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By Rory Wilfong & Dave Conklin with Mark Boyd – Part 1 of 3

RISMEDIA, Feb. 20, 2007-Rory Wilfong and Dave Conklin say enough is enough. The co-founders say if you're not happy with where your career is as an agent, it's time to stop blaming the market or "bad" leads. It's time to start looking in the mirror, they say.

"We started this business when we were agents," Conklin says. "Rory and I became successful in real estate rather quickly because we always follow up. Not just once or twice…sometimes it's over the course of a couple of years. Every lead is different."

"Leads are what you make them…whether you get them from the Internet or from your mother," says Wilfong. "We're finding way too many articles that pretty much tell agents they shouldn't have to put out any extra effort to be successful. This is a disservice to all the veteran agents who have made real estate their long-term career."

Adds Conklin: "They're career agents because they know what follow-up is about and they have a follow-up system. They're not afraid of rejection. Most agents are not proactive…they don't want to call a lead 3, 4, 10, 20 times and they never go to the house. We hear it all the time. They don't want to do the things it takes to be great in sales. The funny part is that it's easy!"

One of the more popular recent statistics claims that only 3% of Internet leads turn into closed deals, a statistic that brings both chuckles and frustration from the two.

"So, does that mean only 3 percent of Internet seller leads sell their house? That's ridiculous," says Conklin. "It's more like 30 or 40 percent…but only if you follow through with your follow-up."

Indeed, according to of more than 1 million leads captured online:

7.3% sold within 3 months
22% sold within 12 months
40% sold within 28 months

"Agents just have to remember there's a door to every house and if it's not knocked on, they have no idea if it's a good or bad lead," cautions Wilfong, "You have to shake that person's hand, then be the judge. How many owners of this type of business can say they successfully used their own product? Dave and I have done it, and there's no great secret to success in this field. It's about never being forgotten. These agents who don't get the results they want just don't know how to not be forgotten."

Conklin and Wilfong say there is not enough sales and marketing education in the certification process, and many agents just don't know what to do once they're certified.

"When I first started, I got my first listing within 30 days," remembers Wilfong. "because I wasn't at my desk in the office playing solitaire or talking about last night's Sixers game with everybody. I was busy making contacts and prospecting. Most agents don't follow up and prospect properly because they're either too scared of rejection, have no idea how to properly follow up, or are just too lazy to do the work it takes to nurture prospects."

"If Rory & I were to become active agents again, we would subscribe to a lead generation service," adds Conklin, "but we wouldn't expect to make any money for six months. The problem is most agents expect to make money next month with the people they meet today. It rarely happens that way. The Internet has made it easier for buyers and sellers to find agents very early in the game, whereas a person used to just come to the real estate office when they were ready to act."

Next week: (Part II) Leads Are What You Make Them: What is a 'Bad' Lead?

Together with partner Steve Young, Rory Wilfong and Dave Conklin co-founded in 2003 to provide lead generation, coaching and other services for real estate professionals. The company is based in Lancaster, PA.