If you are a seasoned NYC real estate agent, you should know how to turn contacts into leads. But if you’re new to the business, you should know that every contact you make has the potential to become a lead — it’s up to you to convert them. Here’s a three-step guide on how to convert them.

Step 1. Identify Potential Leads

Whenever someone contacts you, this is your opportunity to convert them into a client. Here are some examples from the StreetEasy Experts Program and actions you should take:

The client …

… is interested in viewing a specific unit in a building
Action: Contact the listing agent to set up a showing. Learn more about the client’s criteria and set up a time to show similar properties.

… is interested in registering for an upcoming open house
Action: Contact the listing agent and register them for the open house. Email or show similar properties to the client in addition to the open house.

… is an investor looking to buy
Action: Learn about the investor’s goals and experience. Set a time for follow-up with potential investment properties that match the investor’s criteria. Add them to a CRM campaign.

… is looking for comparable units in a specific neighborhood
Action: Learn as much about the unit as possible on the initial call and set a time to follow up with the client on comparables gathered from StreetEasy.

… is done renting and is interested in buying
Action: Ask questions to learn about the client’s search criteria (i.e., price, location, bedrooms etc.). Set a time to follow up in person and add them to a listings drip campaign in your CRM system.

… is moving to NYC in the near future
Action: Gather information from the client, including their move date and desired location, price range and home size. Enter this information in your CRM for future follow up and listing updates.

… has specific questions about board policies and co-op approval processes
Action: Compile client’s questions and quickly get answers. If you don’t have first-hand knowledge, seek answers from colleagues with experience in the building.

… is looking for ‘inside’ information about units coming to market in a specific building or neighborhood
Action: Gather the client’s search criteria. Set a time to follow up after gathering information from colleagues. Offer to show them listings in similar buildings. Add client to your CRM.

… is looking to sell their unit
Action: Set up a meeting and arrive prepared with information on comparables and past experience with similar units. Present a unique marketing strategy to differentiate you from the competition.

… is interested in an active rental listing
Action: Refer to colleagues who handle rentals. Enter the client’s information into a CRM for future follow up.

… sends you a blank email message/does not leave a voicemail
Action: Look at the neighborhood or specific building that triggered the contact in your email alert and dashboard. Respond within 5 minutes and ask questions to understand more about the potential client and their search needs.

Step 2. Respond Immediately

Response time is critical. Any kind of delay will result in the client going elsewhere.

  • 5-Minute Rule: Respond to every contact as quickly as possible, ideally within 5 minutes[i].
  • Be An Expert: Demonstrate your value by offering data, information and insights beyond their initial inquiry.
  • Establish Trust: Be professional, personable and persistent. Solidify their reason for contacting you.

Step 3. Follow-up

First, remember to contact your leads through their preferred method of communication (phone, text, email). Use a customer relationship management tool (CRM) to keep your leads organized. Create a follow-up schedule. Here are some ideas on how to connect:

  • Return the call or email: If you missed their call, keep reaching out. Follow-up is key!
  • Weekly check-in: Be in contact with every lead at least once a week to help with their primary needs.
  • Email them active listings: Send new listings to prospective buyers or comparables to sellers.
  • Send comparables report: Using your StreetEasy comparables tool, send your clients a custom-made report showing active listings and more.

[1] Lead Response Management.org. “The Lead Response Management Study Overview,” by Dr. James Oldroyd.