You would think that after running businesses for my entire adult life (25 plus years), I would have this entire marketing thing down! Actually, I thought I did until about 2 years ago.
In all my businesses I always understood lead generation was a key component of success. However, in Real Estate things seemed different. When I first got in the business, I was doing what everyone else did. I spent a lot of money on print advertising and even more money on name recognition (billboards, buses, postcard mailings, etc.).
However, once I started my Internet programs, I started realizing something different. I noticed that for the amount of money I spent on media outlets, that same money would most likely get me more leads if I spent it on the Internet.
It was just one of those things that made me go “hmmm”.
Late 2005 I decided to sink a ton of money into TV. I spent $30k for a couple of months of real estate TV ads. It seemed great. Everywhere I went I was stopped by people saying they saw me on TV.
However, one thing wasn’t happening. The phone wasn’t ringing! Now my “hmmm” made me really think. If I had spent that $30k on the Internet, how many leads would I have received? It was a huge moment in my business life. Why did I feel the need to do branding the conventional way? I didn’t like the answer.
In reality, I like being a star! I like being on TV. I like people recognizing me! After all, I had the same childhood dream of most of us of being a TV or Movie star.
But was this good business? Absolutely not!
Again, how many leads could $30k have given me on the Internet? I only received 5 phone calls that I could account were because of my TV ads. (Based on real numbers, I would have received over 3,000 leads on the Internet with that same amount of money. Do you think the odds of me making money from 3,000 leads or 5 leads are better? That’s a no-brainer!)
Now my “hmmm” turned into an action plan.
So after 25 years of running multiple companies I finally realized the meaning of marketing. It’s all about leads. The more leads you have, the more chances you have of selling houses. It’s that simple.
We know that at a minimum we are going to sell 1 person out of 50 leads. This year, because of refining our systems, we have actually done much better than that. I won’t have final numbers until I sit down after the 1st of the year to figure them out but I do know that some of my real estate agents are selling at a 1 out of 23 pace. That’s a pretty amazing number.
It has allowed me to predict my business. My goal in 2007 was to double my business in my office. Because of the lead flow that I have established, I was pretty darn close to my goal.
In 2006 we had 117 transactions, this year we are going to end up at a little over 200 transactions. Not quite double but pretty close in the worst real estate market we have had in years. It’s enough to make my little office (14 real estate agents most of the year) the #1 office in Brevard County in working with home buyers.
Not bad seeing we are one of the smaller companies out of the 392 offices in the County.
So what does all this mean to you? It’s simple. Reevaluate where you are putting your marketing dollars.
Are you doing print ads just to keep your home sellers from yelling at you? If your home sellers are yelling at you, why are you working with them? After all it’s not your fault they won’t listen and lower the price of their home. In this “buyers” market, wouldn’t you prefer to work with home buyers?
It only makes sense to me. In the future you can always get listings. However, the lack of cash flow and lack of respect you receive by holding listings isn’t worth it, in my opinion. Right now, listings are just not good business! Buyers are gold!
If I were you, I would eliminate all your print. Spend that same amount of money on the Internet. A funny thing is going to happen.
Firstly, you will receive more home buyers. Secondly you will receive more real estate listing opportunities. Lastly, you are actually going to earn a living in a very down real estate market.
I find that the leads I get through HomeGain are better than the homebuyer and home seller leads I generate myself using Yahoo! and Google. We actually get double the click-to-lead conversion rate using HomeGain vs. Yahoo! and Google.
Believe me, I don’t spend my real estate marketing dollars loosely. I don’t spend, and refuse to spend, any money on print or anything else for that matter. It’s simple math. I need to get this many leads at this cost per lead.
If a person trying to sell me media and can’t promise those numbers (they can’t), then there is no sense spending the money. It’s real easy to say no when you look at the numbers.
So like the title says, Leads! Leads! Leads!, sales are all about the leads. If you don’t have any leads, you don’t have any sales. If you have lots of leads, you will have lots of sales. The key is to learn and understand how to maximize your leads.
This blog article was designed for us to share ideas and help each other. As I always say in all my blogs I write, if you need help, I am here to help.
The first of the year I will be launching my 100 MPH Marketing System that will allow me to automate the lead conversion process. It works great. In future posts, I’ll be updating what I’ve learned from implementing the 100MPH Marketing System.
What other systems are people using to convert leads? Please post a comment here or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to know what systems out there work and which don’t!