Leads, Leads, Leads! Are you Chasing or Following them?

Real Estate Agent with Florida Supreme Realty SL514814


Why is it that no one can offer 3 guaranteed leads to real estate agents who subscribe to any of the multitudes of paid lead generators out there? I would be thrilled to hear one of their salespeople say "I can do that". Yes, I have been a subscriber and although the leads were plentiful the quality was surely lacking. Those that know me also understand that follow-up is my middle name when it comes to real estate. That being said, my need to seek paid leads no longer exists and is now a faded memory. I do not say there isn't a need for them only that what they're selling may not be anywhere close to what you are expecting in return. 

Here's how my experience with paid leads panned out. For approximately $150.00 per month the leads arrived sporadically but at least every other day. Maybe 80 to 120 emails rolled in each week and were sent an immediate response. Depending on the sense of urgency indicated they were grouped accordingly. The market I was in rarely had anything available in the price points being inquired about. That's FAIL #1.

Is there anything more disconcerting than a lead that goes nowhere. Lost time is something you'll never be able to retrieve. I like to believe I'm a systems oriented person and had mapped out the input I would give to these leads so as not to disrupt my normal business. Most of the contacts were email only and others just cell or office numbers with a few of them having both. To handle the amount of tracking and touches we utilized Google calendar and it was opened to all agents who wanted to participate. At any given time 5 people might be adding their notes and calling, texting or emailing with the goal of finding anyone who  could commit to an appointment. A lot of effort was expended with virtually no return and none of us were "new" here either. These contacts supposedly weren't cold calls, we were told that introductions had already been made. Many times we would soon find out that there was NO introduction which created FAIL #2.

There's always the possibility that they were never going to buy in the first place. That is not the expectation when you write a check each month which is more than likely where we failed initially.  You guessed it, we paid a highly discounted fee when the payment was made for the entire year. Sting #3 hurt the worst because it was self imposed and we knew there was no recourse to regain that sum as written in the contract. We were SOLD! Salespeople should not get SOLD, although, that's exactly what happened and it didn't taste good at all. Lesson learned, we moved forward. The only highlight was how great our Excel spreadsheet looked with every communication notated and color coordinated. After only 4 months I think someone determined if printed it would be almost 11 feet long. Great wallpaper eh! Without including hours spent we did break even dollar wise. No residual activity exists and no "Clients for Life" created. None of us ever repeated the effort for obvious reasons.

Some leads seem like the low hanging fruit but beware of Red Flags. When a Seller becomes more passionate about the solution than he is of the Buyer, that can be a red flag. If a customer cannot commit to deadlines it might be time to politely move on. Keep your bridge intact but know that this one will usually cost you some money. Not getting any honest answers in your communications will make you see red too. It can also relate to no answers, evasive answers and anytime that the communication simply disappears. Too busy to talk, to learn or give a moment of their time indicates there is no investment in the relationship, especially if it's going one-way. Time to put up the red flag and place this one on hold.

Embrace those leads but don't pay for them, they're everywhere, you just need to look harder and ask for them at every turn too. If you're too shy to ask you are really going to have to learn how to get over that. It's your livelihood we're talking about here, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED! Learn how to overcome this behavior, it has no place in sales. You must talk to your sphere, family & friends come first, and ask for leads directly. There's no need to defend your reasons it's basic business sense. When forced to drink Champagne on your beer budget you'll need to admit which you enjoy more and possibly redirect your efforts to more accomodating customers, after all we're here to make money, right? Know your margins and when prospects are seeking more out of you and not recognizing your value. Your efforts should place you toward better qualified opportumities at every juncture. Frank conversation will help identify where to funnel your energy. Are they worthy of your attention or are they simply going through the motions. Maybe the pusuit is better focused elsewhere.

Prospects are people and you'll be wise to find their human aspects you can relate to rather than the prospect side of your relationship. Understand that it's within your power to choose the people whom you wish to work with. Keep this list handy and update it when necessary it should be continuously growing and when an opprtunity strikes to make that connection you will already have some background about the person and their businees becomes secondary while removing the awkwardness of introducing the sales part into your equation. When you build these relationships you have pre-qualified the prospects which will require much less time accomodating than the unqualified ones you previously dealt with. Time efficiency is always a concern therefore I am recommending video communication as an alternative to close the gap. This allows for a human touch, less time lost and an opportunity for impromptu connections to be made. 

I prefer the concept of coaching a decision rather than that of coaxing a sale. When both parties can share the impact of your solution it's results will now drive their purchase rather than making you push the sale. Become a "Curious George" when it comes to their problems. Understanding urgency gives you the clarity you'll need to determine if evidence exists to continue or walk away. Want to eliminate the guesswork of answers to common questions. Some homework may be the right tool to eliminate most of it prior to your first appointment. You've been asked these questions over and over hundreds of times. Develop your Q & A sheet(s) adapted to your particular market. Again, it's all about efficiency of time. Relish in it and drink the Champagne!


Why is it that no one offers guaranteed

leads to real estate agents?


Posted by

Need to discuss your Real Estate wants?     I'm here to listen!      239-961-2724 

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          Serving Northern Palm Beach County and Southern Martin County along the Treasure Coast & Beyond


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Todaro 03/17/2019 03:18 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
paid leads
follow the leader
curious george
livelihood at stake
organic leads
leads arent guaranteed
soca bros
the byrds
recognize your value
time effciency
too busy to talk or learn
frank conversation
champagne on a beer budget

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Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Kevin J. May,

Glad to see your post featured..no agent is guaranteed leads but like Barbara Todaro commented "if an agent begins branding from the beginning of a career, the longer into the career, the easier it is to find leads." I have never paid for leads and don't expect to start now.

Mar 17, 2019 05:33 AM #8
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

After the doing of whatever it is one does over the years a sort of path develops that works both ways..From there smarter not harder enters in if you let it....

Mar 17, 2019 05:55 AM #9
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a great post, and congratulations on the feature.  We never bought leads in our real estate career, and we do not advise our clients to do so.  Those who had prior to meeting us regretted the $$$they spent.  Happy Sunday!  A

Mar 17, 2019 07:54 AM #10
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Great expose on the weak leads offered by these companies.  You did a great job with followup and very little came back to you in the way of listings or sales it seems.  Thanks for reporting something that so many of us fall for and spend thousands thinking there can be a positive return.

And thanks most of all for the Byrds song.  ;)

Mar 17, 2019 08:17 AM #11
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

I agree with the concept of coaching a decision, not coaching a sale!  Great article Kevin!

Mar 17, 2019 08:31 AM #12
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Carol Williams if this isn't featured it needs attention! Very important!

Mar 17, 2019 08:38 AM #13
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Kevin - three?  How about one? I like your "challenge" .

Mar 17, 2019 04:29 PM #14
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Well done- Kevin- if we try chasing leads then we be forever running after them and never doing  what we really need to do to have the leads seek us. 

Mar 17, 2019 05:52 PM #15
Christine OShea
Christine E O'Shea Real Estate Broker - Naples, FL

Congratulations on the feature, Kevin.  Paying for leads that others oay for at the same time and chasing the tail at the same time leads to madness and frustration.

Mar 17, 2019 06:08 PM #16
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Most of the spam calls I get (that I actually don't answer anymore) are people selling leads. They all seem to have a pocketful of ready buyers to sell me. I bought leads in my first year of real estate but - no surprise - nothing panned out. 

Some people here on AR swear by it - but I was done a long time ago.

Mar 18, 2019 06:26 AM #17
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Gary Keller says (paraphrased here) you are not in whatever sales business you think you are in. (Real estate, in our cases.) You are in the business of generating leads. No leads. No business.

There are numerous ways to generate leads. Buying them from a lead generation company (Zillow, Realtor.com and many more.) is only one way.

Whatever floats your boat!

Mar 18, 2019 08:44 PM #18
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Kevin J. May 
So nice to see your face here! I totally agree with this statement:
anything more disconcerting than a lead that goes nowhere. Lost time is something you'll never be able to retrieve.

and with this one also:
[leads are] everywhere, you just need to look harder and ask for them at every turn too. If you're too shy to ask you are really going to have to learn how to get over that. It's your livelihood we're talking about here, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED! Learn how to overcome this behavior, it has no place in sales. You must talk to your sphere, family & friends come first, and ask for leads directly. 

All the best - Lynn

Mar 19, 2019 02:11 AM #19
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

In my last company, we had a system that provided leads with commission due at closing - I would follow up regularly with the leads. It was quite frustrating because there would be no answer, no response, no real person reached. Often they turned into nothing and I wasted many hours of time trying to make something out of nothing. The best leads are those that come from people we know or meet (in person!)

Mar 19, 2019 03:10 AM #20
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

We've had a few leads that took a long time to cultivate.  But they were worth it in the end.  They also helped to let us know what trees might not be worth barking up.  

Mar 20, 2019 01:01 PM #21
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kevin, loved this post and so glad I see a gold star with it, I hate to admit it over the years I had paid for monthly services.... ironically it was when things were not happening and I was looking for the magic solution..... yes that is how we get SOLD, these companies understand that 90/10 rule so they focus on the 90 per cent that is fighting over the 10%, Endre

Mar 20, 2019 10:37 PM #22
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Leads are not leads unless there's a name, cell phone, need, budget, urgency window and expectations. In real estate I begin my qualification to eliminate Q2E with the urgency window, now, later or never. Discovering the budget, needs and expectations should determine if the lead meets your client profile and if it does, we search for a solution.

I prefer to target the market and market the target rather than buy leads from unknown markets unless it's an investor.  

Mar 21, 2019 01:03 AM #23
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Kevin, I LOVE your post. When I first got licensed I didn't buy leads. I'd been licensed for 7 years before I bought my first lead and I fell for the cheaper year commitment. Oh, what a mistake that was. Never again, thousands and thousands wasted. 

Mar 21, 2019 05:17 AM #24
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

So "no" to Yelp?

Mar 21, 2019 06:20 AM #25
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Here is my process when it comes to purchased Leads.

Know that you are trying to convert suspects into prospects.

Have a follow up system that will force them to respond or opt out.

Do hygiene on your leads with a system.

Build a large funnel and always add more each day if possible.

Be available to answer calls even if your on the phone, a service is needed.

purchased leads is  a numbers game but do not get involved unless you are willing to do the work. Oh that's right many agents get referrals each  month that eliminate the need to know more people.



Mar 21, 2019 09:00 AM #26
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

This is a very long blog!  And I like the song choice--from Midnight Cowboy or Easy Rider soundtrack?  Anyway, one time early in my career I paid for leads. Never again. My experience was the same as yours.  Not worth it; much better ways to get business!

Mar 21, 2019 10:07 AM #27
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