May I ask YOUR type of business? You see I get leads from a "certain mortgage company" and none of the people that come through are qualified buyers. If I do manage to contact them, they can't even buy a toothpick let alone a whole house!
1. Kids playing on the internet
2. One spouse contemplating divorce
3. Just curious how it works
4. (I actually got someone to admit this) They love to irritate real estate agents
5. Bad addresses
6. Bad names
7. Dead email addresses
8 MY FAVORITE his neighbor!
No, I wont fall for anymore of these internet lead generators my website does just fine and it's free!
Personally I've never used such a service as I really don't see the point. If I am doing my job, I don't need such a service, I can generate my own business and my own leads. If I have dropped the ball (maybe this part will answer YOUR question) it is due to lack of systems. Sometimes I'm so busy I don't check my email for 4 hours. Other times communication is poor on one side or the other and it falls apart from a piece of missing information as others have said.
But frankly again, I think I know how a buyer thinks... they're intelligent; they're going to use a key phrase on google and my site or one that leads them to me should come up. I cannot imagine how lead generation companies can generate quality leads this way, I think the quality of the lead would have to be incredibly poor. It's like a buyer driving from Manhattan to the Boston Airport, to fly to Manhattan..... It's just not logical. They can find us (agents) without a middle man if we are doing our job.
I get emails all the time that say "we have leads in your area". This is the type of thing I would pass on to a competitor, let those nonsense leads slow my competition down, while I work with my own quality leads generated by activity and web sites in my city. That's just my opinion :)
Broker, CRS, GRI, ePro
Raving Real Estate
Laramie, WY 82070
That's not what we are here for though.
If Realtors are not following up with real estate leads they are too busy working to make any money.
So what's the point?
Trulia has you hands down.
Substitute the word mortgage for real estate and it explains my thought process pretty well....
In The Business Of Personal Relationships, Database Marketing Is More Effective Than SEO Marketing
By: Dan Green, TheMortgageReports.com, Post Archive, RSS Feed
Posted: Wednesday, January 30th, 2008, 10:57 am MST
Two years ago, NAR told us that 74% of people begin their home search online. What they didnâ€™t tell us, however, what percentage of those people write paper with the agent on whose site they began said search.
This omission is an important one. Just because a person starts online doesnâ€™t mean he finishes there. If youâ€™ve researched a product at multiple Web sites before making the actual purchase, you understand what I mean.
Every store except the last one was just a borrowed encyclopedia.
Click-throughs from a search engines are not â€œleadsâ€ and thatâ€™s why the NAR statistic is misleading. Until a reader engages the author personally, the click-through is only that.
A Web site visitor that registers for free search, free reports, or free seminars is not your client. He is a window-shopper taking home free samples. Heâ€™s a client when he signs, and never before.
Today, the Federal Reserve will do something to the Fed Funds Rate and if history is an indicator, my Web site traffic will quadruple. It happens every time. Itâ€™s because Iâ€™m so high on Google for the term â€œfed funds rate mortgageâ€œ.
Of the traffic from Google, not a single person will reach out to me for a â€œpersonal questionâ€ about their mortgage. Again, history is my indicator. I am the source of information of for a lot of people and that suits me fine.
Knowing that my clients would care about the same information, I have a planned email to my database that will do three things:
Explain that the cut in Fed Funds Rate will likely cause mortgage rates to rise
Introduce them to the concept of â€œwhy the Fed is taking a showerâ€
Point them back to my Web site for a full explanation of the â€œshowerâ€ analogy
This email to my database will generate new business. Once more, history is my indicator.
The last time I saw this was when I sent my â€œstick people in housesâ€ video on the same day the Fed dropped rates 0.750% out of nowhere. The email generated much more business for my team than did placing high on Googleâ€™s page rank.
When youâ€™re in the business of personal relationships, effective database marketing is far more productive than search engine marketing. The calls from my database are warm leads; Googleâ€™s leads are algorithmically cold.
Iâ€™m going prove that again at 2:15 P.M. ET today.
On the flip side, some, if not most of the online leads tend to not be very exciting. Buyers or sellers who are not ready, not motivated, or simply do not keep in communication with the Realtor. After so many contacts to a prospect you have to draw the line and assume they are not motivated and move on to the next.
Bottom line, Realtors, don't take leads that you have no intention of following through on. There are other agents who would be glad to have the lead and do a great job. And to buyers and sellers, don't consume the time of a professional Realtor if you are not ready to move forward.
Information is highly attainable and it has given the consumer a stronger sense of self sufficiency as well as portraying the Agent as disposable. The average internet buyer does not feel a sense of loyalty and it is this sense of indifference that has caused agents, like my self, to grow increasingly weary of the "tire kickers". I still rapidly respond to internet inquiries, via a Blackberry Device when mobile, or on the laptop when desk bound, but long gone is the foolish optimism that this potential lead will be waiting for my call or e-mail. I feel lucky if the information that they provided is even legitimate.
My message to lead subscription services is two-fold: Provide qualified leads with verified contact information and instill, via your marketing of the service, that only serious buyers and sellers provide inquiries. The most valuable, non-replaceable, commodity that we all strive to protect is our time. There is nothing more demoralizing than hanging false hope on a prospect that does not respect the time and effort we make on behalf of our clients, both tangible and potential. Unlike a salaried or hourly position, we do not get compensated for going through the motions.
I feel that a subscription service should serve the market by first educating the consumer about the reality of the Agents role and efforts and then by providing quality first class service.
Robert Kaufman / Southwest Michigan
I see agents giving up a lot. They email once, call once... and then the lead forgets who they were 6 months later when they're ready to go.
Keep in mind that I'm not referring to leads with absolutely no valid contact information. However, I have seen "Mickey Mouse" and "John Doe" leads actually end up listing with an agent. Most of the time the successful agents in our program are those who are willing to visit the leads home with a one page estimate CMA and then follow up for the next year with updates. I guess some agents don't feel the 2.5% commission on a $250,000 house is worth a year of follow up. LOL... (Isn't that more than a months income for most people?) 8 )
My most recent "internet lead" took some digging to track back. It turned out he'd received a direct mail piece from our company TWO YEARS AGO. He kept it because it attracted his interest. He used the URL to visit our company's web site where he read the agent bio's and customer comments. From that he picked me!
If I understand your first paragraph... what a wonderful example of the Internet being a validator.
Part of a "lead generation program" is figuring out who exactly you want to attract... and what they are looking for. A name and address is not a lead. (We used to classify folks as suspects, prospects, customers, clients. A name and address MIGHT be a suspect.)
Perhaps unrelated... but would this soon to be client get counted as an Internet Lead statiscially? I'm not sure he qualifies as one.
Why don't real estate agents follow up on leads? Simple, the conversion rate for internet leads provided by most lead generation companies isn't worth the time investment required, incubation time too long, and mostly comprised of bottom feeders. A real estate agent would do better by walking down main street and handing every stranger a $5 bill and ask for a few minutes of their time. The conversion rate, would be better, and the opportunity for a REAL impression event greater. Lead generating companies all promise the same results, and deliver little. To toy with the idea your internet customer is being underserved because the agent is too lazy would be the error that should put you out of business. If your customer is being underserved it is because the agents do not see nor have they experienced the value of your product. PERIOD!
I also believe that most agents, though they may like the "idea" of a business who can generate leads for them, at the same time resent the intrusion of the many "lead generators" into our industry since they know the reason you're able to get those leads in the first place is because you use the inventory that the realtors create by listing property to generate the lead, then turn around and, in one form or another, and sell that lead back to the agents. Were there not the "lead generating companies", consumers would simply look to agents for information...there would be no NEED for lead generating companies.
Personally, I resent any company who offers to the consumer "prescreened, qualified agents", when the reality is the only "prescreening" or determination of the qualifications of the agent is that the agent is willing to PAY THE REFERRING COMPANY. It's at the least "misrepresentation".
My personal preference is to not play the numbers game. I put a lot of effort into becoming a "magnet" that attracts leads--not a name or number who gets a bunch dumped on him. The "part b" of that program is to design a system that keeps people in the pipeline... or funnel might be a better term.
So that's why we choose our leads carefully. Dollars-per-transaction is very, very important to me. YES, I want to help the consumer but I also need to feed my family and pay my bills and I can't do that paying referral fees on reduced commisions on bargain-priced homes.
But I do agree with you: If an agent agrees to accept leads form you....Then FOLLOW UP! Work it thoroughly. If the agent doesn't want to do that, then he/she should accept leads.
I thing that leads that come from search traffic, which I generate a ton of traffic for my clients using this approach, only dilutes the prospect and reduces your credibility. People are naturally turned off by unknow referrals so its best for AGENTS and BROKERS to generate their own leads.
I would love to help anyone boost their traffic, and free advice on how to maximize your leads.
Its a two step process, first you engage them, then call them. WORKS EVERY TIME.
I am a agent that both have plenty of listings and get my share of leads via the web. I have to consider them all good but I do answer them quicker if I have a phone number and a email address that looks correct. I encourage all my agents to get those leads quick within hours if possible or first thing in the morning. I also have learned if I cannot get to those leads to pass them along to a new agent with more available time and ask for a referral. I will stand up in meetings and let everyone know if you have a lead you are not going to follow up on let me have it even if it is over 48 hours old! I have made several sales doing this with no referral fee. When I am not able to follow up on the lead is when I have to go search for the lead in your system. I want that to come directly to me. I have sometimes 20 leads a day and cannot get to a system that I have to go to their web site and retreive the leads. I simply do not have the time. I was a member of one and had to get out because of this situation. In other words make it easy for me to respond. The next thing is when I am out showing property with a client for a day I am not able to continue to get to all my leads quickly and have to spend time later catching those.
Then you put in all this time and effort and the prospect is not even qualified or won't get qualified.
If they are not quality leads that are not from potential buyers or sellers, it gets to be a waste of effort. I know all leads are not equal or on the same time schedule but at least verify address, phone numbers and email. We also don't like to be "sold" back leads that we generated in the first place by having listings that people use to attract the leads with.
It's been a great tool ! Now lets figure out how to get them to quit filling in bogus contact information!!
I'm not an agent but I used to be (for a year back in 1995). But I've been in sales for over 20 years and all the good sales training comes from real estate gurus. I was even a sales trainer myself for a while. One of my favorite quotes is,
"What is easy to do, is easy not to do." Another one along the same line is,
"What IF an apple a day kept the doctor away?" If you knew for a fact that if you ate one apple, every single day without fail, that you would never have to see a doctor, would you do it? For how long?
You can tell ten people, if they called every single lead within 10 minutes, they will be a millionaire within a year. Only one or two would do it, even if all 10 people believed it was true. It's not laziness, it's human nature.
But many of the other agents are correct. Calling everyone might make you a millionaire, but are there enough hours in the day to do that? The agents are trying to work smarter not harder. What you are suggesting in your follow up posts is working harder. The human nature part is working harder might be a proven method but some are successful at working smarter and some are not. Everyone hopes to be in the working smarter category but only 1 to 20% are.