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Chatbots are emerging as powerful customer service tools in many industries. You’ve probably encountered one of these automated helpers while browsing or shopping; they often pop up on websites, offering to provide guidance or answer questions.

In the real estate industry, these bots have the potential to revolutionize lead generation. By automating the initial stages of contact between agents and prospects, a real estate bot can be more efficient in engaging visitors, resulting in higher lead conversions.

Traditional lead-gathering and generation methods offer poor returns for real estate agencies. Conversion rates hover between 0.5 to 2 percent, which is a minuscule number considering the amount of work it takes to bring in potential clients. Part of the problem is the number of prospects who show interest but never make final decisions. Your agency may have a large group of promising leads and show a lot of properties, but gain little from the time and effort involved.

Despite the emphasis placed on content and social media marketing, most agencies report that referrals are still the best prospects. Only about 5 percent of real estate deals came from online leads as of 2014. Such leads come in via ads or organic search, and they lack the targeted focus necessary to improve the likelihood of a sale.

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Chatbots overcome some of the challenges by automating the initial process of capturing more leads, and future bots promise the ability to predict where a consumer is in their buying cycle, thus delivering only the most qualified prospects to agents.

How bots improve leads

Today’s consumers, including real estate clients, prefer messaging over other forms of communication, with over three billion users across the leading apps. Implementing a chatbot for your agency grants access to a large segment of potential customers and takes care of one of the most time-consuming processes in running a real estate business.

1. Information gathering

Bots can be programmed to ask questions about the location, price range, characteristics, and amenities people prefer when looking at properties. By the time a client reaches the Realtor, the necessary information has already been collected, which save lots of time for both client and agent.

2. Continued content delivery

Using the answers that the prospects provide, a real estate bot searches for relevant MLS listings and delivers property information as it becomes available. The bot already knows which clients to target, so you never have to scramble to get new listings out to the right people.

3. Instant and ongoing engagement

Available upon request, chatbots can engage potential clients at any time. This not only makes your agency more reliable but also ensures leads stay connected after the initial contact is made.

Thanks to these capabilities, chatbots can reduce your cost per lead to minimize time wasted with prospects who have no serious intentions of making a purchase or selling a property.

Getting started with a bot

Setting up a chatbot gives your agency a presence where your agents appear available every day, all day long. Although it’s possible to build your own bots, services such as Automabots and Structurely provide ready-made lead generation bots designed to reach your ideal clients.

To find the best chatbot for your agency, look for these features:

  • Cost-effective monthly fee
  • Strong back-end programming with the ability to “learn” over time
  • Comprehensive information capturing
  • Integration with existing CRM solutions
  • Multiple placement options, including websites, social media, and messaging apps
  • Setting to inform the customer they’re chatting with a bot and not an actual agent
  • Quick shifting of qualified leads to agents
  • Ability to take messages when agents are unavailable

Having a real estate bot is still an emerging trend, so getting in on the ground floor has the potential to put you ahead of the competition and establish your agency as a helpful, client-friendly place to buy and sell properties. As the technology evolves, you can tweak the system to serve your clients better and increase the leads pushed through to agents.

By making a lead generation bot part of your real estate marketing strategy, you can begin to gather targeted leads and establish strong connections based on the needs of individual prospects. Without qualified cost-effective leads, you have no sales, and your real estate company can’t thrive. The more personalized the experience is for each potential buyer or seller, the better chance you have of making sales and growing your agency.

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