Top comments from our readers this week, compiled here in no particular order, touched on what makes teams tick, pricey markets for pay-per-click advertising, debunking the “magic pill” approach to lead generation, the nitty gritty of the buyer’s agent trenches and much more.

Frank Ortiz · Commented on Rascality, lies and kindness: 11 ways to handle sales calls | Inman

I used to work at a call center many years ago, and if someone hangs up, I would put “no answer” or “busy,” and they’ll get a call again in a few weeks.

My recommendation is to hear them out, and then say “thanks for your time. I’m just not interested. Do you mind removing me from your list?”

One that I’ve been using for the past couple of years is “thanks for calling but I’m a licensed assistant. I don’t do any business at all,” then they’ll say that they saw my listings and I just say that those are my family and friends. It has worked perfectly, and I don’t get too many calls anymore. Maybe 5 a week, instead of 5-6 a day!

It has worked perfectly, and I don’t get too many calls anymore. Maybe five a week, instead of five to six a day!

Gail Lammersen Belt · Commented on Why every agent should start as a buyer’s agent | Inman

Great article! I don’t completely agree, but certainly am in tune with most of it. Both buyer agents and seller/listing agents need to preview in person. Absolutely nothing replaces that.

Online viewing, understandably, means all you see are the home’s “good features.” Previewing in person lets you evaluate what online doesn’t. Does the back yard back to a freeway? Or slope so steeply there’s no place for kids to play? Are there pet/smoking/cooking odors, or whatever?

Is the home dated but so pristine it would be worth showing anyway? Are the neighbors’ homes attractive and well-cared for?

After previewing all homes in the general area in the general price range, a buyer agent will know quickly which to show. And if you are a listing agent you will have a realistic handle on the competition, and be able to pinpoint where your listing should be priced and how crucial is it to stage.

A new agent doing this will gain confidence. An experienced agent will gain expertise. In areas such as where we focus, with many dead-end streets that stop and start etc., it also helps a buyer agent learn the shortcuts, so you aren’t floundering when your buyer is with you driving to the listing. I started doing this too many years ago to count — as a rookie.

I rarely work with buyers anymore — younger members of The Belt Team are fantastic with them. But even with sellers, this kind of previewing is as essential as it is for buyer agents. Thanks for a great article!

Dean Soukeras · Commented on The power of paid search in 2016 | Inman

In NYC there are so many companies fighting over SEO that’s it’s so difficult to get that organic reach. PPC is a great way to get exposure, but in cities, like NYC, it can be very expensive.

A broker/brokerage can expect to spend upwards of $5 to $10 per click for the popular keywords. To make it work in this case, you have to use longtail keywords, which have lower volume but cost a lot less. PPC is a great tool but like any tool, you need to do some research to get the most out of it.

Beau Harding · Commented on Could real estate teams solve the agent quality problem? | Inman

As leaders on one of the Houston area’s top teams, I vouch for increased transparency and accountability within the team structure — these things are paramount to our team, The Kimberly Harding Group.

However, teams, much like individual agents, have their own ideas and goals of running a business – not all are focused on client service and professionalism. Some are more interested in having the most agents, while others are focused on the most transactions regardless of the quality of service provided to the client.

As a result, transparency, accountability and therefore service can easily be sacrificed depending on the goals of the team/agent.

I agree that teams offer a greater opportunity to oversee agent activities, encourage best practices, and thereby increase the overall value realtors provide to the public. However, those goals will only be optimized if the team leaders are dialed into the needs of each agent/staff member. The same responsibility rests with brokers, but on a much larger scale.

John Duncan · Commented on 4 core places you should be spending your lead generation budget | Inman

Thank you for this. Good stuff. In my office, I have the opportunity to teach and mentor new agents and they always come running to me asking what is the best lead gen source.

I always tell them, don’t spend one single nickel on lead gen until you have exhausted every opportunity with your sphere. Too many are looking for that magic pill, or silver bullet when their sphere is right there in front of them.

That and a boat load of cash that they’re leaving on the table and spending money that quite frankly most of them don’t have on things like ZTR.

Again, I’m not opposed to spending (investing) money in those things. Just don’t do it in lieu of working on your sphere.

Christina Ethridge · Commented on 4 core places you should be spending your lead generation budget | Inman

Our value as real estate agents has never been about the data… but we cling to that mythology – mostly as an excuse to not actually face the fact that we should be helping consumers and helping doesn’t mean giving them a list of homes to go look at.

Teri Pacitto · Commented on 12 things every new, retiring and second homebuyer should know | Inman

Good awareness article for those considering buying a home. As a real estate professional, I always conduct a thorough buyer interview and with that information choose the top 4 to 5 homes that meet my clients needs.

Typically, they choose one of those homes especially if they have told me what they want in a home. When a buyer spends too much time in a home that they have no intention of buying and talking about what they don’t like, it’s my job to pull them back to reality and another discussion on their needs and wants.

Either they don’t know or are not ready and a decision has to be made on continuing the process. Spending weeks showing buyers homes when they don’t know what means they need to drive neighborhoods, visit open houses until they make a decision at least on the area they want to buy. It’s a process and great results can be obtained if the buyer is serious.

Winnie Smith · Commented on Why relocation business can be so lucrative for agents | Inman

After many years in the “corporate” end of real estate management, I understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of relocation business. Most of the major companies require certification to work with their corporate relocation clients. This is important because one bad experience can mean the loss of a major client — like USAA or FPL.

Agents participating are given customers depending on their conversion ratios, willingness to take the lower priced or rental customers as well as the lucrative ones, and their cooperative attitude in response to update requests on the referral status.

The referral fees are high and require a higher level of service — area tours, assistance with acclimating the customer to a new area… What some agents don’t realize is that a good deal of the referral fee goes to pay for the relocation benefits the customer receives — closing costs, moving expenses.

That is one of the reasons why a relocation company steps in at the last moment. The relocating customer does not understand that they will lose those benefits if they do not work with an agent who agrees to pay the referral fee. Education of all parties is key!

In the end, relocation referrals can be lucrative if the agent understands what it involves. They typically do result in a closed sale; referrals from those customers do not include fees. If it is a listing referral, you can gain multiple buyers and hopefully at least one other listing from that one listing, repeat business is likely since you are forced to give exceptional service (which we should do anyway) and if you are working with an active relocation company/division, it is a reliable source of income.

Just don’t rely on it as your only source of business. When the market tanked, relocation dried up!

Jim Smoak · Commented on 6 steps to becoming a go-giver rather than a go-getter | Inman

Great article Bernice! Although there is a time and place for real-estate-oriented email campaigns or mailers, it has to be targeted to those who are “sniffing around,” or who would statistically benefit from it.

Our platform has several great RE-oriented marketing products, but if we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of thinking we should encourage agents to wallpaper the world with them.

We have to always keep ourselves grounded on our expectations of saturation to an agent’s database with these products. We have to communicate with our clients on what is important to them during every stage of our relationship with them. It’s not always about real estate to them.

Good stuff; thank you, ma’am!

Email Caroline Feeney.

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