Many of you know the story of my importing 10,000 teddy bears after I went on a trip to Seoul Korea with a flight attendant friend of mine. This was many years ago prior to me starting my real estate career and what I learned from this experience changed me for the better forever.
I imported the bears from Korea because I got an amazing deal on them. However, they arrived without proper tagging, I was unable to sell them to retailers, and essentially was stuck with a stock of teddy bears that I had no idea what I was going to do with. I had also borrowed the money to buy these bears and I was freaking out about how I would ever sell the bears, pay back the money I had borrowed and get out of this horrible mess I had created. I didn’t do my research when buying the bears and I failed to inspect them prior to them shipping as I trusted the company I was doing business with. This was a big mistake on my part.
My way out of that situation came from a sales guru named “African Joe”. This guy was rough – I met him at a direct marketers event that had been advertised in the local paper to attract new business owners who wanted to sell their products and I thought this was perfect for me and my situation. I met African Joe at the first meeting and he got his name from importing products from Africa. He wore big cowboy boots, an enormous belt buckle, big hat and his skin was like leather. He advised me that the bears could be sold, one by one if need be, but that would either take time or money to make the connections needed to do that.
Well, I had no money left, so that left me with only time at my disposal. With his advice, I used that time to make connections with people one on one and sure enough, I found a buyer for my bears. But it didn’t take me connecting with that person once. It wasn’t twice. It took me several times connecting with that person to even begin the conversation.
When I started my real estate career, I had to put those same skills to work. I focused on geographically farming three different areas (which took little time but certainly money) and expired listings (which took more time, but not too much money). My consistency in implementation paid off.
There are dozens of different ways to generate leads out there. Imagine a see-saw with time on one end and money on the other. Most types of lead generation fall somewhere on that see-saw. Open houses? That is more on the time side. Video? Time and maybe money if you are promoting them online or using a professional videographer.
But there is one form of lead generation that causes the see-saw to break in half due to the weight on both sides. What is that?
Now, not all online lead generation sources are created equal. There are effective ways to generate online leads. I am talking about online leads you pay hundreds or even thousands per month for. Think about it. You pay the online lead company each month. You get some online leads. And then you waste hours chasing these leads that don’t return your calls, texts, or emails. There goes your time and your money!
Furthermore, they cost you energy that you could be using cultivating other leads. There is also the false sense of security that comes with having dozens of leads on your potential client list, whether they are viable or not, which causes some agents to not work as hard.
Folks, I am here to tell you that tech companies that create “leads” are here to stay. It may be one or two companies today. It might be three or four tomorrow. The only way to beat them at their own game is to stop paying them, get back to working with your past clients and your real estate connections, connect with more new people using your expertise (expertise they can’t get online), and be strategic about how you spend your time and money when it comes to lead generation. It could be costing more than you know.