"We'd like to send you buyers and sellers!".
Me: So you want to sell me something? Let's save us both some time, I prefer organic results. Good luck with your next call.
The smart callers get it, the stubborn ones try to overcome my objection, but they're wasting their time. I learned something their primary targets have not.
There are multiple ways to generate business:
1. Referrals from past customers, friends, other agents, etc. (this is probably ideal state for most of us, little extra cost and the leads are more likely to stick with you thanks to the good words of people they trust)
2. Direct mail. Mass numbers, and depending on your approach it can be costly. Watch your Return On Investment (ROI), but done right this can be very effective.
3. Organic Internet presence. This can be time consuming and doesn't have a quick payoff, but it's relatively inexpensive. Multiple ways to get there, blogging, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., and all are fairly cheap.
4. Paying for leads. It's a variant on #3 where you're paying another company to do all the work for you. They're buying ads, developing search sites, etc., all to capture leads to point your way if you're willing to part with the $$$$ to make it happen.
For this post, I want to focus on options 3 & 4.
Every week I get calls offering option #4. Promises to get me in front of more READY NOW MOTIVATED BUYERS AND SELLERS!! Seriously, what real estate agent can't use more of those? And over the years I've bit on some of those things. The wine kiosk in the grocery store advertising us (face palm), the banner ads on portal sites, etc. None of them worked for ME.
Now the reason they don't work for ME might be that sometimes they're just lousy ways to attract business, and the other part of it is me and how I do business.
It's not my goal to close 100s of deals a year. I'm a dual career agent so 20-30 deals a year is in my sweet spot. I can take on more, but depending on the timing life can get a wee bit stressful (for me, not my clients). Often my patio home buyers are not "we're buying something this weekend", so it's a slower, time intensive search process until the RIGHT home is found. Also, I'm not serving ALL of Cincinnati, but parts of it, so if I'm being funneled general Cincinnati home buyers, there's a good chance many of them want to go places that I'm not familiar with, and at price points I don't necessarily want to work. It's a business decision, the ROI on my money AND time just isn't there.
Keep in mind, it's not how much we gross, but how much we keep that matters. So while grossing 6 figures might sound great to many agents, if you're keeping half (or less) and that's BEFORE taxes, it might be time to reexamine how you do business or whether your profitability would be greater saying "Welcome to Walmart" every day.
So why do I like Option 3?
Done right, it actually gives me what the purveyors of Option 4 promise. Motivated buyers and sellers, primarily to our low maintenance living niche.
Our PRIMARY path to success in Option 3 is twofold:
1. Blogging (especially to our niche)
2. Creating custom IDX pages.
Blog posts drive people to our IDX pages, put some humanity out there, give us the opportunity to frequently generate new content, etc.
The custom IDX pages give searchers details that match EXACTLY what they want: Patio homes for sale in Mason's Heritage Pointe, New Construction Patio Homes in Cincinnati's ONLY 55+ community, etc.
Sprinkle in some Pinterest, Facebook, etc. for some extra oomph.
We've heard it more than once, potential clients like the fact that when their Page 1 search results find us:
1. We're NOT Zillow or Realtor.com or some other company, but PEOPLE. REAL PEOPLE. People with pets :)
2. "We found you EVERYWHERE!". The REAL power of niche blogging is you establish an extensive presence, and you're probably hired before they ever reach out to you. That's the juice in claiming multiple spots on Page 1 for your key terms.
So the net result is our contacts are more likely to be closer to actually making a decision. They find key information about the wheres, whats, hows and how muches from us and recognize the expertise.
And the other beauty of it? It's inexpensive.
Blogging hasn't cost me a dime in years (thanks ActiveRain!) other than the renewal cost for a couple of domains for our ActiveRain Outside Blog (ugly looking, but still effective).
Our Wordpress site? Themes and framework are fairly cheap, as is web hosting. I pay for a few plug ins here and there, so my major montly expense is IDX Broker (Platinum version) at $59.99 per month. It's a pittance for what it generates in clients.
Bottom line, most of the effort for option 3 isn't money, but TIME. Learning a niche, learning enough about setting up a Wordpress site to get it done, creating IDX pages, and continuing to stay on top of changes (SSL, EU security, etc.).
The net is my ROI is decent for the work I do. We keep more of our gross than we did a decade ago, and I'm not having to spend a lot of time chasing paid leads and trying to turn them into clients.
I KNOW there are plenty of successful agents and teams that LOVE paid leads via Z or whatever their lead generator of choice is, and more power to them if it makes sense for them.
As for me, I'll take Organic Results for $2000 Alex.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help!
Bill of Liz and Bill aka BLiz