Use Caution with Reply Real Estate
Ok, so maybe I'm a sucker. I received a call at the beginning of the year from Greg at Reply! I was told that for $54.95 per lead I would get people in my area that were ready to contact a Realtor. Customers could search listings without entering their info. When they were ready, the customer would give their contact information and would be receptive to contact from real estate agents. Buyers who are ready to buy and Sellers who are ready to list? Sounds good, right?
After signing up and receiving my first few leads, I started to wonder about the quality of the leads. Of the first 15 leads that were sent to me, only two have shown any (and limited at that) in working with an agent. Seven were credited to me for various reasons : bad phone number, fake info, etc. The rest either didn't answer the phone, reply to emails or were simply playing around online. I will give Reply kudos for crediting the leads that were bogus, even if it sometimes takes 3 or 4 days for it to happen.
I sent my cancellation request to Reply after 3 days. The leads were clearly not as good as promised. BUT WAIT! There's more. Customer retention specialist Dan soon called and sweetened the deal. As with many companies when you're ready to cancel, they will give you a better deal when you're about to leave. Now, I'm thinking I really am a sucker because I agreed to continue on for awhile longer. But as my financial contribution was somewhat lessened, I figured I have to get a good lead sometime. January down. 15 leads, 2 weak prospects. But 13% or so still in the game is about what Reply! predicted would eventually (6-9 months) CLOSE with me. They estimate that 50% of leads will be reachable. Of those 25% will buy or sell within 12 months. 10-15% of those leads will result in closings.
On to month 2. So far in 5 days, I've received 9 leads, including Bobo Jones at 123 Fake St. Bobo must work at the Du Page Obstetrics and Gynecology Center as that's where his number took me. Mildly amusing. The "lead" was credited pretty quickly. So far, 0 for 9 in February. The few people I did get on the phone complained that they have been bombarded by Realtor phone calls. This must be because either A) Reply! did not provide them with the listings that they were seeking and they went to other sites, or B) they went to Reply! after entering their information in other places.
Just for the record, I have emailed every "lead" as soon as I am able. I have called each numerous times at different times of day, and I have enrolled them all in my drip campaign. The buyer leads I even set up with customized property searches despite having only limited information and unrealistic buyer expectations of pricing (1 prospect had just 3 matches). So, I don't think its for lack of effort or experience.
I have not yet concluded that Reply! is a huge waste of money, although my gut tells me it probably will be if/when I give up. This is a numbers game and as a former statistics teacher I know that 24 is a extremely small sample size. But by Reply!'s estimates, I should have 2-3 on the way to a transaction. However, at almost $55 per "valid" lead, the cost will become prohibitive.
If there are any people who are considering buying or selling a home in Will, Kendall or Southern Cook county in Illinois, I'm ready for you. Contact me or go to www.roakehomes.com and enter your contact information. I'll be with you shortly.