Interview With a Master Real Estate Lead Generator Mike Pannell

Lead Conversion
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Today we’re talking to Mike Pannell about lead generation, lead conversion and what it takes to be successful as a real estate broker and agent.

Some of the things we talked about:

  1. Why some agents don’t make it
  2. Why internet leads are a big opportunity
  3. The importance of systems
  4. Why some agents crush it in their 2nd year and onwards
  5. Why it’s important to control your own website
  6. How Mike generates thousands of leads a month using Google targeting the long tail

If you found this interview useful please go to Facebook and thank Mike for sharing. Mike’s website is


Dan: Tell me a little bit about yourself. I know you are a real estate broker and owner in Texas. You are obviously quite good at lead generation. How many agents do you have? I know you have a couple of offices, and you’re obviously quite successful in the business side of it as well.

Mike: Right now we have, I think, there’s 25 agents. We try to keep the right ones. We’ve had up to 32 agents. We try to keep the good ones that likes to do it the way we want it to be done, and actually do follow the system. We have a system in place we like our agents to follow.

We do have three offices. We have one in San Antonio. The one where I’m at is Dallas, Fort Worth, and then, we are working on opening up Houston. We just put the website live even though it’s not near complete just to try to get somewhat of what we got on there indexed, so we can build it as we’re going.

A couple of my agents moved from here to San Antonio to run that office for me, some of my better agents. The same thing happened in Houston. So they said, “Hey, we’re going to move out here and get us something going.” So that’s what I’m doing.

Dan: Fantastic.

Mike: Everything we do is based on the web. We do not do any local marketing per se. So everything is basically build the website to generate leads.

Dan: Yeah. That’s really your whole marketing strategy for lead generation?

Mike: Yes. I dump everything I can, any kind of profit at all goes into the internet. I mean I spend thousands and thousands of dollars every month to internet marketing. You know SEO; I do a lot of internet blogging. I do a lot of it myself. I finally just pushed some of the duties off on-I finally hired an SEO to do some things for me just because it’s getting to be too much. Up until September we’ve been running five different websites in the Dallas, Fort Worth area.

It got to where it was just so unmanageable trying to control all five websites and make sure they all ranked. So what I’m going through now kind of [inaudible 02:19] a lot just because I’m trying to-what I did on September 1, I combined everything into one huge site, and now I’m just waiting out Google to get all of those pages indexed, and actually get my leads back.

It gets pretty hard on leads because we were somewhere around 80 a day, 60 to 80 a day, somewhere in that range, and right now we are lucky to get 30. That’s just part of that seasonal because we really have a seasonal market here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They really start buying and start looking around January 15 or so, and they go through about September 15th or so, after school starts, and then it kind of gets dead. We kind of got hit by both of them there. The site going live and then, also the season market.

Dan: All right. And why did you decide to roll them all into one? What was the sort of mindset behind that?

Mike: Yeah. It’s more manageable. The people that build my websites, they’re kind of expensive. So when you did one thing, you had to do it five times. So I would rather do it one time and do more to keep my website with the newest technology and all that, I mean to keep it up to date.. It’s a lot more manageable with one. I mean, it’s easier. I don’t have to go into five different back-ends, or four different back ends, or whatever it was, to control things. I can just do it one time.

I had the agents separate off the site, so they didn’t really have to, they weren’t going from site to site. They each had one site. For them, it was manageable, they don’t really know the difference. But for me, I have to go in there and remove leads or keep the leads clean-because I try to keep the leads as clean as possible. It was just a nightmare.

Dan: Yeah, I can imagine.

Mike: The good thing is that I have it all on auto-assign. As soon as leads come in, they get auto-assigned. That’s the really hiccup now is because one site, Dallas Fort Worth is so big. I mean some places it’s an hour and a half to get across from one side to another, two hours. Not all agents want to travel from one side to the other. With it going to one site, they might get a lead on the other side of town.

I’m trying to refine a ZIP Code assigner to make so it’s a little easier. There are a lot of pluses. There are some minuses, like I said, you do get pretty hard with your rankings, and you have to kind of build all that back up. I’m sure it won’t be another 30 days, 45 days, I won’t be missing a lick. I just got to get it built back up. The good thing is that I went to one of my oldest domains that was nine years old. The domain is not new, so it’s not really going [be a problem]. It’s just that when you drop 6,500 pages on it overnight. Google kind of freaks out a little bit.

Dan: Yeah. It takes a little bit, like you said to reset it, and reindex all your pages or whatever it is.

Mike: Well, I just have to get, like I said, with all the manageable stuff, I can watch my agents. I watch my agents like a hawk. I really make sure they are doing it correctly. We have minimums that they have to do, or they won’t get leads. The minimums are whatever the agent should do. I still have some agents that don’t do anything. I have one that’s done two all year and I’ve got one that will do almost 50 this year. It’s all internet business for the most part. They do a few personal business, but they don’t do the marketing themselves because they don’t have to. I do it all for them, for the most part.

Dan: That’s awesome. You just mentioned minimums. What kind of minimums would you enforce for people you are giving these leads to? Is it in terms of the number of calls they make?

Mike: Well, no. They have to close a minimum of 12 buyer or seller leads every year. That’s only one a month. The average agent in the Dallas/Fort Worth area does four. Like I said, I mean, doing one a month, if you’re getting 90 to 100 leads, shouldn’t be a problem. Even if you’re just barely following up, you should have one fall into your lap, even if you’re just sitting not doing anything.

Like I said, I still have people that don’t do that. It really depends on the person. I have one guy that closes four to five average every month. It just depends on how they want to work them, and how they’re doing it. Like I said, we are right on the verge of that, you know, we’re kind of maxed out where we are. So I have to figure out what I am going to do next to get to the next level. That’s kind of
where I’m sitting at.

We’re going to do somewhere around 200 transactions on the buyer/seller side this year, which is about 80 more than we did last year. But I’m thinking that if the market continues to improve, I think we will be able to do 300 next year, just depending on how the website, and the rankings come back, and things like that. But I’m thinking I can do 300 next year.

Dan: Yeah. It definitely seems like you have the leads in place, like the lead system, to be doing those numbers.

Mike: The people that build our stuff, they really take a lot of our feedback in. There are a lot of things our system does and a lot of stuff I’ve done custom to it to make it do what I want it to do. Like I said, if you just get your people working correctly, it’ll do most
of the work for you.

Dan: And that is Real Estate Webmasters, right?

Mike: Yeah, Real Estate Webmasters. REW. They do a really good job. It’s a little expensive for the average agent. But it does a lot of the stuff you preach on your website too, our system does, which is good. Because I’ve been reading your blog a little bit and just trying to figure out if there are any tips that I can add to mine because I’m always trying to adjust the follow-up and teach them how to do follow-ups. I read a little bit of everything everywhere.

Dan: Absolutely. I love those guys. They definitely have a great product. Like you say, it’s probably a little bit out of the price range of what some people can spend. What made you go with them, may I ask? A lot of people are up for a WordPress, a Diverse Solutions and an IDX broker. I’m interested in hearing your reasons.

Mike: Well, the reason why I went with them is because I’m not a coder. I don’t want to spend the time sit there and try to code things. When I first started this thing I was out selling. So, I don’t want to learn code. I like their ease of use. There’s still a learning curve and once you figure it out, you can get pretty good at it. I’m not that into technology or coding to sit there and try to recode. And I really don’t like the way some of those other ones look. I don’t like the way they appear.

I’d rather let a professional do it, pay a professional to do it, that does it, and does it on a high scale like they do. I don’t know how many customers they’ve got, but I would say probably 1,000 all over the United States or more. They might have 400 or 500 in Florida.

I’ve always been under the you get what you pay for. So if you’re willing to pay for it, you’re going to get something good. That’s not all the same to be said for a lot of companies out there that charge you a bunch and then don’t anything for you. There’s a lot of them out there.

But I like the way it looks. I’m just a fan. I’ve become a fan real early on, I’ve been with them about six or seven years, and when you’ve been with them that long, it’s hard to leave if you wanted to anyway. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands on these websites. It’s something you do every year or every other year to keep up.

Dan: Your site definitely looks amazing. Just clicking around on it and looking at all the way they have displayed the photos and the information, If I was a buyer this is just the kind of site I would like to use. It’s really easy. I think these kinds of sites are really competitive with these other big portals, whereas . . .

Mike: That’s what I try to do. You can buy a REW site, and it can be the hardest thing to get around. I mean, I see it all the time. That’s one thing I do is I spend a lot of time on other people’s websites. I go look, and I find things, especially your Trulias and your Zillows, and you’ve probably [read] this a hundred times is go look what they’re doing and then try to make it better.

A lot of agents don’t do that; they try and reinvent the wheel. Those, Trulia, Zillow, and, they all spend tons and tons of money on marketing – why not take what they’re doing and try to make it better if you can, or try to do what they’re doing at least.

Dan: Exactly. At least look at what they’re doing and try to match them.

Mike: They’re spending money that I don’t have. They’re spending millions of dollars on marketing, tests, and studies that I don’t have. So I’m going to use what they’re doing and try to make it better. But it’s like I said, you can go buy a REW website, and there are many out there that they’ve never done nothing with. I’ve got people, to be honest with you, that I’ve gotten rid of that worked for me that think they can do it better than me. They went and bought them and guess where they are at? Nowhere.

Dan: It’s not a magic bullet, like everything.

Mike: I’ve got into it a couple of times on these tech forums because they are in there talking about how bad they are. It’s because everybody’s looking out there, every agent out there is looking for that magic bullet. They are looking for something, “Oh, if I do this, I’ll automatically rank” that’s not the case.

I literally for that last, I don’t know. When did I start doing this? On this new site, I started sometime in August-no. probably the middle of July. They gave me access to the site on August 1st, but I already had a lot of the stuff done. I started sitting up from 6:00 in the morning, 6:30 in the morning, working until after midnight almost every day to get it to go live September 1.

Dan: Oh, wow.

Mike: You have to spend that time on it. Right now, like I told you today, I’m working through the bounce rate. My bounce rate is awful high, but I’ve figured out it’s not my problem, the bounce rate. It’s where they’re coming in on the sales cycle. It’s killing me right now because the way I rank. I’ve been really trying to figure out how to get that bounce rate down, and one thing I did the other day is I added a couple of [inaudible 13:48] at the top, and it dropped [inaudible 13:49] bounce rate in half. So I know I’m working in the right direction. It’s a constant tweak. You can’t just put it up, and think “Oh maybe I’ll get a lead and maybe I won’t”. That’s what a lot of people do. That’s what a lot of people do. It’s also a constant money suck.

Dan: Yeah, I think that’s a big issue you touched on. A lot of people out there are buying a lot of monthly services for their websites or CRMs, or it doesn’t really matter. They’re buying all kinds of different things, but it really comes down to what you do with it. Not just you bought it and then you’re hoping it’s going to produce leads.

Mike: Yeah, they call it an online business card. Most people, that’s all they do is they get a website and it’s an online business card. It’s two to three pages, four pages, five pages, and they think that’s the bomb. The site that I currently have in Dallas/Fort Worth has a little under than 7,000 pages, and every one of them is a page that I or somebody on my team or something made, or helped me make. I’m a big believer in niche marketing, going after the long tails. Everybody thinks that is a new thing, but I’ve been going after long tails for years. You’ve got to have something for everything. You’ve got to have the time to do it for one, but you’ve got to have something.

That’s where that REW system really comes in because it allows you to go after that kind of stuff. You don’t have to rank number one for Dallas real-estate. I’m not looking for the six-month to year-out buyer; I’m looking for the now buyer, the 30-day buyer or 60-day buyer, somewhere in that range. That’s what I really target. I know my agents kind of lack in the follow-up department for the most art.
There are some that are really good, but most of them not very good.

Dan: How does someone go about setting up those kinds of long tail pages, like this content you’re talking about building? Just tell me a bit more about that.

Mike: The thing I’m blessed with is that REW custom IDX. There’s a lot of them out there. I’ve seen a little bit on the IDX broker, and things like that. Like I said, I’m not sure how they do it, but looking at other people’s websites, they could do about the same thing. You have to know the limits of what that IDX can do.

Anybody can make a Dallas city page, or they can make a Fort Worth and be done with it. The problem is, like I said, when you’re trying to rank that stuff, it’s pretty competitive. You have to be able to take that IDX to the limit, break it, cut it, slice it in any way which you can, and do something like I do.

I try to figure out any way that I can make a page for any piece of content that someone will search for because whether it’s 1 lead a month, 1 lead a year, or 100 leads a year, I want every one of them. So I’m going to cut, dice, and slice and anyway I can that I can make a page that is valuable to my person that’s looking because that’s how they’re going to come to my site. Most of that stuff is easy to rank for, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it.

Dan: I’m on a page now, and it says, “Dallas TX homes for sale” and then 400,000 to 500,000. Is that an example of the long tail stuff?

Mike: No. That’s all stuff that’s made by the IDX. That’s not a page I made. I’ve got 60,000 pages if you start counting all the pages, but that’s all stuff that’s built by the IDX that just breaks it into price ranges. My stuff will be down the side where it says, “Condos for Sale’‘ or “Condo Living” or what are the couple of the other ones, or “Golf Course Living”.

Dan: “Country Living’‘ got all these.

Mike: Yeah, “Country Living” When you get on there, there is some drop down menus and then there are cities with those golf courses. There are golf course communities. There are condos in there. Like I said, I break it down to even little condo buildings, you try to get it down to that. A lot of my stuff is like green home, historical homes.

I mean, that’s stuff people don’t think about. They don’t think about those niches, so there’s virtually no competition.

If you have a real strong domain or real strong website that stuff just ranks automatically without a lot of links, and that’s what you’re trying to do. I just made a major change on my San Antonio site because I kept getting hit on Google by these little updates. But if you go to San Antonio, for neighborhoods in San Antonio I rank #1, #2, and #3 most times.

So I was giving buyers in neighborhoods who were searching at that level, I was giving them a choice. They don’t typically go down much farther than three or four, so if you own the first one, two and three spots, you’re doing pretty well.

Dan: Yeah, you’re really dominating there.

Mike: Yeah. Like I said, I really can’t show you an example now because I just changed domains in San Antonio because I got hit so badly on that last update a couple of weeks ago. They took me off of page 1 and dropped me to God knows where. I didn’t even try to look after page 10.

Dan: What would you say to someone out there listening, and they’ve got a website that isn’t really doing much. It’s probably on WordPress or something like that, and maybe they’re just getting a couple of leads a month? Is that the kind of thing they really need to be focused on, like getting these niche pages up?

Mike: Yeah, content. If you want leads you have to put a lot of content up. You have to give your site a chance. Just keep building pages. You don’t have to add a whole bunch like me, but you can add five a week or five a month. If you keep on adding pages and eventually-it usually takes, I can tell you the SEO cycle is about 2.5 to 3 months until you start seeing some results from what you’re doing. If you just keep building content, the leads will come, I mean, depending on the competition for one. You have to go look at the competition.

That’s one thing I do. When I’m thinking about building a page I go look at Google and I see what the competition is like. I see what’s out there, and like I said, most times there is none. So if you want a lot of leads, you have to build content and keep building it. Don’t go on there and make a lot of un-unique content. That’s what I’ve done in the past. I used to do that and now I am going to have to go back and change it all and put fresh content.

Content does get expensive if you’re not a writer. If you can spend a couple hours a day, they say if you spend an hour or two a day and write an article or write an, I don’t know, write a 300 to 400 word page, and just add 5 a  eek, or 5 a month. or whatever it is. After doing it for a while, those leads will start to come in. It’s just natural, especially if you keep on doing it and you have a bunch of content.

Dan: Sure. And if you’re an agent, obviously, you don’t need 3,000 leads a month like Mike. You just might need 50 leads a month. It seems very achievable if you just put some consistent effort into this.

Mike: Oh yeah. That’s a lead or two a day. If you get 60, and you’re doing even half of the national average you should be able to close two to three deals a month. Especially if it’s a real niche market where there’s not a lot of competition. You’re just fine.

I’ve seen a lot of those pop up now and there’s a little more competition than there was. I’m seeing a lot of different little websites pop up for different cities, and they’re just focusing on one thing which is really good. Because it’s hard for me when I’m going after a big area to compete when I’m going after a big area with somebody that opens up a website with a really targeted domain for a certain city.

A little hard for me to compete with those because they’re probably going to outrank me unless I spend a lot of money on SEO on that one city. So I’m seeing that come into play a little bit. I’ve figured out that you won’t be hit by Google updates or anything like that if you keep a lot of fresh content and keep building. It’s a constant thing and you can’t just build it and let it sit there. It won’t do anything for you.

Dan: Absolutely. This is really the only way you’re marketing. We already covered you’re doing all online stuff, but I mean, do you pay for Zillow leads or anything like that? Or do you just have . . .

Mike: I’ve never bought any leads. I don’t do any pay-per-click or anything.

Dan: I was just going to say that’s another thing that I didn’t really point out. This is just all organic, which you told me before. You’re not driving AdWords or anything, and I think that’s . . .

Mike: No. I’m not a fan of any of that. I’d rather dump that money that will be there a while versus than something that when the money dries up, the leads dry up. I can see that if you are getting a lot of leads and you’re converting them and then, you want more, maybe. If you’re closing the ones you are getting, and then you actually, you have a little budget I can see doing that. Like I said, I’m not doing the pay-per-click. I’m not really a fan of paying Zillow and Trulia any money over and above what all the others are already paying them. To me that’s not, I don’t think that should be in a lot of business plans.

Dan: I think that’s a really good point because I think a lot of people are investing only in things in which they’re kind of renting a system, whereas you are investing in something you own. It’s a business asset. You could sell this website for tens of thousands of dollars.

Most people are just renting some kind of system which they will never be able to sell and which will never be an asset to their business. The second that stop paying money to Google or paying money one of these lead providers they are gone-skis. They aren’t going to get anything. They could have invested tens of thousands, but at the end of the day, they are just sort of . . .

Sidenote: a good analogy is this is just like renting a house, it might be ok in the short term, but long term if you want to stay your going to want to own it, otherwise you are always at risk of the owner raising rents, kicking you out or selling the house.

Mike: I completely agree. If we’re not closing deals, I’m not stressing because I’m not making any money; I’m stressing because the agents aren’t making any money.

In the long run, it’s all about the agent, trying to get them the leads so that they can be successful. If they’re successful, guess what? I’m successful.

Dan: That’s a fantastic attitude to have.

Mike: I’d love for every one of my agents to make $100,000 a year plus. $100,000 isn’t a lot of money for some agents, but when you’re average sale in Dallas $150,000 that’s pretty good.

Dan: That’s a big shift. I don’t know what you think about this, but I’m noticing there has kind of been this whole independent contracting, you know, agents out there with their own businesses. I really love people like yourself that are approaching this from a team perspective because I think that’s the only way going forward. Not every agent can have a website like this and know everything about SEO. I just think everything is moving more towards really good teams. Solo operators, I don’t know. I just feel like it’s going to get tougher basically.

Mike: It’s going to be hard for an individual agent to compete with anybody. Trying to compete with Zillow and Trulia is becoming a nightmare anyway. You’ve probably seen over the past couple of months with all of the Google updates and things like that, they’ve moved to the top. So you have to have a strong web presence to try to beat them. I was holding them off up until the Google update on April 25th when I got hit pretty hard.

I was #1 in Dallas Fort Worth for five or six years without really even touching the website. I just updated and did a little SEO, but I sat at #1. And then Google updated-I guess they didn’t like something I was doing-and it hit me pretty hard, knocking me down to #5. Now with this change I’m #11.

I’ll get back up there. I have a strong enough website, but it’s going to require a little bit of work. It’s going to be hard just trying to compete with them. Normal agents won’t be able to do it. That’s where it all rolls back to niche marketing. A lot of those major sites can’t physically spend the time in every market to go after that stuff. That’s where agents need to spend the time, because we can get there. We can rule that market. We may not be able to get to the Dallas real-estate, but you can get to any one of those five to six term deals that people search all of the time. That’s the goal.

Dan: Sure. Hit those niches. I guess an agent can still easily compete
there if they are consistent.

Mike: For some of that, yeah. Like I said, if you’re trying to after the major stuff, you’re probably a couple of years behind. It’s a rough go. I’ve never really ranked well for the term “Dallas Real Estate” that term. I was on the first page a week ago, and just with all of this update going on, I’ve fallen to #12. But I’ve never really ranked good for Dallas; of course I’ve never really tried either because like I said, my whole approach has been niche. If I can build up and eventually, that’s the beautiful thing, if you build those big sites, and you spend the time building those niche sites and building all that up, you can actually move up for all the other stuff.

It’s like you build from the bottom up, and that’s another thing all that niche marketing has done, building all those pages. Build from the bottom up and you can build a great site, and then you can get to those places and actually compete with some of those, without paying for their leads. You can them from your own website without paying them $2,000 and $3,000 a month.

Dan: Sure, definitely makes sense to me. I think all this website information is great, but I’m just wondering what else has really made a difference to you to get to this stage in your business? I know you mentioned systems quickly before, and I think that’s where some people fall down, but I mean, what kind of advice would you give someone who is struggling a bit now? What stands out for you as things have made the biggest difference to you in your career?

Mike: To make the biggest difference is you’ve got to have, like you just said, systems. You’ve got to have the systems in place to handle it all. You also have to have if you’re building a team, you also have to have the correct agents.

I literally, and I tell people all that time, I have to hire four agents to find one good one. Not every agent out there wants to do what’s required of them to be successful in this business. A lot of people get into this business, and they think, “Oh, real estate is easy. I can do this.” I think the failure rate on the first year is 80% of new realtors fail the first year. Now, typically, the ones that I get, they are a lot more successful. I don’t lose too many. I do lose a few that I don’t want to lose. I mean, it can really cost you in business, but a lot of people get into this business thinking, “Oh, it’s easy. I see them making big checks. I’m seeing this . . . “ But it’s not that. That’s totally backwards.

Part of it is having a nice, little kitty, six months of money saved up when you get into this because it will help make you successful if you don’t have to stress. A lot of agents that call us wanting jobs have already failed somewhere else and they are going to lose their house, they’re going to do this. They are stressed out on that, and they can’t spend the time that is required to do it.

And the biggest part-and this comes into your question too-is making the calls A lot of agent s don’t call. When someone calls them, they don’t answer the phone, and they don’t call them back. They get a lead off of the website, they never call, and they don’t ask for the phone numbers. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. They don’t follow up. They don’t ever follow up. They lose touch with them. They might call them once when they first get them, if they call them then, and then they don’t ever call them again.

I had an agent stand up in one of my classes, in one of my little meetings one day when we were doing some training, and he said, “You mean I’m supposed to call these people?” I wanted to slap him. He went home, seriously, he went home, he called this next lead he got and sold a $469,000 house because another agent didn’t answer the phone at another company.

That’s one of the things that I do is I sign up on a lot of different websites out there. I give my phone number. I don’t give them a real name, but I give them a real phone number, and I can see what the return rate is. And I can tell you what, I don’t get a lot of calls.

Dan: Yeah. I think everyone should do that so that they understand. Go put your phone number into some competitor’s sites and into Zillow and Trulia. Put your phone number in and see how many people call you back. These internet leads are wide open. If you are willing to provide good service and call people back, you could be converting tons of leads that other agents aren’t bothered to follow up with.

Mike: That goes into your question. That’s what will make you successful. The whole real-estate game, and it is a game, is going  towards the Internet. What’s the number? 90% of people, 94% of people search on the internet for homes. That’s where it’s going. If you can’t do that, this is probably not your type of business. You probably need to go work at McDonald’s or something. What’s the average salary? $21,000 for a realtor for a year? I think you can make more at McDonald’s now a year.

Dan: I think it’s a good point. I was working a supermarket in Australia, and they were paying us $20, I think it’s now $23 an hour Australian. You’re going to make more money than the average person doing this if you don’t really systemize and get your stuff lined up so that you can be above average, rather than just cruising along.

Mike: You have to have a plan. Whether it’s somebody like yourself doing your follow-up with your programs that you all offer or whether you have a strong follow-up plan. My mom works for me, she’s 70 years old, and she does around 20 deals a year every year because she has a follow-up plan. She’s never been in sales in her like, ever, ever sold anything, and she does 20 deals every year, year in and out, she’s been about three years doing this, and never done any kind of sales. But she has a strong follow-up plan.

Albeit, not anything to do with technology, she writes it all down on cards, and she makes sure that she knows exactly where people are on her pipeline, and she works them one after another, and just makes sure she does everything she knows she has to do, and she does a very good job.

Now that doesn’t work for most people because most people aren’t that organized. I couldn’t do it. I have to have a system, something to tell me to do it because I get overwhelmed. If you have something, either your program, “The Follow-up Boss” is the name of it?

Dan: Yeah, that’s right.

Mike: Yeah, something like that, or you can do it yourself. The problem is when we’re talking about being successful that’s where a lot of people fail. They call one time, if they even do that, and they don’t ever call them back. Those people, if you have the systems in place you can watch them in your backend, depending on, I don’t think IDX broker or anything has any kind of backend or anything. I think it’s just an email.

But with REW there is a whole backend system, and it will tell you when they’re online. You can watch them come back. You can watch them everything. As soon as they come back, call them. You just keep working them.

I’m sure there are other CMS’ out there that do the same thing. I don’t know of any because, like I said, I don’t spend a lot of time, I’ve never thought about leaving because I like REW system so I see it all the time, there’s all kinds of CMS systems and maybe they do the same thing. Every lead gets the same treatment, irregardless of what they want or what they own. They get the same thing set up for them, and we know when they come back, it’s time to hit them. I also try to get my agents to touch them once a month, at least minimum, to touch, and if they come back, you call them anyway.

We have the systems in place for that to allow the agents to do that, most companies don’t. If they’re on the IDX broker, I know there’s no lead system. It’s just they come to your email and it’s real easy to drop them.

So you have to have a follow-up system. A follow-up system is very important to being successful working internet leads. I tell my agents that 70% of the people-I think your website says like 90% or 80%-but I tell my agents 70% of people are not going to buy for 180.5 days. If you’re waiting on those new leads to buy, you’re only going to close 3%. 3% will make you enough money to survive, but your goal is six months and beyond. But you’ve got to follow up to get to those; you’ve got to build that pipeline to get to those people.

That’s why I tell most of my agents. Your first year, you’re not going to do all that great. You might do 12 to 15 deals if you’re doing it correctly, but the next year you’re going to do 30. You’ll have 30 people that will buy from you just from the leads if you work that  pipeline every year. It will grow.

My sales manager, his name is Brent Jones. His first year, he didn’t do anything his first year. He did a lot leases and two or three sales, but it was when the market was really bad. [As a matter of fact it crashed], but his next year he did 15, his next year he did 20, next year he did almost 50 because he built that pipeline. I think he has done 43 this year. He doesn’t get anything special. All of my leads are rotated. They are rotated based on area, and I have no control. I don’t compete with them, I don’t do anything. It’s one, here, one here, one here, like that. It all depends on your follow-up, and how you’re doing, and what you have in place. That’s what can make or break an agent.

Dan: Absolutely. I 100% agree. What you sort of said before, the people who can work this out are never going to have to work at McDonald’s again or anything like that. This applies to any business really. I have a software business, and it’s the same thing for us. We’re getting leads off of the internet and we’re turning them into customers. It’s an invaluable business skill.

Mike: My dogs, sorry. Go ahead.

Dan: I think you have to master this skill of internet lead conversion. Whether you want to start your own business or you want to be a successful agent, I don’t think there are many ways around it. I know there are other ways to get real-estate leads, but the internet isn’t going anywhere.

Mike: It’s not a fad. It’s here to stay. It’ll be here a while. You have to work it and keep doing what you’re doing. Keep doing what you’re doing. What do they say, what’s the saying? “You can’t be doing the same things over and over, if they don’t work.”

Dan: There’s that Albert Einstein quote, that’s what he Insanity was, you just keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

Mike: There It is That’s what a lot of people do, and they don’t realize that you have to step out there and try something different, try something different, try something different. I can teach you until you’re blue in the face how to work an internet lead, but if you’re not going to do it or you aren’t going to listen, you’ll never be successful, and it’s all the same deal.

People sit there and they try and try and try. Then, when they aren’t successful-you can over-try too. You can over adjust. People will do that too. They try to “Oh, Igot something that will work better” and then they actually start failing. You have to get to where you know it works, it’s working.

I’m a bass fisherman. I fish in tournament things, and if you catch a fish, you are not supposed to leave and go somewhere else.

Dan: That’s a good way of putting it.

Mike: That’s what we do.

Dan: Awesome. Thanks so much, Mike, for sharing all of this information. I think this will be really valuable to people, especially brokers out there that have teams and are sort of struggling with some of this stuff as well. So, thanks for sharing it.

Mike: No problem. If you ever need anything, I’m here.

If you found this interview useful please go to Facebook and thank Mike for sharing.

Update – Follow Up Boss is now fully IDX integrated with Real Estate Webmasters.

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