Lead Generation Companies for Real Estate Agents

real estate lead generation
Advent of the “lead generation” companies for real estate agents and Realtors.

Real Estate Syndication Lead Generation Companies

You may know some real estate lead generation companies by the names Zillow / Trulia and others. They are not real estate brokerages (yet), they are companies who have been built around the premise that a real estate agent would pay them to obtain leads of those who wanted to buy or sell real estate.

Zillow and Trulia built a better machine. They made what existed – refined it and even came up with a new way of attracting those who wanted to buy and or sell real estate.

When the Multiple Listing Services via the Boards of Realtors, at least some of them, did not want to give the MLS listings to Zillow and Trulia, they came up with a “work around”. They went to the “true initial owner” of the real estate listing, the real estate broker/company. Some agents view their brokerages as having sold them out by giving the real estate syndication websites the data feed for their agent’s real estate listings.

They hit them up and they are the ones, in some cases, who are feeding Zillow and Trulia with the real estate listings to “republish” and attract leads in the form of real estate buyers and sellers so they can monetize them. Big Money exists in this business model of Real Estate buyer/seller lead generation.

That data, the information gathered about buyers and sellers of real estate and homes, does not stop after it’s given to the real estate agent. In most cases, the real estate agents may not be able to ‘convert” the client. By “converting”, I mean get that scraped lead to use said agent who is paying for the personal and private information of said real estate client. You cannot even buy a loaf of bread for a reasonable price without having to give up who you are…

Appointment Setting Lead Generation Companies

(new stuff) – The lead is continued to be tracked and then sold to “other companies”. I’m venturing to say that there are companies who have been built and developed, which have hired people, telemarketers, who are much better at converting real estate clients. Instead of them selling cold leads, they buy the cold leads and warm them up.

They use fancy algorithms and track the data as it has been dialed down to a granular level.

After the lead is warm to hot, they sell that lead at more of a premium. They have built a website, business model and hired a “calling company” to contact local real estate agents and ask them the question if they work more with buyers of homes or sellers in “Santa Clarita” – “Fill in your city name”.

Agents are easy to find, if they are online, which most are, just googling a local city with the words real estate will give you the marketing list for these “re-purposers” of online real estate leads generated by the real estate syndication companies.

These “second level” real estate lead generation and appointment setting companies have some top shelf telemarketers. Their professionalism and training level remind me of the auctioneer companies hired by the United States Secret Service and United States Marshals when I worked as armed security for their auctions back when I was LAPD. These auctioneers were so good they could get the crowd worked up in a frenzy paying $500.00 for a $21.00 trim-line phone available from Walmart.

Best Agent and Top Realtor Lead Generation Companies

Another type of real estate lead generation company is scraping the net to obtain leads by going directly to the consumer who is searching for “BEST and TOP” real estate agents.

Only get referred to the best agents – they tout. Maybe these are the best agents who are willing to pay them?  🙂

They are also investing, as the other real estate lead generation companies are, in massive amounts for PPC – pay per click – campaigns. Considering “massive”, not too much to make it a Zero Sum Game…  They are making plenty from real estate agents and real estate brokerages who are paying them for leads.

Ranking for the keyword phrase “real estate in santa clarita” is hard. It did not used to be. However, Zillow has a blog platform agents are more than willing to bang out keystrokes on. Trulia has “questions” to answer which agents are more than happy to work on. These actions by real estate agents only make Zillow and Trulia stronger and harder to compete with on the ground.

I have written over 10,000 blog articles for real estate and I have a hard time, with all my good fox hole attained intel, scratching page 2 of Google for some of the top real estate keywords for Santa Clarita Real Estate.

Joining and Cost – How do Lead Gen Companies make Money?

Some of these companies make money per month per agent willing to pay them for leads. Most have a minimum contractual time frame. Let’s say 1 year. If that contract is violated by the real estate agent they get hammered in various ways for breech of contract.

Other companies charge up front fee’s then additional referral fee’s on the back end per lead and per the leads that close escrow. In order to get money on the back end for each specific closing, the “lead generation” company has to have a Real Estate License, at least in the state of California. If the referral or lead generation company does not have a real estate license, $50.00 would be the maximum – Not 35-50% of the real estate agents commission. (of course, they have a real estate brokers license).

Some real estate lead generation companies only get paid if the real estate agent closes the transaction.

Some are exclusively selling percentages of zip codes. LOL – for the agent’s benefit – forget what you were taught in school about 100% being maximum – they sell multiple 100%’s per zip code 🙂

Some real estate generation companies are brokerages who tout discounts and rebates for those who “go through them” to find a local agent.

The only reason why these companies are in business is because real estate agents are paying them.

At the end of the day most agents seem to think they are necessary and without them they, the agents, will starve.

I have heard from many of our real estate clients that they have been hammered by agents after “said client” up their personal information online. Their personal and private information having been sold to more than one agent. Then, if that agent could not close them, their personal and private information was being sold again to some other type of Lead Generation Company.

Are the Real Estate Lead Generation Companies here to stay?

I can hear agents screaming a resounding “NO!!!” – However, they aren’t going to go anywhere for a while. In fact, I’d suspect the natural evolution is for them to become brokerages, in the cases where they are not.

They will then open local offices and hire local agents. Redfin, a discount brokerage, where they don’t have a local “boots on the ground” offices, have a “redfin” only agents referral system.

Zillow and Trulia(one in the same) – they may have Zillow Real Estate Brokerages for sale soon. As they may use the Trulia brand to do the same capturing more of the available real estate market.

RE/MAX – Century 21 – Keller Williams – These are full service real estate companies, not boutiques and not lead generation real estate companies.

Buying and selling real estate involves hundreds of thousands of dollars in most markets. There are a lot of moving parts in the processes of real estate. There are many different entities involved within a single transaction. The seasoned agent is invaluable in the coordination of all aspects of the real estate transaction. In California, a typical real estate file is over 1.5 inches thick. While that file is condensed into a file located on the cloud, that’s a lot of paperwork that has to be “or should be” explained by a professional Realtor, line by line, verse by verse,  and chapter by chapter…

It’s going to be up to you

I don’t mind getting called from the other side of the world by a company who hired a telemarketer to sell me on their product. This includes the call I received today from a Real Estate appointment setting lead generation company, the lady was calling from the Philippines (I asked). It sounded fishy, so I redialed the number and a local person, BILL, picked up the phone. He was trained, refined and a top level telemarketer-salesperson. I declined his service for appointment setting real estate listing meetings. Their fee was up front, per lead and also they are a real estate brokerage, so they were also rewarded with a percentage of my earned commission after closing.

I’m sure there are many agents willing to pay Bill’s company and other’s like them. As I said, he was good and I told him so.

At the end of the day, most of our real estate clients become our friends. The world is not too large to have many friends. I help my friends, not sell my friends….

That’s my two cents – maybe that is my old fashioned way shining through. If real estate goes the way of the travel agent, (which I still have one – she is awesome and coordinates everything), if it does, I’ll be a Good Personal Realtor that people will continue to rely on for that “personal, experienced and protective” touch.

Update – one of the facebook groups which I was a member of, from which I removed myself, said this post was self promotional. I’m not sure I get that – but, the San Diego agent saw it as he saw it.

Just so you totally get this – I’m a Realtor. I sell houses. I was speaking about Lead Gen companies and the amount of distrust they are responsible for.  So saith the Psalm.. Have an awesome Day and thanks for taking the time to read and to share.

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Connor MacIvor

Top REMAX Realtors in the Santa Clarita - Valencia and Greater Los Angeles areas. Local Real estate agents specializing in buyer and seller consultation and representation.

2 Responses to “Lead Generation Companies for Real Estate Agents”

  • Mark Toon

    Written on

    Thank you Connor for your valuable insight into the truth about online lead gen. I offer it in my company to my agents through two platforms, (they pay for it). But, what happened to good old sales techniques? Cold calling, knocking on doors, face to face, direct mail, open houses, referrals, etc.? It’s still there and that is the best way to make it in this business. However, today’s new agent wants that cold lead in their inbox or texted to their phone! So be it. Thankfully, most of my agents are still making money the old fashioned way.

    Reply
    • Connor MacIvor

      Written on

      You are a breath of Fresh Air Brother Mark. You nailed it on so many different levels. Nothing beats the “old ways” – I suppose that is why I love watching Glen Garry and Glen Ross so often. Not to deceive, but showing how hard work prevails. Thanks for your comment Mark – BTW, if I were going to relocate – I’d look you up. I happen to love the Mesa Area. I did a ride along with the Chief of Police when I was a newer LAPD cop. It was nice…

      Reply

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