By Maria Patterson
Are you looking to grow your lead generation? According to Michael P. LaRocque, broker/owner of LaRocque & Co., REALTORS® in Cocoa, Fla., the secret to success is consolidating your lead generation sources. Read the following interview for more ways you can capitalize and succeed in today’s industry.
Michael P. LaRocque
LaRocque & Co., REALTORS®
Region served: East Central Florida, Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie counties; we also now have a referring position in Volusia County.
Years in real estate: 15
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 20
Current market conditions: Busier than I’ve ever seen. We definitely have an inventory problem—we need more of it.
Top market driver: Folks relocating here permanently, either retiring or second home-ing, particularly from the Northeastern seaboard and Canada.
When we interviewed you last year, you had mentioned possibly expanding to two offices to handle the volume of online leads coming in. How did that pan out?
We did expand to two offices. Our principle office is in Brevard County and we’ve opened a second office in Indian River. We also joined the Board in St. Lucie to work leads and have a referring agent in Volusia County. We’ve grown a lot in one year.
What was the most challenging part of your expansion?
The most difficult part is plugging in competent buyers agents and people that have the capability and the constraint to work within the system we’ve put in place.
How has the expansion enabled you to increase business?
The ability to have all our lead acquisition and lead cultivation seamlessly integrated into one platform has been the key. By one platform, I mean everything under Move.com, from using REALTOR.com for lead capture to FiveStreet for lead follow-up and Top Producer for ongoing lead management—it’s all under one roof, which has been critical for growing our business. All I have to do is plug in the right person and I can repeat the system again and again.
As your business grows, how do you decide where to invest money in advertising?
That’s easy—REALTOR.com. The only advertising dollars I spend at this point are for REALTOR.com’s co-broker product. I am most interested in volume. All I want is the lead—the phone number and the email address. Then the rest is pretty much automated with the system. That’s where having a good, quality agent comes in. The groundwork is laid by the system for the agent to succeed. All the components are there—the only component that’s missing is the agent to close the deal.
How do you track where your leads are coming from?
The only other source of leads for me is my own website. In the emails sent through the Top Producer CRM platform, we encourage people to visit our website. This is not intended to supplant REALTOR.com but to complement it.
What would you say to brokers who use multiple lead-generating sources?
They’re doing it wrong. I’ve talked to so many brokers nationwide who operate that way and if you spread yourself too thin across too many lead-generation platforms and don’t concentrate your efforts toward volume of leads, you’re not going to meet with success. The more leads I can push through my system, the more I can capture. The quality of lead and cost per lead of REALTOR.com is the best in the business.
How do you attract and cultivate new agents? How do you keep them motivated and busy?
I’ve never really gone out and tried to attract agents—I’ve hand-picked the people I want around me. In fact, we’ve turned some of our customers into agents. In terms of training, the system is basically in place and operational. It takes all of an hour to show new agents how we operate. My job is basically to play sweeper, ensuring that everything is done properly and taking the steps necessary to clean up and close.
How do your agents effectively connect and stay in touch with clients and prospects?
Two things: FiveStreet and Top Producer. FiveStreet provides us with the ability to instantly and automatically contact a lead. After someone makes an inquiry, they get correspondence in the form of a text or email within five minutes of their lead landing. Top Producer represents longer-range contact, where leads can receive emails for three years.
How do you help your agents grow so that they want to stay with your firm?
I don’t know of another broker who does what I do. I don’t charge my agents for the leads I distribute unless they successfully close; then they are charged a very nominal fee. I want my agents to succeed and make a ton of money. I don’t look at myself as the boss but rather, as standing shoulder to shoulder with them. I want to ensure their success because I’ve wagered my success on them.
Is there further expansion in your future?
Yes. The model I’m deploying in Volusia county— where I have an agent to whom I’m referring business instead of opening up another branch—is a model I can repeat nationwide; that’s what I’m vetting right now.
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