Response time has become a hot topic in the world of real estate sales. Much has been written about how response time is everything – that is, the idea that how quickly you get back to emails, phone calls, and inquiries can make or break your business.imagesKQ25TEWY

We’re told about studies that support the importance of response time: these studies conclude that when buyer prospects contact several agents through the agents’ websites, they choose to work with whichever agent gets back to them first.

As with anything, it’s important to digest this information with a grain of salt. These “studies” are unofficial at best – while they may be based (at least in part) in facts, there is definitely more to the story. I think that the idea deserves a closer look.

First, none of these studies followed up on what happens after the prospect selected the agent. We aren’t told whether or not the prospect actually purchased a property with the quick-responding agent. And if they did buy, we have no way of knowing how long the process took – in other words, we have no way of measuring the quality of the prospects who relied on fast response times.

In my experience — as both a real estate salesperson and as a coach to many top agents across Canada – the quality of the response matters more than response time.

Motivated and educated buyers and sellers recognize that having a good agent is extremely important. These highly desirable prospects aren’t likely to hire the first agent that gets back to them, unless that agent also happens to be highly skilled in building trust and rapport, and is able to gracefully close for an appointment.

There is never a shortage of low quality internet leads floating around the real estate world. These leads demand a quick response time, which you can satisfy through automatic email replies and drip campaigns. But ask yourself: Is this really the business model that will work best for your business?

Is fast always best? To help us answer this, let’s take a look at the restaurant industry. McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC are fast – but do they make the best food? Think about your favourite place to eat out – you probably don’t love it based solely on how quickly they get your order in front of you. More likely, you love it based on a combination of the quality of the food, the great service you receive, and the overall experience.

Now, consider whether you want your real estate practice to be a fast food joint or a high quality restaurant that takes the extra time to offer an excellent experience.

When properly designed and executed, both models can be profitable – but trying to be both at the same time will satisfy neither the prospect looking for speed nor the prospect looking for quality.