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There is a Down Side


The down side to blogging

Hard to imagine but there is a downside to writing blog posts especially on web sites and blogs that are read nation wide. I am noticing that I get more spam, mostly from people selling to the real estate industry. I also get more calls from sales people, who sell to the real estate industry.

They only call me on my cell phone, which is on the do not call list, while I am in my car. They comment on an article I wrote and then try to pitch their product

I am too easy to reach

To serve my real estate clients I need to be accessible. My accessibility on the internet has landed me a lot of business and some free publicity. Reporters have little trouble finding me. When they try to contact some of my peers it is just too much work so they move on.

I don’t hide my contact information because it is essential to my business model that I can be reached. The volume of email and phone calls is such that if I don’t make some changes it will put my out of business.

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There are entire days where I leave my phone on silent so it doesn’t drive me nuts. I am already nuts and I hear the phone ringing when it is turned off. I hear it ringing when I am sleeping too.

Just because I write, and because I have a blog and am easy to find should not be an open invitation to send spam and to call. They all tell me that they are special and they just want a moment of my time. I will be reporting all callers who violate the national do not call list. I understand the fine is fairly steep.

Please go away

As for the email I am not sure what to do. Most of my business comes through the internet and people need to reach me. If I make my spam blockers more effective I block out my clients. I have blocked entire domain names that belong to companies that don’t honor my repeated requests to opt out.

If I write about being busy or having too much email or too many calls I am contacted by sales people pitching products that are guaranteed to make my life easier. I can’t slow down the pace of my business right now, it isn’t in my best interests but my life would be easier if people would stop trying to sell me stuff.

There is Never a good time to talk to me

My daughter once made a statement to a telemarketer that I like very much. He asked would be a good time to call me. My daughter said there is no good time to call my mother. True statement, there really isn’t a good time to call to pitch your product. If you want my attention try something else. I don’t have any time to give you on the phone and resent paying for your calls to my cell phone while I am in my car trying to get to my next appointment.

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I wish that people selling to the real estate industry would learn to sell more like I do. I never send spam or drip email and I don’t call people yet they become my clients. They come to me when they need me, I don’t go to them. They find me because I make it easy to be found.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Ummm…Amen!, T.

    What if..a company that sells TO us actually decided to be Web 2.0? Seriously. How many can you name? grin. There’s only one that I know of and they create real estate websites and have an interactive forum that attracts a crowd…

    Amazing.

  2. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 1, 2008 at 5:14 am

    I think the sad reality is that there is so much turnover in the real estate industry, that a lot of those persons soliciting real estate agents are really trying to get to the newbies – so they can sell them something before they leave the business. The newbies don’t have a presence or ease of access to them – so they resort to spammy & high pressure marketing tactics, and end up getting everyone caught up in their nets.

  3. Kris Berg

    July 1, 2008 at 7:46 am

    (Thunderous applause).

  4. Cheryl Johnson

    July 1, 2008 at 8:30 am

    T, your clients find you and come to you because they realize they need your advice on some aspect of real estate.

    These clowns that are calling to pitch their stuff? You ain’t ~never~ gonna need what they’re selling, you know that, and they know that.

    But they call and push anyway, hoping to catch you in a weak moment. 🙂

  5. Kevin Sharkey - IBR Broker

    July 1, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Good Morning Teresa,
    The price of fame is that everyone wants to make a living off your coat tails. You wouldn’t have this problem if you were just a mere mortal like the rest of us.

    But I agree with you that the “push marketing” employed by the parasitic vendors will not work in a web 2.0 world. It’s not effective and is more than just a little annoying. Perhaps they should read more Seth Godin and change they way they market themselves.

  6. Norm Fisher

    July 1, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I have reached a point where I just terminate sales calls (hang up). It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it quickly. 🙂

    At one point, I was receiving several hundred “spam” emails daily and had to change addresses. I felt really ripped off, but I did it. Now I use forms on my website and I’ve found it’s really helpful. Most won’t take the time to contact you if they can’t add you to a “list.” Those that do submit the form hit my blacklist quickly and I never hear from them again.

  7. Marc Grossman

    July 1, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Teresa, I’m no where’s near to you in your stature, but I can wholly understand what you’re saying and where you are coming from. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you say, they’ll keep on calling. I wish it were easier to report them to the DNC!

  8. Frank Jewett

    July 1, 2008 at 10:00 am

    There is more than a little irony in real estate agents complaining about sales calls.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    July 1, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Frank – I am not getting the irony. I don’t make sales calls, never have, I don’t send spam. There are better ways to market my services.

  10. Frank Jewett

    July 1, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Teresa, maybe you don’t, but I’ll bet most agents are going to agree with you even though they do. It’s rare, as in less than 10%, that I meet an agent who doesn’t resent the “do not call” list. Another popular agent complaint is clients trying to get them to reduce their commission or trying to take advantage of them for free services. Have you ever tried to get a vendor to give you a discount?

    I liked Kellie’s earlier suggestion to take the I out of Blog for one week.

  11. Mack in Atlanta

    July 1, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Teresa, I think you have chosen to make your “Sales Calls” through your writing skills. Every time you publish an article or a post you are advertising your services and expertise, you just don’t have to worry about the do not call list doing it your way. I just wish I had your writing skills.

  12. Jonathan Benya

    July 1, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Good points with the telemarketers. I had 2 calls today, one from eperks, and another from a company that builds websites. Their sites average half the traffic mine does, and mine is free. Kinda makes it hard for these “technology” companies to compete when bloggers can pull bigger numbers on their own than these jokers can provide.

  13. Holly White

    July 1, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Well said Teresa! I’ve been thinking the same thing the last several years. And no matter how many times I tell “Redzee” for example, to forget about me and my site and my phone number, an hour later I get another call from a different rep. I have enough going on with my real estate business than to be spammed by telemarketers. I answer my phone 99% of the time it rings, which is a blessing and curse. Talk about not having a life, but I can’t take the chance on that one phone call coming in from someone who’s been cruising my site and is ready to buy a $1M house, so I continue to answer my phone as I always do and politely tell those telemarketers the same thing over and over again: get lost ….please. 🙂

  14. Eric Bouler

    July 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I have been lucky as the spam filter gets almost all the spam. I never post my cell and all the calls go to my private line. Clients call my cell and a few agents. Most people learn to leave a message. I may miss a sale but its for sanity and concentration with the client.

    Maybe someone will devise a way to charge people to call.

  15. Matthew Rathbun

    July 1, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Whistling and cheering! I am beginning to use one of my e-mail accounts for my social media and another for the consulting. The Social Media e-mail, I check once at night and the other throughout the day… Wish there was something else we could do.

  16. Paul Eastwood Real Estate Marketing

    July 1, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    One tip I found to stay out of contact a bit more was to hide the registrar information for my domain name – telemarketers were using it when my site became popular to call and pitch me all sorts of things. It was frustrating, and a lot of times your hosting company makes it easy to hide.

  17. Bill Lublin

    July 1, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    T I get this a lot also because we have a large company. When they call me Bill, I ask them if we’ve met. When they say no, I respond, then please call me Mr. Lublin – they get so thrown off that they don;t know whether to spit or go blind –
    Just treat ’em as an entertainment opportunity – after all, they do what we do and they’re only prospecting- and they might have something interesting sometimes 😉

  18. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    T – It’s a double-edged sword! We need to be found and at times, we don’t want to be. I usually hang up on them if they do not accept my first, “I am not interested”.

  19. Dan Connolly

    July 1, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    It’s a real problem. I am very quick at deleting email, but I still spend at least 30 minutes a day deleting spam. I have tried spam filters but then I find myself having to check the junk email folder anyways in case something slips through……which it invariably does.

    Telemarketers, on the other hand, I say (in a nice voice) something like, “thanks but I just don’t have the time to talk to you right now,” and then I hang up. period. If they call back, I let them have it!

    I am working up a letter I can cut and paste to agents telling them to please not send me flyers on their listings, it will start out nice and end up threatening to file spam reports if they ignore me. Someone is selling lists of agents email addresses around hear pretty cheaply and I am noticing more and more of those. I probably get 20 a day.

  20. Howard Provence Property

    July 2, 2008 at 3:56 am

    How about having a second or more throwaway email address from the likes of hotmail, google or yahoo for site submissions and the like?
    The spam filters are quite good on some of these too!

  21. Ken Smith

    July 2, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Telemarketer calls decreased drastically when I made my domain registration “private”. This simple step makes it so the caller actually has to visit my website, not just run a program to find the domains of top ranking websites and then pull the contact data from the registrar.

    As a side note business phone numbers are excluded from the do not call list. It would be very easy for any company to argue that as you market that phone number for business purposes that it’s a business phone number.

    #14 – Can I register my business phone number or a fax number?

    The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. Business-to-business calls and faxes are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry.

    You can read more details at the Q&A page of ftc.gov

    BTW, Yes I hate the calls also, but they are actually probably playing within the rules.

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