Up to almost one third of all inquiries coming through portals from people asking to be registered as applicants are ignored by agents.
But compelling new research from proptech firm Reapit also shows the small percentage of portal leads which actually convert into an offer or instruction – just 7.5%.
The research shows that the figure for buyer applicant registration inquiries ignored by agents is 27% for sales and in lettings 32%.
The figures vary markedly between individual agents, according to the Reapit research.
The top 10% agents have practically zero unprocessed applications.
However, in the bottom 10%, 85% of all applications to register as applicants for sales and 43% of lettings inquiries by potential applicants are ignored by agents.
If agents are unconvinced by leads from the portals, the research shows how few translate into actual sales or tenancies.
The new Reapit research covers leads delivered by portals in the first six months of last year.
Reapit researcher Daniel Hare said that preliminary results for the second half of last year show little difference, with still just 7.5% of established leads from portals leading to a sale, tenancy or instruction.
Simon Whale, of Reapit, said agents were nevertheless sidelining potential leads.
He said that agents’ failure to put inquiries on their lists of applicants was likely to be down to human error, apathy – or sheer business.
Reapit looked at how agents handle inquiries received via the internet, from which portal most of them come, the proportion that are ignored or are duplicates, and how many registrations are converted into actual sales and tenancies.
Its study covers the first half of last year, with a ‘snapshot’ taken of progress six weeks later.
The analysis shows that just 2.6% of letting applicant registrations converted into a tenancy – ie, one in every 23 registrations. However, the top 10% of agents did far better, with a success rate of 6.6%.
In sales, 3.2% of applicant registrations result in an offer being accepted.
In terms of the source generating the applicant registration inquiries which resulted in the most sales, Rightmove won hands down.
In the six-month period studied, Rightmove generated 4,088 successful leads for agents, Zoopla (including Primelocation) 864 and OnTheMarket 141.
Reapit looked at 278,937 records – 175,944 sales applicant registrations and 102,933 lettings applicants.
Its follow-up snapshot showed that at August 18, 808 (29%) of all internet applications to be registered were unprocessed.
The study also confirms just how much sales applicant interest waned between January 1 and June 30 last year, while letting inquiries rose.
The research notes that the volume of sales applicant registration inquiries steadily declined by 26% between the start of last year to the end of June, whereas letting inquiries rose 24%.
The ratio between sales and lettings inquiries narrowed over the six months from 68%: 32% in favour of sales to 56%: 44%.
In total, throughout the half year, sales inquiries represented 63% of the overall total.
Almost all the Reapit agents used Rightmove for lettings (92%) and even more so for sales (95%).
By contrast, 46% of agents used Zoopla (including Primelocation) and 36% OnTheMarket for letting registrations, while 52% used “other sources”, including their own websites.
For sales, the comparable figures were 46% OnTheMarket, 57% Zoopla and 85% “other sources”.
Of actual letting applicant registrations, 62% came from Rightmove, 28% from Zoopla (including Primelocation), 7% from OnTheMarket, and just 3% from “other sources”.
Rightmove ended the half year with a 25% increase in letting applicant registrations, Zoopla with 10% growth, while OnTheMarket effectively doubled its volumes, albeit from a modest base.
The actual figures for the month of June were: 12,181 letting registrations via Rightmove, 4,651 from Zoopla and 1,623 from OnTheMarket.
In sales, the volume of registrations fell for both Rightmove and Zoopla over the period, by 30% and 31% respectively. OnTheMarket sales applicant registrations grew by 29%, although volumes were much lower.
In June, Rightmove was responsible for 14,929 sales registrations, Zoopla for 4,601 and OnTheMarket for 1,194.
Interestingly, almost half of all registrations applicant inquiries (48%) were received out of office hours, with Monday evenings the busiest.
One thing that no portal has yet cracked is delivering leads from sellers and landlords.
Reapit’s report describes the volume of vendor conversions from applicant registrations generated by portals as “surprisingly small”, representing under 1.5 instructions per office.
There were 6,000 direct vendor inquiries from the major portals during the six-month period, while landlord inquiries were almost non-existent.
Reapit has since teamed up with training organisation Agency Mentors to launch the Prospecting Champions League. Reapit customers can enter by sending their best prospector to one of a series of four regional courses to receive tuition from Stephen Brown and Iain White.
Entrants will then participate in a qualifying round where their performance will be tracked. The entrants from each league who generate the most real business from their prospecting activities will then go forward to a final round to decide the prospecting champion.
Simon Whale from Reapit said: “We know from our analysis that even the best-performing agents have plenty of additional opportunities to win business hidden in their databases.
“Our recent research into internet registrations found that just 7.5% of leads convert to an offer or an instruction. This competition will help agents to exploit the opportunities that exist amongst the other 92.5% of their contacts.”