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To Buy or Not to Buy-What’s All the Fuss about Online Leads?

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By Payam Zamani

RISMEDIA, June 13, 2007-If you’re an agent or broker who purchases leads online, or you’re just thinking about it, a variety of reasons may have you questioning your investment, or even if you should make the investment. What sort of return can I expect? How good are the leads? When will I close my first sale? What if I spend all that money and nothing happens?

Purchasing online leads is simply another form of marketing-but with a trackable return on investment (ROI). Other forms of marketing, while having?been around for a long time, do not offer reliable, predictable and typically repeatable results. For instance, every time you buy a full-page magazine ad, you are left to wonder-did anyone see my ad, and if they did, were they interested in what I have to sell? Am I getting a return on my investment?

Clearly, this is not the case with leads purchased online. For a moment assume that you spend $50 per lead acquired from an online service. Even if nine out of 10 leads that you purchase turn out to be a waste of time the chances are the one that engages with you, and ultimately closes a deal, will earn you enough commissions to pay for the $500 you spent on acquiring 10 leads.

Here’s a good way to look at it: let’s assume you are currently selling 10 homes per year. Do you have the necessary time and/or desire to engage in 10 additional transactions? If so, is there any reliable and cost-effective way that you can get there? I would argue that acquiring leads online is the only reliable, profitable and completely achievable way to get there. Before you sign up with any of the online firms-consider the following:

- Adjust your expectations-The majority of the leads will not be intentful enough and/ or ready to complete a transaction within the next 12 months.

- Understand the percentages-You cannot and should never compare these to old-fashioned referrals. Unlike a personal referral, no more than 5-15% of these leads will be worthwhile.

- Don’t be discouraged-All you need is one out of the 10 to 20 leads that you buy to pan out in order for you to realize a staggering ROI.

- Be patient-The same way that you can’t lose 50 pounds in two weeks-you can’t join a program and expect success in two weeks. You may need to purchase at least 10 leads per month for six months before you see your first transaction. You need to create a sales pipeline. There is no fast and easy way to get there.

- Go get the client-According to the California Association of Realtors, 67% of Internet buyers selected their agent because he/she was the first to respond to their inquiry or was the most responsive.

The bottom line: Consumers are going online. Everyday, a higher percentage of real estate transactions will shift to consumers who start their research on the Internet. Do you want to learn how to work with these consumers and profit from building a relationship with them or do you want to ignore them because it does not fit your traditional frame of reference.

You certainly can do things the old-fashioned way but I guarantee you that you will miss opportunities. No ifs, ands or buts about it. The consumers are online-where do you want to be?

Internet lead-generation service. These services provide one of the easiest ways to tap the power of the Internet for leads without having to market extensively.

By embracing this new technology, you can capitalize on a host of new opportunities. Resist change, and you’re likely to become technology’s latest casualty. RE

Payam Zamani is founder and CEO of Reply.com. For more information, please visit www.reply.com.

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