Stefanie Hahn is the vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
Does It Make Sense to Buy Leads?
It depends. But two important questions can help you determine the right course of action for your business.
January 2, 2015
Should you buy leads?
There are two things to consider:
- Will you do the follow-up and nurturing that is necessary to convert them?
- Do you have the cash?
The first question seems obvious, but it is trickier than it looks. Most agents will answer “of course” to the follow-up question without really considering what it takes to convert an online lead.
According to Robert Clay, founder of Marketing Wizdom, 8 percent of salespeople get 80 percent of the sales (non–real estate specific). Why does this happen? Well, Clay says it generally takes five follow-ups after the initial contact before a sale, and most salespeople give up on a lead after two attempts. Persistence pays off.
Calling prospects twice and not hearing back does not mean the lead is dead. When a customer cannot get preapproved because of poor credit, insufficient funds, or any number of other reasons, that does not mean the lead is dead. Even if they are still telling you their name is Mickey Mouse, the lead is not dead.
Now I ask you again: Will you take the time to follow up on and nurture these leads until they convert? Because if you are thinking, “That seems like a lot of work,” then I say, “No, you should not buy leads.” Don’t waste your hard-earned cash.
If you’re still with me, let’s talk about how to get this done. You will need a CRM, follow-up plan(s), access to meaningful and useful content, and time. Do yourself a favor and download a copy of “10 Days of Pain.” This is one of my favorite lead follow-up plans. “10 Days of Pain” will help you ascertain how motivated a lead is very quickly. Most of the time, you won’t even get through the entire plan before you know where the lead stands. Now, understand that lead follow-up does not end at 10 days, but, after that time period, they will transfer over to what you are used to: drip plans with periodic, consistent contact points.
I am not going to tell you where to buy leads. I cannot tell you one vendor is better than another in this arena. That’s because you make the difference here. All of the vendors listed below are top-notch options that will deliver leads. Keep in mind that you are buying a system. The leads are generated through a website they create and passed through to a CRM where you can manage your activity with every contact. Of course, they all have different levels and services that you can buy into, but basically, the end result is the same. Before you buy – ask to speak with a current customer. I have found that agents either love their lead gen provider or are planning to break up with them.
Here’s what really matters: One lead a year or 100 leads a month will not get you anywhere unless you follow up, show some love, and convert. Follow-up should be fast (within minutes if possible). Keep in touch and show them some love by sharing useful information on a regular basis. Focus on getting an appointment. Online leads are not likely to close in three or even six months. Get comfy. You’re looking at working with these folks for nine months to two years in some cases.
If you haven’t realized it already, online leads are not going to feed you. A 2014 study by the National Association of REALTORS® showed that members get 69 percent of their business from people already in their sphere of influence. The good news is you should already be working your existing database in much the same way, only with more face-time built in.
So, one more time: Should you buy leads? Only if you are willing to put in the work required to convert.