Has a referral source ever found you years later and said, "I kept trying to find you to give you a lead but I couldn't find you!"
What kind of e-mail address do you have?
Who OWNS your cell phone number?
How many leads will you lose because someone you trust is wily.
(or something changes in the business like the broker changing domain names. Thanks Margaret)
Is it really YOUR e-mail address or does it belong to someone else?
Is it really YOUR cell phone number or does it belong to someone else?
Someone like your broker, employer, ISP (Internet Service Provider) or one of those FREE accounts that may change when YOU don't want to.
Here's a scenario for you that has happened to others in the past, costing them THOUSANDS of dollars.
I'm going to use real estate agents as the example, but it applies equally to a lot of other professions such as home inspectors and mortgage professionals.
Yes, wily brokers (and other employers) have screwed people out of thousands of dollars. Though I don't know if "screwed" is the right word. Seems these agents should know what's happening to them. But then if everyone was honest, the world would be a vastly different place.
So Suzy (my favorite name, not meant as a slur to any Suzy's I know or don't know) gets her real estate license. The next step is to hang it with a broker, which she does.
Kind and generous Broker gives Suzy an e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Broker is really on top of things and also provides Suzy a cell phone, but tells Suzy she has to pay the bill thru his office.
Suzy spends five years farming, lead generating, gathering referral sources, etc. Suzy spends the same five years passing out business cards with "her" cell phone number and e-mail address.
Now Suzy is making some money, but a better opportunity opens with a different broker and she makes the jump. But because of the way they are set up, Suzy loses her e-mail address and the broker gets to keep the cell phone number because it's in the brokerage's name.
Guess what, a lot of Suzy's referral sources still have her e-mail address as email@example.com and her ‘old" cell phone number. AND they use them to pass Suzy leads. But those e-mails land on the broker's desk and the phone rings for whomever the broker gives the number to. The lead is simply told that Suzy is no longer there but they'd be happy to help them meet their needs in listing that $300,000 home.
Where does that $18,000 commission go. Doesn't matter. NONE of it is going in Suzy's pocket.
WHY???? Suzy never knows about it.
Even if the broker is honest instead of wily and just shuts them down, Suzy has lost the five years she spent spreading that contact information around.
How many of your competitor's have firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail accounts.
(UPDATE: or, as David Harkness pointed out below have their ISP address, i.e. (email@example.com) What happens when you change ISPs. You lose it. It's gone and you can't get it back.
How many of your competitor's have broker issued cell phone numbers?
Keep yourself in contact with your referral sources (and your pocket in contact with the money those sources bring) regardless of which broker you work for.
Get your OWN domain e-mail address!
Others exist but Godaddy.com domain registration is only about $9.00 a year (on a ten year registration) and comes with free e-mail. When you have your OWN domain name, you can transfer it wherever YOU want and access it forever (well, as long as you pay for it).
Get your OWN cell phone number!
It is YOUR's as long as you pay for it, even if you change cell phone providers (in the same geographic area).
Thanks to the Number Portability Act!
Real Estate is a LONG term business. Have you planned to be in business for a long time? Long time agents can recount many tales of a referral source or lead that only comes to fruition years later.
Are you planning to be there to reap the benefits?