The Touch Stone: How Hunting "Hot" Leads Is Bad For Business

Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

Have you trained your brain to shoot yourself in the foot???

Let's start with a little story........

As a young boy, Tan had always heard of stories handed down by his father and his father's father of a magical rock that, when held by someone, would grant them any wish. It was called a 'touch stone'. (A person would know they found the touch stone because the stone would be smooth and a ball...and warm to the touch.) And, as luck would have it, it was said to be along the shore of a small lake near the village that Tan grew up in...

After hearing these stories for his entire life, Tan decided he was going to make it his mission to find this magical 'touch stone'. So, he started walking around the lake. Every stone he saw, he would pick up, feel it for warmth and visually inspect it for shape. If the stone didn't adhere to the physical attributes that Tan wanted, he would pitch the stone into the lake so he didn't have to worry about having to check it again. Over time, Tan had convinced himself that he knew instantly if a stone he had grabbed was the mythical touch stone or not and would immediately hurl the stone into the lake.

Days; Weeks; Months went by and Tan had cleared thousands of stones from the shore of the lake....picking up each one and then pitching it into the lake.

Finally, one one cold morning, Tan grabbed a stone that was warm to the touch. And the stone was round like a ball. And, at that moment......Tan pitched it into the lake.

(Pause for reflection)

The moral of the story???  Treat every stone like it is a 'touch' stone.

Let me explain...

If Tan had gone about his quest with the idea that every stone that came across his hands was the touch stone, he would have known immediately that he had found the stone when he came across it. Instead, Tan had trained himself into thinking that every stone he found was not the one he wanted...and by pure instinct and practice, threw them all away...including the one he really wanted.

According to NAR, only 7% of ALL clients that indicate they want to buy a home actually are interested in buying right now....a "HOT" lead, in other words. (In case your math skills are lacking...that means that 93% of ALL clients are going to be buying or selling outside of 30 days!!) And, that is also true for internet leads. NAR also states that less than half of all internet leads are actually contacted by an agent.

Agents have to re-learn. Agents have to re-group. Agents have to retrain themselves.

Instead of viewing every internet lead like a rock...treat it like gold. Treat it like a touch stone. Treat every lead like it is the best lead you have ever had. Follow up with the client diligently, timely, and with respect. Give them the information they require when they require it and work hard to make yourself THE resource that the lead thinks of when they need something. Do this every time. Without fail. Every time.

Why would you do this, you ask? Why would you spend so much time working on something that might take months to get to a closing rather than looking for something that will close in a shorter amount of time??

Well...aside from just being good business, the main reason is to train train your mental and physical reactions so that, when you do grab that ball-shaped stone that is warm to the touch, you don't automatically toss it into the lake because that is all you know to do with it...because that is all you have practiced. It is all you know.

Make sense yet???


If you would like more information on how Ican help you find that touch stone, please contact me on Facebook. And, if you are on Twitter, you can connect with Clint there also.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. June Piper-Brandon 06/23/2010 03:24 AM
  2. Donna Stott 06/23/2010 03:30 AM
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Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Clint, I love this analogy. It's hard for most people to wrap their minds around the fact that an inquiry could result in a paycheck months or even years down the road. Would love to see your follow post on how to follow up effectively. I am really good with some leads, not so good with others. Maybe you have a secret to teach me :)

Jun 23, 2010 06:36 AM #69
Sue Follansbee
Golden Eagle Properties - Temecula, CA

Great post, and I appreciate the link to the "10 days of pain"!  This business is not for "get rich quick" agents, they need to be in for the long haul.  Unfortunately the long term payout is hard to see when you are starving! 

Jun 23, 2010 06:41 AM #70
Mary Roberts
Realty Executives Lake Havasu City - Lake Havasu City, AZ

Awesome post Clint!  I am going to send a link to it to all agents in my office!  Great reminder about not taking things for granted!  I should get a smooth rock and put it on my desk to remind me of this. Living in AZ we have a few of those to choose from.



Jun 23, 2010 07:09 AM #71
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Cecilia --Thank you so much! I heard that a long, long time ago. ;-) You are it right and it will never fail you. ;-) Keep on it!

Paula -- You are so welcome! Thank you for the awesome comment. ;-) You sound like you have set yourself up for a great future!! Keep up the good fight!!

Bob -- Thanks!! Constant and consistent is the key to any of this follow up stuff. Without that, you have nothing, really. Awesome example included as well....great testiment to the post and the idea as a whole. :-) I love comments like these!

Lyn -- LOL! Happy to hear that it does. :-) No, it is not a strategy that will lead to any form of success, that's for sure.

Jun 23, 2010 07:10 AM #72
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent

Like for instance, when a lead calls you and leaves a message, call them back...treat them like gold! Get an email, write them back. It's not rocket science.

Jun 23, 2010 07:11 AM #73
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Tom -- Thanks!

Gene -- A drip campaign is a good start. Id bet your conversion would go up if you added a phone call once a month....just to check in. ;-)

Tom -- I couldnt agree more. With technology today, you could tailor an infinate level of responses and scenarios to treat every client individually AND not lose anyone along the way.

Frank and Sharon -- Aww, Im glad you liked it. I thought it was fitting. It is hard for people to think that far into the future. But, that is exactly how lead management needs to be thought about...and held to that standard of continual, consistent, PROPER follow-up to ensure that you never ever leave a buyer hanging. Do will be buried in clients from here til Doom's Day.

Sue -- I love the "10 days of pain" concept. It is a great way to screen clients and seperate the 'wheat from the chaff' as it were. The key to being successful is what you do with them from that point forward. That is where lead management really plays it's key role.

Jun 23, 2010 07:14 AM #74
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Mary -- Awesome! Glad you liked it!! :-) Actually...that is a great idea with the rock on the desk....brilliant.

Jennifer -- Yes. Just like that. ;-) My boss calls it "Rocket Surgery" ;-)

Jun 23, 2010 07:16 AM #75
Robert Vazquez
75 FAST OFFER, LLC/ Countrywide Capital Group, LLC / CRP - Orlando, FL

there are a ton of scams with leads. I have "bought" leads in the past the HOT and Exclusive only to find they were yrs old and many people have had them. I use to purchase leads from a variety of places, at all different volumes ($200k in a month once in 2005)....If your gonna purchase you have to find good sources....

Nothing in my opinion is better than good old word of mouth and depending on ur biz...COLD CALLING

Jun 23, 2010 07:57 AM #76
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Robert -- Workin in the lead gen field like I do, you dont have to tell me that. ;-) And yes....if you are going to buy your homework. I could go on and on on this subject...thats another post, I fear. ;-)

Jun 23, 2010 08:06 AM #77

Very nice story and to the point.  I try to instill in my agents that everyone needs a place to live and to never loose touch with anyone that they come in contact with. Treat everyone with respect and as a potential buyer.  The harder part is two fold. First, to also train them to catagorize their contacts and not spend too much time with the clients who are not yet "hot" and secondly, lead generation takes time. That's why its called farming. Sometimes your sowing and sometimes your harvesting.  Just because someone doesn't get back to you right away, doesn't mean that someday they won't buy. Thanks for the post and good luck to all. Woody

Jun 23, 2010 08:34 AM #78
Carol Neu
Evergreen Realty - Big Bear Lake, CA
SFR, RCS-D - Big Bear Foreclosures

I believe that every person who inquires about real estate has a genuine interest in buying or selling, or they wouldn't waste their time.  I make it my job to find out what they think they want and why.  What they believe they can do and why.  And if they believe they can't but I realize they can, I make sure they understand how they can.  Usually, then they are my client.  I'm hopefully writing an offer for a client tomorrow who called on a sign last Oct.

Jun 23, 2010 09:54 AM #79
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Woody -- I would agree on the two fold part. You certainly dont want to over-work people that are not at the buying stage yet...and being able to pick which one is the right one is a learned skill, for sure. I think you are doing a great job with your agents and their lead management. nice work.

Carol -- should have written this post. ;-) You hit the nail dead on with that comment. And, do it every time...on ever referral...without fail. Awesome. ;-)

Jun 23, 2010 10:09 AM #80
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Clint:  It absolutely makes sense! We've worked with clients for a year, or even more, before we closed.  And we've worked with clients for a significant amount of time and they decided to move to another state.  But it doesn't matter, we give them our best always! Thanks - Carrie

Jun 23, 2010 10:35 AM #81
Wade Kawahara
Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC - Phoenix, AZ

With all of the technology we have available, we should never let a lead slip by.

Jun 23, 2010 05:48 PM #82
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Carrie -- Good to hear. ;-) And you always should, Carrie. Nice work.

Wade -- I certainly agree.

Jun 24, 2010 12:51 AM #83
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That makes perfect sense! You never really know which lead will be a closer or not, but they all need to be treated as if they are gold.

Jun 28, 2010 02:58 PM #84
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Georgina -- Exactly! :-)

Jun 29, 2010 12:37 AM #85
Robin Husney
Dickens Mitchener - Waxhaw, NC

Excellent post!  I have a buyer prospect who I began working with 3 years ago...the timing has not been right for them, but I stay in contact with them...last year I closed two transactions from referrals from this client.  This is a relationship business, and maintaining relationships is the key to success.

Jun 29, 2010 03:54 AM #86
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Robin -- Thank you so much! Nice work on the continued follow-up and you obviously see the rewards for doing so...I completely agree with you! Awesome!

Jun 29, 2010 04:00 AM #87
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I love this story. Training your brain to see the positive side is a valuable practice - not just for real estate, but for any job you have, or any relationship you have.

Feb 06, 2011 03:59 PM #88
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