Bogus Leads, Really?

Posted by: Peter McCullough on November 5th, 2010

Many real estate agents complain about online consumers creating leads which contain bad information, leads which cannot be pursued, a.k.a. “bogus leads”.

This is no doubt the case a large percentage of the time. However, it seems that recognizing a “good” lead has become clouded by the expectation that online leads are all “bogus”. By this, I mean that, in many cases, when an agent receives a new internet lead, they already feel that it is not worth the effort to follow up.

Is this simply a case of recognizing what constitutes a good lead? How much consumer information is needed for a lead to be considered “good”? In our estimation and in keeping with online consumers’ behavior, only minimal information is required or should be demanded or expected. Most online consumers do not want to work hard to get to where they want to go.

Whether this is accessing the MLS on your website or requesting assistance with their current real estate situation, most consumers do not want to be forced to divulge too much information until they feel comfortable doing so. If you come away with the consumer’s name and a valid email address through the consumer’s first experience with you or your web site, that is all you really need to get started turning them into a “good” prospect.

During your first communication with them, you can further qualify them and get the answers to those questions which will help you turn them into a prospect which you can pursue. If the consumer is required to generate a lot of information, particularly personal information, they will tend to get frustrated and either not complete the process or provide “bogus” information.

So, to avoid this, just ask for minimal contact information on the first touch and then gather more information during subsequent communication with them.

Another important aspect of recognizing a good lead is to understand that most consumers are not ready to transact immediately or even in the very near future, As such, it is important to set your expectations properly. We all want closed transactions immediately; this is how agents get paid. However, this is unlikely for a variety of reasons and it is important not to get frustrated when a deal cannot close right away.

Even if a consumer wants to transact immediately, can they get credit? Will the lender accept a short sale offer? Will the title company insure title of a foreclosure. There are any number of things which can delay a transaction from closing.

This does not mean the prospect is bad or that they should not be pursued, but it does require patience and the proper expectations. It also requires a follow up system which should be as automated as possible. This will make it easier to stay in touch with longer term prospects and also keep your time free to pursue other business.

So, when you get a new internet lead, look it over and pursue every one that you can for as long as it takes to close it. Don’t worry about getting every bit of information from the consumer the first time they reach out to you. Happy prospecting!



6 Comments on “Bogus Leads, Really?”

Alex Cortez

Good post, Andrew. Internet leads (just like offline leads) can take an extended time to come to fruition, if at all.

I would further add that on the initial contact, ask questions to which they can’t answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (i.e. their preference on price range, size) and to keep emails succinct and brief, at least initially.


I’ve been generating, processing and tracking online leads for 5+ years now and let me tell you, 2% of them are for real. Maybe!

Ok, so what. Generate 100 per month and you get one real one every month.

Rob for Relocation to Atlanta


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Eugene Real Estate

No matter how you get your leads off of the internet you will get a large amount of bogus leads.

Keith Bennett

It’s the agents job to turn the lead(really a suspect) in to a real lead then a prospect. Seems some want only the prospects to sign into web-sites.


I’ve been working with online leads since 2003. I’ve seen the most success when someone contacts the lead within a few minutes of a request. Just as “our attention” to a prospect who asks for service becomes less valuable over time, so in turn does the prospect with the agent not attentive to the request.

My experience is that a lot of agents are not sure how to go about the conversation after a request for service. Here is where the agent needs to lead the conversation and with confidence. You call the prospect that asked for service and verify the property they want to see. Usually it’s a “Yes”. Then say, “Great, can you tell me a little bit about your current situation?” Most people will be happy to explain and then it eliminates a lot of other questions you don’t have to ask. If the party does not want to answer the question, and says, “I just want to see the house.” Then you have a red flag.

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