Let me start by saying that for the longest time, I was TOTALLY against “forced registration” (requiring visitors to provide their contact information before viewing the MLS). I not only did not force registration on our brokerage website, but I also wrote about why others should not do it either. In short, I was firmly planted in the “that’s a bad thing to do” camp.
Over time, I softened my position somewhat, when people would tell me that they were having success with it. I still would never do it, but I could not argue with their success.
First, Morgan Carey at RealEstateWebmasters.com told me that I needed to at least try it. Great. Nope. I still would not budge. In my heart, I thought that asking folks for their information
a) was unfriendly
b) it would drive traffic to competitor sites
c) would lower the quality of the lead
d) would result in more obscene emails from unhappy visitors
e) and any increase in # of registrations would be offset with an overall net loss in closings…well, you get the idea (grin).
As more and more people started reporting to me their successes (an example was Wayne Long, who was kind enough to share exactly what was happening on his site with me), I finally decided to TRY it. The folks that I visited with at the REW conference were helpful as well. Almost all of them had already made the transition.
How did it go?
Here are the results:
Did it drive traffic away from our site? Well, we did see 10% less traffic after the change, so yes, there was a slight loss of traffic.
Did it lower the quality of the leads? Statistically? Nope. They actually improved. Before the change, around 40% of the people asking for more info would leave their phone number. After? 60% left the correct number, even thought they were not required.
Did it result in more obscene emails from mad customers? Nope. Those folks appear to have been part of the 10% that left when they found out that we asked them to register. We only received 2 obscene emails in the first month …along with over 1250 registration leads!
The net of it? 10 times as many leads. That’s right. 10 times. Even in the last month, which has been tough on the real estate market, we actually hauled in 10 times as many leads (and with better quality overall), by using forced registration than not.
So, if you have not gone to forced registration, why not? I was one of the chief opponents of forced registration and now I too, cannot deny the benefits.