It's raining point possibilities on Active Rain!
(Bear with me, this post is a little long, but I'm going to bribe you offer you the chance for a reward at the end)
The debate over buying leads from lead generation companies is one of the more prevelant topics on our site. There are very few people that don't have an opinion. You either believe it's a good idea (most likely because it has worked for you in the past, or maybe you know someone it has worked for) or you hate the idea (most likely because you bought them and it didn't work for you or you know someone for which this was the case).
I'm here to tell you, most of you will fail with leads you purchase from a lead generator and even with leads you generate on your own site.
(I'll give a pass to leads you get from your blog, I believe these are some of the best leads out there, short of a referral)
But it's not because the leads were bad, it's because you were not good at working them.
I get so sick of hearing people say that 'the leads sucked'. They didn't suck, you sucked. I know it's harsh, but it's the truth. How do I know this? I've seen hundreds of agents work the exact same leads with huge variations in success. The leads were always a constant, the only variable was the person working the leads.
We used to run a real estate company prior to launching ActiveRain. We generated (in our prime) a couple hundred leads a day in the state of Washington. We had 100 agents in our company working the leads and about 75 referral agents outside our company working our leads (this was just in WA, we had the same set up in CA, MD and VA). We had brand new agents that stuck to the plan we outlined for them who consistently closed 3-4 deals a month with our leads. We had other agents, with much more experience, working the exact same number of leads who never closed anything from the leads. Working internet leads is not for everyone. It takes hard work, dedication, the ability to take rejection, ingenuity, and a system.
Most agents fail because they don't have a good system.
By system, I mean two things. A good CRM tool to manage the leads, and a good process for working the leads. Good CRM's are all over the place. We have quite a few that advertise here on ActiveRain. Ask anyone who has had success with leads and I guarantee they can recommend a good CRM, that's the easy part. The hard part is having a process that you follow with EVERY lead. This is where most agents break down.
The 2008 (haven't had a chance to review the 2009) NAR profile of home buyers and sellers says that most consumers make a decision of which agent they will work with within 2 weeks of starting their search online, but they don't actually buy something for 8 months from when they start searching. So, you have to be able to capture their attention in the first two weeks......and HOLD their attention for up to 8 months (sometimes longer). If you are really good on the front end, there's still a good chance you will lose them on the follow up. Or, if you're really good at follow up, you may not even get the chance because you never put in the time to convince them to work with you from the outset.
Let's not bog down in what makes a good lead. That is open for it's own discussion. Let's say at the minimum, it's an email. At it's best, a lead has a name, email and phone number (huge bonus if you get an existing address).
What do you do with a lead the first day you get it? The second day? The tenth day? A lot of agents working internet leads (based on the 175 agents I had the pleasure of working with in WA) are completely unable to do anything outside of the first day they receive a lead. If they do do something in the subsequent days leading up to the two weeks during which a consumer will select an agent, it's probably because their CRM allows them to send automatic home searches or form emails. But their ingenuity and their phone calls cease! The first two weeks are CRUCIAL and most agents give up after the first day. Heck, some people don't even call the first day.......they just send an email (Nothing floored me more or got my blood pressure higher than seeing leads where an agent was too lazy to call and all they did was send a form letter).
Ben Kinney, our headline speaker at RainCamp has a large team of Keller Williams agents here in Washington. His team uses a formalized process for following up with leads called 'The Ten Days of Pain'. He calls it that because it's as painful for the consumer to be on the receiving end as it is for the agent to actually follow through with completing it. Ben's way of doing things isn't the only way to do it, but it's highly effective for his team. Gary Keller has a chapter in his SHIFT book called 'Internet Lead Conversion'. As Elizabeth Bolton wrote in her recent review of SHIFT, "We're all spending a lot of time producing online content - generating online leads and converting those leads to closed sales is critical so this chapter was one of my favorites."
I don't think anyone reading this will disagree with the fact that learning how to convert online leads into sales is a HUGE deal if you are either buying leads, or generating your own.
So let's all put our heads together and share our tried and true 'processes' for converting internet leads.
The Bribe Reward: 1200 points
Write a post discussing your process for converting internet leads. In your post, include ANY and ALL relevant facts that someone would need in order to utilize your method. Do you use a CRM? Tell us which one. Does it have cool features? Share them with us. Do you get all Sherlock Holmes and attempt to learn every fact about the person from their email address? (you outlook users need to check out Xobni.com) Do you search for them on Facebook using their email address and attempt to 'friend' them? What kind of information do you attempt to provide them in order to convince them you are THE expert in your market and better than the other 5 agents they have come across? Do you have certain things you do at certain intervals during the process? Do you use video emails in order to let them know you are a real person?
I want the details! And most important, I'm looking for some really cool outside the box ideas of how to get people to respond. Are you doing something that is really working effectively? Share it with us......pretty please!
What if you don't have a process can you still participate? You sure can. Get creative and manufacture a process.
- Posts must be written after this post and prior to January 15th, 2010 at Midnight Central Time
- Include this paragraph at the end of your post: "For other methods of converting internet leads, be sure to check out giftofshift.com/activerain where you can purchase a limited edition hardcover of Gary Keller's book SHIFT, which comes with a free version of the eBook Soci@l: Attract Friends, Followers and Connections to Your Business, written by Ben Kinney and Jay Papasan (in which Ben shares his 'ten days of pain' lead conversion method) as well as free audio versions of Millionaire Real Estate Agent and Millionaire Real Estate Investor all for $19.99."
- Create a link out of 'giftofshift.com/activerain' in the paragraph above so it links to http://giftofshift.com/activerain
- Don't HALF-ASS your post please. Create something that adds value to the network, not just a post to swoop up 1000 points.
- Leave a link in the comment section of this post that links to your post
- Posts that are selected as featured posts (or run in the newsletter) will be given an additional 1200 point bonus
- Use: 'Internet Lead Conversion' in the title of your post somewhere
- Put your post in the Online Marketing Channel with the topic 'Internet Lead Conversion'
(DISCLOSURE: I don't want the FTC levying any ridiculous fines on me so this is where I am required to tell you that I have received consideration for doing this. It wasn't an envelope full of $20's like I was hoping for, but there was some consideration given for writing this post......closer to the 'player to be named later' that you see in a baseball trade)