Spring has sprung, and “hungry” agents are scouring the earth for new business. Hunger pangs include intense cold-calling schedules, complicated email drip campaigns and glossy farming letters. Brokers are giving the annual “Let’s dominate the market and win” speech. Agents with “spring fever” are over-zealous, over-caffeinated and ready to give every client the best experience.

The problem?

The data is being over farmed in certain ZIP codes, and potential customers are being harassed. Last week, one homeowner took her story to the local press after receiving an estimated 75-100 calls from agents looking to sell her home based on information they received about her former expired listing. Which raises the question, how far is too far when it comes to prospecting?

Using tech to find leads

There are several companies selling “hot leads” to agents looking to pump up their pipelines outside of ZTR. There are many appealing packages and promises from which agents can choose. Before you grab your credit card, pause and review these tips to ensure that you are making the right choice for your pipeline.

The three Rs

1. Recon

Before you purchase any lead list, remember to research what you are purchasing. Is the company reputable? What is the source of the list?

No lead list is a magic solution. Read reviews from other agents. Ask for feedback in Facebook groups. Try and figure out how many other agents in your market are using the product. If there are 25 other agents in your office trying to cold call “x” amount of people a day — consider another method of prospecting.

2. Review

Check the terms of service and the cancellation policy. Many agents have had sour experiences from leads purchased from ZTR. In many cases, following the three Rs would have relieved their strife. Do not forget to check with your managing broker before you proceed. Are you familiar with your office’s do not call registry or prospecting policy? If not, stop!  Make sure you are not violating any state or federal disclosures.

3. Reality

Set realistic expectations for the leads. Internet leads and data lists will yield mixed results. Some agents will have stellar luck, others will completely fail. Leads are a gamble. You might have to try a few different zip codes to get the proper results. There are many variables that can interfere with the success of a lead. Timing, personalities, cheesy sales scripts, poor follow-up email campaign and mismatched expectations all can impact the conversion of a lead.

One last R — Respect

Whether you are immediately calling a Zillow lead or crafting up an “expired” direct-mailing campaign; make sure to factor in respect for your audience. Respect that they might have had a negative experience and they need a break from having their home on the market. Respect that someone was “just curious” about housing information. Respect that it might be six months before they are ready to make a move.

Stop trying to “get your money’s worth” out of every interaction with the people you are calling. It comes off as insincere and turns people off. Finally respect yourself. There are many different ways to generate business. Cold-calling on paid lead lists is just one of them. Not everyone fits the same prospecting mold. Respect yourself, and find one that matches your style and comfort level.

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.

Email Rachael Hite.

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