Join Our Agent Mastermind

18 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Review of the Redx Vortex Listing Lead System

redx real estate vortexI have been a fan of the RedX real estate lead system for a number of years now and recently got to tour their new Vortex FSBO, Preforeclosure and Expired Listing lead system. What I saw, blew me away. This new cloud-based system for REALTORS completely simplifies what needs to be done to fully engage and convert each lead. The system has been completely remained with simplicity in mind and because it is cloud based, you have access to your database on demand, in the field and wherever you may happen to be. I was using the system on a laptop in my car, but you could just as easily use it on you phone before a showing while you are waiting for a client to show up.

Vortex is Simplicity

What the company has done with their platform is to take all of the guess work out of where to begin when you login. Unlike the desktop software which requires you to download the last thirteen days worth of leads when you login, this new system shuttles you directly to the newest leads on your list. From there, you can start dialing, set up call appointments, or click into the lead for a much more comprehensive view of the property and prospect.
The RedX Vortex System Review
Because the new system was designed with simplicity in mind, it feels a lot more like the Top Producer interface when you login. The first thing you see is literally the stuff that you need to do right now to become and stay a successful REALTOR. Depending on your reason for logging in, you can certainly bypass that first “to do” list by a simple drop down filter system to grab the specific data that you need. The filters are customizable and easy to use. Better still, the search function is comprehensive, so just like Google, if you want only records that have the word “divorce” in them, simply type it in and start working on the results.

Sources of FSBO, Expired and Preforeclosure Leads

Just like the desktop based system, the Redx Vortex system scrubs multiple databases to consolidate all of the leads into one place. It covers Craigslist, and your local classified pages for For Sale By Owner leads, and it interfaces directly with your MLS to pull all of the listings that have expired. For pre-foreclosure listings, it grabs the Lis Pending and notice of default data from the tax records.

For each of these leads, the system compares the data against tax rolls, ownership data, and public databases to ensure that the information is as complete and correct. What you get is a lead that gives you the correct phone number, address, ownership data, mortgage information, as well as the number of times the home has expired on the market over the past year and who with.

Unlike the desktop software, this new cloud based system gives you more than just the past thirteen days worth of leads. Because it is web-based, you get access to every lead that has come available; regardless of whether or not you have logged in recently. The caveat to that is that when you first register, you only get the previous 30 days worth of data. However, this number of leads should keep you busy for quite a while.

Regarding the number of leads, it all depends on your market. If there are a lot of FSBO’s, expireds and preforeclosures, then you get a lot. If the market is slow, then not so much. In my personal experience, I find that I generally get between eight and fifteen leads per day; depending on the day of the week and time of the year.

Contact Management Simplified

It is obvious when you first login to the RedX system that they have tried to make it into a much simpler system that can be used like an effective Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Each lead that is presented has simple status boxes located next to the name where you can identify when and how the lead has been contacted, and when and what type of follow up is needed.

When you click on the any of the leads, you are brought into the information section of the lead where you can see the listing history, additional contact information, sales data, tax rolls, and mortgage information. Above this area you can access your customizable call scripts, or add notes to the record which are fully searchable within the platform. Because the designers kept simplicity in mind this you get a simple platform and the ability to have a full background picture on every lead that you contact. As always, the DNC registry is part of the system, so you never have to worry about making a call to someone on the do not call list.

Review of the For Sale By Owner Leads

The lead quality for this system hasn’t varied much from the desktop version. This is to be expected given that both platforms use the same databases. Because of this, the FSBO listing lead quality can vary depending on what and how the information was entered into the classified site. For example, if the seller added all of the information into his Craigslist ad and included a direct contact phone number and address, then the lead provided through Vortex will be pretty complete. By contrast, if the seller simply posted a phone number and a few pictures on the classified site, then that is all you would get through the service. To combat any lack of data, the listing lead system always includes the text from the ad as well as all of the additional data that could be gathered on the property from the other databases. This gives you as complete of a picture as possible for this type of lead.

Review of the Expired Listing Leads

By far, expireds are the best leads around to prospect. After all, these are the people that want to sell their home with a REALTOR. Also, because the data is pulled directly from the MLS, the property information is complete. Better still, the new platform shows when and how many times a property has expired over the past year; which gives you a great picture of what type of future client you will be dealing with.

The challenge with these types of leads within the RedX system has been, and will probably continue to be, getting the correct phone number for the lead each and every time. What I have found personally is that the phone number is correct about 80% of the time. This is simply because a lot of MLS’s don’t require ownership data as part of the public record. As such, the software must use tax and mortgage data to grab the phone number for the listing. The system does a great job of pulling and consolidating this information, but for me, two calls out of ten result in a wrong number. Fortunately, that just means I get the opportunity to stop by and drop off a pre-listing packet.

Review of the RedX Vortex Preforeclosure Listing Leads

This type listing lead is relatively new for the company. RealtyTrac has been providing them for years and has built a successful business providing this information to investors and agents. However, the Real Estate Data Exchange decided to add the feature within the past couple of years. With regard to the quality of the leads, it is probably the best out of the three types that they offer in terms of correct contact information. The challenge however is that leads have the longest sales cycle and are often the hardest to convert. Simply put, many people in foreclosure don’t want to sell and may be in denial up until the day that the sheriff knocks on the door. That is not to say that you shouldn’t include prospecting to these leads as part of your marketing strategy. For many agents, and most short sale investors, these leads are the foundation of their business.

Cost of the New Service

When I first started as an agent I bought every lead package that I could find. Completely ignoring Gary Keller’s advice about leading with revenue, I had quickly blown 8,000 on Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia leads. What I found was that at 20 dollars per lead, there is really no way to build a profitable business.

In contrast, the RedX system starts around $50 per month; with the full package just peaking over $100. For my market, their system provides around 180 leads per month; which for me equates to around $1.50 per new listing lead. Overall, this is a much better value, and instead of just getting an email address, you get a complete picture of the prospect and the property that they are trying to sell.

Now there is a $150 dollar setup fee for their system, but I have convinced them to bypass it if you use the following link: RedX Vortex Discount Code

The RedX Real Estate Software Review

Conclusion

Overall, the new listing lead platform that the Real Estate Data Xchange is rolling out is a great upgrade to an already fantastic service. The new platform eliminates the need to be sitting in front of a computer and instead allows you the flexibility to prospect on your own terms whenever you have time to do it; whether you are sitting in an open house, or in a doctor’s office. The interface is simple, the data is comprehensive, and the lead quality is second to none.

 

18 December 2014 ~ 0 Comments

How One Agent Is Doing Over 3 Million in GCI

RedX DiscountI was listening to a seminar last evening and the lead speaker was leading RE/Max REALTOR Lars Hedenborg. During the presentation, I kept thinking that Lars’ business model should be the new model that every successful agent should follow. The reason being that you don’t spend your life cold calling your SOI, but instead rely on systems to drive consistent business to your door.

What Lars has done is simply systematize each aspect of his business and grown it to a level where he could simply hand it off to junior agents. Once he divested that portion of his business, he focused on another area, grew it, then divested again.

As a result of this unique approach, he was able to do over 340 transactions in his first year, build a team, and become one of the largest producers for RE/Max in the country. Now, instead of managing transactions, he works one day per week managing the people and systems that consistently make him money.

The unique takeaway from his approach is simply that real estate does not need to be hard, it doesn’t need to be hours in front of an auto-dialer. It can be simple and it can be great.

With that in mind, here is Lars’ approach in a nutshell:

Step 1: Build a lead capture system that focuses on buyer leads. I know it sounds rudimentary, but his system originally started as a boomtown website (which he still relies upon) and daily Craigslist ads; which he still posts around 50 per day.

On the front end, try and track various lead generation systems and determine which approaches will give you the most clients (not leads) for your dollars spent. In looking at the spreadsheet that Lars uses to track his business, yard signs and Trulia are his personal top contributors. Zillow is pretty far behind those two, but still contributes a significant amount of business.

For the system, he built a robust backend that allows him to touch his prospects around 60 times per year through email, podcasts, facebook posts, postcards, text and mailers.

Step 2: Optimize and standardize the system so that it is as automated as possible. Figure out how much you make per hour based upon your current volume and outsource those activities that pay less than that. For example, Lars has someone come in every day and post his Craigslist ads.

My approach would be to go over to Freelancer or Odesk and hire someone to post all of my listings as well as the open HUD listings every day. As an aside, Craigslist HUD postings still bring me five or six good leads per week.

During this process, master and document the approach that makes you most effective with buyers. Memorize your scripts and figure out what works for you and your market. Documentation and tracking are key because you will eventually be handing this portion of your business off in order to grow it in other areas.

Step 3: Once you have a system in place that is automated and efficient, hire a buyers agent to duplicate the sales approach that you have mastered. Essentially, this agent will be focusing on the buyer leads that come through the door and will be following the steps that you found effective to close the business. For Lars, each of his agents is expected to meet with two new buyers each week; along with servicing their current book of business.

Step 4: Move into sellers and attack the low hanging fruit. Lars uses the RedX for his FSBO and expired listing leads and uses a system of personal mailers and phone touches to prospect these leads. The mailers are personalized letters and he tracks the success rate of every touch. In addition to the RedX, Lars relies on his database and sphere of influence to pull many of his transactions. Once again, for each of these lead sources, he systematizes his approach so that this aspect of his business can be handed off.

Step 5: After getting the systems that work in place on the seller side, hand off this aspect of your business to a junior agent and work with them to duplicate the processes that you have in place.

Once you have both sides of the transaction covered, simply monitor, adjust and grow. If the business warrants it, hire additional staff to take the burden.

As I mentioned above, I love this approach simply because it turns the traditional model of real estate on its ear. Instead of spending hours on the phone dialing for dollars, this approach allows the system to do the heavy lifting. When a lead comes in, the call is made; regardless of the time of day. If no contact is made, text, email, Facebook, LinkedIn take over. The lead is called daily for the next five days but is also put into the system where the prospect will be touched 60 times per year until they yell stop, or convert into a client. More importantly, the business is scalable and designed to allow the leading agent to step away and have a life as the business grows.

 

02 December 2014 ~ 19 Comments

Yodle Review For Real Estate Agents

yodle

PT Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute, and boy did they see me coming.  In a previous life I worked with Yodle and relied on their PPC service to help my clients.  Back then they made a website for you, then created PPC campaigns around that website to drive paid traffic and leads into your business.  Unfortunately, their services and tactics have changed and my experience has been less than ideal.  In fact this might be a relatively negative review of Yodle and their services.

To begin, I received a sales call from a great salesperson.  Being a former sales trainer myself, I love to see actual techniques in action, and this guy used all of them.  He quoted statistics, referenced the size and growth of the company, deflected negative comments, continued to push for the close, and even using one of my favorite sales techniques; the old feel, felt, found technique.   This guy was so effective, he even asked for referrals at the end of the call.

To say it was an effective high pressure sales presentation wouldn’t do it service.   I felt a little like I was on the receiving side of a pitch from the Wolf of Wall Street.  It had everything that every aggressive sales trainer teaches and it was delivered well.  This was a coercive sales presentation, and I fell for it.   The only chink in the presentation was when another agent in the call center closed a sale and everybody started cheering after he yelled “we got one!”

After hanging up, I pulled up the various Yodle reviews, and even used the text in their privacy policy to find sites that use their service.  I couldn’t find many, but those that I found all have a consistent, albeit dated, template with very few links to social media.  Overall, the reviews were positive, but most agreed that the leads you get trickle in.  I decided that although my cost per lead basis would be a lot higher ($100 or more) that the expense would be justified because they would be pushing periodic content to my Facebook and Google+ pages which I could then push to my LinkedIn profile.

Sadly, what was sold was not what their service actually provides. I had understood that I would be getting content pushed to my Facebook and Google+ pages from ten different websites that would be optimized to specific search terms.  This was a miss communication from my aggressive sales rep who was looking to close the sale.

Now to be clear, Yodle  does provide a service, and for small businesses that don’t take an active role in their online marketing, and for companies that don’t know anything about web marketing they can be useful.  Unfortunately, that is not me.  What I understood their services to be and what they actually provide are two different animals.  When I purchased, I understood that I would receive a number of search optimized lead capture websites and full management of my social profile; specifically with content.  What they actually provide is quite a bit different.

Okay, so you don’t get websites and content.  What do you get when you  sign a twelve month contract with Yodle for $249 a month?

To break it down, you get:

  • One website.  Now this site contains your business information and a contact form so that prospects can reach out to you.  You don’t get ten sites, but just this one.
  • Second, the website that you do get is search optimized for your services.  Obviously the intent is to be found through their service.    Keep in mind that they own the website, so if you cancel your account, you lose all of your SEO, as well as anything you produced to promote that site yourself.
  • Third, you are given access to a dashboard where you can track the traffic going to that website as well as the calls generated from it.  As part of this you do get a tracking phone number assigned to your page.
  • Fourth, your Google+ and Facebook business pages are linked to the dashboard so if you have a post, you can use the dashboard to send it to both locations.

So that is it, that is what you get when you register for their service.  You get a single website and a back end that can tie into Facebook and Google+.

As I said, it is not a bad service if you don’t already have these resources in place and don’t want to spend the time producing them.  My challenge is simply that what I thought I was buying was ten lead capture pages; and more importantly, content continually pushed to my social media sites.  I didn’t  think I was buying SEO services for a website that I would never own.

Overall, if you are just looking for a search optimized website that captures leads for your business, then I could be persuaded to recommend Yodle as a service.  This is as long as you know what you are getting into.  However, if you get a sales call from one of their people, marvel in their sales techniques, then hang up.  What will be promised on the call is nothing like the actual service that they provide.

Finally, I just wanted to add a small observation.  Their service requires a twelve month contract for at least $249 per month plus a $429 start up fee.  That is a cost of around $3417.  If you already have a lead capture website that you are comfortable with, most SEO companies will have no problem drive that site to the first page of Google for that same $3417.  Most will do it for significantly less.

 

 

15 September 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Review of RedX Real Estate Expires and FSBO Leads

RedX Software Review

Previously I reviewed the RedX Real Estate Expired and FSBO lead system and have been using the software and tools for some time. I wanted to provide an update of my

 experience with the software and how the leads provided by the service have impacted my business. Since the last review, I have upgraded to use both the FSBO and expired services and; while not overwhelmed with listings; can rely on the software to provide a consistent source of new business.

Review of the FSBO Leads

The RedX software interfaces with classified databases like Craigslist, local newspaper classifieds, and other sources to grab the details of properties that are being sold by owner. The software then cross checks this data with the do not call registry and a few more databases to give you as much information as possible so that you can dial and get a real person. This feature is great and provides a steady source of new potential listings to call, but has a few shortcomings that are just unavoidable. First and foremost, the system simply pulls from classified sites under the FSBO sections. Although not common, there are a number of agents that choose to post their listings under the FSBO section of these classifieds. As a result, two or three out of every ten leads is actually a number to for a listing agent. While this is easily overcome with a simple visit to the actual classified ad, it can be a hassle when you sit down for an hour of productive prospecting.

Review of Expired Listing Leads

The other issue that often comes up with FSBO listings is simply getting complete and accurate data. Once again, this has more to do with the classified sites that feed the information than it does with the software, but for every group of leads, there are a handful that do not contain correct contact information. This can be a hassle when dialing for dollars, but overall does not detract from the effectiveness of the software as a lead generation tool.

Up until recently, I was only using the FSBO tools. However, I decided to upgrade to the expired listing service as well, and am sorry that I hadn’t done it sooner. The expireds that the system provides are set of data on each lead. Where the FSBO leads often contain errors, because the expired data is pulled from the MLS, it is correct and complete. In addition, the software compares the MLS data from previous entries and flags if any of the contact information has changes. This ensures that when a listing expires, you get the most accurate contact information.

However, similar to the FSBO leads, there are some shortcomings with the software. Because the data is pulled from the MLS, it relies on the correct input from the original listing agents for information. This includes phone numbers which are often obscured or not entered. In these cases, even with the DNS scrub and comparison from Tax Rolls, getting the right phone number for an expired can be a challenge. What I have found is that enough listing leads have input errors to warrant me doing a google search on the phone numbers before placing the call. If the number returned is that of an agent, I move on to the next lead in the system.The RedX Real Estate Software Review

Number of Listing and FSBO Leads

There are two things to be aware of with the RedX system and the volume of leads. First is that their database will only pull the last ten days of data for you with any given update. Although their software allows you to have thousdands of active leads and can act as a very basic CRM system, you can only go back ten days when you download a fresh list of leads. To ensure that you always have a good source of leads on tap, set the system to automatically update on startup. Hopefully you are at least updating weekly to take full advantage of the leads that are available.

The second thing to be aware of with regard to the volume of leads, is that they are tied into the date cycle of your classified sites as well as your MLS listings. With that in mind, there is a basic ebb and flow of leads throughout the week. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays are days that typically provide the highest number of both expired and FSBO’s; where the middle of the week is typically very quiet.

The RodDex Software

The basis for the Redx system is their RolDex software which is basically a light CRM tool that houses all of your downloaded leads. When you login to the software the system can interface with the main RedX database and update your leads from the previous days; up to ten days back.

Within the software each lead is posted in a simple data table that give information on the property, contact information, and as well as pertinent information about ownership and do not call status. By clicking any of the leads, you are taken to a detail page which shows all of the information that the system was able to gather about the lead. For expireds, this includes MLS data, tax rolls, ownership information and a fair amount of additional information. For For Sale By Owner leads, the data is often more scarce. Within each record you can add follow up notes about the prospect add reminders and include basic information about the status of the lead. As mentioned in my previous review, there are also canned scripts that can be used during prospecting, but I have not found them to be very effective or useful.

Cost of Service

For the money, the monthly cost of the RedX system is not expensive; especially when you compare it to the cost per lead from a service such as Realtor.com, Zillow or Trulia. The basic FSBO package runs around $50 per month; with the Expred Listing upgrade pushing that number closer to $70. On a cost per lead basis, this is probably the least expensive source of continual leads out there. There is a one time $150 activation fee, but that can be waived by clicking through any of the discount links below.

The RedX Real Estate Software Review

Conclusion

Overall, the RedX system is still one of the most effective real estate lead generation systems I have found. The software and the simple ability to provide data from multiple databases place it well above both Benetech and LandVoice in providing quality leads. Although there are some major shortcomings with the systems ability to give you the correct information each and every time, the system more than makes up for that in convenience, volume of correct leads, and the ability to save time while getting listings and making money.