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The Smart Agents Podcast

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Nate Joens


Episode 77: How Structurely Is Qualifying Your Leads With Conversational AI




February 21, 2022


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“With intelligent data scientists and machine learning engineers, we can solve this problem with actual conversational AI” – Nate Joens

“There’s no such thing as self-learning AI; all of the data comes from a human at some point. ” – Nate Joens

“The last thing that people want is to feel like they’re talking to a computer.”  – Nate Joens

“We’ve just been throwing the ball one way, but now we’re playing catch back and forth.” – Nate Joens

“The whole world of AI will replace a lot of those mundane tasks.” – Nate Joens

“Using that technology allows people to have better personal connections.” – Nate Joens

“Death, divorce and disease. Those are not fun things, and they require a lot of empathy.” – Nate Joens

“I am solely focused on making sales people’s lives easier” – Nate Joens

Article Summary 📝

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How Structurely Is Qualifying Your Leads With Conversational AI – The Smart Agents Podcast With Nate Joens

On this episode of The Smart Agents Podcast, Nate Joens, Co-Founder and Head of Innovation at Structurely, joins host Michael Walter to discuss how Conversational Artificial Intelligence is transforming how real estate agents qualify and follow up on leads. 


In this episode, you will learn:

  • The backstory of Structurely, how Nate Joens founded the company, and how he got into the real estate industry.
  • How Conversational AI helps sales agents in managing leads and saving time.
  • The difficulties of starting a business in the real estate industry.


Good Question & Answer 1:

Michael Walter: So, as you were putting this all together, you didn’t have a whole lot of background in AI engineering?

Nate Joens: None. I am not an engineer. So, we hired some really smart folks from where I went to school with PhDs in maths and stats. I think one of them was studying his Ph.D. in computational theory, which is crazy. But he had a focus on natural language processing, which is kind of the whole bread and butter behind making conversational AI work. I convinced him and a friend to join early on, not knowing at the time that this was actually the hard way to get into this whole realm. 

I think that real estate was the hardest industry we could have picked to start because of those conversations that we have with leads. We’ve had over 5 million that have to be indistinguishable from human. When you’re having a conversation about buying a house, it’s one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the three Ds of real estate: Death, Divorce, and Disease. Those are not fun things, and they require a lot of empathy. And the last thing that people want to do is feel like they’re talking to a computer. So we set out immediately to say, this is going to be not your typical chatbot experience that we all have probably had now and hated. This is going to feel like talking to a human. And of those 5 million-plus conversations, we’ve actually done an analysis and see that .01% believe or have asked whether this is a human or not. So 99.9% believe that they’re talking to a human.


Good Question & Answer 2:

Michael Walter: And when you talk about qualifying the leads for real estate agents that can be, you know, depending on their business model, that can be a pretty lengthy process. So how do you kind of fit that into the script to start qualifying if this person is somebody that the agent would be willing to work with?

Nate Joens: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I think most agents kind of forget how many people are in their pipeline at a single point. We’ve talked to some of the top inside sales agents in the world, and at best, they’re managing like 500 to 700 contacts in their pipeline at a time. That’s great. And that number has moved up because of automation and texting and emailing, and you’re not solely reliant on calls. But what they’re very keenly aware of is texting conversations or email conversations can drag out. On a call, you can get through it, you can qualify, and you can say, “this is a go or no go.”. On a text, someone can just ghost you or be really passive. You don’t know and drag out your time forever. And I think that it’s letting us handle more conversations. It’s like, now we’re overwhelmed sometimes with conversations. But in terms of that, that just puts a lot more emphasis on getting to a No or a Yes. I mean, that’s Sales 101. Sometimes it’s good to get to a “No” because then they’re out of your pipeline. And you don’t have to deal with them, at least for now.

So in our product, we have over 50 pre-built scripts or campaigns that range from buyers to sellers to investors to renters, inquiring about a specific property, inquiring in general, old leads, new leads, refinance, new loan. We have the full buffet of property pre-built scripts, but you can also customize all of our conversations. So some of our scripts are very basic. We always like to think about their readiness: are they thinking now or in the future? What’s their timeframe? Are they working with an agent? Are they approved for a loan? Have they talked to a lender about the best price? Etc., We’re also trying to get a little bit more into their motivation. We like to talk a lot more about them rather than property. So we can actually figure out the “whys” behind things. And I think that’s important. Then we are always trying to set up the next step. So we are trying to schedule a phone call with you, the agent, who is essentially our products partner, and that’s kind of our sell. We really want to get to some sort of next step, so that person is expecting a warm phone call rather than ignoring a cold call from a number they don’t know.


Additional Topics Discussed:

  • How the Algorithms and AI, in general, can figure out how to respond.
  • How Structurely’s AI conversations show empathy in real estate, which is all building personal relationships.
  • Mobile App and Dashboard: how a real estate agent can control and take over the conversation from the AI conversation.


Host / Podcast Bio: 

Michael Walter, a host of The Smart Agents Podcast, is an EMMY-nominated video journalist with a track record in the broadcast media industry. He specializes in Storytelling, Drone Piloting, Drone Videography, Broadcast Journalism, and Videography.


Guest Bio:

Nate Joens is the Co-Founder of Structurely, a technology company based in Ames, IA, that builds Artificial Intelligence (AI) services for businesses to scale personalized conversations with their contacts via messaging. He leads the product, engineering, and machine learning teams at Structurely to align with real estate customer goals. Nate is experienced in Geographic Information Services (GIS), real estate, financing, urban planning, project management, and graphic design. 


Resources and Links Mentioned in the Show:




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