6 Real Estate Lead Generation Companies That Are Actually Worth It
What Are Real Estate Lead Generation Companies And Services?
Let me make one thing clear: You are always buying business. If you are generating your own leads by cold calling over the phone, or door knocking, or hosting open houses, it is costing you time and time is money. If you are advertising on Facebook or Instagram, the ads cost you money. If your website is SEO optimized, you had to hire someone to configure your website for a fee, or you optimized yourself which cost you time. You are always buying business.
Buying leads from a real estate lead generation company is no different. These companies provide real estate agents with consistent, automated buyer and seller leads in their local areas for a monthly fee or service charge. In some cases, the lead referral company will not charge a fee for the lead, but instead charge a 20-30% referral fee through escrow such as Homelight. I suggest asking the company if they offer this type of structure, though most don’t. Even the real estate internet titan Zillow doesn’t work this way, but it can’t hurt to ask. Some of them will offer extra services with their lead generation products, such as realtor branded website landing pages, lead nurturing CRMs, and marketing services.
Do I Need A Lead Generation Company?
You don’t need a lead generation company, but utilizing a lead generation company is an excellent way to scale your business up. Remember, you are an Entrepreneur first and a Real Estate Practitioner second. Think like a business owner not a hobbyist. Treat your profession like a bonafide business and it will pay you back like one. This means you will have to accept the reality that you will have to invest money into your business in order for it to grow. When a restaurateur opens up a restaurant, he or she invests thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions of dollars into their business before they see a dime of return on their investment. You need to adopt the same mindset and practice investing in your business early on.
If you are brand new, you should invest $200-$300 a month on a good lead generation company. If you just closed an escrow, I would set aside 15% of that commission and reinvest it in a good lead generation company. Easier said than done I know, but think of it this way, if you had a restaurant and needed to feed your customers would you take all the profits and spend it or would you reinvest the profits in food supplies? This is the exact same thing!
In addition, a good lead generation company can solve many different real estate needs while freeing up time for you to focus on closing deals. They are perfect for those real estate agents who don’t have coding skills to make their own website, or time to dedicate to learning the many facets of digital marketing and pipeline building.
Which Real Estate Lead Generation Company Is Right For Me?
There are many different lead generation companies and solutions available for real estate agents. All of which have different prices and solutions. Most importantly, not all provide quality leads or results, which is why we created this list. Instead of researching hundreds of options to meet all your needs, we’ve compiled the highest quality lead generation solutions with the most robust features, that are actually affordable and easy to use.
Best Real Estate Lead Generation Companies
1. Zillow – The one that started it all. Zillow has started to suffer some backlash from the real estate agent community lately for a variety of reasons including a) becoming an ibuyer (internet home buying company that then sells the property), b) buying a Mortgage Company, and c) it has admitted to placing it’s own listings of Zillow owned properties at higher placement than listings fed by Real Estate Agents. Regardless of how you feel, Zillow gets a ton of traffic and as a result, a ton of leads.
Zillow utilizes a concierge-ish system whereby it connects the consumer directly to the agent who subscribes for their leads. This is huge because half the battle with online leads is getting a hold of the consumer, and being connected immediately is a major advantage. This however, doesn’t stop Zillow from providing the lead to other agents even though they may not cop to this. So even if you are connected directly to the interested party, don’t assume that the lead is only yours. Never. Make. This. Mistake.
Included in your package is Zillow’s own CRM. It does pretty much what any other CRM does: sends out emails, and home value updates. If you don’t know my position on this, I will state it now: never build a business on someone else’s platform. It’s one thing to buy leads from Zillow, but it’s another to upload your whole database into their CRM and use that exclusively. If Zillow one day decides to ditch the CRM you’ll be in a world of trouble.
2. Realtor.com – No. It is not owned by The National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR licensed out the Realtor brand and name to Move, Inc. which in turn is owned by News Corporation. Realtor.com leads are very similar to Zillow leads, however, one big difference is that Realtor.com leads lets you select from private leads to shared leads. What this basically means is that if you want to save money (potentially 50% less) you can purchase leads that are distributed to more than one agent, think dozens, of agents. The private leads of course, are sent only to you at a premium.
If you are on a budget, purchase the shared leads. Who cares? As someone who was used to cold calling expired listings and for sale by owners for hours and hours a day, I was used to having to compete against other agents for business. I also knew that some people would relate to me better than others and that I spent more time worrying about who was calling my leads versus me just getting on the phone, I’d never succeed. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. The only thing you can control is You. If you are persistent you will have just as much luck with shared leads as you will with private ones.
Realtor.com also offers a CRM called Top Producer that of course syncs very well with their leads and can sync with other lead sources as well. I am a Top Producer user. I will say that the system is very clunky and not as modern as say WiseAgent, Firepoint, or MailChimp or Constant Contact, but it does offer something that most of the CRM’s do not, which is emails about properties that were just listed or just sold near the prospect. This is the primary reason I continue to use their service.
3. Smart Zip – SmartZip (Smart Zip) is a powerful CRM solution for real estate agents that works on “predictive seller” algorithms to determine when a person might be interested in selling their house in geographic areas that as an agent you select and pay for. SmartZip will tell you that the areas you select are exclusive, though I doubt that. I am also dubious about the algorithm that they claim tells them who is more likely to move since there is internal data provided to us as agents that tell us the exact same thing. For instance, it was widely reported to us in the biz that the average time for someone to live in their property was 7 years. So if you were to request a farm package of homeowners who lived in their homes between 6-9 years you might be able to get the same results prospecting that way.
Here is where I do see the value in their process, in addition to telling you who they think will sell based on their algorithm, they also mail out postcards branded on your behalf to the geographic areas you select. These postcards have unique identification codes on them that prompt the prospect to go to a computer and enter that code for information on their house value. Once they do this, you are immediately alerted and now have an idea of who’s got selling on the brain.
4. Bold Leads – I like Bold Leads. In simple terms, they handle your Facebook Ads using their lead capture landing pages or “funnel” templates. Their website states that they only advertise for one agent in a specific area, and they stick to their guns to this policy despite me offering to pay more than the agent who had already purchased that particular zip code. They also state that they use an algorithm to display the ads to people who are most likely to be buying or selling. My gut says that it’s not really their own proprietary algorithm, but really them just using the Facebook audience insights.
They charge $299.00 per month for their subscription and $300.00 per month in Facebook ad spend for a total of $599.00 per month. Let’s break that down. What you end up paying for is $299.00 for someone to manage your own Facebook Ad spend of about $10.00 per day. Here are the benefit:
- You don’t have to learn Facebook Ads.
- You don’t have to learn how to create landing pages as they have about 30 of them.
For some of you, it’s worth paying $299.00 per month for someone to manage your Facebook Ads. For others, that’s an extra $10.00 per day of ad spend that you can be using. You have to weigh it out yourselves. Fortunately for me, I learned Facebook Ads and can advertise in any zip I want 😊. Sorry. Not sorry.
5. Agent Locator – Agent Locator generates leads just like Bold Leads and offers website, CRM, pay-per-click management, videos, and content marketing services. They generate most of their leads via their PPC (pay per click) management service through Adwords, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook. This is a huge plus for those of you who don’t want to learn Google Adwords or how to advertise on the other platforms. This is also dangerous as you are then reliant upon their data which can often be skewed. Ultimately, you should have at bare minimum Google Analytics installed on your site so that you can track where the traffic is coming from and compare versus their reports. By tracking what works and what doesn’t on your own, you can decide where to allocate more advertising dollars. Their one con, you have to purchase these services separately and pay monthly management fees on top of your setup and flat monthly fee. Agent Locator is better suited for single need solutions.
Agent Locator also offers landing pages and a CRM as well. It’s biggest advantage is the diversity in where it can advertise.
6. Offrs – Offrs is a lead generation company that focuses ONLY on sellers. They too claim that they have online triggers that can predict who is going to sell or not, and they have existing relationships with online portals that provide instant home valuations, ala Zillow. When I pressed them for details on who these online providers were, they conveniently told me that they NDAs and couldn’t divulge who the relationship was with. My instinct tells me that they buy seller leads from Zillow too and then resell them to you. I was quoted a fee of $300.00 for an entire territory in a zip code and that I could expect about 25-30 SHARED seller leads per month.
They too have a CRM as do all the rest. Bottom line, these are shared seller leads. The name of the game is getting a hold of the seller. In many cases all you will have is an address. It will then be up to you to do what you have to do to get a hold of the client. Use everything at your disposal: snail mail, e-mail, white pages, social media, and good old fashioned door knocking.