Chatbots for Realtors
Did you know chats can boast 98% open rates? Or that more than 90% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes, with an average response rate of 32%?
In a simplified way, chats are real-time, more advanced forms of text messages – and chatbots are the automated version of chats. In this post you’ll learn why chatbots for realtors are becoming so important.
Yes. Time is money. We know it….
But we also know that we have to answer the phone when it rings, or pick up the chat when it pings! …because you just never know. Yet, we find ourselves having to go through message after message, knowing that most are not going to turn into customers.
“At least I’ll get a new contact…”¸ She thought to herself, and she started the reply.
Many realtors feel this way regarding leads, but what is more frustrating is that today’s consumer expects a response to their questions almost instantly. We can thank Texting technology for that. If one sends a text, we expect a text back pretty soon if not right away. Why? Because it’s short, it’s quick. And as realtors, you’re expected to be reached 24/7. But what if you’re doing a showing? Or talking to another person on the phone line?
When you get a message and you’re busy, the message goes unanswered for a few minutes, if not longer. And what if it was just a quick question about the time of an open house, or a request to see a listing? Wouldn’t it be great if a chatbot could just answer those quick questions on your behalf?
While communicating with your customers in real time can be very beneficial, it can also take a lot of time and resources to respond. Chatbots were born out of the need to scale messaging efforts.
A chatbot is the “newer and better” version of an answering system. Sure, we all want to talk to a human, but a little vetting of the lead never hurt….especially if you’re pressed for time.
The great thing about chatbots is that you can make them “sound” just like a human would. Unlike voice answering services that do sound like a machine, a chatbot “reads” just like a person would type so they are less impersonal.
What is a chatbot and how do they work – especially in the Real Estate industry
So let’s go back to the beginning…
What is a chatbot.
A chatbot is like an automated text messaging answering system. It’s programmed to answer basic questions (the most commonly asked questions) that your customers have, and they are intended to prequalify or segment the person chatting so that you can decide whether to pick up the chat, or send the person to a page on your site that has the information they’re wanting, or to automatically answer basic questions (we’ll show you some examples below).
A chatbot is programmed into a chat app. There are many chat apps – Facebook Messenger, Google’s Hangouts, Whatsapp, Skype, are some of the most common. But above all, rises Facebook’s Messenger in use with 103.55 million unique users per month in the US! So we’ll focus our discussion on Facebook’s Messenger.
Why you need a chatbot.
Regardless of age, people prefer messaging over calling or emailing because it’s simple, fast, and not intrusive. Messenger and text messaging has also become a great way to communicate with businesses in regards to simple questions like the price of a home for sale, or the open house dates.
But the TRUE benefit is in establishing a relationship with a new contact – think about it as adding a new person to your contact list. Even more, Messenger is extremely powerful because you’re getting access to a person’s phone. Think about it! How difficult it is for you to get an email from someone right? But we try really hard to do it – because it’s valuable. We know a phone number is even more valuable, but who gives that out these days – no one… EXCEPT they DO! On Messenger.
People don’t feel Messenger is intrusive – in fact, on the contrary, they like using it over any other form of communication. We think as chat as quick, easy, unobtrusive – and that’s what Messenger is – TEXTING via the form of CHAT – implying an immediate response to a text.
The full chatbot strategy
So let me pull it all together on how to take full advantage of chat bots in your real estate business.
The chatbot has 2 goals:
1) To scale your business – A chat bot can be your personal secretary or answering system of the most common questions people have. Like what’s the price of a property, open house dates, qualifying questions etc.
2) To ADD a contact to your list – when people use your chat bot, they will instantly be added as a connection to your business so now you will be able to send people messages as you would email. You will be able to advertise specifically to them (for less cost than to advertise to a new audience) and you’ll retain the connection to the person (via their phone).
So think about the customer journey: A person will see a listing you have – let’s say they saw an Ad you placed on Facebook. The link offers the person to go your website to see the property details. The person goes to the website and decides it’s not for them. Now, you’ve lost the visitor. You don’t know anything about them anymore, and unless you have Facebook Pixel installed on your site, you cannot even add them to a “website visitor” list.
If you had run an ad that instead of sending people to your website to see the property, you would have asked them to click the Chat button to see the tour of the property and find out the price, NOW you would have had them as a contact on messenger, regardless of the outcome (interest or not in the listing).
So basically you’re adding many many people to your contact list without having them leave Facebook.
With all the privacy issues going on with Facebook, establishing true connections with people in your target market is becoming more and more important. Because the visitor would INITIATE the chat with you, and you’re not the one actively asking people to chat with you, Facebook validates the contact as a true legitimate connection.
The bottom line is that having a person initiate a chat with you is priceless these days because when they do that, they validate a connection between your business and them. No longer you’ll be an advertiser, instead, you’ll be a “friend” connection, and as privacy becomes more important in this industry, having real connections with people will be the differentiator between successful advertisers and failed ones.
In closing, what you want to do is use your chat bot to help you with these goals:
1. Raise awareness: Start a dialogue about your listings
2. Acquire customers: Activate new customers to increase your contact list
3. Provide service: Help people with common questions, give information and other common requests
The goal of the chatbot is to help you automate the pre-screening process, before handing over the conversation to a live person.
From chat to real customer interactions
Why is chat important? No other marketing channel can boast 98% open rates. So whether your business is established or completely new, you can enjoy substantial growth and improve customer satisfaction with chat and messenger. More than 90% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes, with an average response rate of 32%. Take advantage of this today before your competitors start picking up on this tool.
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