Browse Category by Getting leads
Getting leads, Tech trends

Mastering lead distribution and conversion

Lead generation is vital to your business, but once you generate leads, are you doing a good job converting them?

When a prospective buyer sends an inquiry via your website, if you’re not responding quickly (preferably within 15 minutes) to that inquiry, your chance of converting that lead suffers.

One of the most common problems we see with firms (or teams of agents) is a lack of accountability with lead responses.  Leads will get assigned and there’s no telling which agents are responding quickly (if at all).

With this in mind, we were thrilled to stumble on some really cool new technology: LeadRobin.  This product automates lead distribution and allows you to monitor agent performance.

LeadRobin allows you to set up rules for lead distribution, such as “Dilworth subdivision, price over $300k” and then set up lists of agents to receive those leads.  A lead is distributed to “Agent A” and if that agent doesn’t answer the lead within a given time frame (say, 15 minutes), the lead goes to “Agent B,” and so on.

LeadRobin lets you monitor your agents to see who is failing to answer leads & who is the fastest responder.

This is an indispensable tool in today’s market, when buyers demand FAST responses.  Even 1 missed lead could cost you thousands of dollars.  LeadRobin starts at $50/month, which is a small price to pay to ensure that no leads are missed.

Getting leads, Tech trends

The complete idiot’s guide to getting Internet leads in real estate

Over the past decade, we’ve worked with hundreds of agents and seen a whole lot of different tactics to get Internet leads.  Since “how do I get leads?” is the most popular question we hear from clients, we’ll lay everything on the table for you.

There are 2 distinct ways to get Internet leads and we will go over the pros & cons.

PROs CONs
Buy leads from sources such as Trulia/Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.
  • Fast results
  • No need to generate your own content
  • Expensive
  • Depending on your area, lead quality might be bad
Develop your own Internet content and attract organic search traffic
  • Sustainable long-term without spending big bucks
  • Leads tend to be higher quality
  • Harder work
  • Results can take time

As a general rule, developing your own content & getting organic traffic is the best long-term strategy.  It’s a LOT cheaper over the long run, and the quality of the leads are significantly better.  We asked a current client of ours to describe her experience buying leads and here’s what she said:

Trulia/Zillow was a huge waste of money for me.  I did a 6-month campaign and spent about $1500 and literally the only leads I got were for rentals or for homes that sold 2 years ago.  What you’re buying with Trulia/Zillow is placement on their property pages so that if a buyer finds the house, your name shows up in the top 3.  But for whatever reason, I didn’t get a single lead on a real house for sale in 6 months.

Realtor.com was a little better — they scrub their leads so that you’re getting a real email address & phone number and they guarantee a certain number of leads per month.  But it’s pricey and most of the leads I got were for houses under $100k.

Writing good, quality content (and lots of it) on your own website is definitely harder work, and quite frankly a lot of agents would PREFER to throw hundreds of dollars a month at Trulia/Zillow with the hope that they’ll get a decent lead or two.  But without any doubt, our most successful clients are the ones who put the time/effort into building their own Internet presence, with good local content.

So what do I do?

Believe it or not, about 85% of what you need to do is pretty much common sense.  Start a website.  Have an IDX/property search that captures leads.  Write blog posts with good LOCAL content at least 2 or 3 times per week.  Then use Facebook / Twitter to drive traffic to those blog posts.  Rinse, repeat!

There are certain techniques that can help raise your rankings but in general, it’s all about content.  CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT!

We’ve said it again & again.  There is no secret or magic bullet to getting Internet leads.  It requires hard work & patience, and the agents who put in the time/effort to attract traffic are the ones who get the leads.

Charlotte real estate market, Getting leads

Charlotte/Mecklenburg mid-2015 market update

Yowza, it’s been over 6 months since we’ve blogged!  So much for leading by example, eh?  Let’s try to make up for it with some rock-solid analysis of the Charlotte market.

Mecklenburg county homes sold per month   Mecklenburg county avg price   Mecklenburg county condos avg price

Now that’s a healthy market. But how about some areas within Mecklenburg?

south charlotte homes avg price cabarrus homes avg price union homes avg price gaston homes avg price uptown condos avg price

Okay, so Union County has seen a slight decrease from 2014, but other than that, there isn’t a shred of bad news in here!

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 4.01.04 PM

 

Both Charlotte & Mecklenburg County are sitting with just over 5 months of housing inventory.  That means in many areas we are in a full-blown seller’s market.   There are a whole lot of subdivisions with fewer than 4 months of supply:  Collins Park, Barclay Downs, Sedgefield, Merry Oaks, Elizabeth, Madison Park, and Chantilly, just to name a few.

If there are sellers in there considering selling, now is a great time.  Or, so says the postcards you should be sending…  😉

It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen seller’s markets, so enjoy it!  Even the areas with high inventory are typically not more than 9 or 10 months.  Just a few years ago, 9 months inventory would have been considered very good.

Have a great summer and party like it’s 2005!

Charlotte real estate market, Getting leads

Could it be [gulp] … a SELLER’S market?

If you’ve been in the business for a few years, we don’t need to tell you that we’ve gone through many years of a strong buyer’s market in most areas.  But the tide seems to be turning.

As of May 1, the following popular neighborhoods in the Charlotte area have fewer than four (4) months inventory:

  • Cameron Wood
  • Beverly Woods
  • Colonial Village
  • Sherwood Forest
  • Merry Oaks
  • Thornhill
  • Adrey
  • Stone Creek Ranch
  • Cady Lake
  • Jetton Cove

To put in perspective — 6 months is considered a “balanced” market, i.e. neither seller’s or buyer’s market.  For most of the past 4 years or so, inventory around Charlotte was anywhere from 9-14 months or so.  But suddenly, inventory is very low in a lot of areas.

What do I do with this info?

Farm, farm, farm!  If there are homeowners in those areas who are even considering selling — now is a great time.  Many (if not most) homeowners have no idea just how much the real estate market has changed in the past year.  The agent to deliver this news may very well be the one to get the listing(s).

And don’t forget that our IDX service comes with an “Absorption widget” that you can put on any website.  This allows you & your clients to see inventory stats for any neighborhood in the Charlotte metro.

Getting leads

What homebuyers want: responsiveness, responsiveness, responsiveness

We came across this article today, and while the message may be obvious, it can’t be overstated.

When looking for a house, potential buyers wanted an agent who:

  • Replied quickly to questions, and
  • Was present to show a house.

That’s it. If these demands weren’t met, buyers went to the bullpen.

The takeaway is: buyers don’t shop for agents — they shop for homes.
So, what does this mean to you?  It’s actually pretty simple:
  1. Provide buyers a good, local home search with meaningful data they want, so they keep coming back.
  2. When a buyer contacts you, either by phone or email:  respond IMMEDIATELY (if not sooner).

This may sound like common sense, but believe it or not, a big chunk of your competition doesn’t do a very good job at either or both of those things.

Wait, is that your phone ringing?…   😉

Charlotte real estate market, Getting leads, Tech trends

eValuator: real, accurate property values of Charlotte area homes

If you listen to listing agents these days, there is a common complaint about their competition – namely that they “puff” the value of a home during a listing presentation in order to get the listing.  Usually the home goes on the market at too high a price, and over time the seller either has to reduce the price, or ends up getting sticker shock when someone makes what they consider to be a very low offer.

And it’s easy to see how this happens — where is a seller to go in order to get an unbiased value for their home?  Most people turn to Zillow, but as great as that site is, it doesn’t tend to be very accurate in many cases.

We live, eat and breathe real estate technology, and after hearing our clients tell us these stories over & over, we thought to ourselves:

Why can’t there be a place for a seller to go to get a good, accurate “ballpark” value of their home, like they would for their car with the “Kelley Blue Book” website?

And so, eValuator was born.

We wrote a highly advanced, proprietary “formula” that scans the market and ranks comparable sales for a given property.  Based on those rankings, we produce a value range for a home, and a best guess at an actual price.  Click the screenshot below for a full view:

But that’s not all — with your special administrative login, you can actually create your own custom reports where you choose the comps and rank them yourself.  You can then email the report to your client!

Check out a sample report here to see how it looks.

We are very excited about this product, and our continued commitment to bring you smart, cutting-edge, local real estate technology.

Getting leads, Tech trends

Create content for readers, not for Google

We always like to share good ideas, and this article is full of them!  It includes 10 “no-nonsense” ways you can improve your search engine rankings.  It’s full of good info, but 1 paragraph stood out:

With Google recently making moves to punish “over-optimized” sites, you have to recognize that fact that a site built just to rank runs the risk of being penalized and losing all of its traffic.

Many tech consultants will focus purely on “tricks” to get you ranked for the short term, when the reality is that the path to long-term success is GOOD, ORIGINAL CONTENT that readers find useful.

Search engine optimization is a lot like weight loss.  Yes, there are crash-diets that can take weight off.  But study after study has shown that the only way to take weight off & keep it off is permanent lifestyle change.  But most weight loss companies aren’t going to tell you “eat a little less, move around a little more.” It’s the same concept.

So, get blogging!

Getting leads

Google’s ‘Penguin’ update wreaks havoc on rankings

We’ve been hearing from some of our clients that they noticed their Google rankings changing recently, and this might be why:  Google Penguin Update.

In a nutshell, Google is trying to do a better job assigning rank due to real content as opposed to the oodles of sites you see out there that are purely for rankings and contain very little useful content.  This particular update mostly involves the type & quality of inbound links a site has.

As we’ve said before, the single most important thing you can do to get rankings is remember the cardinal rule: CONTENT IS KING.  Paying an SEO consultant is, at best, a short-term solution — like buying a man a fish rather than teaching him how to fish.  There are many great SEO folks out there, but they’d tell you the same thing.  Content, content, content.

Again, there are no shortcuts.  And there is no substitute to writing good, original content that your potential clients would find useful.

 

Getting leads, Tech trends

The secret of high successful agents

Recently, we reminded you that the #1 rule of websites is that content is king. We will now take it 1 step further and share the secret of our most successful clients (the ones who get tons of Internet leads).

This is a secret so big that most web/marketing experts will almost certainly not mention it in casual conversation.

Ready?

Wait for it…

The agents who get the most good Internet leads are the ones who work the hardest to post good content about their cities and neighborhoods.

Yep. The secret is there is no secret — it’s just a bunch of hard work.

We’ve been in the IDX business for almost 7 years, and we’ve seen countless approaches to getting Internet leads. We are obviously in a very different climate today than in 2005. There are fewer agents, but competition is stiffer to capture willing & able buyers. But the principle remains the same — those who work the hardest to post good content frequently will (usually) be the ones to get the leads.

If a web or marketing consultant tells you that simply by spending $X, you will be vaulted to the top of Google forever, be very, very skeptical. Our clients who get the most leads do all their own SEO work by posting good content frequently — in a variety of places.

Don’t be intimidated. If you’re one of our IDX clients, remember, we want you to be successful. Feel free to message or tweet us anytime for advice. We are happy to point you in the right direction!

Getting leads, Tech trends

The #1 rule of real estate websites (that most people forget)

You know those smooth-talking consultants who wanted to charge you thousands of dollars to “get you to the top of Google?” There’s one very important message that it seems they often fail to deliver:

CONTENT IS KING.

I cannot understate how often we run into folks who spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about attracting visitors, but little to no time worrying about capturing/closing them.  SEO is important, for sure, but is it more important than content?

If you don’t have a property search that gives buyers a multitude of search options, along with metrics such as neighborhood values, distance to amenities, and comparable sales, then they will look elsewhere for that information, no matter how great your search engine placement is. And if your website is just a keyword-packed bunch of blog posts without content that is useful to your audience, you are similarly missing the boat.

Today’s buyers and sellers want information, and lots of it.  The agent that gets their business is not necessarily the one who is #1 in Google, but the one who does the best job of balancing being “found” and presenting great information and data to potential clients.  I would bet that if you looked at a list of the top producing agents in your area, a decent percentage of them are not at the top of Google!

We’ve been in the real estate technology business for 6 years, and the common thread among our most successful clients is a rabid commitment to producing good content.  In fact, the ones who sell the most are, in my cases, not even receiving the most leads!  They just do a great job with the leads they do get, and are diligent about continuing to add content to their sites and direct traffic to their property search, where they can capture leads.

SEO is important, but nothing beats good content. Ever.