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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stinky Fish

LEADS are like FISH.

Real estate LEADS anyway.  You have to fish for them, cast your line or net and pull up who knows what?  The catch of the day - or a sorry, soggy old branch that you have tugged and pulled on for half a day. Wriggly, elusive, sly creatures, these LEADS are.

How long it been on market?  Will they RENT?
Real estate companies have a fabulous tool (dubious) at their disposal called LEAD Router.  The program captures the contact information of consumers from the internet as they click on listings.  Presumably looking for additional info - or to request a showing.  That sort of thing.  Within seconds their request is forwarded by an automated message to my cell phone, an email copy is also received.

'You have a new company generated lead from LEAD Router...if this is not voice mail click 1' (and so on)

You accept the LEAD by phone, then log in to the website and follow up on their request.  Time sensitive of course. We like to tell our sellers how ON TOP OF OUR LEADS we are for THEIR properties.  And we are.  It's just that the LEADS are very often the equivalent to a 10 year old surfing the net, searching for the newest game on the market.  CAN he actually buy the game?  WILL he buy the game?  And the ever loving...'My parents are going to buy me the game'.  The only thing we might know conclusively is that he LIKES the game.  Maybe.

In the beginning LEAD Router was a unique, valuable program.    The sites were reputable, reliable and consistent.  As the years have progressed EVERYONE with a website is in the game.  As you would expect - the capability to screen these LEADS has weakened and the quality has begun to stink.  

I was all for the idea in the beginning!  OH THE LEADS we would see, you and I, you and I - oh the LEADS we would see, YOOOOOU AND IIIIII!  bah   

Like fish, they are all out there swimming in one vast septic sea.  Barracuda, starfish, eel, coral, license plates, medical waste; you get the picture.  (Nosey neighbors, people looking for desperate sellers who will RENT, REAL buyers that do research on line first, Relocation clients, people looking for vacant homes to vandalise, agents from other markets wanting to set up showings).  You don't know whats out there by standing on shore looking at the ocean.  GOTTA fish, no way around it.

Agents have become quite savvy at sorting through the LEADS.   Most click 9 (to reject this LEAD) so it will route along to the next agent on the list, sit back and laugh and shout out...'got a live one coming your way...', to the agent standing next to them by the coffee pot.   I will accept or reject on a variety of personal criteria (which I shall NOT share).  I am pretty good at qualifying the Cod from the chum.

My phone rang last week.  The lead was regarding a home listed by another agent in our office (out of compliance-you have to UPDATE your LEADS).  I accepted the lead - it was a real name with a 'question about property' request.  I didn't have anything pressing so I figured I'd take it and see what I could make of it.  The LEAD called me personally, within about 5 minutes of receiving my email!!

Well, helloooooo...

We talked; he later came to look at the home (from North Carolina) on the outside - alone;  made an appointment to preview the INSIDE (another trip from N.C.).  I began to get interested.  We set a time to meet at the house.  Dare I hope?  Would the LEAD show?  And if so, would it be because they were in town visiting relatives and killing time or were they semi-serious?

I arrived at the property at 12:45.   Fifteen min early, as is my routine.  They were already there!  Had been there since 11:00!!!  (yes, almost 2 hours EARLY?)  Just walking around the 13 acres (dreaming, planning).


The LEAD it turns out, is 77 years young. Can you say INTERNET SAVVY?  He arrived with his wife and daughter (she sent me a friend request on FACEBOOK while we were going through the house).  DAD loves FACEBOOK too.  Has done more research online about this property than the listing agent!

My LEAD has turned into a potential BUYER.  They have gone back up to NC to talk with a REALTOR about selling their house, check financing options - maybe, maybe not. What motivates a 77 years young buyer?  I may only end up with a new FACEBOOK friend (good enough) - but Lord willing...I will be eating a healthy serving of CROW. 

Not to be confused with that other pie...
UPDATE:  Ms. Agent So and So did NOT do her presentation this morning in the Tuesday Morning Mandatory Sales Meeting...