly guiding the individual through the various states of becoming a lead. I have mentioned below the different states a prospect goes through before making an enquiry with a particular vendor or interacting with their sales representatives.
Awareness - The Interest Stage
This is the initial stage where people become aware of their needs, issues, desires and opportunities with regards to buying a house. The job here for a marketer is to simulate a prospect in this state with messaging and relevant campaigns to trigger an interest in their product by trying to address all their concerns.
Discovery – The Qualification Stage
The second stage involves the part where a prospect is looking for solutions for their identified pain points. The core aspect to understand here is that a prospect will dig into the various available options to solve their concerns. These can range from renovating their existing abode, renting, constructing a new house or buying a second-hand one or even buying a new house from a builder. A marketer dealing with folks in this stage must be able to address their concerns and advise them with the best possible solution to go with.
Consideration – The Comparison Stage
At this stage, a prospect has already made up their mind to address their concern in a specific way – to buy a flat or villa for example. The job here is to prove that your offerings are the best when compared to other competitors. Differentiating your product with its services and benefits goes a long way in your company making it to the final shortlist of a potential lead. The point to be stressed here is that if a marketer has successfully managed a prospect in the initial two stages, then there is a real chance that a prospect sticks with you during the Comparison Stage as well.
Enquiry - The Connection Stage
The final stage is where a prospect is all set to connect with your brand. This stage mainly caters to the individuals who have already done their research and are ready to interact directly with a brand. Marketers now have to focus on ensuring that this final state of establishing a connection is straightforward and efficient. They’ll have to present the different options on offer to the prospect, share their contact details including email ID, office address, enquiry forms, live chat links and other options like contacting via WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Messenger, etc.
To conclude, it is imperative for one to understand that the entire duration of buying a house takes around 12 to 18 months. Earlier, prospects got to the final stage of becoming a lead very early as the options to explore were limited. Today, a modern buyer is curious and very cautious when it comes to engaging with a particular developer. They would go through all the information about the products on offer by a developer based on research and other metrics, and would only get in touch with a representative of a brand towards the latter stages of the journey.