This is a kind of follow up on some thoughts I had about Benn’s most excellent post yesterday, What is a Lead?
I don’t like the term “lead” and I encourage consumers not to become one. In general if a web site requires the user to give contact information just to search for homes chances are the consumers will become someone’s lead. They will dripped upon by lenders and Realtors looking for buyers and sellers. By “dripped upon”, I mean that spam that we call email campaigns.
Savvy consumers know this truth and don’t give their contact information away easily. When they come to my blog they read and search for homes for months, and then one day they sign up, or send me a note, or give me a call. I don’t go to them, they come to me.
Getting “leads” from the internet can be like a bad dream. I have not had very good luck with internet “leads” that are “captured” through lead capturing systems. If they really do want to buy or sell they tend to be a bit harder to work with than the people that I know, or the people who come to me through the blog. They require more follow through, and screening and are harder to convert into loyal clients.
Some of the sites that bring in “leads” frighten me. The people who have contacted me through those sites are not always the kind of people I even want to talk to let alone work with. Hate to mention this but not everyone that I have met on the internet is wonderful. There are crack pots, wack jobs, fruit cakes, predators and assorted kooks out there surfing the web and I don’t always want to be found by them.
Yesterday I got a lead from “MySpace” and decided to respond to it. I am not about how many “leads” I can get but more about meeting the people who live inside my computer and who are looking for me. This one is a “lead” and is interested in one of my listings. He is also looking for a lender. I gave him the contact information for a great lender and gave the lender a heads up that I don’t know this person. The lender sent a funny note back. He gets the “lead” thing too.
There are great ways to meet people on the internet and there are some not so great ways. Meeting people and winning business is as much about quality as it is about quantity. I guess I prefer to attract clients rather than “capture leads”.
I could include in this post a list of sites that generate leads that I don’t want but I won’t. In general they are sites where users have to sign up or sites where a zillion agents from all over the country hang out, or sites where members do not have to use their real names. They are big anonymous places where people can come and play without anyone knowing who they really are. Scary stuff if you ask me.
I realize I probably have the minority point of view on this topic but have been using the internet as a primary way to win business for many years and have learned a lot through my experiences both good and bad. I still experiment with social networks and they are not all equal. I gravitate toward the networks that have local groups and where member share a common passion or interest.