My good friend, business partner and real estate icon Jim Bray used to tell me "I can't stand hearing from sales people that it only takes one more deal to pay for this e-newsletter, lead generation site, etc. stuff. REALTORS® need to stop buying stuff on the idea that it only takes one more deal to pay for it."
I took Jim's words to heart every time I would hear them, and in memory of Jim, I still do today.
With this in mind, about one year ago I started looking at the various chat providers. I looked into chat software providers, chat service providers, and, being in the technology field, the computer hardware and programming that would be necessary to offer chat as a system provider.
Why Did I Do This?
I love watching and researching human behavior and how it correlates with technology. I have always been fascinated with technology, human behavior, and where the two meet in relation to the business world residential real estate business.
To be more specific, the online residential real estate world has been going through an evolution over the past twenty-two years. The pace of this evolution has dramatically increased over the past couple years.
Since 2013 I have seen a steady decline of people willing to schedule a specific showing requests at a specific time on real estate web sites. At the same time, I was seeing increases in generic email requests, where ironically someone would request a showing. At the same time, I was seeing growing popularity trends in live chat, especially among Millennials.
So, I wanted to dig into this opportunity more and see if real opportunities were being missed by not offering live chat.
Call 330-493-0350 to see if live chat could help your business
What Research Did I Do?
I have luxuries that many of you don't have and I didn't have to go far to do my research. Through Delta Media Group I have access to thousands of heavily used residential real estate web sites. A good number of these sites are some of the busiest real estate web sites in the country.
Over the past three years many of these sites have offered, or were currently offering some form of chat. The chat offerings ranged from cobbled together solutions to chat solutions staffed by chat companies servicing real estate companies, to solutions staffed by third parties.
I looked at the leads generated through the historical data available in the lead management systems, the google analytics reporting, and I interviewed the people responsible for these web sites such as Marketing Directors, IT Directors, REALTORS®, etc.
I had three overriding concerns as a business owner myself that I wanted to research.
First, how many chat engagements were there in relation to the web site traffic and other lead engagement such as email requests, showing requests, etc? I wanted to see if there was any noticeable quantity of chat engagements, and if so why, and if not why.
Second, what information was being gathered, or provided, from the chat? Was this information of good quality? Was this really a good lead? What was being considered a lead?
Third, were these leads REALLY good ultimately turning into transactions?
What Did I Find?
What I found shocked me. I found what I consider to be the best live chat solution available within the real estate industry today. It was so good, in fact, that I decided to fully integrate it into the core Delta platform.
To put my findings into perspective, because of our size we were able to ask for and get a live test for a very large brokerage of a chat system that I had narrowed down to, that I considered to be the best from the research I had done.
My research was confirmed. During my test over 100 HIGH quality leads were generated within a one week time period.
What Did I Consider to be High Quality Leads?
This was pretty simple for me. The vast majority of the leads generated during my testing, and through my research, were providing, at minimum, their name, email address, phone number, price range, area of interest and time frame. Many of them also provided other items that were of interest to them specifically such as proximity to a specific school, size of the garage, number of bedrooms, etc.
Ummm…what more do you want from a "pre-packaged" lead delivered to you?
Live Chat vs Chat System I Staff
There is no way that you should, or could effectively, staff live chat on your own.
I've crunched the numbers to see what it would take to staff live chat. My minimum would be 16 hours per day and 363 days per year. That works out to over 5,800 hours that you need to staff the live chat.
If you only had one person at all times staffing your chat, and no-one ever calls-off sick, the staffing costs would be a minimum of $58,000 per year. This doesn't even consider the cost of the technology needed to implement a solution on your own.
The numbers just don't add up for you to staff this yourself unless you're a franchise planning on generating around 400 leads or more per week through chat.
So What Live Chat System is The Best?
As a technology provider I believe it's my job to always provide the best service possible to my clients. I, or someone on my team, would be more than happy to talk to you and provide the name of the chat system that we decided to integrate.
As with anything, the answer really depends on what you are looking for.
If you're a current Delta client we can provide some straight forward answers and if you're not we can point you in the right direction after we talk. As long as your needs are taken care of I don't mind advising you to use someone else's system!
Is There a Perfect System?
No. I didn't find a perfect system but, what I did find is the best solution available today to the real estate industry. (That's the analytical engineer and business owner in me talking!)
What Should I Do?
Ummmm…try live chat. What do you have to lose? This isn't one of those "if you sell one more home" things…it's the real deal!