Are You Kidding? Nobody is That Broke!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 — The other day I was talking to an agent who said the most ridiculous thing. Here’s what he told me: I can’t afford to advertise! I replied, “Are you kidding me? During these times you can’t afford not to advertise!” Now before you send me an email telling me that I’m out of touch, let me be very clear.

I believe that about 90% of what agents spend their marketing dollars on these days is totally wasted. There’s no doubt that there are lots of bad marketing ideas. That having been said, there is still no excuse for someone who calls himself a real estate professional to not advertise. No wonder there are so many broke agents.

The simple fact is that if you are a real estate agent, you are an independent business person. That means that a certain part of your budget needs to be allocated to lead generation, or customer acquisition. No leads equals no sales. So do the math — if your sales are not where you want them to be, odds are that you are not generating enough leads.

Show me a great agent with no leads and I’ll show you somebody struggling. On the other hand, show me a lousy agent with plenty of leads, and I’ll show you an agent making good money. And, with sales, comes experience. Soon that bad agent will be a better agent than the good agent with no sales.

“But Matt,” you say, “you really don’t understand my situation. I really, really am broke.” Okay. Maybe times are tough right now. Let me ask you this: How much did you spend on that cup of coffee on your ride to the office this morning? How much is your TV cable bill? You don’t have to spend a fortune on lead generation, but if you want to make it in this business, you have to spend something. How much?

I’ll go out on a limb here. You can spend less than $2 per day and generate 2-3 new inbound leads every single day. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. This is not theory — it’s real. If you’ll follow this simple three step plan, you can do it too. That’s right, you too can generate 50-60 new leads every month, month in and month out for less than $2 a day in marketing. I’ve seen agent after agent follow these same simple steps and do just that. What are these three steps? Pretty simple, actually.

1. IDX Home Search. First you need to get a search engine for homes, since that is what 94% of all home shoppers are looking for online. An IDX link is a web link to the public side of your local MLS, that you can install on your website. Most brokers today provide an IDX link for their agents for free or for a nominal charge. If your broker doesn’t provide you with free IDX, you may find that you need a new broker too. Think of the IDX as bait. If you go fishing, you must have bait on your hook or you won’t catch any fish.

2. LCM Gateway. The second thing you need is efficient lead capture on your website. Traffic for most real estate websites is very limited because there are so many competing websites. If you only capture 1% (the average for real estate websites) of say 50 visitors a month, it will take you two months to generate only one lead. On the other hand, if you capture 25-30% of your traffic, you can easily generate 15-20 leads per every month given the exact same traffic.

So how can you make sure that your website has efficient lead capture? The simplest and least expensive way is to install an LCM gateway. That’s where the $2 per day comes in. For less than a cup of coffee a day, you can have the most efficient online lead capture installed on your website, or you can even use it by itself, without a website, and it will work just as well.

3. Traffic to your LCM. Finally, you need traffic to your LCM gateway. You can do that by buying online advertising, or by posting simple, proven, ads to free classified websites like Craigslist. For most agents figuring it out on their own, there is about a six-month learning curve while you test and learn the best ad wording, the best key words, the best times to advertise, and so on.

If you use the LCM gateway, all the testing has already been done for you, so your personal coach will show you exactly what to do. The coaching is included in the price of the LCM gateway so somebody will hold your hand every step of the way, until you are generating your own inexpensive leads. That will save you a lot of both time and money.

I know that many agents today, don’t have much money to spend much on advertising. Don’t worry. You don’t need much. In fact, if you don’t have much money, you probably have plenty of time. On the other hand, if you don’t have much time, you probably have plenty of money, so you can simply buy the traffic. Either way works just fine.

I know of one agent who generates about 50 leads every day without spending a penny in advertising, but he spends 3-4 hours a day placing free ads on Craigslist. Then he refers most of the leads to other buyer’s agents and collects a referral fee at closing. I know of other agents who only spend half an hour a day and generate 2-3 leads a day without spending a dime of cash.

Others make a modest monthly investment buying internet traffic and never spend any time working with their technology. For them, it’s just set it and forget it. When I was still managing a real estate team, I generated 2000-3000 leads every month for my entire team of twelve agents, and I didn’t touch my ads once for over two years.

In the upcoming articles, I’m going to introduce you to some real-world agents, and share some of their stories with you. I’ll post live interviews with them and let you hear from their own mouths how they are using the internet to do well during these times. My hope is that you will be inspired and encouraged. You’ll get to see that this really is a great time to be in the real estate business, so stay tuned.

Did You Like This Article? If you did, please take a minute to check out this brand new technology offering from my company. Our LCM Gateway allows you to make 2-3 leads a day for less than the price of a cup of Starbucks! So if your practice could use a few more customers, this tool really is a no-brainer. Click here to learn more.

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