Lead Gen is Back to the Future

Real Estate Agent with The Virtual Real Estate Team 104556

I started in this business in 1989 doing HUD open houses since the foreclosure business was the key to making commissions but later the market flipped to traditional real estate again so lead generation changes according to market demands and we need to read the tea leaves carefully because change in some respects, is happening faster. I do remember that I became fascinated with this new fad called the Internet in the 1990s and by 1996 I had my first website. I had always loved investment real estate and when the Internet came around I knew salvation for my real estate career was at hand. I segued into better sites and by the 200s I had what I thought was the best when Number One Expert came around. 

Pre-blogging era I wrote a lot of articles about investment and investors and posted them to my website. I wrote about the millionaire next door types that were blue collar but invested and became millionaires. i wrote about doing the first 1031 tax deferred exchange that any title company had ever done in Oklahoma City because some crazy California investor moved here and wanted to buy investment property. The Internet has always been my friend and I was not one of those who liked listing appointments because they seemed like cattle calls and a race to the bottom on commission so connecting by giving people good information about my specialty seemed to be the right thing for me to do. There was no logic applied to this, just a gut instinct and a desire to teach. Then California came calling in 2004. The investment craze was full bore there and groups were starting to contact me because of my wen presence and articles. That turned into 166 homes sold in 2005.

Yes, investors flew the coop in 2008-09 but in those years I spoke in California at least 6 times a year to 300 to 400 investors. As we all know the key is to get in front of someone personally so our lead generation is just the means to an end. What was unique to me is that over 50% of the investors never came here. Now before you just write this off to the insanity of the bubble years it is happening again. The investment business is bigger and the investors are smarter. The key at this point is the reversal of what got me to here in the first place. I now speak first, then sell via the Internet and email.

Delivering information is to me the biggest key to successful lead generation marketing. The term I have for it is gratitude marketing. When you give people the knowledge they need to make the right decisions without asking for anything in return, the law of attraction works. People show their gratitude by working with you. I am now again speaking in San Francisco 4 times a year and in Israel once a year. The old school part of this is face to face connection then the "marketing" if you will, but the follow up for this idea of lead generation is the key.

First, I had my assistant in Romania design a three page spreadsheet done in Apple Pages that auto calculate the returns, GPS the locations, and have two more pages for pictures and floor plans. I also do a mapping program that I highly recommend called zeemaps.com. For $299 a year you have unlimited maps that use Google and you can create multiple color balloons with descriptions so that you can locate neighborhoods, schools, amenities, points of interest that give the client a view of what is around your recommendations. I also hire a national consultant that creates a new economic and demographic report on Oklahoma City every six months to update the investor on statistics. I scour the Internet for articles about Oklahoma City and put all of this in jump drives or send via Dropbox. Again, content put in the proper context is king. Finally I always go back to Seth Godin's book, Purple Cow. Marketing is just one part, the other part is that what you sell needs to be that Purple Cow that stands out from the crowd. 

Whether you pay for Lead Gen or not, what you have to offer from your own personal knowledge and experience as well as a great property to sell makes any lead generation plan that much better. That's all for now and as the immortal George Burns once said, Goodnight Gracie.

This blog post was written as a submission to the ActiveRain Challenge - My Best Farming Technique (Sponsored by SmartZip). If you would like to share one of your favorite farming techniques (and earn up to 10K ActiveRain points as well as a chance to win a free ticket to a Ben Kinney Training event) head over to the blog post announcing the challenge.





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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Joe I remember the good old days when I got my website up around 1998/1999 time frame and I would get listing emails and calls directly same from realtor dot com before they monetized it, Endre

Jun 28, 2018 06:47 PM #1
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Joe.

I remember my youngest son telling me about something called a computer and the Internet.  I was sure it was nothing but a soon forgotten fad.  Goes to show you what I knew.  

Jun 29, 2018 02:23 AM #2
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

This is a very interesting read, Joe!  I also remember the first time I heard that word, "Internet."  It was back in the mid-80s, and I was out working with a client, who was associated with a university that was helping develop it.  I had bought an Apple IIE back in 1983.  It was a pre-Windows, pre Internet computer.  I never did much with it.  But, my second computer bought in 1993, razzle dazzled me as I entered the world of gee-wizzery.  There have been many changes over the years.  And, they seem to be occurring at an accelerated pace.

Jun 29, 2018 03:30 AM #3
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Joe... you are indeed the master of your niche! Your comment "Delivering information is to me the biggest key to successful lead generation marketing" is spot on... it's one reason I don't just gratuitously drip my data base... when I send something or touch someone, I want to answer these questions (1) is it value added to the recipient and (2) does it differentiate me from others? 

As for the internet, when I began my real estate career in Charlotte 20 years ago, I realized that Charlotte needed another agent like a hole in the head. Somehow, I got the idea that I should figure out the internet and lead generate that way... and that is how a lot of my early business came to me when I didn't have enough of an SOI to generate referrals. In truth, at that time I essentially had no SOI in Charlotte. But I did realize that by focusing on the internet, I'd be differentiating myself from 99% of Charlotte agents at that time.

Jun 29, 2018 03:45 AM #4
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Great read, Joe.  Honestly, I really can't remember the first time I really grasped how the internet was going to dramatically alter our society and lives.  I like your form of Farming - and it's obvious it works well for you. Congratulations. 

Jun 29, 2018 07:47 AM #5
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Wonderful post, be yourself and you will go far in life. Just be yourself, have a great day. 

Jun 29, 2018 09:24 AM #6
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

You have definitely been through a lot of change over the years and seemingly adapted pretty well to all of it.

Jun 29, 2018 10:39 AM #7
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX


 Excellent blog and you must speak very well in public but also your track record and years of knowledge and success! I admire you! You rock! Have a great 4th of July!

Jun 29, 2018 03:40 PM #8
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I remember when I first went online, and everybody was like, "no, I'm not using my real name." Too personal. Now look at what people put out there on Facebook.

Happy 4th, Joe.

Jun 29, 2018 06:56 PM #9
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I was one of the early arrivers to the website world and we got lots of leads from relocating buyers. Now the big boys are diverting our hard earned business and we have had to be more and more creative. You have carved a niche for yourself and glad it has blossomed.

Jun 30, 2018 06:39 AM #10
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Joe, for sharing some of your experience and your successful business practices.

Jun 30, 2018 07:17 AM #11
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Fantastic read, Joe! You really should find someone to train to do what you do in your retirement, working up a referral system with them. You are a PRO at what you do and I am in awe of your accomplishments - through thick and thin markets.

Like you, as you well know, I'm in that 1% of agents who DO rank online and who did embrace the Internet when everyone around me said it was a total waste of time. During the recession, my sphere were quiet as church mice and the internet truly kept me in business. Thanks to early adoption, my web presence kept my boys in college during the 'drought!'

Have a fantastic weekend!

Jun 30, 2018 05:17 PM #12
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Joe - I can tell you that buying leads don't work for me.  It is the same for me as it is for you.  I give speechs, write blogs, and do newsletters.  I am an information resource.

Jul 03, 2018 11:46 AM #13
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Have a very special Independence Day!

This photograph is from Longwood Gardens.

Jul 04, 2018 08:24 AM #14
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Joe Pryor

REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties
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