Offline Options Yield Better Leads Than Online Providers, Survey Says

by James Bellandi


The latest Imprev Thought leader survey showed that real estate executives prefer traditional methods of lead generation as opposed to online options.

Now is not the time to ditch old-fashioned methods of generating leads in favor of online services. In fact, industry professionals value offline options much more than Web-based options, according to the results of a recent Imprev Thought Leader Survey.

Open houses, referrals, for-sale signs and brokerage walk-ins provide the best results in terms of lead generation, the survey showed.

A majority of the 260-plus real estate executives who participated prefer traditional tactics to online options.

“A remarkable 97 percent of broker-owners and top executives at brokerage firms surveyed said traditional sources provide the most valuable leads,” Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, a company that provides the industry with marketing content, said in a news release.

Of the 260-plus surveyed, one-third of them are 61 years old or older. Thirty-eight percent are 51-60 years old, 19 percent are 41-50 years old, and 13 percent are 31-40 years old. Twelve percent of those polled oversee brokerages with more than 1,000 agents. Twenty-six percent operate brokerages with more than 500 agents and 70 percent manage offices with more than 100 agents.

The survey’s results provided other interesting insight, aside from the industry’s overwhelming preference for classic means of lead generation.

Not All is Bad on the Web

  • A firm’s own website was voted second-most valuable lead source. Eighty-four percent of those polled said their website is exceptionally or reasonably valuable to lead-generation.
  • Social media is the third-most valuable tool for lead generation, according to 51 percent of the experts who participated in the survey.

Syndication Sites Disappoint

  • No more than 3 percent of those surveyed said an online firms provides exceptional value.
  • Realtor.com provides the most reasonable value, according to 42 percent of those polled.
  • Thirty-two percent ranked Trulia second and 31 percent pushed Zillow to third. Craigslist proved to be lowly regarded, with 34 percent claiming it doesn’t provide enough value and 34 percent described it as “poor value,” in terms of lead-generation.

Lead Quality and Agent Follow-Up Need Improvement

  • A mere 8 percent of industry leaders said they were very satisfied with the quality of their leads. Twenty-one percent said they weren’t satisfied at all. Seventy-two percent of those polled said the quality of their leads left them somewhat satisfied.
  • The survey’s results suggested that agent-follow up can be as much of a problem as lead quality or lead-generation methods.
  • Forty percent voiced displeasure with their agents’ overall follow-up performance, saying they weren’t satisfied at all. Only 10 percent said they were very satisfied.

The survey was conducted in October after the government shutdown was lifted. Fifty percent of those surveyed said they devote 10 percent to 30 percent of their yearly marketing budget on lead generation. One in four spend less than 10 percent of their budget on leads, while one in 10 said they spend more than 50 percent. Fourteen percent of those polled spend 30 percent to 50 percent of their budget on lead generation.

Eight percent of the top executives don’t give leads to their agents. One in four of those polled charge agents a fee for providing leads, and 15 percent arrange a high commission-split in exchange for giving leads to agents. Fifty-two percent said they don’t charge agents a separate fee for lead generation.

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