Every day I'm offered business opportunities.
Some are pretty generic and are quickly disposed of:
Offers to make us number 1 on Google for our "keywords". (you haven't checked Cincinnati patio homes or you wouldn't be contacting me, I don't need to pay for what you're offering).
Offers to fix our website errors. (Which of our websites? And why is your email EXACTLY the same as others I've received except with a different name?).
Offers to improve our contact form. (A. if I needed that help, I have people! B. Seeing zero evidence buyers are having trouble using the existing one!).
Offers to run our social media for us. (no thanks, I like know what has been posted in my name).
Offers to write articles for me, for a mere $1 an article (have to wonder how many hundreds of times that same generic article has been published??).
Nope, not a one of those "offers" provides me what would be a value added service for me.
There are other offers that are legit, but don't make sense to follow through on.
I have no problem with a pay at closing referral lead model, so I've got a couple of services that I subscribe to. The right price point and the right area, let's give it a run. I've got a buyer under contract right now from one of those services. But tonight's offer for a barely 6 figure purchase price 20 miles away from my office and with a 35% referral fee? That was a quick decline.
And then there are offers I want to pursue, but when all is said and done, it's time to call it off. Recognize the red flags and move on.
There's a website that advertises to much of the same potential clientele as our niche business. They use the term "active adult" among others. They list communities that are some of the same ones as I routinely do business in. And each community has an affiliated agent they recommend as an expert.
In this case, they lump Dayton and Cincinnati together, and while there's some overlap in our markets, a Dayton based agent isn't going to be an expert in all things Cincy, just as a Cincy agent isn't going to know all the quirks of the Dayton market. 50 miles makes a lot of difference. So IMO it makes perfect sense for them to let the Dayton agent focus on the Dayton communities and bring in someone that actually knows and works the Cincinnati communities instead.
So I filled out the "Be one of our agents" application (which was rather extensive), and emphasized my experience with Cincinnati patio homes and condo associations. The email autoresponse indicated they'd get back in touch with me.
Meanwhile our main IDX site has been humming along pretty well. A "Contact Me" form is submitted to contact a buyer. I called. No answer. I leave a message. The next day I try again, still no answer and I leave another "not trying to be a pest, but trying to reach you so we can determine how I can best help you" message.
Still no response.
Life goes on. Nothing all that new about someone saying contact me, then ghosting us.
Today I hear back from the 55+ site. Turns out the "buyer" was a secret shopper they use to test prospects.
I'd passed that test, now they wanted even MORE information.
Four more questions, but they only wanted the answers in a video email.
And that was just to be put on the wait list if the other agent ever gave up her spots (not likely since there's no out of pocket expense).
A couple of emails later it's apparent to me that:
1. The company either doesn't know geography or doesn't truly care that the consumer gets an agent that actually would be appropriate for the area.
2. They don't think out of the box for their application system.
3. That I don't want to continue to jump through hoops for this "opportunity". Bottom line, my gut feel is it's not in my best interest to have my name affiliated with this site. It could have been win-win, but they're making this way more difficult than it should be, and in general companies that makes things really difficult at the beginning continue to be difficult later.
The same thing that was true before is still true now: the best business opportunities are the ones I can generate myself, or with the help of past clients/friends, or with the help of companies that I actually trust and that align with my value system.
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz