- Are REALTOR.com enhancements worth the money?
Hell Heck no. At least that is my observation.
I drove 2 hours one way to go to a seminar put on by REALTOR.com. It was being billed as valuable information to show the agent how to:
Leverage the changes in your local market
Target expired listings with a proved marketing plan
Make your current listings be seen first and more often
Make your local expertise more relevant to sellers
Leverage multiple photos and new video listing tours to generate more showings
I had received several emails over the course of 3 weeks each building up the seminar. One of the first emails had, "Important seminar on Social Networking," in the subject line.
- Active Rain was not mentioned once the entire 4 hours
- Twitter was mentioned in passing
- We were given 10 minutes of instruction on Facebook
- The rest of the seminar was nothing more than the speaker selling REALTOR.com enhancement systems
I have one of REALTOR.coms enhancement systems, which gives me more photos, increased description space, my photo on the listing, a virtual tour link and a few more items, which are designed to sell my listings. Do I find these enhancements worth the money? Absolutely not. I can not attribute one sale to these enhancements. I rarely get a lead from realtor.com, less than one a month, and only one click through a week to my website. For this lack of ROI (return on my investment) I pay more for these "enhancements" than for any other form of marketing (other than my website, which more than pays for itself).
Am I being too hard on REALTOR.com? Nope. Actually, I'm not being hard enough. I talked with an agent who pays $3000 a year for REALTOR.com enhancements. She strongly felt that they were not increasing her business, but that enhancing listings on REALTOR.com is one of the necessary evils of being an agent. Everyone is doing it, so you need to also to "be in the game."
Did I mention REALTOR.com is owned by the N.A.R., the trade association every REALTOR belongs to (pays dues to). One of the major perks of belonging to the N.A.R. is our listings are on REALTOR.com (well, actually all MLS listings are on REALTOR.com). Our listings do not have our name, any extra photos above what is in the MLS listing, or any other information that will lead the consumer to the agent, UNLESS WE PAY TO ENHANCE (what a great trade association, that has no qualms about taking it's members money to do what it should be doing because we PAY DUES). Well, we at least have the great N.A.R. T.V. commercials letting everyone in the U.S. know that the housing market is really much rosier than Americans think (puhh-leaze).
- Year to date, I have sold more listings in number and volume than any other agent in my market
- I can not attribute any of these sales to REALTOR.com and believe me, I track this stuff
- 8/10 of a % or 1 out of 116 hits on my website is from REALTOR.com
- 43% of the hits to my website are from my participation on Active Rain
- I CAN DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTE 2 OF MY LARGEST CLOSINGS THIS YEAR TO MY ACTIVITIES ON ACTIVE RAIN.
- Joe Sesso, the speaker at the "Social Networking" seminar did not once mention the largest real estate social networking site on the internet (Active Rain). Why? Could it be because it is free and not linked financially (as far as I know) to REALTOR.com?
Do I seem cynical? Yes I do. About one quarter of the people in that seminar got up and ran to purchase enhancements being sold at exorbitant rates. Only a handful of agents in the room had their own website (Joe asked for a show of hands). If the agents purchasing REALTOR.com products put the money they spent that day into a website and blogging, they would realize a much better return on their investment. We all know the staggering statistics on how many consumers visit realtor.com each month (as told by realtor.com), yaddah, yaddah. I've talked with enough agents (and have my own experience) to know that those stats do not a sale make.
I was extremely disappointed that I drove 4 hours round trip for a bait and switch seminar that was billed as social networking and was nothing more than REALTOR.com selling their wares (that do not in my opinion, work).
I would love to hear from anyone out there that feels their ROI on realtor.com is worth it. Please mention which enhancements you pay for, if you can attribute sales to these enhancements and, if you don't mind, how much you pay annually for these enhancements.
My success so far this year is linked to my free activities on Active Rain, Twitter, Trulia, Zillow, Google Base, my website and my blog, my blog, my blog, along with giving really outstanding customer service and working full-time.
Joe Sesso mentioned, "If you aren't blogging, you should." That was the extent of talking about blogging at a social networking seminar. You tell me? Was that seminar a waste of time or what?