When Colton Whitney left Las Vegas for Los Angeles, he left behind eight years’ worth of extreme success in that market (400 closed units each year) and a hefty database of loyal clients. His motivation was simple: “I wanted to sell higher-priced houses in better weather.”
Moving your business and starting over again is never easy, but Whitney is young, resilient, and tenacious. A former front-runner in REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30, he’s packed a lot of learning in the 10 years since he became an agent at age 18. When he joined the Irvine market center a year ago, he was in the middle of a legal battle and was faced with building an all-new database from scratch. He was amazed at the instant access he had to business models and systems that he never knew existed. “I spent the previous nine years ineffectively trying to create my own tools to set, monitor, and achieve goals,” he reflects.
“The CGI Calculator spells out the activities we need to generate the income for the life we want to live. It goes so far as to break it down based on conversion rates to show how much effort I need to put forth to hit my goals,” he says.
Equipped with the CGI, Whitney and his colleague Brian Barbour are perfecting their ability to convert online leads to clients. In fact, a staggering 90 percent of their business originates exclusively from online leads.
Here’s how they do it:
Fill Your Pipeline
While Whitney has had tremendous success with internet ads, they continuously feed their database by actively networking to foster new, personal connections. He and Barbour commit to each find at least five new contacts each week. The Pipeline takes all the emotion out of their conversations. “We sit down and ask, ‘Who do we have in our Pipeline that’s a 10?’ (Ready to buy/sell in the next X days.) Then we go after them and apply pressure and create a plan to put that person into a contract.”
“Before the CGI, we had a pipeline, but we didn’t really know what a pipeline meant. We didn’t have our contacts segmented in a way that we could see how they affected our production in the coming months. The CGI gave us the ability to see that if we have no 10s, next month is going to be bad. If we have no nines, in 60 days our monthly income and production will be lacking.”
Eliminate Peaks and Valleys
The CGI tools remove fluctuations in productivity. The Pipeline report makes the numbers predictable. Whitney continues, “Gone are the days of not knowing if enough will come in to cover the mortgage or sports fees or lessons. With the Pipeline report, I know what my effort is going to generate. I can see exactly how many people we communicated with and how many appointments we set. I can forecast my monthly income for months down the road. It makes everything so predictable.”
Be Relentless With Follow-Up
Two critical factors in his sky-high conversion rate are quick communication and consistent follow-up. When a potential client puts in an inquiry online, Whitney and Barbour waste no time. “The industry standard for reaching out to an online lead is two minutes,” says Whitney. “After that, the probability of converting them plummets by half. So we have a one-minute rule for returning calls or emails and often get back to them within 30 seconds.”
Colton Whitney’s 10-Day Conversion Plan with Online Leads
“The normal thought process is to assume that if somebody doesn’t answer or call us back that they don’t need us.” To that end, Whitney and Barbour deploy a rigorous 10-day plan to follow up with every single person that comes onto their radar.
“70 percent of the contacts that don’t respond to the first call may answer on the fourth or fifth try, or it may be six months later. We’ve found that the reason people aren’t responding is because they think we’re not interested in working with them until they’re ready to transact. The 10-day plan helps us segment them and nurture them through the process until they are ready to make a move.”