In the following interview, Robert Slack, founder and CEO, and Dan Walters, partner and COO of Robert Slack, LLC in Ocala, Fla., discuss their explosive growth, and how they’re netting results.
Region Served: Florida
Years in Real Estate: 5
Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 375
Robert, your company has a reputation of closing an abundance of leads. What is your top lead generation tip?
Robert Slack: Just having the leads is not enough. If you don’t have the processes in place to manage the leads, you will never convert them. I’m sure everyone has heard of “speed to lead.” This is the most important task when working with online lead conversion. At Robert Slack, we have a call center that reaches out to our leads within five seconds. You must have a system in place to contact the lead first. You must also have technology to continue to engage the leads over a long period of time. With the average purchase time of an online lead between 3 – 6 months, they’re not always going to engage early on in the process.
Where are your leads coming from?
Dan Walters: The quality is very important to us, as our entire model is based solely on converting online leads. We have found that realtor.com® leads are by far the leads that convert the highest for us. We are constantly looking for additional lead sources, but always come back to realtor.com® due to our conversion rate. This is why we are possibly the largest client of realtor.com® and spending in the millions per year.
When it comes to closing leads, what are the key things you focus on that allow you to aim for the highest ROI?
RS: For us, you must have systems in place to manage the distribution, engagement and conversion of each lead. Without having the tools and technology in place, you are taking a very high risk of losing money. You must also have agents who have been trained to manage the online lead customer. These leads tend to start a little earlier in the home search process, and you must have dedicated agents who will stay with them long-term until they are ready. We also need a high volume of leads, as our systems and overhead require that we have a large volume of lead flow to distribute to over 375 agents.
In terms of scaling up your lead program, what are a few of your “must-dos”?
RS: We have always said that our business model is very scalable. We started with four agents less than five years ago and now we have over 375. In order to scale any organization, you must have a system and team in place. As we continue to grow, we have had to add additional layers of oversight with regional team leaders who are responsible for ensuring agents are following up and converting the leads. Early on, it was a little more challenging recruiting agents, as very few had heard of Robert Slack, LLC. Now, with our success, agents are searching us out and requesting to join the team.
How does your team recapture past customers?
DW: Most agents have good intentions of instituting a past customer drip campaign, and some may do it very well. However, a majority of agents close the deal and start focusing on the next transaction and fail to follow-up. We understand that when people start their search again, they tend to go back to where they started. For us, that is realtor.com®. We are huge proponents of the realtor.com® Local ExpertSM program. Sellers and buyers tend to go to realtor.com® to view comparable properties near their home to research value and to size up their competition when they are ready to list. Having our Robert Slack brand front and center where both sellers and buyers are searching is an excellent opportunity to have them remember our company and agents.
How else does Local ExpertSM allow you to leverage your brand advertising with sellers?
DW: An excellent component of the Local ExpertSM program allows you to choose to substitute your brand advertising for your listings, and they are located in the top position. This is a huge advantage for both experienced agents, who now have a competitive advantage over other listing agents, and it provides newer agents with confidence to walk into a listing and have a marketing tool they can personally show on the realtor.com® website. While recruiting top agents, we mention we are the Local Expert in the market. This could make the final decision on whether they join our team or not.
For more information, please visit industry.realtor.com/brand.
Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.