When you’re traveling to a new place, you are curious about the entire journey - your focus is not limited to just the starting point and the destination.
A real estate sales process in an ideal world is very similar to traveling to a new place. Every prospective lead at the top of the funnel is a unique journey even though the destination is the same for all, hopefully!
But that is rarely the case.
More often than not, real estate agents fall into the rut of a pattern, and their focus remains limited only to the bottom of the funnel. The journey in the middle takes a backseat.
This greatly impacts the agent’s pipeline.
What Is A Sales Pipeline?
Like everything else in business, the sales process is a system.
A sales pipeline is a visual representation of every stage of your sales process. Every lead has a different pace of moving through this pipeline - some skip quite a few stages, some take their own sweet time to reach the bottom, and many fall through the cracks!
Why Look At A Sales Pipeline?
A sales pipeline inevitably tapers at the bottom and draws your focus to the endpoint - the goal of the total number of closed/pending deals. At the same time, it shows you all the stages through which your leads travel.
The greater visibility you have of the leads at each stage, the easier it is to undertake effective deal management that will drive revenue growth and help your agent close more deals.
Pipeline health inspection is one of the crucial activities that you can undertake as a manager. It paves the path of business growth and agent productivity by predictably increasing conversion rates.
If you have a sales pipeline, it means your business has clearly defined stages and milestones in the sales process.
A study by Harvard Business Review states that companies that spend at least 3 hours per month inspecting and managing each rep’s sales pipeline saw 11% greater revenue growth than those who didn’t.
Wondering what questions to ask while analyzing your agent's pipeline?
The first step is to ask the right questions.
Team leaders and managers who discuss the overall health of their agent’s pipeline and coach them to close more deals are productively managing their sales pipeline. They are also the ones who can spot early signs when their agent’s pipeline is at risk.
5 Ways To Identify Bottlenecks In Your Agent's Pipeline
#1 Analyzing Past Trends To Predict Future Outcomes
Most managers and team leaders miss out on the early signs of agent pipeline risk because they are not looking at the right metrics and data points. We have listed 3 metrics that are absolutely essential to note when you’re inspecting your agent’s pipeline -
- Their goals for a certain period
- Average sales cycle
- Conversion rates for different stages of the funnel
How will it help?
Backtracking these metrics gives you better visibility on whether your agents have enough leads in their pipeline to meet their respective goals for that stipulated time.
Let us look at a quick example.
Your real estate agent, Jemma closes 1 lead for every 12 active leads in her sales pipeline. Currently, she has only 4 active leads in her pipeline. Going by past data, Jemma will not be able to close a deal out of these 4 leads. Regular pipeline inspection keeps you and your agents on track with their goals and lets you take measures and provide coaching opportunities to boost agent performance and predictably improve conversion rates.
#2 Delayed Closure Of Deals
Is your sales cycle too long?
The sluggish movement of deals across the funnel is one of the biggest roadblocks to improving the conversion rate of your business. If your agents are taking way longer to move a prospect to the next meaningful stage, or they are constantly missing out on previously decided closing dates, it could indicate one of these 3 things -
- Agents are not putting in enough effort to connect with the existing leads in the pipeline
- A deal is stuck in the early stages of the pipeline and has shown no progress or movement despite implementing an active communication strategy of calls, emails, texts, and meeting invites
Maintaining pipeline hygiene by closing out all the cold leads that have been in the early stage for over 6 months will resolve these chokepoints.
Encourage your team to run automated nurture programs for cold leads to re-active them back in the buying cycle. This lets your agents focus on the sales process and ramp up the speed of deal closure by working active leads.
#3 Holding Your Agents Accountable
80% of prospects never turn into customers.
Are your agents connecting with the leads in their pipeline? Do they follow a specific strategy, or are they just calling them once a week and not following up?
Word-of-mouth information when it comes to measuring progress doesn’t work.
When was the last time your agent made a phone call? When did they last set up a meeting with a prospective buyer? Data drives accountability.
Looking at the sales pipeline of every agent on your team will give you a much deeper insight into who needs to buckle up and requires some coaching.
An overview of their sales pipeline, on a weekly or even a bi-weekly basis, will give you an unconvoluted picture of the stages of each lead that they are working on.
Visibility translates into a more robust game plan.
The moment you see a problem point, that is when you sit down with your agent. Ask questions that trigger data-driven responses. With a snapshot view of your agent's performance, you can have a productive conversation around their blockers.
#4 Treating Every Prospect Differently
Do your agents have a strategy in place to move prospective buyers into the next meaningful stage of the sales cycle?
There are several deals in the pipeline at different stages. The same strategy will not work for every prospect. If your agent is not taking a different approach for each lead and building a relationship on the side, you will notice leads slipping through the cracks.
Ask your agents 3 questions -
- What kind of activity are they doing to connect with the buyer - emails, phone calls, meetings? What is the frequency of the activity
- What are the next steps that have been planned?
- Which of these steps has been shared with the buyer?
By inspecting the efforts and deals data and asking these questions about the sales pipeline on an ongoing basis, you will be able to analyze agent activity or a lack of it for each lead.
Using an analytics tool like Auctm simplifies the process of pipeline inspection. Lead inspector allows you to have a detailed view of all the leads that any agent on your team is working on. This reduces data fatigue and helps you optimize your pipeline management.
#5 Focus On Active Stage Pipeline
Connectivity rate is a much-discussed topic when it comes to improving agent performance and coaching opportunities. But there are times when your agents have a good connectivity rate but a bad active stage pipeline.
Related Post: How to boost your agent’s connectivity rate
Efforts should bring an outcome.
This happens when your agents talk to leads but are not moving them to nurture or hot stages. In your 1:1 Meets with your agents, ask them about the hot deals in their pipeline.
If there aren’t enough “hot opportunities,” coach them on how to create more urgency.
Summing It Up
Insufficient data and dependency on sporadic updates and spreadsheets by agents constantly derail you from effective management of your sales pipeline.
An unhealthy sales pipeline is an unreliable source of revenue,
But with the right tech stack and analytics tool, you can focus on the causes of pipeline risk for your agents and make amends before ‘deals’ get out of hand and slip through the cracks!
Minimizing pipeline risk by regular pipeline inspection has many benefits -
- It helps your team focus on the most promising deals
- Chokepoints and blockers are addressed well in advance - saves time by flagging at-risk deals
- Provide pipeline visibility and coaching opportunities for your agents
According to Harvard Business Review, companies that practiced effective sales pipeline management had a 15% higher average growth rate than those that didn’t.