You need good leads before you hire an ISA
GIGO: Garbage In Garbage Out.
If you don’t have good leads to call, then you won’t have good appointments. And if you don’t have good appointments, you won’t get good clients. And unfortunately, if you don’t have good leads, it doesn’t matter how good of a salesperson you are, how great your presentation is and how successful you are. If your lead sources are suspect, your business will suffer.
When you survey the landscape of lead providers in the real estate universe, you’ll see that there are multiple providers of seller and buyer leads. Many of these companies offer similar products with various bells and whistles and at first glance, they can all look the same. Oftentimes, these companies confuse form with function in an effort to sell you their product and they do this by focusing on all the ancillary benefits to using their product instead of on the most important part of what they offer—the lead.
Dialers, lead delivery methods, texting ability, slydial, auto-generated emails, etc., are all great and helpful in converting leads. Unfortunately, it’s the leads that matter and if they’re not good, no number of added features will make them any better. Your concern should be with the lead augmentation and what the company does to provide you with good, clean, detailed data.
Lead augmentation is nothing more than list cleansing that provides you with clean, detailed data about a specific lead. By augmenting their leads, good data providers get rid of inaccurate data to help your ISA be more efficient and effective in working the list of leads you get from them. Remember, the lower the quality of leads you get, the more work your ISA has to put in to get in contact with them. The outcome of this strategy is not favorable: You spend more money on labor and leads, but get fewer appointments and sales; not what I would necessarily call the formula for success.
You must take the time to vet your lead sources and make sure that what they provide is in line with what you’re looking to accomplish and more importantly, that they can get you the results you want with the quality of leads they provide.
Again, not any lead generation platform or lead will do.
Now that we’re clear on the importance of having good leads, what is it, exactly, that makes them good? Fortunately, the answer is pretty simple. Good leads have the following qualities:
- Detailed Contact Information: The basics—name, phone number, address, email—are all very important. Good lead providers will augment their lead lists to get you multiple phone numbers, additional potential addresses, spouse names, and any other details that will make it easy for your ISA to either get in contact with the right person or find a way to get in contact with him/her.
- Accurate information: Details are great, but they need to be the right details. Lead augmentation is key here. The better the leads, the better job the lead provider has done with aggregating and scrubbing the data. That’s not to say every lead is going to be perfect, but you want the best contact information you can get in order for the rest of the process to work.
- Quantity Matters: Your ISA is going to need a decent daily allocation of phone numbers to call so you can create your predictable pipeline of sales. On average, we give our ISAs about 400 individual records per day with each record having about two to three numbers (800 to 1200 numbers total). The daily target for our ISAs is 500 dials. Five hundred dials per day puts them in position to make enough contacts for them to meet (and sometimes exceed) their daily nurture and appointment goal. If your lead generation platform(s) can’t get you access to that many contacts on a regular basis, you’ll want to reconsider using them.
One point of note: It’s obvious that you won’t get 400 expireds, withdrawns, FSBOs, and market evaluation leads the first day you get rolling. You’re going to have to build up those data sources over time. And while you can and should get access to past expireds that go back at least five years, you’re going to need to build up the lead data for the other sources you’re going to be calling. Having a good data provider for circle prospecting will help with rapidly achieving the large quantity of leads you’ll need.
One of the things I’ve observed by mentoring so many real estate agents over the last 15 years is that many of them (and I was like this at one point myself) hold onto lead sources that they either aren’t working or aren’t getting good leads from way longer than they should. I can’t explain the phenomenon, but I believe that we do that because we don’t want to admit we made a mistake. I also know we have the belief that one lead converted to a sale could lead to a huge payday and justify all the lost expenses we incur on these types of lead sources.
The reality of the matter is this: Those lead sources rarely, if ever, come through either over time or in a pinch with a huge sale. And, long as you’ve worked the leads diligently, you can and should get rid of any lead generation platform that isn’t providing you the kind of leads I’ve discussed in this chapter.
When it comes to lead generation, categorizing and then following up with the leads, it’s vital to measure twice—and maybe even three times—before you cut. In other words, perform your due diligence prior to buying. Make sure that you see how the platform works and how detailed the leads are. In addition to that, get the names of at least three other people who have used the data source and can show you in black and white that they’ve converted the leads into actual sales. Unless you have a huge pile of expendable cash, it’s not ideal for you to be the alpha or beta tester of a new lead generation platform.
You want to use proven and tested lead sources.
Once you’ve targeted the areas and price range you want to work and you’re sure you have the best lead sources, you must monitor the quality and quantity of leads that come from each source. From there, you absolutely must track and review your results.
You’ll want to measure the quantity of good numbers vs. bad numbers, the number of people who are contacted that are actually the homeowner vs. those who are not, the number of nurtures that are created and even the number of appointments that are set. Knowing all of these details are key in getting the best lead source for your business.
If you’re not willing to do that, there’s really no need to even buy the leads or set up an inside sales department. You’d be better off taking that money and going to Vegas to hit the craps table. Predictability only comes as a result of this level of diligence with the life cycle of your leads.