Pros and Cons of Working Leads

Should you be working leads? Is it really worth it in the long run? How can you be maximizing clients in the easiest way possible?

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • What you should and shouldn’t do in this market.
  • Where the business is.
  • Should you buy leads?


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So how do you track new business, you constantly don’t have to chase it. Hi, I’m Mike Cuevas to real estate marketing. And this podcast is all about building a strong personal brand people have come to know, like trust and most importantly, refer. But remember, it is not their job to remember what you do for a living. It’s your job to remind them. Let’s get started.

What’s up ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode, the real estate marketing dude, podcast, folks we are going to be chatting about quite a bit today. And what I wanted to focus on was what you should and shouldn’t do in this market. And depending on where you’re at, around the country, things aren’t what they were 18 months ago. But that doesn’t mean business still isn’t being had. So we’re bringing on a killer here, he’s got over 90 agents in his market. And he hasn’t really necessarily seen that effect yet. Because he’s constantly staying on top of trends. He hasn’t stopped bringing in inbound leads, despite market conditions. And as a result of that is that’s why this team has really suffered anything on the numbers, right. But lead generation is pretty expensive, you can lose a lot of money in it very quickly. And for somebody that knows all these different platforms and whatnot, one of the questions we’re seeing all around the country is like, Hey, what should I invest my money in right now? Because businesses now Should I buy Zillow lead? Should I buy Should I join one of these referral networking companies? What the fuck is it? So that’s what we’re gonna be chatting about today is what are we going to what do you do? How do you analyze let’s do the pros and cons of lead generation within the real estate space as of 2023, coming into summer, so without further ado, let’s go ahead and welcome our guest, Jeremy Wilson. Jeremy, what’s up, man? Hey, thanks for having me. Mike. I appreciate your appreciate your time and you having me on for sure. Why don’t you tell everyone who you are? What do you do? Where are you at? Yeah. Jeremy Wilson, I’m in, in my home bases Charleston, South Carolina. That’s where we started a business about 16 years ago. And, you know, with the lead sources, scaling us we were able to move into a few other cities in South Carolina and and Georgia over the last few years and grow our agent count. And it’s all based on lead sources, primarily. So we went from about 10 agents three years ago. And now we’ve got about 90 agents and four cities, just in the last three years. And out of those what kind of how many numbers of homes are we selling monthly right now. We’ll do about 1500 transactions this year, in those in those four cities. Last year, we closed about about 375 million about 900 transactions. So you know, if you, if you take the leads, they’re just gonna keep sending you.

So you got you know, you understand lead generation, at least in real estate, you probably are a numbers analytical like crazy, and he’s from Chicago believe that he’s from Chicago. That’s why you guys notice everyone like from Chicago works hard. And like actually kicks ass.

Except sports. But that’s a whole nother story.

So here’s the question that I have. And I’m like, I’ve always been refer, we talked about before, you got to show I’ve always been mainly referral, I do create a lot of content. That’s been my business model. It’s been our business model as a marketing company and whatnot. But I am dabbling a lot in the lead generation space, we’ve different company called owner advocate, and we have a referral model. And we get agents referrals and collect a referral fee for the leads we generate. And I’ve learned a lot in the last year or so on that business. And what I can tell you guys is that lead generation in general is very expensive game. And the vast majority of people can’t play the game because they don’t have the resources to do so. Right? Whether that’s the CRM, the auto responder set up the right way, or it’s the budget to nurture for six to nine months before that thing actually starts kicking. There’s a whole number of things, but there isn’t a grit, which quick thing that I’ve seen yet is there? No, absolutely not. Now, it’s exactly what you said, big, big admin team that nurture the leads, because the agents are not going to do it. You know, they, you know, they want these bottom of the funnel leads that even though they’re expensive, they want the quick money. Yep. So walk me through how it works with you guys, regardless of lead sources, like what is that? What do I need to have? If I’m thinking about actually doing this? What is the number one thing I should be doing? Like? Is it my CRM? Is it my auto responder? What’s the offer winning offer right now? Let’s go through some of those things. Yeah, yeah, I think the CRM is super important, as well as just having enough agents and having teams that are deep enough to be able to handle the number of leads and and just over the years, we’ve always been a team where we didn’t bring any new agents on unless we had the leads to get them. So we just don’t bring in agents just to have, you know, more people sitting on the seats on the bus. You know, it was just simply because we had too many leads to handle. You know, so So the CRM is very important. And we’ve always been a first to claim model some agents or some teams call it Shark Tank. We’ve tried every way to handle the leads in the past but

This seems to work the best, it creates a little bit of urgency. And then you know, we manage it, my admin team manages on the back end. So agents don’t get too greedy and take too many, too many leads to where they can’t handle, you know, but inevitably, it still ends up being where, you know, they take the calls, you know, a lot of these are connection calls, because there’s a little black synopsis, you know, Joe, which are almost all connection calls, and they get on the phone, and they try to qualify him right away, when they meet him for the first time. But if they’re not buying right away, then they can get pushed into automation, in hopes that they’ll eventually come back around. So it works great for that low hanging fruit. How many? Because there’s different three referral model than buying leads, right? So it’s do leads only like I’m talking about are buying leads, right? How many leads on average? Do I need to buy before I finally get one and let’s just say I’m pretty good at converting, like, I’ll just say, I’m not shy, like can actually talk to somebody, I got my shit together, how many things I need to buy to actually like, what you’d expect with the numbers. Yes, so every source is a little bit different. Of course, as you can imagine, we track a few of the sources independently, like Zillow flex, and our best agents are converting 12 To 1512 to 16%, on Zillow flex, as you know, not every agent is doing that. And you know, of course, we’ve got measures in place to bump them up on the on the scale their, you we usually convert those at eight to 10%. Again, some agents, the killers that are just crazy aggressive, you know, they’ll convert them a little bit higher than that. So, overall, you know, before we added some of the top of the funnel, lead sources, pay per click, and social media, which we just started six months ago, everything else was bought into the funnel, we would convert eight to 13%, on average for blended conversion. And we do about 15 to 20 Different lead sources that are all bottom of the funnel.

So you know, our intent when we brought in these pay per click and social media leads that we knew were going to be more of a long term nurture and probably a lower conversion percent, but much, much cheaper leads is that the agents would would like these because they’re they’re no referral fee less expensive, even though it took a little bit longer to nurture. Yep. And awesome. I like it, folks. Lead Generation. So basically, what we’re talking about is I had offers is like a manufactured lead that you create on your own. And there are a lot of companies that you have to get approved for a lot of these companies know that they’re not just gonna go out and take anyone I know with ours, like we really are concerned, we’re no, we’re not Oh, Joe, or anything like that. We’re tiny right now. But, you know, we want to make sure you can convert before we started investing money in you it cost money to generate these leads. And the vast majority is right, like the vast majority of people won’t follow up on them in the right way. How important is that?

Yeah, and they’ve changed over just the last two years, these these lead sources, you know, has changed their platform, you know, they’ve tried to do this market VIP thing, which is more of like an invite, only, like you talked about, you know, only inviting certain teams that prove conversions, elaflex izly, that’s all about finding the right team that’s got the systems in place. Now. Oh, just in the last few weeks, it’s been one month since I launched their ojo Plus program. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re splitting the leads in half. And they’re finding one or two teams in each market, that can really do a good job with conversion. And they’re analyzing, you know, it’s weekly calls with your advisor to make sure you’re doing a great job with it. So yeah, I think all the paid lead sources are really going away. You know, we’re still spending, I think, $600,000 a year on leads, but I know that eventually that’s going to go away. And it’s going to be more of the opposite the model or the market, the IP model. So that’s what I’m sort of seeing as well, it’s you know, a lot of the companies go that way. And it’s because lead generation is expensive, guys, that’s good. You said at the very beginning, in tackling it unless you really know how to run all these these things at once. Because you do need social you need retargeting going, you need that to sort of nudge you need just knowing what to target to begin with to create. There’s a whole lot of moving parts on this stuff. So what do you what between the agents that you have right now who’s succeeding? Who’s not? Like, what? What do we have to do hear? It’s no, it’s not rocket science. You know, if you pulled up our CRM right now, without ever talking to a single one of our agents or listening to any of the phone calls, it’s the agents that are just persistent and hard work. And then following up and being organized, those are the agents that are killing it, you know, that they put in the work, they’re getting to make the money. It’s it’s the agents that are just kind of sitting back and hoping that the business will come to them that that just aren’t succeeding, unfortunately, what other additional lead sources other than the than the handoffs and the purchased ones, I think you mentioned you guys had like a big, a lot of you had a huge amount of referral type leads and whatnot. Yeah, we’re, we’re starting to do a lot more referrals. You would think that a team of 90 agents brings in tons of referrals across the country, especially with the leads that we get on the front end being the bottom of the funnel

Everybody that our agents are talking to, and we’re getting a ton of leads, you know, about 80 to 100 leads a day for our team. And every single person our agent talks to is either moving away from here or moving to here, in most cases, you know, very little, they’re very small percentage of the time, or they move in and, you know, within our market. So

looking at those numbers last year, I was embarrassed, you know, we, I think I told you earlier, Mike, we last year, for a team of 90 agents, we received 60, outside referral fees to our company where our agents referred somebody across the United States and a closed. So you know, obviously, when I looked at that number, and we’ve got, we’ve got to fix it. So we sat back, and we talked to our agents and tried to find out what was going on. And basically, it was two things, they didn’t know how to approach that lead that they were on the phone with for the first time and what to say to them to get a referral off of it. And then the second thing is they didn’t know how to find the agent, or they didn’t know how to find the agent, but it was just very time consuming, very much a hassle they didn’t have time to put into to throw them into a Facebook group or, or anything like or go Google search to find an agent wait for the agents to call them back, which doesn’t happen. So so let me I just want to unpack that for all your broker owners listening. And that’s just like free money. Literally not having a referral network for your agents like just to go ahead and refer just bottom of the line money right there, you guys. That’s sure I don’t even think about that, because that’s something else I want you guys to really pay attention to, he says, the vast majority of the leads are either moving into or out of their market, which means they’re non local. Okay? I want to unpack this a little bit. And the people who convert on leads are always non local. completely fucking weird. or crazy.

Okay, and I’m gonna unpack each of these, firstly, to the non local, why is it non local? Why didn’t Why is non local former lead generation? Well over 80% of people use the first person they meet with many of which they refer to or they personally know like, or trust or, or know, it’s a still referral based business. All lead generation tends to be the ones that convert the vast vast majority of these are moving in or out of a market. Would you agree that? Yeah, absolutely.

What does that tell you guys as an agent, what kind of content should you be creating around that? Right? So there’s, there’s one big hint because everyone tries to go out and spend money on targeting the people that are just moving in or they want to go target like spend money on all this other stuff. And they don’t realize that the ones that convert are the ones that don’t know anyone in the market yet.

And there’s a big correlation there. I’m not just theory right? But if there’s a correlation, big time with it, too, are the weirdos. Why?

Okay, I see them come in there. They’re introverted. They’re super weird, or they’re a hoarder. Okay, these are the these are these, these I’m not joking. Okay. These are the investor deals, okay. And there’s like a small percentage of them in the market. But these are the ones that the house is falling apart. There’s a distressed situation, they’re embarrassed to talk about it. There’s a number of ones B K’s foreclosure, late payments, high debt, you name it. That’s a whole nother that’s the that’s the inner local right there. Okay, type of typically for lead gen. That’s why investors never have a lead generation problem despite market conditions.

And the third one is just like, just the weirdos that are introverts, they just don’t have they don’t know anyone. It’s very rare. But they’re out there. It’s just you’re not gonna get rich out of them, though. It’s gonna be like a unicorn, when you see on your local and you don’t have an agent, you don’t know an agent. Okay, great.

For sure.

Everybody usually knows five agents, you know? Totally. What does that tell you guys on where to spend your money, though? Like and where do you spend your efforts? If you’re gonna go into lead? Gen, you got to understand that people you’re probably gonna do lead gen with are probably not familiar with the market you’re in, what kind of content you create around the market you’re in? That’s right. Yep. All these bottom of the funnel lead sources or are not familiar with our market. And that’s why they’re on these websites. Correct? Yep. So that’s, that’s really interesting. You Pat and you guys probably have like you’re doing 100 leads a day. That’s what 350,300 52,000 leads a year.

So you know, you know what you’re doing? Yeah, a lot. A lot of leads coming in. Geez.

What’s up with the what do you think we’re, what direction are we headed here? I’m curious to know if like, since the cost of housing got doubled, with interest rates going up, you know, how has that affected lead generation? I remember in markets past, there’ll be big teams that could literally go closed doors overnight. Because the market shifted and they couldn’t the ROI they had last month wasn’t the ROI they’re gonna get this month so they couldn’t make smart decisions. What do you see happening is the buying habits changed? Not so much. What’s what’s going on over there? And, you know, we just talked about it last week in our meeting, so my main market is Charleston, South Carolina. And if you look back 18 months ago, in our whole entire em

Alas, there was about 900 homes available to buy. And interest rates were still good. You know, there wasn’t any inventory, nobody can find a house, it was multiple offers way over full price. And now fast forward 18 months, there’s 2500 homes available. Okay, so three times as many homes available. There’s interest rates are up quite a bit from 18 months ago. But there’s still no, there’s still not enough inventory for the amount of buyers. So, you know, honestly, I’m worried about when rates do drop, it’s going to be crazy. You know, how many of those are reloads coming in that Charlson marks I know all my friends are moving out that way, everyone from Chicago is getting the hell out. You know, so you still have that inbound. I’m curious to know what’s happening in like, some like Sacramento, I had an agent on and they’re like, Dude, we’re down. Like, where I pre pandemic levels. He told me the other day. So I guess a lot of it’s where you’re in the country, too. Yeah. And we’re, you know, Columbia, South Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and all of our market, all four of our markets are about the same. You know, just low inventory, things are still settling over full price. You know, I think it’s stopping the people that are moving local, that have great rates already locked, and I think it’s stopping those people, but people that are moving down from New Jersey that are paying ridiculous, you know, ces every year, you know, it’s a no brainer for them to move down here and buy something in this inexpensive market. Yeah, they feel like it’s cheap. I mean, people from California are like, oh, man, you got 3400 Square house for under a million bucks. Crazy. Under 750. What

is this? Oh, my gosh, the pricing around here is this insanely? Yeah. And I’ve been doing it in Charleston for so long. So I see a house, it’s now you know, $500,000. And for so long, it was $200,000? And just seems like it went up overnight. But it’s still very affordable in the in the big scheme of things, you know? Yeah. You can almost that’s an interesting market to be watching. But yes, that’s I would agree with that, because you still have ocean from then it’s going to climb until like other oceanfront markets.

Very interesting, dude.

Anything else you want to sort of any other tips? What do you anything else you want to chat about on this? The referral model is really interesting. You just didn’t realize that, hey, if I’m going to be selling someone’s house, and they’re moving out of town, I might as well just get a referral free from our other agents in the in the market. Yeah. And I think that’s it for the teams that I talked to across the country and team leaders and broker owners, they’ve got to have a solution for their agents on how to send referrals out because agents are frustrated with the Facebook groups and, you know, blasted out there. And then 50 People respond in the first five minutes. And then we got to weed through those people. And really, you know, they get frustrated, and they send that referral to any agent that responds. And that agent maybe has done one deal in their entire life, but they just happen to be the first one to click on that Facebook and comments on it. So you know, our solution has a team. And what we’ve rolled out nationwide is just, you know, even our own agents on our team, go to exclusive agent, submit a referral, within 20 or 30 minutes, you’re going to have a referral agreement sent back to you with your information as the sending agent, the other agents information in that market that we’ve already interviewed ahead of time, make sure that they’ve been in the business, they’re closing deals, and you can trust them. And then the referrals information, it’s a 25% referral agreement. And that’s it, it takes you one minute to find a great agent. We’ve already interviewed instead of going to these Facebook groups and hoping you’re gonna get on the phone with these agents, you already got some network setup. So if I already said anywhere, I just put it in there and I gotta get someone that’s not going to like screw me over make me look like an asshole. No, you put it in there. We’ve interviewed these and they’ve been interviewed by my team that’s been in business for a long time. You know, we make sure that they know how to follow up with leads that great with communication. They’ve been in the business at least two years are closing at least 15 deals a year. And we go to work and an agent never has to be worried about well do they have an agent in this area? Because some of the counties that we don’t have agents, if we get a referral for that county, our team has a protocol they go to work immediately and we blast about 10 different Facebook groups. We go to Zillow, we go to all these different intranet sites, and we go to work and within an hour we’re gonna find an interview a qualified agent in that area and get them hooked up for your referral. So we do all the legwork work for you. It’s absolutely free if you’re sending referrals if you want to have an exclusive county it’s simply $10 per month to have that county and you get all exclusive referrals for you for that county. I was always hesitant to send referrals I’ll give you guys a quick story. Right before I got out of the business in Chicago I referred is like a college friend of mine right? Never Refer a Friend of business especially one that’s drinks a little bit more than they should. But long story short is that he’s a contractor right? So one of my good friends bought a house, refer them over to you know, do some drywall and redo the bathroom and paint and whatnot. It was just a mess. Like the guy messed up didn’t show up. She had to redo the whole job. She was like $15,000 At the end of the day that job ended up being my entire like month for a time and it was my problem right because it’s a friend of mine Mike why you hook me up with this good? Dude is terrible. I don’t read

For people for that reason contractors ever, no matter how well I know them, and I feel the same way about real estate agents do, yeah, that’s a good thing you’re doing there, because that should take some of the

worry out because it’s your brand when you’re putting your name with somebody else. And just me if you refer anyone, this is why referrals always work, regardless of what context are in, is that people are wired to want to refer people shit. That’s just the way God made us. We want to help others, we want to seek the help of others, like that’s just what we are. It’s how we’re wired. And the fastest way you could kill your business is when you send someone a bad referral. Because if you ever sent someone to a restaurant where they serve hair and food, you wouldn’t like them too much, either. And that’s what you’re doing when you send someone shitty service. So just try that. And we do have, we do have one failsafe that agents get worried about they’re like, Well, what if I send a referral there? And I don’t like the agent. But when an agent goes on our website to send a referral, Mike, they one of the questions on there is do you want to talk to that referring agent or receiving agent before they call the lead? And I’d say about 70% of the time to send the agent is putting Yes, because they want to talk to that agent, even though we’ve said we’ve already interviewed them, embedded them and everything. I don’t blame them for wanting to talk to the agent and make sure if you don’t use them. Yeah, absolutely. You should like you should want to know, especially if it’s a trusted like a family member, just a name and number, like great. But if it’s a friend or family member, you got to know what value you’re sending them to. That’ll come back and haunt you it never fails. can tell you that? I really appreciate why don’t you tell them what that website is? It’s pretty cool. Some of that is again, and then wrapped up. Yep, exclusive agent is the website. It’s easy. At the very top it says submit a referral. And if you’re interested in locking down a county in the network, just click on not a member and we’ll we’ll get you scheduled for an interview. And your other website is Chuck town If you guys want to see what he’s doing pretty nice site. I’m on it right now. But yeah, you could go click around he’s in four different cities for any you guys looking to see how he’s doing it and what he’s doing. But yeah, this is cool, man, I appreciate you coming on. And I appreciate you sharing that information. And folks,

you know what I’m gonna say referrals are always the lowest hanging fruit and the way that you always generate a lot of business, or at least consistent business not saying you get rich off them, but you can have a career off of them. No doubt as long as you follow the system and if you want that damn system, it’s called www dot referral. Those referral We farm your database with content so they stopped forgetting who the fuck you are. And stop referring and cheating on you with other realtors. It’s that simple. We foreign people. If you’ve read the millionaire agent by Gary Keller, I built out a software that his brain wanted to. That’s all it is. Alright, so go ahead and go there referral It’s s w e t. And appreciate you guys listen to their episode. We’ll see you guys next week. Bye.

Thank you for watching another episode of the real estate marketing dude podcast. If you need help with video or finding out what your brand is, visit our website at WWW dot real estate marketing We make branding and video content creation simple and do everything for you. So if you have any additional questions, visit the site, download the training, and then schedule a time to speak with the dude and get you rolling in your local marketplace. Thanks for watching another episode of the podcast. We’ll see you next time.

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