One thing I want to always recommend to you if you own a website, pay the extra $15 for privacy protection at GoDaddy or your domain provider to protect your registration details. The privacy protection will hide your name, phone number and address from individuals and more importantly companies trying to figure out who owns a website.
To put this into context I currently own 27 Domain names with 17 at Go Daddy. When I started out in real estate I didn't realize what the privacy protection actually did until I started to receive call after call after call from people in Toronto who wanted to handle my internet marketing, or calls from real estate lead generating websites and then there were companies that wanted to be referral partners when I haven't even met them. The list of people who call and harass you is long, many of you can understand! The calls became almost non-stop, everyone looking for the next lead and the next person they can use their scripts on to convince you that you need their product or service.
My domain names at Go Daddy
I used to be a telemarketer.....24 years ago....
Talk about an absolutely frustrating and self degrading way to do business. I used to be a telemarketer back when I was 16 years old selling carpet cleaning for Sears and I swear I will never do it again! If you don't know, most companies that host domain names for websites will allow you to pay an extra premium to block your private information from the public; the privacy protection premium I spoke about above. Literally, some days I was getting 4-6 calls a day with questions like this:
"Where do you get your leads from?"
"Are you happy with your business?"
"Do you want the new (insert their service here) system for real estate leads?"
It never stopped. Telemarketer after telemarketer calling to see if they could use their script to convert me into a sale. If you own any domain names then that $15 is probably some of the best money you can spend if you dislike telemarketers like I do. $15 is definitely worth not having my name and phone number public, attached to my websites and available to these companies.
I just don't understand how people find this to be a good way to do business; annoying people, cold calling strangers and showing up at their home uninvited while door knocking. There is a reason that we have a No-Call list and many municipalities are beginning to outlaw door knocking too. The hard pressure sales environment that they create are unpleasant and an annoyance to society, hence why the No-Call list was created and the recent steps introduced by the Alberta government to not allow door-to-door energy sales.
Realtors use these same techniques
Why do realtors continue to conduct business this way? Harassing strangers by cold calling or door knocking and my new favourite, tricking consumers online to gather contact info so that they can call them. I doubt it is enjoyable working like this, having the phone slammed down in your ear and just picking it up to try again. Then, the salesperson tries to motivate themselves by saying something like "One more no is closer to a yes". Why would people want to be rejected like that all the time?
Are there not cues going off in the minds of the people that treat us like leads that what they are doing is wrong? One after the other we hang up on them, tell them to screw off or let them know we are not interested in their pitch yet they carry on with their script, speaking over us and pushing full force at our objection until we hang up. Some people just don't get it, yet the real estate industry is full of this. Most major real estate coaches promote some style of cold calling, door knocking or gathering of cold internet leads with the intent to call and harass these people.
In all honestly I much prefer having real conversations with people that I know, or who have been referred to me by a friend, instead of being annoying and calling people I do not know, or worse yet knocking on their door and interrupting them during their supper to beg for business. Those interactions aren't real conversations, they are a sales person harassing you and trying to overcome your objections by using scripts.
Unfortunately, many people in real estate feel to be successful that these are activities that you have to do, call your sphere of influence, annoy your friends, pester them for business; that's the main 'marketing plan' for so many realtors. How many leads did you talk to today? How many calls did you make?
What are the real estate coaches teaching realtors
Is that really why someone would become a realtor, to run a telemarketing company? Here's a screen shot I took last week of how many realtors look the general public, as the next lead to be converted... This is taken directly from one of the larger real estate coaching companies in Canada. I accidentally made the mistake of attending one of their seminars a couple years ago and now they never stop emailing me, begging for business. This is what real estate coaches are teaching realtors about how to look at you; as just a lead and a transaction to convert, to get more commission.
The sales pitches from industry coaching gurus goes something like this: Increase your Income up to 250%. At this event you will learn to double or triple your income. You'll learn how to:
1. Book more listing appointments
2. Generate leads
3. Handle objections
4. Protect and increase your commissions
5. Solutions to the NO Call List
6. Master your attitude.
Look at the screen shot below from the same marketing piece that was sent to me to get me to attend that seminar. "The Ultimate Lead Conversion System"..."Get the big money". This is all about the realtors, not about the people the realtors are working with, not about looking out for client's interests, it's all about the realtors 'converting' you to make themselves more money. Keep in mind there will likely be 2000-3000 of the 'top' agents in Western Canada at this seminar.
Seriously, this is what is sold as running a business in the industry. I particularly liked the point in the marketing called: "Solutions to the NO-Call List." How about we don't call the people that don't want to be called! They signed up for the NO-Call List, therefore don't call them! That seems like a great solution. Treating people like leads is not a long term strategy, I know when I see seminars like this that are marketed to realtors that I have nothing to worry about. I pride myself on building relationships with people and becoming friends with individuals first. I approach my business by building relationships with those I am working with; not the possibility of 'converting' someone to make more money. If I didn't work this way I suspect I may have not gotten to become friends with so many of the clients I have helped buy homes.
We should focus on relationships not leads
One thing I like about being a realtor is getting to meet new people all the time. Initially, I met Jon and Michelle on an ice climb in the Banff area called Urs Hole. I was there getting some quick climbing in late in the day and I crossed paths with them while they were descending. When we passed by each other we exchanged names and figured out we 'knew' of each from the climbing world. They knew that I was also a realtor and said that they wanted to chat about real estate in Calgary at some point. We decided to meet later in the week and we both went our separate ways. I finished the ice climb and they headed back to Calgary.
Fast forward two years and I have helped Jon buy his home in Calgary and have become close friends with both him and Michelle. If I was concerned about leads, commissions and making the next buck I doubt that we would be the friends we are today. I just don't talk about wanting to become friends with people it actually happens. Maybe it has something to do with helping people through stressful situations or maybe people appreciate some honesty in their lives but I can not think of anyone I helped find a home that I would not consider a friend.
The day Jon took possession of his home in Calgary.
Over the last couple of years I've gone out climbing with Jon and Michelle on numerous occasions and our passion for climbing has allowed us to get some pretty great pictures too. For those of you that don't know, in addition to being a realtor I am also a climbing photographer. Both Jon and Michelle are outstanding climbers and in December 2016 we managed to score the cover of the main climbing magazine in Canada, called Gripped.
That's my shot with Jon on the cover and Michelle down a bit lower just out of the frame.
I truly believe that if I was focused on numbers and 'leads converted' that I would have less of an opportunity to become friends with the people I am fortunate enough to work with. Building relationships with people takes time and trust, not something that is easily acquired. I don't spend time making cold calls and door knocking; annoying people, trying to convert them with the 'new special script that is guaranteed to convert'. This strategy gives me more time and energy to devote to looking out for the interests of the individuals I am working with.
I don't want to 'convert' people
Now I always pay the extra $15 for the privacy protection when registering new website names to avoid the onslaught of peopling calling to try and convert me into a sale. These sales practices might work well for some but I know that if I adopted the practices the real estate coaches suggest in those seminars; calling, nagging, pestering, or the strategy of many realtors, door knocking, telemarketing and a 'one size fits all news letter' then I would not get the opportunity to truly make new friends, like I did with Jon and Michelle.
If more realtors spent the time to really connect with their clients, actually connect and listen to them, then maybe they wouldn't need to spend so much time doing everything to get the next sale. Treating people as a number, as the next lead, while commoditising your services will never lead to long term success and is something I will never do. Maybe if realtors spent more time focusing on the people they are working with they would build long term lasting friendships. Until Friday, Have a great week!
If you are interested you can check out my climbing images at www.timbanfield.com or www.iceclimbingimages.com