There’s been a great deal of research conducted on the topic of lead response management. According to a study by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007, by contacting a new online prospect within five minutes of their inquiry, the possibility of converting them to a client could increase by up to 900%.

Even adjusting for industry variations and changes in internet use since the study was conducted; everyone can agree that the sooner you get in touch with a lead the better your chances of making them a client. This is particularly applicable in the case of some real estate sites that send the same inquiry to multiple agents. Now you are truly on the clock when it comes to response time.

So what do you normally do when a new lead comes in? You give them a call as soon as possible. You call because you know it helps build a relationship, makes the contact more personal and shows that you’re attentive to their needs. I’m not here to challenge the long held truth that dials equal dollars, but I do want to put some perspective around this immediate call strategy.

Here are some stats to take in:

  • 90% of homebuyers used the internet in their home purchasing process
  • Mortgage qualification requirements remain stringent meaning nearly all single buyers and a majority of joint purchasers are employed full-time.
  • Most internet search activity occurs in the middle of the day (lunchtime) and late in the evening (after work)
  • 66% of all employees admit to using the internet at work for non-work related tasks on a weekly basis
  • Increases in job responsibilities due to lingering effects of the economic downturn have decreased the amount of time many employees devote to non-work related tasks at work

What does this mean for your inbound online leads? Chances are most of them are doing their initial online home searches 1) during some spare time at work or 2) late in the evening once they’re home.

In situation one there’s a high likelihood they’re not going to pick up your call in the middle of a busy workday, even though they had time to sneak a look at it online. Later in the evening probably isn’t the best time for you to be placing calls either if you are trying to maintain any sort of work life balance.

What should you do? Consider a slightly different initial contact strategy.

  1. Send an immediate text or email asking “When’s the best time to call?” This buys you a buffer zone where you’ve contacted the lead ASAP, but you’re not calling them at an inopportune time.
  2. Wait a bit. If you don’t receive a response in an hour or two give them a call.
  3. Try to arrange your calls in blocks, staggering the time of day when you call a specific lead in hopes of catching them at a good time of day.

Does anyone use a strategy like this? What has worked for you?