It’s the beginning of the century, all over again. Do you remember back in 2000-2004 when real estate vendors everywhere were selling real estate agents on how much traffic was visiting the websites they designed? Or how many impressions an image was getting online?

  • Lame excuses justifying smarmy marketing behavior ruin your reputation. Be accountable.
  • Many vendors are selling to your ego and not giving you what will actually produce closings.
  • Change your mindset, and you’ll change your results. Develop the habit of questioning everything.

It’s the beginning of the century, all over again. Do you remember back in 2000-2004 when real estate vendors everywhere were selling real estate agents on how much traffic was visiting the websites they designed? Or how many impressions an image was getting online?

But then, we realized that website traffic and image impressions meant nothing. In fact, if there weren’t other metrics in addition to those, they were useless.

But, we still willingly plunked down our money and bought into the hype of traffic and impressions, didn’t we. Oh yes, we did.

It’s happening all over again

This time, it’s social media. And we real estate agents are falling for it again. Apparently, history just doesn’t matter to most of us. George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The weird thing is, common sense and a little questioning save us from falling into these traps. But we don’t question — anything.

We are in Facebook groups where real estate agents share what isn’t working for them, and yet, when questioned — usually by someone that that thing is working for — it’s very obvious that the person saying “it doesn’t work” didn’t do what was necessary to get it to work.

He or she didn’t put in the research, didn’t develop a strategy or didn’t commit to it long enough. In other words, they didn’t really attempt to implement it.

But what happens is, the agent who says it does work is not believed. Mostly because it takes work. Sometimes serious work, time and money. And most importantly, it takes learning and understanding to make it work.

Enter direct mail. A perfect example of this very thing. Agents say it doesn’t work, but in reality, they haven’t tried it. Sending a one-time piece, or even two pieces, is not “trying it.” Sending a piece once a month for six months isn’t “trying it.” (I could go on forever about this.)

But — and this is a massive but — when an agent comes along and says some random, one-hit-wonder thing works, other agents clamor after it.

Again, they do this without analyzing whether the agent is telling the truth or even analyzing to see what made it work and what will it keep working. Is it viable? Is it worth trading time for?

We are so desperate for the silver bullet or the get-rich-quick train that we are idiots when it comes to seeking out solid, long-term methods and integrating them into our business. We prefer not to implement things that work, and we follow the crazy train on the one-offs. We decide in the moment, without any real data, to form an opinion, and we hold fast and furiously to that opinion.

So what’s happening now?

There is a big gravy train when it comes to social media and agents. And I’ve got news for you — vendors are taking advantage of you, big time.

Now, I firmly believe that the majority of these vendors have no idea they are bilking you. Why? Because they are simply following the crowd and providing their solution to a need that the industry is expressing.

What’s the problem with that? Their solution doesn’t work — like, ever. But we as agents buy into it because we don’t know any different. Why doesn’t it work? Because it’s not really a need.

Agents don’t put in the effort

We refuse to take the time to research and study social media.

We are so gung-ho to outsource that we just throw money at a challenge and then hope and pray it works. If you want a successful real estate business, you’ll stop doing that immediately.

Vendors are claiming things like “thousands of views” or “hundreds of clicks” or “guaranteed reach,” and we don’t go deeper. We don’t question anything. We don’t even make the connection between these claims and the closing table.

If we can’t make the connection through tangible, trackable methods, there is no connection.

That’s right. Running an ad on social media must have a tangible, trackable connection between the ad and the closing table. It must be trackable. If it’s not, you are wasting your money.

Are those views, clicks or reach getting through to actual people? Are they people who need us or want to use us? Do those views, clicks or reach get people to the closing table?

You see, “thousands of views, hundreds of clicks and guaranteed reach” all sound really good, but in reality, they mean absolutely nothing.

I mean, who doesn’t like seeing that 15,000 people saw one of your listings on Facebook. It sounds awesome.

The sellers will love it — unless, of course, the sellers know “views don’t sell.” If you work with savvy sellers, they’ll know immediately that quantity doesn’t matter.

But let’s get real: Did 15,000 buyers actually see that listing? Nope. Not even close.

Of the proclaimed 15,000 people who saw that listing, you must ask yourself:

  • How many of them were viable?
  • How many were even old enough to sign a contract?
  • How many of them live in your area?
  • How many of them are financially able to buy a house?
  • How many of them want to buy a house?
  • How many of them are in the right income bracket to buy that house?
  • How many of them are interested in that house?

When we focus on the idea that “just get it in front of as many people as possible” is a viable way to sell a house, we have no clue what we are doing. We are following the herd and expecting to get results.

In reality, the proclamations of guaranteed views, clicks and reach are all a sham. They are appealing to your ego; they are appealing to what they (and you) think is important. But none of these things are important.

The term “views” does not mean:

  • Unique views
  • Seen by real people
  • Targeted traffic
  • Leads
  • More leads

More views doesn’t mean more leads

Don’t get caught up in the hype and the lies we tell ourselves. In fact, views do not mean action — and you want action. You want action from the right people — period. The bigger issue is that we, as agents, aren’t aware of what’s important and what will instigate action.

I hate to break it to you, but quantity means nothing. We lie to ourselves when we retain the thought process that we just need to get our listings (or even worse, our face along with “world’s best real estate agent”) in front of as many eyeballs as possible. In fact, we use that statement to justify spamming Facebook groups with our listings and open houses.

I constantly hear the “casting the blame” excuse that “well, you never know where your next deal is going to come from.” Yes, that’s a lame excuse, and it makes you sound like a crappy real estate agent.

Stop with the excuses

Stop using lame excuses; they make you look like an unethical idiot.

Do you want to change the reputation of real estate agents with the public? Then you have to stop acting like an uneducated newbie.

Strong language? Absolutely! Own your actions. Own your business. Know exactly what will bring you business and build your business — and own every action you take. Don’t make excuses for behavior that you know, in your gut, is unacceptable.

We have ridiculously low conversion rates in our industry because we keep perpetuating this lie that it’s all about getting anything in front of anyone’s eyeballs. It’s not about the views; it’s about the conversions, and having more views does not mean more conversions.

In fact, it means throwing more money and more time but retaining the same ridiculously low conversion rate.

Stop believing in lies

We have got to stop believing the myth that the more people who see a listing means the more likely we are to find a buyer.

In fact, you are simply competing against money. He who has the most money to reach the most people will win — or so we think. Again, lies.

The truth is that he who has the ability to reach and serve the right person first will win. This is not the same thing as reaching as many people as possible. Quality trumps quantity. Every single time. Quantity does not equal quality, and quality is the most important.

The busiest, most outwardly vibrant Facebook business pages are not usually the most successful. This seems to surprise people. Now, they might be seen as the most successful when you rate them according to likes, reach and engagement, but they are often the front facade to a financially poor page owner.

So what am I getting at?

I’m saying, stop running after seemingly easy silver bullets, and question the silver bullet proclamations. Question vendors. If they can’t clearly explain their proclamations and back them up with solid data (whether their own or a valuable source) and case studies of closings, they don’t know what they are doing, and they are taking your money to throw it at the wall. Do your own research.

And, when they share case studies, question everything.

  • What measures did that case study already have in place?
  • Is the agent being truthful with the numbers?
  • Can you duplicate that agent’s success?
  • Do you have the same measures in place?
  • What do you need to do to change or duplicate the results?

This is a primary reason I wrote “The 4 core places you should be spending your lead generation budget.” I didn’t recommend this product or that one. Instead, I said to step outside of the industry and educate yourself.

It’s not about the product. It’s about how that product works in the overall business building strategy. Does it capture, convert or close leads, or does it just get your name out there?

This isn’t about poo-pooing everything; this is about questioning everything from a knowledge, research and truth perspective, not from a fantasy perspective.

What’s a fantasy perspective?

I mean those of us who want a reason something doesn’t work, along the lines of, “oh, they are just lucky” or “oh, his dad was an agent” or any other ridiculous reasons we give not to be introspective and face our own failings and self-created limitations. Avoid that thinking. That’s not what I’m saying to do when I say to question vendors.

So, don’t allow vendors to hook you into throwing your money at things that simply do not work. Do your research. And remember, they often fully believe that what they are selling you works. If it’s something that you just pay and they implement, the odds are, it doesn’t actually work.

I mean, come on, you are investing your time and money into your real estate business, and if you want to be successful, you must, must, must understand exactly the what, why and how in what you are doing.

As a training benefit for you, I created a Facebook page setup checklist. You can use the checklist to make sure your Facebook business page is set up in its best lead generation capacity.

Click here to access the Facebook Page Setup Checklist

Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert, and close Facebook leads.

Email Christina Ethridge.

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