How to deliver 500x ROI with SMS for real estate

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7 min read | May 13, 2021

The company

About 12 years ago, software platform LockedOn launched to compete with real estate’s many outdated, legacy systems. According to their director and co-founder, Luke Newton, sales and client engagement systems were hard to use. There was a need for real estate CRMs that were “nice, easy visual systems” that helped real estate agents sell.

LockedOn’s four directors pooled over 80+ years in the real estate industry to build the first CRM that primarily focused on the real estate agent. With an untapped market, LockedOn achieved effortless success early on.

LockedOn has grown steadily with now over 2,000 customers and considerable growth year-on-year. Their product now has three tiers: single agent, real estate office or larger teams and franchises. Despite this, their main selling point continues to keep the salesperson top of mind.

The challenge

For LockedOn, the challenge was simple: help agents unlock the best pathway towards more sales. They also had the answer: SMS. Real estate text message marketing is considered a ‘first-class marketing’ tool by many agents, including LockedOn director and former First National No.1 agent Aaron Shiner. Listing over 200 properties a year and selling 85% of them in his early 20s, he was known for his sales prowess and how he utilised systems to scale sales quickly.

Letters and SMS are how you do first-class marketing in real estate.

Luke Newton, Director and Co-founder, LockedOn

Shiner brought a great deal of his sales knowledge across to LockedOn, including his belief that if you want to grow your database and sales with prospective buyers, ‘there’s no better return on investment than SMS.’ In real estate sales, it’s always a numbers game: maximise your sales, keep costs down. Where other tools might be effective, SMS marketing will consistently deliver for the lowest price and highest ROI.

A screenshot of the LockedOn CRM

For agents, Shiner and Newton believe, it is necessary to have a good database and proven targeted messaging to make the most from SMS. For over 20 years, they have trained their clients with the same SMS strategies and text scripts.

[SMS] is the biggest return on investment that any sales agent can get. You can’t get that kind of ROI on the share market. You can’t get that anywhere.

Luke Newton, Director and Co-founder, LockedOn

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The results

In real estate, data is essential. For sales agents, it becomes everything: how many appointments were made? How many listings were acquired? And how many of those went on to sell, “because that’s how you’re getting paid”, said Newton.

With SMS, there’s no mystery or maybe. It’s proven and consistent. For example, LockedOn knows that with just one targeted New Years SMS marketing campaign (template below) costing $250, agents can see over $136K commission within three months.

LockedOn results banner showing:

1 x $250 SMS campaign
45 listing appointments, 23 listings, 20 sold within 1 month
$136,000 commission, 500x ROI

Even against newer tools and communication channels like Facebook marketing, Instagram ads or Google search, real estate texting still can’t be beaten. In training sessions, LockedOn sales coaches train clients on SMS and give practical tips on its utilisation.

With 98% open rates, instant delivery, and encouraging instantaneous replies from your mobile, selling to buyers or managing listings from sellers becomes a smooth, free-flowing process. While Newton admits you shouldn’t always rely on SMS, there are parts of the selling and buying process for agents where you should always be using it.

The return on investment [for SMS] is in multiples of 100s. It’s just absolutely crazy, and you can’t get that anywhere else.

Luke Newton, Director and Co-founder, LockedOn

Numerous customers of LockedOn experience similar value and results from using SMS, including that of Christian Bartley, MD and real estate agent at Bellarine Property in Barwon Heads. With almost two decades in real estate, he believes that the LockedOn platform has provided his business with “everything we require plus more.” For their agency, SMS has become a powerful source to communicate quickly and send targeted messages.

We have sold millions of dollars of property due to our strategic process of communication with SMS, so it’s a very valuable asset to our business.

Christian Bartley, MD and Real Estate Agent at Bellarine Property (LockedOn customer)

SMS use cases

Having proven data around sales strategies straight from Shiner is why LockedOn is one of the few stand-out and results-driven CRM platforms for real estate agents out there. It’s common for LockedOn to share SMS templates with the exact wording, targeted grouping and desired ROI.

It’s 20 seconds of your life! Click this SMS template, send to this group. We make it that easy.

Luke Newton, Director and Co-founder, LockedOn

There are various use cases for SMS messages, such as alerting buyers to a brand new property for sale that matches their criteria or sale price. You could also let owners know about properties recently sold on their street or new open houses. LockedOn also utilises various automations to send programmed special occasion text campaigns, so clients don’t even have to think about managing their relationships. Here are some examples:

Sellers: Listing your property

Example SMS template #1

Hi #Recipient Name#, Great Result! We just sold #Property Address Display# just around the corner from the property you own for #Property Sales Price#. Call for more details. #Sender Display Name# – #Office Name#

Hi #Recipient Name#, Just thought u should know that #Property Address Display# has just been sold for #Property Sales Price#. The market is moving! #Sender Display Name# – #Office Name#

Hi #Recipient Name#, #Sender Display Name# does it again, SOLD SOLD SOLD #Property Address Display#. If you want to be SOLD contact #Sender Display Name# – #Office Name#

Hi #Recipient Name#, FYI – JUST SOLD, #Property Address Display#. Want to know more about the campaign? Call me for a chat. Regards, #Sender Display Name# – #Office Name#

Buyers: Making inquiries

Example SMS template #2

Hi #Recipient Name#, hot new listing! #Property Address Display# it will be listed 4 #Property Market Price Guide#. Interested? #Sender Display Name – Office Name#

Hi #Recipient Name#, it’s a great week with all our new listings just hitting the market, there are a few properties I think you may like, give me a call. #Sender Display Name# – #Office# Name

Text templates for special occasions

Example SMS template #3

Example for Easter:
Hi #Recipient Name#, I hope you have had a great start to the year. In the first few months of 2021, we’ve been very busy with a sharp increase in buyer demand. Recently we just sold #ABC street# for #$XXX# and we had #XX# buyers view it, and we still have buyers leftover who missed out that are looking to secure a property before Easter. If you want to know the NEW value of your property, just reply to this message and I can give you an update. Regards, #Sender Display Name#

Example for New Years:
Hi #Recipient Name#, a very Happy New Year to you! Since starting 2020, we have seen an increase in buyer inquiries. If you want to know what your property is worth in today’s market, please let me know as I will be doing market updates in your area the next few days. Regards #Sender Display Name Office Name#

For Newton, text message communications through LockedOn can be automated or used as needed. It can give you a way to cover yourself if buyers or sellers inquire out of hours. Newton points to a typical situation where buyers might ask about a property through a third party domain or platform. LockedOn allows you to capture their information, then automatically sends out a confirmation text if you are away. A buyer now feels reassured that their inquiry has been received, and someone will be in touch shortly.

Improve your listings. Engage with sellers.

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The future

For LockedOn, SMS continues to be a tool of choice to help enable agents to sell better and with greater efficiency even as technology evolves.

We show people that we use our system to sell our system.

Luke Newton, Director and Co-founder, LockedOn

SMS is something that Newton and the team at LockedOn will continue using and pushing until there is something better. But after 20 years, it doesn’t seem like there will be anything else that cuts through, has high response rates and delivers that consistent ROI.

Ready to roll?

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