Online lead generation: Worth the Money or Waste of Time? | The Zebra Blog

Online lead generation: Worth the Money or Waste of Time?

I have worked with literally dozens of agents who have tried to get their lead online.  Most of them have signed up for an online  lead generation system of some kind.  These online lead generation systems make a lot of promises but do they deliver on those promises?

I know you have all seen the online lead generation promotions that I am talking about:

“Sit back and watch the leads flow in….you can literally print money with this lead generation system!”

OR.

“Guaranteed to make you money!”

OR

“Never look for leads again as this system will deliver them to your inbox!”

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?  Seriously, who wouldn’t want to have business flow to them like a raging river while sitting back and watching television?

I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but whenever somebody promises you that something is going to be “simple and easy” or provides “instant wealth”, an alarm bell should go off in your head—a very LOUD alarm bell.

Here’s the truth: Nothing worthwhile is simple and easy.

And your business should be worthwhile to you.  That means you’re going to have to treat your business with respect and put in the hard work that it takes to be a success in real estate.  There are no shortcuts.

How seriously do you take your business?  The more important your business is to you, the more careful you should be before signing up for lead generation and referral programs that make wild promises.

The reality is that if you want to have a long-lasting and sustainable business, it’s going to require hard work.  You sell real estate, which is a big ticket item.  Big ticket items take a large investment of time and effort to yield results.  And, of course, there’s typically a large payout in terms of commission – your reward for the time and energy you put into the process.

If you sell cosmetics on home shopping television you can move a lot of product in 30 minutes, simply by quickly demonstrating live how the item removes blemishes and softens skin. The dollars roll in – usually within minutes – from calls to an 800 number. But your commission per item is pretty small, and you have to sell a lot of face cream to make money.

If you sell automobiles, you have a longer selling process.  You have to build a relationship with a client over a period of hours, or maybe even days.  But the contract is simple and the sale is fast.  Nice commission, but still not like in real estate.

In our profession, you have to put in more effort to gain more.  You need to nurture relationships with your clients, educate them, and travel around with them to see properties.  The process can take days, weeks, or months.

In real estate, you are NOT selling a product.  Instead, you sell expertise, a relationship, and service.  This requires time, patience, and diligence on your part.

No marketing gimmick, no matter how great it sounds, is going to replace your unique personality – or your hard work.  Yet many marketers would love to convince you otherwise.

You must steel yourself.  There have never been as many real estate gimmicks as there are right now.  Some of my agent clients read the advertising and ask me:

“Denise, what do you think about this?  It’s only $9.95 a month.  That’s not a very big investment!  They promise me 100 leads per month.  Should I at least try it out?”

Do you really want 100 leads a month from a complete stranger?  Are they high-quality leads that fit your target market profile? Where are these leads really coming from?  Are they cold leads or warm leads?

But let’s pretend somebody handed you 100 leads per month.  You’re still going to have to put in the hard work to cultivate those leads over time.  All the leads in the world won’t build your business if you’re not prepared to put in the time to develop relationships.

Lead generation is just one area where gimmicks abound.  Another one is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.  Marketing companies that promise you #1 Google rankings by tomorrow morning are not worth the time you take to read their copy.

In order to be highly ranked by search engines, you need a “search engine optimized” website that grows over time.  And even if you are highly ranked and people come to the site … but you don’t provide visitors with solid content that inspires them to contact you, what’s the point?

Another common gimmick is marketing your listings online to “guaranteed buyers”.  This one really irks me.  It’s ridiculous!  NOBODY can promise that you’re going to find a “guaranteed buyer” online.  Don’t even bother investigating this.  It’s an outright lie.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Whenever faced with a marketing program about which you have doubts, ask for references.  Find out who their other clients are.  Research those clients to make sure they’re real.  Then, call those clients and ask about the results.

Only if you research a company will you be able to determine if something is a gimmick or not.  I guarantee you that 99 times out of 100 the marketer is unwilling to give you contact information for their clients – and that’s either because there aren’t any OR because they don’t want you to call their past clients for fear of what they will say.

Real estate is hard work.  If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  There are no shortcuts. Don’t fall for the hype.  Use your common sense!  There are a lot of scams out there.  Don’t waste your precious time or money on them.

 

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