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2009-07-01 15:46:12

Why Online Consumers Don’t Respond To You, and What You Can Do About It


I recently wrote a column about Market Leader, a company that provides prospects for real estate professionals. I liked what I saw, and wrote about it.
But no good deed goes unpunished. No sooner did the story publish on RealTown did I receive a scathing note from a reader. And it got me thinking. (See original article here.)
Complaints are opportunities to communicate and solve problems. So instead of focusing on my wincing ego, I decided to help this reader.
Here’s the edited version of what he wrote:
 “I was very disappointed in seeing your posting endorsing Market Leader. I have been reading your articles with great interest for a while now and was surprised to see this posting.
“I couldn't disagree with your points. I did use Market Leader for a short time.…
“I ended up signing up with them because I wanted to see for myself if they were telling the truth or if they were worth the money. In both cases they were not. The leads that I received were at best, mostly garbage.
People were just shopping/browsing and many of them were already signed up with other real estate sites and were interested in seeing if JustListed had any other additional information that they think isn't on the real estate sites.
“The 2008 Buyer & Seller Profile from NAR states that people register on the average, 5 - 7 real estate sites. So, why would I waste my money with
“I really was disappointed to see that you had reduced yourself to blatant endorsement of this lead generation company.”

Ouch. At first glance, the guy has a point… or does he?
He signed up with Market Leader to get prospects, and he got them. He calls them garbage, because he wasn’t able to convert them into customers. And neither, apparently, did any other practitioners.
Why not? Let’s look at how these prospects behaved.
They signed up with other sites to “see if JustListed” had any other additional information.” NAR says prospects register on 5-7 sites. What does this tell us?
These prospects aren’t garbage - they’re just people who are scared of getting hurt.
They don’t want to buy a home and be worse off than they were before. And obviously what they got from this professional and all the others they contacted wasn’t enough to make them feel more comfortable about making a commitment to buy or sell a home. 
So what’s the solution? If you do things the same way as the other agents on the rest of the 5-7 sites, you’re going to get the same result. Nothing.
I don’t know how my new friend responded to these prospects, but one thing is certain – he didn’t allay their fears.
He wants to blame Market Leader, but the fact is, Market Leader delivered the prospects. It was up to him to listen to the prospects and then give them what they wanted. Until that happens, the relationship that’s necessary to move forward to a transaction doesn’t exist.
So let’s try something different to get a different result. Here’s my response:
“Unfortunately, buyers and sellers are skittish right now.  The only thing you can do as a professional is win them over by addressing their fears with real local market data.
“So ask them, “what information are you looking for that you haven’t been able to find?”
“What any prospect wants to know is how to reduce the risk of buying or selling.
“So, have you tried providing a local rent vs. buy analysis to add to your presentations? A tax deductions analysis that shows that even in a declining market, homeowners still profit from owning a home in your area? A stimulus analysis of ways to use the first-time homebuyer tax credit and any incentives your state or community offers? An amortization schedule that shows how quickly home owners become right-side-up after buying a home?
“Whatever people are afraid of, you should have the answer already made up in your bag of tricks. What people want to see and understand are market conditions - something my company, evansEmedia, is trying to do for all practitioners.
Yeah, that's it.
Blanche Evans is CEO of Evans Emedia, Inc. and publisher of The Evans Ezine. As an award-winning journalist, Blanche has been named one of the "25 Most Influential People In Real Estate" by REALTOR Magazine, and twice recognized as one of the industry's most "Notables."     


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