I got a phone call last night. The person on the other end of the phone offered me an opportunity to sign up to get names and numbers of potential buyers/sellers for a small fee for each lead. Although as I type this, it sounds ridiculous, the person on the other end of the phone was quite convincing.
The deal was that each time someone called this company interested in buying/selling a home, I would receive an email with all of the contact information and what the buyer/seller was looking to do. I would pick my territory ahead of time and would only get leads for the area I was working in. I would then have a certain amount of days to decide if this lead was legitimate. If it wasn’t, I could call and replace the lead with a new one. Each lead would cost me $25.00 and I would keep 100% of the commission. The person on the other end of the phone spoke quite a bit about how important it was to get agents who would call the contact right away and were serious about making more money and handling themselves professionally.
After I had spoken with this person for a few moments, I asked them how they got my name. They said they had pulled it from Realtor.com (which I do have a profile on).
The person calling me then tried to close the deal. I said that I would like to see a website to read over all of the information before committing. This was the smartest thing I could have done. I needed to read over information and absorb what they were offering. I also wanted to check them out for consumer complaints. Basically, I needed to pull myself away from the sales tactics and look at everything rationally. I decided I would talk with my manager before signing up if I was convinced the program sounded good. I knew my manager would be able to give me some good advice about what I should do.
I received a website address and was told that to finish signing up I would need to call them back. I got off the phone and began to look over all of the information on the website. The website mentioned that those leads could be handed out to up to 4 different agents. I was never told that. Right there, it was a deal breaker. I read on and realized that much of what I read made little sense to me.
After reading the website, I looked for customer complaints. I found pages of complaints. Every person said the same thing, that the program was a scam and that they had lost hundreds of dollars. Apparently you must give a credit card number for them to charge when you receive a lead. People were complaining that they signed up for a couple of days and then quit. They were still charged enormous fees. Someone wrote that one of their supposed contacts was for someone who had been dead for 8 years (they found this out when a relative answered the phone). Other people complained that when they contacted someone, the person said they had never heard of the company and weren’t looking to buy/sell a home.
The bottom line here is that as a newer realtor, I am still learning how to gain additional leads (it’s what the business is all about). Being a newer agent makes me a prime target to get solicited from some not so honest companies.
I am writing this as a warning for any other new agent. Please be cautious before you sign up for anything. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t think there is a perfect system out there to generate endless leads (who knows I could be wrong, but I don’t think so). Make sure you pull yourself out of the conversation. Say you’ll call back if you are interested, but do your homework and research the company. Above all else, if there is someone at work who has been in the business for a long time, ask them for advice. They are sure to have had the same experiences and can tell a good deal from a bad one.