Monday, May 15, 2006

A brutally honest story about HouseValues

This post from the HouseValues Mastermind Forum (our subscriber-only online discussion forum) demonstrates that being successful with online marketing means not just having the right leads and the right marketing partner in your corner. It also means having the right mindset, and in some cases changing the way you think about your business. As Jim Tomlinson from Orlando, FL indicates below, the results can be truly impressive!

In Jim's words, from the Mastermind Forum:

I am going to share my HouseValues story with you. If you are thinking about, (or reconsidering), the value vs. cost of HouseValues and the Market Leader systems. Read on. I'm sure others have better numbers than me. But, the idea is that you need to track your numbers and dollars to see how well you are doing.

I started with HouseValues in June of 2005 and I was horrible at working the Market Leader system. I ranted about the quality of the leads. But honestly, I was just plain horrible at working the system. I only made about $2,500 in commissions. My closed business ratio at the end of 2005 was 65 leads to 1 closed sale.

What did I do different this year? I made a concerted effort to work Market Leader. I personally delivered my CMAs, I also regularly mailed and called the leads. I followed the call back scripts. I read the Mastermind Forum - GREAT STUFF IS POSTED HERE!. I also customized my email messages, (thanks Steve Davis). And, I generally adopted a better attitude towards "making it happen."

As you can see from the numbers below, my lead to closed business ratio has improved. Year to date, I have closed almost $19,000 in business with HouseValues. Now, those earnings are not much to sniff at...But, steady progress and a better $ return on my leads is really what it is about. I will get better as I continue to add more prospecting leads to Market Leader as well as join the mortgage affiliate program (which I just signed up for.)

2006 YTD:
I have a total of 141 seller leads and 58 buyer leads. All but 3 of these leads are from HouseValues. I have 6 past clients (all HouseValues) in Market Leader. So, that is a 33 lead to 1 closed deal ratio. This ratio is in line with a "Have Met" style database. Meaning, a database consisting of people you have met and consistently market to.

Cold callers all know that door knocking or telemarketing generally takes 125 contacts,(not leads) to 1 sale ratio. Yes, cold calling doesn't cost a lot of money, or does it? It surely costs your time and sanity which you cannot recover. I am currently getting a $4 return for every $1 I spend on Housevalues. This will get better. My goal is to get a $5 return by the end of this year.

More importantly, I have learned more about myself in this journey...particularly about being honest with myself and what it takes to make it happen. I am enjoying the improvements I am making with HouseValues and that are happening in my business and within me personally.

I wish all of my fellow HV'ers a prosperous last half of 2006.

Jim Tomlinson
Keller Williams Classic Realty