Harry Potter walked into a real estate office…

When Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson sat down with Century21 Redwood Realty Director of Leads Management Billy Ekofo, the word “leads” was said pretty often.

After all, real estate agents think about leads pretty often, so that stands to reason. But it was Billy’s role that inspired Jed to think about Harry Potter.

Billy’s role at Century21 Redwoods is to field new leads for his office. And the moment he speaks with a person, he stops thinking about her as a lead altogether. Instead, he starts thinking about her as a person who is worth helping. And part of helping them is to match them to the right agent within his office. He’s a matchmaker, more than a leads manager.

“That reminds me of the sorting hat,” Jed told him, thinking about how the magical hat sits atop the heads of Hogwarts students in the Harry Potter stories, getting to know them and assigning them to the right house. “Imagine if Harry walked in, and the only house available was Slytherin. You’d call him a bad lead.”

It’s true. Leads management isn’t about the quality of the lead so much as the quality of the fit. As Jed pointed out, the right fit means the client is paired with the right agent at the right time.

According to the 2013 REAL Trends Online Performance Survey, 89% of consumers said response time was very important when choosing their agent. But at the same time, the study reported that 45% of inquiries on real estate websites never received a response.

“We haven’t planned out what we’re going to do with those leads once we get them,” said Inman Ambassador and Better Homes and Gardens Lifestyles Properties broker Laurie Weston Davis.

That means that real estate agents aren’t rewarding those leads with their time earlier in the process of relationship-building.

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For Jed, he worried that too many agents regard each lead as a pond — a finite amount of resources that can be drained and is then of no further value.

“You can drain a pond,” he said, “but you can’t drain a river.” So if you regard yourself as a flowing source of a relationship, the value is nearly endless. The resources are renewable in the form of referrals and repeat business.

To that end, Jed shared with Billy the Lifetime Value Calculator, a tool that Adwerx built to help real estate agents understand the longer term view of each client, beyond the single transaction.  And if the fit is right, the value of the relationship is exponentially higher.

“Everyone I talk to becomes a client on the spot,” said Billy. It’s part of the way he transforms a lead into a person. Billy brings his own personal story to every moment because he knows what it’s like to be viewed as more than a category. He was viewed as someone worth valuing when it mattered most.

“Never a lead. Always a person,” he posted on Facebook page. “Not just any person, but a person worth #saving.”

So the next time a lead comes into your own funnel, will you be a sorting hat? Will you find the right fit and create a river of a relationship?

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