increases their lead conversion.

Lead Voyager helps Atlanta-based BHGRE Metro Brokers realize a 675% increase in closings year-over-year.

The Big, Traditional Brokerage

BHGRE Metro Brokers is one of the nation's largest full-service real estate companies and the world's largest Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise, with over 2,000 agents in 27 offices. Metro Brokers offers a full suite of real estate services, including mortgage, insurance, and title services from affiliate companies.

The Story

Metro Brokers generates up to 3,000 internet leads per month across multiple lead sources, including their broker and agent websites. These leads are distributed to a group of 75 agents dubbed the Internet Response Team (IRT), and managed by three internal staff members called Internet Lead Managers (ILMs). The ILMs handle initial customer calls, scrubbing leads before passing along to IRT agents, and then maintain continuous contact with the assigned agents throughout the lead lifecycle.

Despite rigorous oversight and business processes, Metro was experiencing a 1.2% raw lead conversion rate. This number was too low for COO Craig McClelland’s satisfaction. “We were losing almost 9 customers for every 10 we generated from internet sources. This is an unacceptable number for a sustainable profit center.”

These are real customers…. We just needed to improve the way we serviced them.
Craig McClelland
COO Metro Brokers

Metro first tried to fix the problem with internal process changes and a deeper review of agent practices. “Our agents were not the problem. They were responding to initial inquiries within 5 minutes, and following up with the customers via email and telephone, sometimes weeks after initial contact,” said McClelland. “The customers were just not ready to move forward with a transaction.”

“The agents were building up the idea that all internet leads are bad. However, we maintained the belief that these are real customers looking for their next home, and we just needed to improve the way we serviced them.”

Understanding Customer Behavior

According to extensive research performed by Brytecore, Metro’s situation is not only common, but expected. Based on interviews with thousands of leads, Brytecore discovered that 39% of leads generated from internet sources will perform a transaction within 2 years of their first inquiry. However, real estate brokerages only experience an average of 1% conversion of those same leads.

This discrepancy has to do with timing. Today’s home buyer spends an average of 450 days from first internet search to transaction. Since only the last 90 days are actually spent with an agent, the lead’s inquiries rarely occur when they are ready to make a purchase.

When the consumer first contacts an agent, many more months of research and preparation are often needed before the lead makes the purchase decision. During this incubation period, the lead tends to forget their initial conversation with the agent, and will start an agent search over again, either with another online inquiry or via a referral.

Enter Lead Voyager

Lead Voyager’s continuous monitoring of lead activity allows for behavior alerts to be sent to agents when a lead’s activity indicates the purchase decision has been made, even if it’s months after the last agent contact. This feature allowed Metro Brokers agents to re-engage leads when they were ready.

“We found that notifying the agent when the lead was ready was the last ingredient in our recipe for success with internet leads,” said McClelland. “We still have to call the lead right away to catch that 1% that is ready now, but by using Lead Voyager, we were able to connect with leads we were losing to other brokerages later in the lead lifecycle. Lead Voyager handles this notification automatically, and it has completely turned around our lead team.”

Year-Over-Year Improvements

Together with Brytecore, Metro Brokers performed a year-over-year analysis of their performance with servicing internet leads. Over the months of August to October 2015, Metro closed 53 internet leads, a 1.21% conversion rate. Over the same period one year later, after 12 months of using Lead Voyager, Metro closed 421 deals, at an 8.1% conversion rate. McClelland valued the increase at $830,000 in new company-side revenue over the period.

“We improved across the board,” said McClelland. “We’re now experiencing an 8.1% conversion rate, and agent engagement increased because lead conversion increased. Customers are receiving better service, and agents are making more money. We didn’t have to increase the number of leads we generate, or the number of agents on the team.”

“I wouldn’t believe the numbers if I didn’t see them myself. Lead Voyager has changed our expectations for internet leads, and it has had a tremendous impact on our company.”

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