I had this epiphany yesterday.
I have been on Trulia for many years. I get a fair amount of leads by answering questions in Trulia Voices. I’ve had listings, I’ve had buyers… it’s a good lead generation method that works nicely for me.
With some regularity I get “stock” leads through Trulia, and they always say the same thing:
Alan May, I am looking for a real estate professional to work with and came upon your profile on Trulia. Please reply to this email or even better please call me if you are interested in scheduling a time for us to talk. Thank you
It sounds “canned,” doesn’t it? So I press the “spam” button, and send them off into “lead purgatory” so they won’t bother me anymore. After all, I can smell a sales pitch when I see one. In fact, I had two of those this morning – sent both right into spam.
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Every now and then, a member of the Trulia public will ask: “Why don’t any of the agents on Trulia respond to our contact requests?“… and I will answer: “Some agents don’t check their emails regularly” or “Some agents might have a profile on Trulia, but never check their account…” or something along those lines. After all, I can’t think of any legitimate reason why an agent wouldn’t respond to an inquiry.
Well…. yesterday I got a phone call while in the car on my way to an appointment … she started with “Hi… is this Alan? I am looking for a real estate professional to work with… are you interested in scheduling a time to meet with me?”
It was almost as though she was reading the very same language I’d seen in those spam emails. I wondered what they were trying to sell me now. So I responded rather curtly “What’s this about?” She went on to say that she and her husband were looking to purchase a home in the Evanston area, and they’re looking for an agent familiar with the area… etc… etc… etc… It’s a real call! I change my tone right away, and we set up an appointment to meet and go over their parameters.
So, as part of my exit conversation, I ask “So, how did you find me?”… and she tells me, “I found you on Trulia. You’re very prominent there, and I like the comments that you leave. You seem knowledgeable and friendly.” Then she drops the bombshell: “I pressed the ‘Contact Me’ button under your photo and sent you a note twice… but I guess it didn’t get through.”
Dunn… dunnn…. dunnnnnn.
So I go back into my leads on Trulia, and check… and sure enough, there’s her phone number attached to one of those “canned” inquiries. It’s then that I realize, that’s the standard language that comes up when a reader presses the “Contact the Agent” button. How would I know that, since I’ve never clicked on that button before?
I start to look backward in my leads, and there are two more recent ones. I call the numbers… and sure enough… they’re legitimate leads. Real people at the end of those calls, looking for real estate assistance from the guy they perceived to be on Trulia all the time, and thinking surely he’ll respond to their contact request.
So… for all of you people who’ve tried to contact me through Trulia before and have reached a dead-end, I apologize. I will be looking at my Trulia leads far more carefully from now on.
UPDATE: After hearing about this, Trulia is brainstorming some new language for the standard contact comment. Now THAT’S responsive! Thanks Pete… thanks Emily.
Visit Your My Leads Inbox on Trulia to make sure you haven’t overlooked a legitimate lead.