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Prospecting Your Way To Prosperity With Social Media

Most real estate agents and mortgage loan originators don’t know how to find business.  I fear that some of the social media strategies I’ve shared have morphed into a  “build it and they will come” approach to business development.  Greg Swann did a nice job of identifying this problem when he said that time spent on social media marketing is wasteful:

“Marketing” by social media is a huge waste of time. Selling is one-on-one, focused, time-consuming and goal-directed. Marketing, done properly, is broadcast, diffuse, time-efficient and passive and long-term in its goal-pursuit.

He’s absolutely correct.  The time investment required, to keep your social media current, never pencils out if you want to make six figures annually.  You will get some results but trust me when I tell you that you could have equaled or bested those results by handing out business cards at the swap mart (and yes, I’ve done that, too).  Here’s where his opinion gets a bit murky, though:

Even if you are really doing your best to market your services on-line, if you are doing it by engaging people one-on-one in fleeting media like Twitter or Facebook, you are almost certainly wasting your time.

That, I can tell you from experience, is only partly true.  Using social media to prospect can be exponentially more effective than cold-calling or handing out business cards at a swap mart because of the rich information users provide.  People buy from people they trust and connections help to build trust more quickly.    I’ll come back to this later but it helps to understand the difference between marketing and prospecting as lead generation tools.

Greg’s working definition of marketing (op. sit.) is a good one.   The long-term benefit of marketing is that it is scalable.   Online marketing, especially blogging, can be a workhorse, which generates inquiries from prospects for as long as the information is relevant.  The hour investment in a well-written blog post can attract tons of inquiries over time (I have a few blog posts that perform that well).  Likewise, a consistent display advertisement in the town’s weekly newspaper can trigger you to “top of mind” status for people seeking to sell their home.  The problem with marketing?  Marketing costs either time or money.  If you need rather than have money, you might consider prospecting as a lead generation tool.

Prospecting is best defined as an active business generation effort.  You seek potential customers in the “river” and sift through the “silt” to find little nuggets of “gold”.  It is, by nature, a disqualifying process where you throw out people who have no immediate or pressing need for your services.  Good prospecting rejects certain interested people as much as it does to accept them.  Consider this advice about prospecting from Russell Shaw:

You don’t want to pay a lot for advertising for two reasons: you don’t have the money to pay and you wouldn’t know what to put in the ad anyway.  Okay so skip advertising for now.  Prospect.  Learn what people consider valuable just by trial and error.  See enough people and ask enough people what they might be interested in and in very short order (a few hundred people from now) you will know what to say and what not to say when you are talking to a prospective customer.

There are exactly two methods of getting business in our business: marketing or prospecting.  Learn to effectively do one or both of those or leave real estate sales.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, those are the only three choices.  The skill of getting customers is the “important skill” in our business.  For a really bright future make this important thing your important thing.

You can blindly cold call names out of a telephone directory.  You can wear out the shoe leather by knocking on doors for listings.  You could ask the question “Wanna buy a home?” when you hand out the business card at the swap mart; that action alone turns the marketing effort into a prospecting effort.  Ask any top-producing securities broker or insurance agent and they’ll tell you that, in the beginning of their career, they built their business through cold prospecting.  The top producers still prospect but they use a much more sophisticated strategy; referral prospecting.

Referral prospecting leverages your proven work results by soliciting introductions from happy customers.  This can be as crude as the “referral card at closing” or as sophisticated as asking a past customer for an introduction to a specific person.  A personal example of the latter was when I asked a securities broker, for whom I secured a refinance loan, for an introduction to another broker in her office.  I thought I might have an opportunity to write a bigger loan for next broker; I was right.  The challenge with that strategy is that you must have a specific “target prospect” in mind.

Social media offer us a peek behind the curtain of the previously hidden relationships our customers have.  It helps you to identify that “specific prospect”.   LinkedIn shows us our customers’ colleagues, friends, and customers.  Facebook might identify our customers’ political connections, work colleagues, kids’ Pop Warner coaches, family members, and neighbors.  Social media narrows the field so that you can more effectively “target” the people with whom you wish to speak.

Social media marketing is really not a cost effective strategy for business generation but social media prospecting can help you fire an arrow at more bull’s eyes.  I’ll share some specific strategies, which can produce immediate positive results, in future posts.

Happy hunting!

Related posts:
  • Thinking About This Whole Social Media Thing As a ‘Non Expert’
  • Why We Should Rename It SMP (Social Media Prospecting)
  • Referral Prospecting The Facebook Way

  • 40 comments

    40 Comments so far

    1. Greg Swann August 26th, 2010 1:46 pm

      I have no objection to the position you’ve taken here, but this is not what Realtors are doing with their time on-line. They might say that prospecting is their objective, but what they are actually doing, as evidenced by their electron-trail, is wasting time schmoozing with other Realtors and with vendors.

      Only Teri has had the guts to admit that what I am saying is true. Meanwhile, none of the big-name schmoozers has shown up to defend that diurnal all-day circle-jerk on social media sites.

      Of course, it would be a bit much to expect the vendors to admit to what they are doing: Inducing failure in gullible Realtors in order to sell them more leads and other useless crap.

      But: Taking account that goofing off on-line is very potent anti-marketing, I would think that the best social media strategy for most Realtors would be to avoid social media sites altogether.

    2. Drew Meyers August 26th, 2010 3:14 pm

      “Of course, it would be a bit much to expect the vendors to admit to what they are doing: Inducing failure in gullible Realtors in order to sell them more leads and other useless crap.”

      Still bashing vendors I see, so I’ll try to stick up for the quality ones with a short comment — the fact of the matter is that there are good and bad vendors in every vertical, and real estate is certainly no different. Are there any successful real estate agents out there that are not using any vendors? I’d guess not, and if there are, they could probably be even more successful if they outsourced some of their technology to people who specialize in that area. Making a broad generalization that interacting with all vendors is a waste of time is a joke. Sure, there are some sleazy vendors who try to sell agents crap — if you can find me one person who seriously thinks interacting with someone like Jeff Turner is a waste of time (even if they have no desire of ever being a Real Estate Shows client), I’ll be beyond surprised.

    3. Brian Brady August 26th, 2010 3:36 pm

      Maybe. We live in a small world (the “original” RE.net). There are a lot of late adopters who are doing it right. Your point makes sense, though.

      I’ll use some specific examples on follow up posts

    4. Greg Swann August 26th, 2010 4:06 pm

      > There are a lot of late adopters who are doing it right.

      I get the impression that a lot of newbies are doing it wrong. Hardly anyone can sell. Most people discover that character failing right away. Some folks have to kibbitz their way into bankruptcy.

    5. Greg Swann August 26th, 2010 4:25 pm

      > Still bashing vendors I see

      How gracious of you to show up in my home in order to insult me to my face.

      > interacting with all vendors is a waste of time

      Schmoozing with vendors — or with other Realtors — is a waste of time. This is a fact well-understood by all productive Realtors, going back long before the internet. Salespeople sell. Schmoozing is what losers do to fill up their empty days — until they starve themselves out of the real estate business, at which point they often become schmoozy vendors. This is news to no one.

      > If you can find me one person who seriously thinks interacting with someone like Jeff Turner is a waste of time

      Schmoozing with Jeff Turner — or with you, for that matter — is a waste of time. You can’t teach me anything about how to do my job better, and you can’t write an employment contract with me. Talking to you amounts to passing pleasantries — small talk — that’s all. Doesn’t make you a bad guy, but it does mean that any time I spend with you is hugely unlikely to be wealth-producing.

      Most of what I see Realtors doing on social media sites is not only a huge waste of irreplaceable time, it is anti-marketing in the sense that goofing off all day on-line communicates plainly to the very best potential clients that a schmoozing Realtor cannot be relied upon to take his job seriously.

      Neither you nor anyone else has said anything at all to dispute the argument I am making. To the contrary, all of these subject-changing dodges simply serve to reinforce the obvious: You know that you yourself are wasting your time at work — no doubt undermining your own career-advancement opportunities.

      For ordinary people, social media is CB-radio, a harmless, meaningless waste of time. For people with serious goals, TwitBook is heroin — a hideous addiction that will destroy every dream you might have.

    6. Jb August 26th, 2010 5:22 pm

      I’ve always been taught that referral marketing is the best and I believe it is. When my partner and I started our company we thought we would always be prospecting but what really happened is we sent out a 10,000 mailing to people who were in foreclosure and we’ve never looked back because of the referrals. We haven’t even had time to set up our “social media” sites.

    7. Russ August 26th, 2010 5:45 pm

      Social media generally does not work as an effective marketing strategy for originators and realtors from what I have seen. I started blogging on mortgages back before most even knew what a blog was and found it to be a huge waste of time over the years. I have gotten some deals from my posts and other contacts, but at the end of the day, I use my website merely to have a presence instead of getting clients (notice how lax I am at updating it).

      Being successful in residential real estate is not rocket science, but it amazes me at how over run the business is with people who simply don’t get how to generate business.

      NONE of the super producing LOs I know spend time with social media. I am talking LOs who are closing $30-$100+ million in deals per year consistently. Your money and time is spent way more effectively cultivating a solid referral base who trust and value the expertise provided. They will tell the world about you!

      Simply asking a happy client “to tell their friends and co-workers about me” gets me exponentially more deals than any blog, tweet, or linkedin email ever will. I am not saying those things don’t have value, but they are highly over rated imho.

    8. Brian Brady August 26th, 2010 6:11 pm

      “NONE of the super producing LOs I know spend time with social media. I am talking LOs who are closing $30-$100+ million in deals per year consistently.”

      I can think of four: Dan Green, Brian Peart, Khai McBride, Rhonda Porter

    9. Greg Dallaire August 26th, 2010 7:18 pm

      Brian and Greg,

      Loved both of the extremely insightful posts the last couple of days. You’ve stirred up quite an uproar but I have to agree with both of you.

      Brian using social media in the effect you mention to really hit a bulls eye is the really only amazingly SMO benefit.

      Greg since reading the insightful post from a couple days ago I even thought back to my beginning SMO tactics and sadly I can admit that I was wasting some serious time and even anti-marketing. It makes sense and needs to be on top of mind for the social media realtors that are constantly posting to their pages.

      Thankfully I caught on quickly to the whole SMO thing and have really focused my efforts in dollar producing measurable activity.

    10. Greg Swann August 26th, 2010 11:59 pm

      > I’ll use some specific examples on follow up posts

      Good on ya. I want to talk about the leveraging power of enduring marketing methods, materials and memes, but I don’t ever want to seem to dismiss prospecting. It’s a low-efficiency marketing tool, but, at a minimum, it gets salespeople into the habit of asking for the business.

      It behooves us, too, to make careful distinctions. All of Web 2.0 is social and participatory in some sense, but not all of Web 2.0 makes for good marketing.

      So:

      * Social bookmarking means nothing to me, not in any context. If it has any use in marketing, I will need to be told what it is.

      * Weblogging and commenting is enduring, an excellent way to cultivate new relationships enduringly. Any sort of permanent content can leverage results in that way.

      * Twitter is ephemeral and Facebook is crowded. As you note, you might be able to prospect on sites like that, but you are unlikely to find ways of appealing to strangers across time.

      I have no objection whatever to any of those technologies, when used for marketing, although the first is probably useless and the last is relatively time-inefficient and non-leveraged. All I am talking about is Realtors whiling away the day on Twitter, Facebook or other chatting sites when they should be working.

      And I’m thinking I should lay off on this subject altogether. Clearly I’m the turd in the punchbowl, as South Park has it. I have zero interest in pursuing the cacophony of the TwitBook soap opera, but the Praxis technology gets better every time I have a chance to play with it. One day soon, it’s going to dawn on this town that the bird rising from the ashes is me.

      Here’s one more to think about: I was wrong about Redfin’s business model in this respect: It does not matter how small a percentage of the population would test out as INTx’s. What matters is how many homes they buy and sell, and for how much money. So my answer to you is simple: Prospect introverts.

    11. Drew Meyers August 27th, 2010 12:59 am

      - If you think saying “Still bashing vendors I see” is insulting, I’m sorry and you’re entitled to your opinion. But you’ve always very open about bashing vendors, so not sure what the issue is with me saying that.

      “Schmoozing with Jeff Turner — or with you, for that matter — is a waste of time. You can’t teach me anything about how to do my job better, and you can’t write an employment contract with me. Talking to you amounts to passing pleasantries — small talk — that’s all. Doesn’t make you a bad guy, but it does mean that any time I spend with you is hugely unlikely to be wealth-producing.

      - Why does all of someone’s time have to be wealth-producing?

      Most of what I see Realtors doing on social media sites is not only a huge waste of irreplaceable time, it is anti-marketing in the sense that goofing off all day on-line communicates plainly to the very best potential clients that a schmoozing Realtor cannot be relied upon to take his job seriously.

      - You really think that consumers think that realtors don’t take their job seriously because they are talking to their friends on Twitter or Facebook? I highly highly doubt that. I’d like to think some consumers like to see that their realtor is a real person with real friends. Talking to friends/family happens every day in the offline world, not sure why it’s a big deal that it happens in the online world as well.

      “Neither you nor anyone else has said anything at all to dispute the argument I am making. To the contrary, all of these subject-changing dodges simply serve to reinforce the obvious: You know that you yourself are wasting your time at work — no doubt undermining your own career-advancement opportunities.”

      - I don’t think I’m wasting my time, but you’re entitled to your opinion obviously. I’ll throw out an idea – maybe people enjoy the social interactions and relationships they nurture via social media channels? Life is about more than money and career advancement opportunities. As long as someone is making enough money to do what they want to do, many don’t care about making any more money if it means less personal time with family and friends.

    12. Greg Swann August 27th, 2010 6:57 am

      > Why does all of someone’s time have to be wealth-producing?

      Because that’s what we do at work, produce wealth.

      > You really think that consumers think that realtors don’t take their job seriously because they are talking to their friends on Twitter or Facebook?

      When your house isn’t showing and your calls aren’t being returned, you had better believe you’re going to want to know what Mister Big Promises is doing with his time — especially since, if he ever manages to get his ass in gear, his fee will represent a huge chunk of your equity in your home.

      > I’d like to think some consumers like to see that their realtor is a real person with real friends.

      This is why there is no benefit for two hundred dozen Realtors to “follow” you: You really know nothing about selling real estate.

      > Talking to friends/family happens every day in the offline world, not sure why it’s a big deal that it happens in the online world as well.

      Because it leaves an easily-followed paper trail. (Though, of course, goofing off in the office is also a huge waste of time.) Our clients know we have other people we’re working with, and they know we do other things with our lives. But when they want us on the job, they’re going to be dissatisfied if we’re not on the job. If a client is trying to get through to his Realtor and keeps getting voicemail, and yet he sees his agent goofing around on-line, that will tend to induce fury and incite ire — not good marketing objectives.

      > maybe people enjoy the social interactions and relationships they nurture via social media channels

      My dogs sure like laying around all day. I’m pretty sure it’s the same phenomenon. Getting off your ass and getting something done requires an act of will. Tickling your vanity all day long is a much more pleasant way to get by — if, like my dogs, you’ve got someone else to support you.

      > As long as someone is making enough money to do what they want to do, many don’t care about making any more money if it means less personal time with family and friends.

      Those people are not Realtors. They’re not even entrepreneurs. They have jobs with lax supervision.

      The Realtors who are goofing around all day on TwitBook are on the path to becoming former Realtors. They are wasting irreplaceable working time, and, to make matters worse, they are demonstrating to past, present and potential clients that they should be former Realtors. This job is all about hustle, and if you can’t put in the work — I’ve been working since six, and I’ll still be working at midnight — you won’t last in this business. That’s how it works.

    13. Rhonda Porter August 27th, 2010 7:36 am

      ““NONE of the super producing LOs I know spend time with social media. I am talking LOs who are closing $30-$100+ million in deals per year consistently.”

      I can think of four: Dan Green, Brian Peart, Khai McBride, Rhonda Porter”

      Thanks, Brian–I’m sure you should be included on this list too. :)

      Sometimes I feel like I must be very lucky or the planets were aligned when I began blogging and using other social media avenues four years ago. To be able to write about what I feel is important with my profession and actully have people read it is amazing–the fact that many of my readers select me to be their mortgage professional also amazes me.

      Many RE peeps want an “easy button” with social media and it just doesn’t work that way. We have a local title company in the Seattle area who’s promoting “we’ll do it for you” and better yet, “this isn’t education” about s.m. It’s terrible. Agents who are looking for instant results are paying this company money to throw up (literally) links to various content that they’re not even creating…it’s amazing how quickly a fool and their money can be parted.

    14. Brian Brady August 27th, 2010 8:02 am

      D: “I’d like to think some consumers like to see that their realtor is a real person with real friends.”

      G: “If a client is trying to get through to his Realtor and keeps getting voicemail, and yet he sees his agent goofing around on-line, that will tend to induce fury and incite ire — not good marketing objectives.”

      I’m going to eventually side with Greg on this one. Again, I speak from experience (not a nice one, I might add). There is an exception to this but it is rarely done; when agents have BUSINESS-related conversations online. I’m thinking of Sean Purcell’s last post about the buyers’ agents as “clients”

      “I have no objection whatever to any of those technologies, when used for marketing, although the first is probably useless and the last is relatively time-inefficient and non-leveraged”

      The former has some efficacy but, as I stated in your post, my experience is that I would have made more money prospecting at the swap mart.

      Prospecting can be leveraged but it has to be focused on referral generation. Russell Shaw’s cited statement and personal experience tells me that most agents and originators would do well to integrate prospecting into their daily plan.

      Prospecting isn’t necessary for everyone but it’s a necessary evil for most of our readers. Many who read are thriving but I think the majority come here looking for ideas that turn into money. If our readers called five of their social media “contacts” daily, they’d have a lot more at bats.

      “And I’m thinking I should lay off on this subject altogether.”

      I hope you don’t. We’ve learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work these past few years. Your healthy suspicion gives me constant pause to reconsider how these media can be used.

    15. Brian Brady August 27th, 2010 8:07 am

      “Thanks, Brian–I’m sure you should be included on this list too”

      Just missed last year. I’ll have it this year unless a natural disaster hits Southern California.

      I’m thinking that your blog is an extremely effective marketing tool Rhonda but your agent education strategy is some of the best prospecting I’ve seen.

    16. Drew Meyers August 27th, 2010 8:35 am

      “If a client is trying to get through to his Realtor and keeps getting voicemail, and yet he sees his agent goofing around on-line, that will tend to induce fury and incite ire — not good marketing objectives.”

      Obviously I agree that it leaves a bad impression if you don’t answer your voicemails and are on Twitter/Facebook all day chatting away with people. There is seriously no excuse not to return voicemails from clients or potential clients — if you want to keep making a living doing real estate at least.

    17. Jeff Brown August 27th, 2010 9:17 am

      Though I’d hafta climb up three rungs on the “I care” ladder to even be apathetic about this discussion, it occurs to me that it misses what I deem to be the major point, and the elephant in the room — a subject about which I care deeply.

      R-E-S-U-L-T-S are what matters — nothing else. The rest is happy talk.

      Your way, my way, his way, her way — who cares? Show me your banker is happy to see you coming. Show me the wall with all the cat skins. THEN we’ll cuss and discuss how they got there.

    18. Brian Brady August 27th, 2010 9:38 am

      “Show me the wall with all the cat skins. THEN we’ll cuss and discuss how they got there”

      Isn’t that the whole point of this discussion?

    19. Jeff Brown August 27th, 2010 10:15 am

      Yes, of course, but it seems so many see fit to summarily dismiss business generating efforts due to their bias against a particular method. We can all name agents who use SMM who pay more income taxes than what 95% of agents produce in gross income. Ironically, some of them don’t benefit much by SMM. :) Some do.

      You and I have always agreed on this subject — use what works, discard what doesn’t. But there are so many who who stray, IMHO, from that principle.

      Personally I jumped into twitter head first. Drank the kool-aid just a bit. It was an experiment resulting in a better understanding of what would work, and what was a waste of time. I now use it about 90% of the time as a distribution center for what I write, and tidbits of investment wisdom. The other 10%?

      Pure ass goofin’ off, and I love that part of it. :)

    20. Greg Swann August 27th, 2010 10:22 am

      > We can all name agents who use SMM who pay more income taxes than what 95% of agents produce in gross income.

      This would be who? I know of no one like that. My take is that people who are making money and are still somehow able to Twit around all day are not working agents. They have leveraged enough past production to live off of their employees’ productivity. Am I mistaken about this?

    21. Jeff Brown August 27th, 2010 10:34 am

      You’ve included something I haven’t said.

      >My take is that people who are making money and are still somehow able to Twit around all day are not working agents.

      I agree with that, and would never say doing something like that all day is the way to go. All I said, the point I was making, was that there are those who use SMM and still manage to make a lotta money in real estate brokerage/lending. They’re not, however, ‘twitting’ around all day by any means. They just use it. Many of them also use it for purely social enjoyment. I’m one of those.

      Twitting around all day is not gonna make anyone any real money. Using various modes of SMM though, aimed at increasing the volume of fur on the wall is certainly valid IF it indeed produces results.

      I don’t think we disagree other than by degree.

    22. Greg Swann August 27th, 2010 10:42 am

      > Using various modes of SMM though, aimed at increasing the volume of fur on the wall is certainly valid IF it indeed produces results.

      And I don’t disagree with that at all. The issue, for me, is the one I raised in this post last week — Realtors who are spending all day, every day goofing around with other Realtors and with schmoozy vendors. I don’t even read this stuff except When Teri or Tom Johnson send me off to see something. But it is amazing to me how much dollar-productive time is being thrown away on small talk.

      Not my problem, of course. I’m spending all my spare time working on plans to dominate everything I can within a 35 mile radius of my office.

    23. Drew Meyers August 27th, 2010 10:52 am

      I believe those that are successful with social media figure out a way to use social media tools to help them accomplish their day to day activities more efficiently. I’m confident any job that involves networking & communicating with other people (which real estate does) can be done more efficiently with social media. But it’s clear there is no perfect way to use SMM to drive business — what works for one person may not work for another.

    24. Brian Brady August 27th, 2010 10:53 am

      “You and I have always agreed on this subject — use what works, discard what doesn’t. But there are so many who who stray, IMHO, from that principle.”

      I know we do agree on this. I’ve strayed and paid the price but I think we both know where the dollars are buried in social media. That’s the objective here.

      I really don’t want to detract from Greg’s original message. Social media are like a loaded gun and so few handle those weapons properly. I’ve hit a lot of bulls eyes and caused a lot of collateral damage.

      “Am I mistaken about this?”

      Not as a generalization but there are agents who use social media well and profit off of it. The ones I see who do mostly post listings and watch what their friends/contacts are doing online. They watch their contacts’ status updates for signals to call them. They also see friends of their contacts talking about real estate and…. BINGO! They pick up the phone and ask for an introduction.

    25. Brian Brady August 27th, 2010 10:56 am

      “I’m confident any job that involves networking & communicating with other people (which real estate does) can be done more efficiently with social media”

      That’s no longer true because of what Greg cited earlier about the crowded nature of the platforms.

      The most efficient communication tool is the iPad with a phone app

    26. Drew Meyers August 27th, 2010 11:11 am

      I absolutely think relationship building, regardless of how crowded the platforms are, can still be done more efficiently via social media. There are absolutely some conversations that should happen via email or on the phone and stay private — but not all conversations. If you can plant small nuggets for others to remember you by down the line with your public conversations on SM (that you would have been having anyway offline), that’s valuable in my book. Any smart individual with a massive network should be able to figure out how to monetize that network — and I’d put money on someone using SM building a bigger network than someone not using SM any day of the week.

    27. Dan Connolly August 27th, 2010 11:11 am

      The world used to be full of Realtors who spent their days gossiping and complaining at the water cooler, now they have moved it to Twitter. These are the ones who are destined to fail and fail they must. I don’t think that there is anything you can do to save them and I don’t know why anyone would waste time trying to enlighten them. I am hoping they don’t make it so there are less half wits to co-op with.

      The truth (for me) is, if you are intelligent and careful about what you say, Twitter can be a great way to drive traffic to your website, and to enlighten and educate your clients. Most of what twitter is good for is posting a link to something of value that you want your followers to see. Obviously if you make dumb jokes, you look dumb, but that’s true everywhere. The folks doing that aren’t likely to succeed by prospecting anyway.

      I also have a hard time with the idea that the only way you can make it is to work 18 hours a day 7 days a week. I think figuring out who not to work with and what listings not to take is part of the trick that separates those who have long careers from those who burn out early. Taking time off to refresh and recharge helps clear the channels so we aren’t missing the forest for the trees.

      I think rather than staying away from SM completely, you need to learn how to be careful and professional with what you post.

    28. Greg Swann August 27th, 2010 11:40 am

      > I also have a hard time with the idea that the only way you can make it is to work 18 hours a day 7 days a week.

      Keep in mind that there is only one thing in the world that I like better than working. I’ve worked this way all my life — until 2001 in jobs that netted out to $10 an hour or less on a 120 hour work week. Unlimited earning power has a huge appeal to me at this stage of my life.

    29. Nick August 27th, 2010 1:47 pm

      Great post. I agree that if social media is all that you’re focusing on..you’re wasting your time.

    30. Broker Bryant August 28th, 2010 4:11 am

      Social media can be a gold mine if done properly. I don’t spend much time on Twitter but I do spend time on Facebook. FB is the largest website on the planet with 500,000 users. In the very near future it will be the place to go on the internet for all things. Including search.

      Greg, have you set up social sites for your communities? Where potential buyer and sellers can mingle?

      Are you running focused advertising on FB?

      Are all of your sellers and buyers “friending” you on FB so your follow up is automatic?

      Are you selling houses site unseen to investors that have found you through social media? Or are you still wasting time showing houses for days on end?

      Have you created any online communities for your peers that generate referral business?

      Is your blog being syndicated to FB so consumers have another way of finding you?

      There are many many ways to generate business through social media. None of it is wasting time. I spend 10 hours a day in front of my computer working. I can do this mostly because I have agents that work with my buyers that actually need to look at properties. I focus on sellers and online buyers.

      The only issue I have with social media is that I have to remind myself to take a shower every now and then :)

      Unlock your mind and be open to explore new ways to generate business. Real estate doesn’t have to be difficult.

      Social media has made it possible for me to do a fair good amount of business while rarely having to leave my house. To me that’s an awesome thing.

      But of course it won’t work for everybody.

    31. Broker Bryant August 28th, 2010 4:14 am

      By the way I meant 500,000,000 not 500k

    32. Greg Swann August 28th, 2010 7:33 am

      > Social media can be a gold mine if done properly.

      Very interesting, Bryant. At last we’re getting to productive activities on social media sites.

      These are all interesting ideas, but I especially like this:

      > Are all of your sellers and buyers “friending” you on FB so your follow up is automatic?

      An eye-opener. Bless you, sir. I’m in your debt.

    33. Janie Coffey August 29th, 2010 5:40 am

      Bryan, I 100% agree with you the best use of social media is to stay connected with your sphere in a gentle yet constant way, AND in a way that reminds them (But doesn’t shout at them) that you are a competent and professional real estate professional. Everything else (marketing) is just spam and will turn them away from you in a second.

      Jeff, the murky thing about getting clear ROI with social media use and your spere is almost impossible. With methods such as post card mailing or expired, you can, without doubt, identify your source for that lead. But if you are staying contacted with your sphere and they call you up with a referral, how do you know that can be attributed to your social media contact or the coffee you had with them four months ago? You can’t.

      BUT I have, at least once per week, a lead that can be 100% attributed to social media, here is a story for this week… “Sarah”, a multi-million out of town buyer signs up on our search site, over a year ago. I keep in gentle touch with her regarding her buyer needs through the months. She’s mostly “just looking”. She friends me on facebook and I accept. We rarely chat person to person on FB, but she is reading my status updates and when she decides to come to town, I give her a tour around. Sarah is still on the fence, but this week she contacted me (through Facebook) to tell me that she was visiting a friend in CA (another Multi-million) who is moving to Coral Gables and she wants to refer her to “her most favorite Realtor in Miami”. Being that she was one of thousands to sign up on our search site and one of hundreds I have toured around Miami once, and that she is out of town, there is very little chance that months later she would have referred me to her CA friend, and definitely not such a warm referral, had we not been connecte on FB. I have lots of stories like this, but the point is, they aren’t always so clear to map, but think of SM as the community networking event or cocktail party. If you are connecting with people, repeatedly and in a way it doen’t turn to leads. You can’t trace which cocktail party led to that lead, any more than you can with SM, but you know they are all connected.

      BTW – shouting marketing messages out on SM is the same as giving your elevator speech and giving out your business card at a social event, it’s just yucky, so that is NOT the way to engage SM.

    34. Janie Coffey August 29th, 2010 5:51 am

      first, I’m sorry for spelling your name with a Y, what was I thinking!? I need more coffee and this comment feature doesn’t have an edit (or one I could find)

      second, I think the issue here, and where Greg gets so wound up is the 80/20 rule in full force. Just as with most things in life, 80% of the people out there are just playing, not doing it right, spamming, wasting time, etc. and 20% have it nailed. I think that Greg is seeing the 80% and you and I are seeing the 20%.

      But that is how it is in real estate in general isn’t it? 80% are struggling, 20% are making it and 5% are killing it. I’m not in the 5% yet, but with some hard work, good luck and a bit of chance, I sure hope to be! (and leveraging my SOI contact via Social Media is one of my tools to get there!)

    35. Brian Brady August 29th, 2010 10:30 am

      “BUT I have, at least once per week, a lead that can be 100% attributed to social media, here is a story for this week”

      Which suggests you are closing 20-30 transactions annually from social media marketing. Fabulous work.

      “BTW – shouting marketing messages out on SM is the same as giving your elevator speech and giving out your business card at a social event, it’s just yucky, so that is NOT the way to engage SM.”

      Surprisingly, my data suggest the opposite. In fact, the SMM experts who preach “the conversation” may be ruining their clients’ businesses. I’ll talk about this in a follow up post but I find that the agents who serially share listings on social media, while keeping information about their personal lives to a bare minimum, close more transactions

    36. Janie Coffey August 29th, 2010 11:20 am

      While two closed this month that is not the norm. I wish my lead to close ratio was 50%.

      I llo forward to your future posts as they might help me bump that ratio up so I would be hitting that 20 to 30 milestone. Looking forwad to the next one.

    37. Greg Swann August 29th, 2010 1:52 pm

      > I’ll talk about this in a follow up post but I find that the agents who serially share listings on social media, while keeping information about their personal lives to a bare minimum, close more transactions

      My @PhoenixBargains Twitter account is nothing but software-automated spam. I have ~285 “followers.” I have no idea if any of them turn into business, because my sole purpose is to close on our IDX site, but the Tweetstream gets reTweeted and echoed on a few weblogs, all of which is good for SEO. Some of Bryant’s ideas are not hard to engineer from where I am, so I’ll give those a look, as well.

    38. Brian Brady August 29th, 2010 9:07 pm

      This is how you make money from social media; you prospect:

      “I can contact about 22 people per 60 minutes. Most of them are from facebook. I see if they need anything, and then follow up with those that do. ”

      From Chris Johnson’s post:

      http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/?p=13086

    39. Rhonda Porter September 2nd, 2010 9:07 pm

      I don’t “do” social media with the goal of having it be a “gold mine”. I really started because I had to vent about what was going on in the mortgage industry back in 2006…I never dreamed anyone would read a word I had to say.

      The fact that a majority of my business is a result of social media (my blogs, Twitter and Facebook) I suppose could be considered a fluke.

    40. Janie Coffey September 5th, 2010 6:10 am

      Brian, Hubspot has a new report out that completely backup what you are saying about Linkdin…

      http://www.hubspot.com/online-marketing-opportunity-by-industry/Default.aspx?RewriteStatus=3&source=email-20100901b-opportunity

      it’s a free report with some really good info