A funny thing happened to me the other day on my way to writing a post. I was going to write something educational and then this thing happened and well… I’m a little upset and I’m going to name some names.
WHAT IS A TOOL?
Depending on the context, a Tool could be good.
My wrenches all fall under the label of good.
I’ll also argue that a good real estate agent is an invaluable tool in buying or selling a home – no question, no doubt.
Urban Dictionary has a different take. If someone calls you a Tool it’s probably a derogatory term and you might want to punch them in the face. (just kidding, never resort to violence)
Of course Tool could also refer to a rock band, and with me being a Deadhead I like that too.
So there’s a few definitions of Tools and in a way I’m referring to both the good and the bad here.
Let me back track a bit here first. Let’s start with my phone number. It’s plastered all over the site and it’s one of those types that once you see it you might remember it. 925 456-4567 Get past the area code and you’ll see it’s just a bunch of consecutive numbers. I actually picked it. It doesn’t spell anything cool like 800 GET-A-WEBSITE but it’s different, and that’s cool, eh?
Apparently, sometimes when people have to fill out a form online (not so much in person) they sometimes ‘accidentally‘ use my phone number. It’s happened at the local grocery store when someone is creating a new account. It’s happened when they test drive a new car. Strangely, it’s never happened when I won front row tickets at a concert from a local radio station. Oh well.
My Friday started out like any other normal day. I had an on-boarding appointment with a new client discussing the new site we were going to build, what was important to him, what wasn’t and so on. I saw another call come in and I casually mentioned to him that I was going to send that to voicemail. Nothing is more important than the person you are talking to at the time, right?
The call ends and I go over to my voicemail. It’s a very nice person who explained why she was calling in a very nice manner. Want to hear it?
See, she was really nice. So I called her back and we had a short discussion over the phone. She explained why she had called and I explained how I’m actually ‘in the business‘ building real estate websites for agents. I also explained that it wasn’t uncommon for people to use my phone number for online forms. We wished each other a nice day and I thought that was that.
Apparently, someone filled out a form on a site that is run by a guy Dave Ramsey. You might have heard of him. (he’ll get no backlink from me). Dave is in the business of telling people how to manage their money better and he probably does a good job at that. Dave is also in the LEAD SELLING BUSINESS. You can buy hot leads that Dave collects on his site. Not unheard of as you can buy hot leads from a lot of sites (like ZTR). They didn’t provide a name, (or if they did I hope I was something like Seymore Butz), apparently just a phone number. On further reflection, Dave should be telling people to hit me up for a new website (but he won’t). 🙁
My new friend Teresa texted me a few minutes later.
GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Yup. The calls started coming in. Not a few more but a lot more. What was even better is that they all used the same script! I think Dave sells them the script they should use too.
Here’s just a few of the calls. I did white out the phone numbers but like I said, I’m naming names.
<insert sarcastic voice> I especially liked getting simultaneous calls from the exact same office at the same time and I can’t tell you how much I LOVE being referred to as a LEAD. <end sarcastic voice>
SO HERE’S WHAT THEY DID RIGHT
First of all, buying leads is just fine. Hey, it might be a vital part of your marketing plan. You have to know your sales funnels (go read that). Nothing that any one of these people did qualifies them as a tool. They also did a good job of stating who they are, why they are calling and how they might be of help (if I was a lead). I can’t tell you when the person filled out the form but contacting someone ASAP is crucial to any lead generation technique. God job Team! Seriously. Everything you did was great!
HERE’S WHERE IT ALL WENT TO HELL
Pardon my french. If I did fill out a form and if I was a real person actively looking to buy or sell a home the last thing I would really want or need is 4 or 5 or more agents bombarding me at the same time all with the same message. Think about it from the public’s side.
NOTE: I didn’t call any of them back, and to their credit nobody has continued to call me.
LET’S DO IT BETTER
One of the last things I want to do is complain about something and not offer up reasonable solutions – so here we go…
IF buying leads from any source is a part of your marketing plan, and remember I think that’s ok, let’s try to do it better. How? Glad you asked!
- Know how many times that ‘lead’ is going get sold. It’s in the T.O.S. that was part of the contract you signed up with. You can always contact your account representative and ask them. They know exactly what happens with each one.
- Never, ever, EVER let them know that they are referred to as a “Lead”. That’s a term only for us insiders. We all know that you can’t have Lead Generation without Leads but they should never know that. Not a single person on the planet would like to know that they are a Lead. EVER.
- Be First. Your response time is critical to your success. I don’t have it here but years ago I worked with a lead generation company and data proved time and time again that the faster you contacted a lead the more successful you were going to be.
- If you can’t be first, know that you aren’t going to be the only… address the elephant in the room right away. Try to be first but also differentiate yourself from the crowd right from the start. “I know other agents are going to be contacting you but here’s why we’re different” – that kind of thing. Do it in the VM, do it in the call back, and do it in the appointment you set up.
- Spend the money and get access to unique leads that only go to you. Yeah, it’s going to cost a lot more but think about the value of being first every single time. Not only first but the ONLY one to respond. You’ll still want to respond ASAP but you won’t be in competition with any one else. That would be cool right?
- Did that last one sound good but maybe money is tight? Consider spending some time on an Organic SEO campaign. Yup. That’s what happens with SEO and a proper lead capture system set up on your own site. You’ll actually have relevant people, who are looking for your services, contact you and you alone requesting information. You still have to work it, but instead of money it’s time that you’ll be investing.
YES, THAT WAS A SALES PITCH
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