How to handle FAKE leads (and the people that sent them)

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Success Realtors brokered by eXp Realty WI 55262-090

Perhaps the people doing MARKET RESEARCH by sending fake leads to real estate agents should be taken out to the wood shed... or should they?

Randy Keberlein's BLOG yesterday generated quite an exchange between several agents that thought he was wasing time by doing such research, and pitched quite a fit. The only problem is... I am the ONLY active rain agents that (unknowingly) received one of these fake leads.

My lead was captured by my assistant and put in to TOP PRODUCER, where Randy's son (the 19 year old Vegan cleverly disguised as a potential customer) received numerous "bogus" responses from me. I say they were "bogus" responses, because I didn't personally send these responses, although my marketing system personalizes these emails and sends them out as if I had.

The fact is, through my STEALTH SITE, I generate many leads daily, and I expect many of them not to pan out or be legitimate, but I put them in my system and incubate them just the same.

Then... somethng MAGIC happens. Some (not all, not even most) of those leads begin to dialouge back and forth with me about their needs, REAL NEEDS than eventually become listings, buyer agency agreements, and YES even closed transactions.

It's important that we all do our job daily. This Active Rain stuff may be fun, and even addicting (I am typing away at midnight), but it's worthless if you don't CONSTANTLY 1. MARKET 2. PROSPECT and 3. FOLLOW UP!

It's all pretty simple. I use AR as a tool to help with the MARKETING and PROSPECTING. One of my new posts is featured as a link in an EMAIL CAMPAIGN to buyers. I offer my buyers something of value if they READ my post and comment on it. This helps me to EDUCATE my clients, hence making them better informed, lower maintenance and lower liability clients. (It also boosts my points!)

Those of you that attacked Randy's post have no clue as to the spirit in which it was intended, to be an educational tool.  Perhaps it is you who is the TOOL!

Posted by

Ralph D. Nudi

CEO

Success Realtors

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Rainer
2,940
Duane Kidman
Trinity Oasis LLC - Mansfield, TX

I've been involved in Internet Marketing with several business ventures.  From what I have read, some people here are well versed in the subject and practice.  Here are just a few tips that will save you time, money, and other valuable resources:

1.      Only pay for CURRENT-HOT leads.  Sure they cost more, but you more than recover the costs at closing.  The real estate industry is dynamic and constantly changing.   If the leads are not dated (Today!) and right on target, don’t buy them.

2.      Never pay for soft, cold, warm, outdated, related, or any other type of lead other than CURRENT-HOT leads.  I’ve tried these listings before.  They are time consuming.  They become expensive because very few, if any, will positively respond.  They just don’t pay for themselves.

3.      Persistence and Presence.  Email, auto responders, and stealth websites are a few great internet tools to reach your target audiences.  There are plenty of low cost services that are general, industry specific, or customizable.  Use these to generate your own leads, make your services known, follow-up, be a constant reminder, and be there when the client is ready for you.  Most clients will call you when they need your services, simply because you are easy to remember through a constant presence.

4.      SPAM, doesn’t always come in a can.  Be sure to follow Federal and State Spamming laws.  Provide “opt-out” provisions in all internet solicitations and honor them.  For more info on spamming: Federal (http://www.ftc.gov/spam/), and your State (http://www.spamlaws.com/state/summary.shtml).  If you subscribe to a auto-responder service, most provide out-out provisions.

5.      Google/BLOG/Internet Traffic.  How many people do you know looking to sell or buy a home today are going Google your name?  They will rather perform a search like, “top real estate agent”  “local home sales” or “real estate sales.” You need an internet presence!  First, develop your own website.  Be sure your website is filled with “key words” and useful information.  Join Google and purchase key words and related advertisement.  Update and expand your website regularly.  Google, Yahoo, spiders, WebCrawler’s… etc. are searching for these types of internet activity to move your website to the top of the search engine listings.  Join BLOGS and forums, use internet ads, submit online articles, and get your domain, name, and email everywhere on the internet.  Make it easy for potential clients to find you and contact you.

 

Here is an excellent article about internet leads:  http://realtytimes.com/rtapages/20070807_rainmaker.htm

Aug 06, 2007 08:24 AM #54
Rainer
40,796
Charlie Arthur, CCIM
RE/MAX FIRST, INC. - Port Townsend, WA
I wholeheartedly agree.  Totally cool.  I have trouble getting email responses back, and all they left was an email address.  So I'm never sure if I was sent to a junk mail filter or what.
Mar 01, 2008 09:13 AM #55
Rainer
80,366
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert
I agree that paying for leads can be a waste of time and money.  Leads from personal referrals are what I love most.
Mar 01, 2008 11:39 AM #56
Rainmaker
94,274
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA
Realtor
i spent a year chasing house value leads. not worth the time or effort...
Mar 01, 2008 11:44 AM #57
Rainer
32,532
Michael Fowler
Fowler Realty Quad Cities - Davenport, IA
Broker, Owner Fowler Realty
Great post.  Slap the fake lead guy and thank you for the 25 points.
Mar 01, 2008 01:08 PM #58
Rainer
40,825
Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis
Lyon Real Estate - Davis, CA
Ca Real Estate
If you want to work internet leads you have to respond as quickly as possible and have no expectations that you will hear back.  Like every other facet of working real estate sales, it is a numbers game, the more people who contact you the more leads you have and it is critical to put them on a drip marketing system.
Mar 01, 2008 01:17 PM #59
Rainer
15,223
Joe Davis
Indiana Commercial Realty - Crown Point, IN
I've gotten my share of fake leads like we all have.  There are some software programs that are out there that are starting to hindre this and look for true information when the person is filling out the site sheet
Mar 01, 2008 03:27 PM #60
Rainmaker
449,852
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY
Well, I read your blog and all of the comments!  Lots of different perspectives...  I too want to know HOW you post on more that 5 places..... Vickie
Mar 02, 2008 05:33 AM #61
Rainmaker
202,809
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

As we provide lead management services, this is one of the things that we deal with on a consistent basis.  The first thing we do is check the phone number.  If we get a live person, great!  If the number is no good, it's on to phase 2 - e-mail.  We send out an initial response e-mail.  If the message doesn't bounce, then we leave them on an automate drip e-mail campaign.  It doesn't cost anything for u to leave them on the drip campaign.

We've also found that the majority of the time that we receive fake leads from our clients' websites is when the consumer is required to give information to access the listings or something similar.  They want to see listings and not have to give you their name, rank and serial number to do it.  So they give up fake info.  When they are allowed to look at listings with no strings attached, but required to give up some contact information for something else of value that they've found on your website (a report, something sent to them via regular mail, etc.), the chances of them giving you bogus information drops subsantially.

~Renae

Mar 02, 2008 06:16 AM #62
Rainmaker
180,351
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick
Thanks for claryfying and I agree with your viewpoint.
Mar 02, 2008 06:25 AM #63
Rainmaker
202,809
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Terry - I'm sorry to hear that you received nothing in return for your investment in lead generation services but we have clients that are actually getting clients from theirs! The leads are not all fake (it depends, of course, on which services you use) and some are actually really ready now to use an agent.  We've had the most success with HomeGain.

~Renae

Mar 03, 2008 12:28 AM #65
Rainer
55,001
Tammy Stone
Prudential Preferred Realtors - Grand Rapids, MI
"Eco-Green" Agent in West Michigan
Ralph~ Totally agree with you.  I use active rain as a way to pull leads from the google search but it doesn't stop there.  You have to be multiple places for everything to work correctly.
Mar 03, 2008 11:32 PM #66
Rainer
83,497
Matthew Zgonc
Aksland Real Estate - Modesto, CA
Realtor, CFS, CVS
Good points.  Blogging alone does not generate customers.  It is the marketing and follow-up that really matters.
Mar 04, 2008 01:33 AM #67
Rainmaker
151,004
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

I just recently joined and scanning the blogs found yours, interesting.  I am learning so much...thanks for sharing.

May 28, 2008 03:34 PM #68
Anonymous
Not Yet Licensed

Hi Ralph,

Great post!  Gary Keller teaches: "You can never have enough good leads.  Never."  Bogus leads are just part of conductng business on the internet.  The only way to avoid bogus leads is to avoid the internet completely.  That would be a huge career mistake for most agents.

One key to growing your business on a long-term basis, as you mentioned, is lead incubation.  That way you can sometimes convert "bogus" leads into real transactions!  :)

May 29, 2008 11:29 AM #69
Rainmaker
502,772
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Great post. I like the idea of a red hot lead. There are so many companies that bombard us with leads that go absolutely nowhere. I've turned so many down i can't remember the figure. I have to do more investigation now that i've read this post.

 

May 29, 2008 12:19 PM #70
Rainmaker
151,004
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

Great post and thanks for sharing--fake leads or flakey leads have been around forever!

Jul 03, 2008 04:33 PM #71
Rainmaker
468,238
Marcy Moyer
eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales - Mountain View, CA
Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist

I have spent plenty of time with non internet leads that never went anywhere so I don't expect every internet lead to e a good one.

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto ca

Dec 03, 2008 01:55 PM #72
Rainmaker
128,557
Tony and Libby Kelly
Keller Williams Realty Portland Premiere - Lake Oswego, OR
CRS, ABR, ePro, SRES, CLHMS, CDPE

Here here.  This job is ALL about the follow-up!

Dec 04, 2008 06:32 AM #73
Rainmaker
288,240
Bret & Meredith Amon
LIV-Sotheby's International Realty - Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge, Keystone, Silverthorne, Frisco,

Good post, I get all kinds of e-mail advertising leads!

Dec 04, 2008 08:25 AM #74
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