Should you buy leads?
That's totally up to you.
If your lead generation pipelines are not generating opportunities and your mortgage payment is due, then do what you need to do. Hopefully, you have some cash reserves set aside for lean times.
In simple terms, buying leads is the process of spending hundreds of dollars in the hopes you can make thousands of dollars.
Too bad that easy math is not guaranteed.
I see many agents spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on internet leads, and never convert a single one of them into a closed transaction that produces a commission check.
They always blame it on the leads. They say things like, "those leads were terrible", "they never answer the phone", "they don't even reply to text messages".
Have no fear, buying internet leads will make your phone ring. But the process of getting those leads to respond and ultimately work with you takes a broad set of skills.
Before you reach for your credit card and sign up for a lead purchase program, be sure you have these five skill areas mastered:
1) A GREAT ONLINE PROFILE. Remember, these leads are coming to you because they are actively searching for homes ONLINE. That means they will search for YOU online to validate your presence in the market after you contact them. You'd better be findable. At a minimum, you should have your own website, a Facebook business page, and a Google profile with lots of 5-star client reviews. The more places you exist online, the better.
2) IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY. Online leads are online when they make their inquiry so you need to jump on them immediately. Strike while the iron is hot — before someone else does. They don't know you in person and the longer you wait to reply, the more of your competitors they will see online as they continue looking at homes. If you are not available to answer and respond immediately, you might as well flush your money down the toilet. When it comes to responding to online lead inquiries, second place is the first loser.
3) TENACIOUS FOLLOW-UP SKILLS. Until you are able to book an in-person meeting (preferably a home showing), you must continually stay in touch, providing information that will demonstrate your value. Even though you have made contact with them, you must assume they are still looking online and receiving calls from other agents. And until you meet them face to face, know that they are seeing as many new agents on their screen as a teenager swiping through a dating app on their phone. Welcome to the "I'll pick you" swipe war.
4) THICK SKIN AND UNWAVERING CONFIDENCE. Buying leads is the equivalent of the major leagues of professional sports. You will be rubbing elbows with the household name agents in your zip code (yes, they buy leads too). You'll need to talk the talk and walk the walk. Have your ducks in a row and a solid plan of attack. If you do not ultimately make a sale with an internet lead you purchase, understand that you lost to a competitor who out-performed you.
5) A LONG-TERM NURTURING STRATEGY. Some of the leads you buy will not be ready to do anything immediately. But you paid good money for them, so having a nurturing program is critical for your ROI. Plug them into an email drip campaign and stay in touch with them over the coming months. Ideally, hook them up with an MLS portal, or link to your personal website so you can monitor their searching activity.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that buying leads is the same thing as buying "buyers and sellers who are ready to sign a contract". You are going to have your work cut out for you to convert them.
The easiest way to nurture the people you know is through artificial intelligence and automation. Don’t let those buzz words scare you off — it’s actually pretty easy do do with the right CRM system.