Don’t believe everything you read – Call your Internet real estate leads!

Posted by: Mitch Ribak on June 19th, 2008

I read an article today that put out talking about the 6 best practices of online leads. The author is a great guy and knows his stuff. However, he misses the boat on this one.

He spends a good amount of time discussing how important it is not to call your leads. This is completely wrong. As most of you know my Internet program through either 100MPH Marketing or my eHomes Realty Network, the reality is if you are not calling your leads which supply a phone number, you are letting buyers and sellers slip through your fingers.

The worst thing you can do is not make use of the information you are given to help your customers buy their home.

Of the over 20,000 people we have in our database, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times a person who supplied their phone number to us that was upset when we called.

In fact this is what we normally hear: “You are the first Realtor to actually follow up with us.” They are very excited and happy to talk about their real estate needs!

When I first started figuring out Internet leads back in 2002, I didn’t make phone calls. I only corresponded with people that contacted me. My first year of Internet Marketing I sold over 50 homes, but more importantly I lost more than 50 sales by not making phone calls. And these are only the ones that emailed me letting me know they bought a house.

With these stats in hand, I started on the phone. What I found was awesome! Everyone wanted to talk to me and they were very happy I had called. Many became customers and in fact, we still get many of our customers from 2002 and 2003 who are currently buying homes with us because of our contact.

This brings me to something that is bothering me more and more.

I have been reading all these things from people that are supposed to be Internet experts in this business. No offense to the author of this article on or any other writers, but I would like to know their stats. I want to know what makes these people who are making millions of dollars off my fellow Realtors by talking about stuff that they are not really experts.

For instance, I went to an Internet Seminar last year put on by one of the biggies in the Real Estate Internet world. I have to tell you, I know more in my pinky than this guy knows in total. Not only was I very disappointed in what he taught with his panel of Internet experts (they knew less than him) but I was more upset about the amount of tapes, books and websites he was selling with information that was very basic and really a waste of money and time for any agent.

He sold a ton of stuff and all I could think was how tainted these Realtors will be when they read this stuff and get no results. It’s old school Real Estate trying to keep up incorrectly with the Internet. Scary!

Why am I saying this?

I’m just getting aggravated with these people. The next time someone wants to tell you or sell you on their expert abilities on the Internet ask them for their stats. If they can’t tell you how many homes they have sold or their team has sold by using their stuff, run!

I hear so many Agents on ActiveRain complaining about how they were ripped off by this company or that guy.

The question to ask is very simple. How many homes have you sold using your techniques? No stats, no deal!

Oh, by the way, last year my staff of 14 sold 193 homes on the Internet. This year we are projecting at around 225-235 homes and maybe higher. All this in the worst Real Estate market this area has seen in years. I’m not sure if that makes me an expert on Internet lead capture and conversion, but I will put my stats up against anyone else out there!

If you have questions, ask me. I’ll be glad to help you as much as I can. Of course unless you sell homes in Brevard County Florida because that would take business away from my agents!

Mitch Ribak is a real estate Broker at Tropical Realty of Suntree, Inc.



11 Comments on “Don’t believe everything you read – Call your Internet real estate leads!”

Joseph Ferrara

Is there anyone who will disagree with this post? I think not.

The key is knowing how to convert leads by building rapport– and the telephone is one of the best rapport building tools.

Brian Brady

At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader, a big Amen to both Mitch and Joe. The telephone is the most efficient and effective rapport builder.

Mitch was kind enough to explain the power of the telephone to me on…

…a telephone call. While I read him religiously, the 30 minutes spent on the phone taught me more than 100 blog posts.

Wayne Long

The proof is in the pudding. :)

Gabriel Macias

I have never heard a client say that their secret sauce was “not calling” your leads. That’s like a baseball player saying that their secret is never swinging.

Dave Marron

Mitch is exactly right. You have to call quickly and have something intelligent to say. I’m an owner of First and Elm Realty and SphereBuilder. We use technology that allows us to track consumer behavior on our sites. This allows us to (1) call immediately and (2) talk about what interests the customer – homes that they like.

Mitch, I love your suggestion of asking for stats. I use the same technique whenever an SEO company calls trying to sell services to us. The first thing I do is Google “Real Estate SEO”. If that company doesn’t show up near the top of the list, I don’t talk to them. The next time an SEO company calls, do that and ask them why their own SEO ranking is so poor. It’s fun listening to them try and explain that.

Mitch Ribak

Hey Dave. I love that idea of checking their ranking. My wife is looking at me like I’m weird laughing here. I have been telling them when they get me in the top 3 of all my keywords and keep me there for 6 months I’ll pay you. No takers so far.

I guess it just bothered me that there are a lot people out there making a ton of money on Realtors and they really don’t know what their doing. I wish I could smack every Realtor in the head to get them to check out the companies before they buy them. However, I guess they learn sooner or later.

Thanks for some of the kind words guys. It’s been my pleasure getting to talk with some of you on the phone. It’s pretty cool as there are some of us who get it and so many are willinig to share.

Keep up the great work guys.

Tim Baur

Very impressive stats your team is achieving. I’ve always been able to personally convert approx 6% of internet leads but it’s very difficult to get my agents anywhere close to even 2%. Very frustrating.

We have a pretty good drip email system and get tons of leads. Getting leads is not an issue.

A few questions – Do your agents use scripts? When is the first call made and frequency? how many messages do they leave before giving up? Do your agents work and make calls from the office or home?

In order to get that great conversion rate you must have some kind of phone management system that complements your email drip system?

To be able to acheive that many transactions in the current market is simply awesome..

Mike Taylor

Calling leads is a no brainer to me. Sometimes I do get people who are annoyed for me calling, but then I just move on the next one. It is still a numbers game.

Leawood Real Estate

I call the first time I come in contact with the lead but when I talk to them on the phone I explain to them that I will never pressure them or rush them along so I will not call them again until they ask me to and will only be using email communication (until they are ready) so I do not bother them or make them feel uncomfortable. From that point on I use email communication as a way to build their trust. They know that I will not pressure them and I do what I say that I will do. I think leads like to feel like it is their choice to initiate the next phone call, they like to feel empowered.

Mitch Ribak

Tim – Sorry I didn’t see this until now. Here are the answers to your questions.

1. We don’t use any scripts as I don’t want the Agents to sound like telemarketers. Everyone has their own personalities and scripts wouldn’t work well. With that said, we all have the same basic guidlines in what we want to accompliksh in a call.

2. First calls are ALWAYS made within 24 hours and usually within hours of their registration. Our Agents receive the leads through our 100MPH Marketing Software in real time. They know that wihin 1 hour, the customer has received 3 communications before the call. When my Agent calls, they are expecting them and almost always is well received.

3. Half my Agents work at home the other in the office. The ones who work in the office have a better conversion rate with the exception of a couple. I believe activity breeds activity. If an Agent is in the office they get to see the sales board and other Agents doing well. Out of pride, it usually motivates the Agents.

4. Actually we have a pretty solid phone follow up system. I’m working on making it better so I can insure all the Agent calls are always being made. In our system, it’s the only thing I leave to chance.

None of this works if you don’t have the right Agents. I have been blessed to have so many hard working Agents. However, like any Brokerage, I have my share of Agents that won’t be successful no matter what I do ro them. Over the next 60 days or so I will be eliminating the lowesst producers and hiring more Agents for those spots. Ultimately I will have 20-25 Agents all averaging 24-36 closings per year. That’s the plan and I’ll keep you updated. So far all our plans have worked beautifully.

Missy Caulk

Of course you should call. If they give you your phone number then by all means. Most if not all our conversions occur over the phone, not by responding to email. This is why I don’t understand Realtors not making people register to see the goodies, but that is another topic for another day.

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