Zillow Is Not Your Wingman for Leads
As a career salesperson you get to hear every analogy under the sun about what sales is like. “Sales is like cooking”, “It’s a numbers game”, sales is this, sales is that. The one that stuck in my mind the most was when someone told me that sales is like dating, or maybe it was originally put the other way around, but in either case, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between the two.
Lead generation is often viewed as the start of someone’s sales funnel, and though it may sound crass at first, it’s also the start of any good romantic relationship. You have to meet people before you can date, fall in love, get married, have kids or whatever that whole process looks like for you individually. For some, they like the “thrill of the hunt” and they get stuck in the singles bars, and the Tindr apps for long periods of time. Most of these “forever single” folks look for instant gratification, not really interested in having to go on 3 or 4 dates before moving on to the next fling. Phone numbers go in their phones, but they are rarely used unless in a desperate hail mary when the nightly game plan doesn’t work out.
Most people who live the bar and party life like to do so with at least one trusted person to come along and add “social validation”. It’s a lot easier to trust two people than one, since at least they can stand each other! In my younger, single days, the best “wingman” you could bring along for a night of mingling was the attractive person, who dressed well, had some money, and most importantly was IN A RELATIONSHIP! The harmless wingman/woman with a job, and a look, and an ability to carry a conversation, but nothing to win/lose because they were going back to a significant other when all was said and done. These were the friends who would go up and talk to anyone, and when the time was right, hand them over to let you try and seal the deal (whatever that looked like for you). If you were lucky enough to have one of these unicorn friends who also still loved going out and meeting people it made the single life much easier and more fun, and Zillow has been that friend for a long time.
However, many times these ideal scenarios are temporary, and many times that friend’s relationship eventually ends (sometimes because they enjoy spending so much time with you!) and when that happens, that friend suddenly changes from prized wingman/woman to competition. Now, instead of handing over the opportunity, they close the deal themselves, and unfortunately you’ve gotten so used to the assist that you start to lose out more often than not…
Zillow has been your attractive, wealthy, smooth talking friend this entire time, and many people became complacent, buying Zillow leads, and leaving a trail of one night stands behind you.
However, since Zillow has become a broker and they are competing for the very opportunities they were content to hand over to you before, and you need to remember how to create opportunity on your own again, while competing with someone with more money, more recognition, and more practice winning the client over.
In the real estate groups and rooms I am a part of across all the social media platforms, this is the talk of the town lately. You can’t scroll through LCA or join a clubhouse room without someone mentioning Zillow did this, or Zillow did that, and then the inevitable backlash from those who say “who cares?” or “do better”. But how? Well, remember the part of the previous analogy where we talked about the numbers going in the phone to disappear into the contacts void, never to be used again? The National Association of Realtors states that average conversion on internet leads is ~1%, that means if you did 20 transactions from Zillow leads you left 1980 leads on the table. Those stack up quickly, and assuming you didn’t just throw them away, therein lies your opportunity.
Many savvy teams and agents have started to realize that every unconverted lead is a future opportunity if you are able to contact them at the right time. As long as there is a person on the other end of that phone number or email address, then there is a possible buyer or seller someday.
Implementing the proper systems, and tools, to help optimize and monetize your database is the only way to be competitive with the 800lb gorilla in the room. The good news is, they’ve been giving you the ammunition this whole time, and if you’ve been smart enough to collect that data, then you’re better equipped than you even know. You can’t outspend a behemoth like Zillow, but you can outsmart them. Using tools like Revaluate’s Reveal predictive algorithms, directly integrated into your CRM or marketing solution, you can target your spend on the people most likely to need your services first so your time, money and resources are going to the right people, at the right time, over time, to get the right results.
If you’re waiting for people to raise their hands, or request information from one of the portals, then you are swimming in shark infested waters, waiting for the chum. When you leverage data insights to get ahead of the competition, you can make sure that you are the one they speak to, before they even consciously decide to sell, and nurture your clients through the process while cutting out the big guys.
Work smarter, not harder, and the friend might get frustrated enough to get out of the game again, and just capitalize on being the wing.