Is “5 Minutes to Respond” to a Real Estate Lead an Urban Legend?

There has been some buzz lately suggesting that online real estate leads must be responded to within 5 minutes. However, research that I conducted on thousands of online real estate leads suggested that the time frame is a bit longer than just 5 minutes, if not all that much longer. While it certainly is not a bad thing to respond to an online lead within five minutes, the results that I reviewed indicated that the value of the lead did not begin to significantly degrade until after about the 15 minute mark. So while a quick response is required to maximize the conversion rate on online real estate leads, you don’t need to panic if you are on the phone and can’t get to them within 5 minutes. Further, the review of conversion rates of online leads indicated that as long as a connection with the lead was made during the same day that the lead was submitted, then the conversion rate remained fairly high. The huge drop off occurred if the lead was not connected with on the day they submitted their contact information. Conversion rate from lead to sale dropped off by 40-50 percent if not contacted on the same day.

A surprising result of the study was that the conversion rate of leads contacted more than 15 minutes but within an hour after submission, was only about five percent below the rate on leads contacted within one to four hours. Thus, the one hour mark was not very meaningful in terms of contacting leads. The two key deadlines seemed to be 15 minutes and same day.

As a caveat, the above referenced study was conducted based upon reviewing real estate leads that were exclusive to a single real estate broker. It may not be the least bit applicable to leads that are sold to multiple sources.

It seems likely that the idea that online real estate leads must be responded to within five minutes is based upon research by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT on lead response management. However this study is focused upon leads in general and is skewed based on lead generation companies that sell their leads simultaneously to multiple sources.

Regardless of whether the deadline for responding to online real estate leads is 5 minutes or 15 minutes, a key factor in producing a good lead to sale conversion rates is to respond quickly

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