The Secrets to Lead Gen. Success

This is Tracey Velt, publisher for REAL Trends. We’re interviewing realtor.com users to find out their secrets for success, how they’re processing leads, and what strategies they have to convert leads to sales. Today we’re speaking with Suneet Agarwal. He’s the owner of BigBlock Realty North, and he also leads a team called the Best SAC Homes Group in Sacramento, California.

After trying and abandoning several lead generation programs, Agarwal chose Realtor.com to boost his team from one member to 27 in five years. Find out how he uses Realtor.com leads to recruit new agents and how he organizes his lead team.

Tracey Velt

Let’s first talk about your growth. Tell me about your growth and how it interplayed with online leads.

Suneet Agarwal

Great question. So I’ve been an agent for less than five years. I think last week was my fifth-year anniversary. And as soon as I got in, I would say the second week, I started buying and exploring online leads. In previous businesses I had run, I really liked the marketing aspect, and leads pretty much take out a lot of the marketing issues to where it’s just we get to talk to the consumers. And every year, luckily enough to be able to double my business at least, and a big part of that has been with online leads. Over 60 percent of our pipeline, I’m sure, is online leads.

Tracey Velt

When you started five years ago, did you start your expansion and then bring in realtor.com to feed your team, or did you have an abundance of leads that dictated that you needed to recruit to handle the volume?

Suneet Agarwal

So when I started five years ago, brand new. I’m a brand new agent, I had no plan on joining a team. It was still a new thing for me to … Just because I never heard of it. I mean, I was just a brand-new agent. But then, as soon as I found out about teams, and realized this is something I really want to do, I started purchasing leads using that as a way to hire people to my team, and then went through a couple of subpar lead sources. But once I started working with realtor.com, the leads were good, the agents got really happy, people were closing a bunch of deals, and it just continues to grow, grow, grow. I think right now we have 27 people on the team, most of whom are working the realtor.com leads.

Tracey Velt

Great. And let’s talk about recruiting. So do you use your lead program to recruit and if so, do you bring up that you use realtor.com leads? Do you speak about it in your marketing or your recruiting interviews?

Suneet Agarwal

So I found that 90 percent of the agents that join my team are doing it for our leads. Do these agents necessarily know the quality of a realtor.com lead? Not until I tell them. And a lot of my marketed, of my recruiting endeavors, I do bring up realtor.com leads, plethora of them.

Tracey Velt

Tell me about that marketing that you’re using.

Suneet Agarwal

Oh, you want the secret sauce for the recruiting?

So to recruit agents, and it’s kind of different now because I own the brokerage too. So many different land, air and sea. Facebook advertisements talking about leads, LinkedIn talking about leads. We have outside sales agents calling agents talking about leads, email blasts, pretty much everything.

Tracey Velt

it sounds like the leads are a huge part of your marketing campaign, letting people know that you’re providing these quality leads to them.

If you’re taking the risk to purchase online leads for your agents, how do you get accountability to make sure that your agents are taking the right actions to succeed with those leads?

Suneet Agarwal

Yeah, correct.

So we have the ISA, the outside sales agents. I keep on saying ISAs, but they’re actually OSAs. The OSAs monitor the leads, call them where they need to, and we have automated campaigns using other kinds of technology too. just to where we’re always nurturing all of these leads and, yeah, it’s working well.

Tracey Velt

Explain the process to me. So you get a lead from realtor.com. Where does it go from there?

Suneet Agarwal

It goes everywhere. We use Followup Boss or CRM. So it goes to a first-to-claim type lead routing system, which many other big teams use, too. And what that means is, well first, we have the team broken up into geographical and price point tiers based on their production and capability, as far as the agent. A lead gets put out to a tier, say there’s six agents on that tier. Whoever claims the lead first gets it with the understanding that they’re calling right away. At the same time, we do an automated campaign from Agent Legend, which is kind of like, we call it the managerial campaign because it comes in my voice. So the lead has so far gotten a call from our agent, a text from our agent, and two texts from me, and the email from our CRM. Then our ISAs, excuse me, our OSAs are also calling in conjunction with our agents trying to reach the prospect.

Tracey Velt

So does having successful outcome with your realtor.com leads help you grow careers and retain good agents? And how?

Suneet Agarwal

We have these agents who are making the best money they’ve ever made in their lives. I have several newer … so they’re newly licensed — six, seven months or less — and newly on the team — six, seven months or less as well — and these guys are solely like three, four houses a month, all from realtor.com.

 

They are happy as heck. Usually when an agent leaves the team, it’s something coming down from us instead of an agent leaving because there’s a better deal or because they think the systems don’t work.

Tracey Velt

You mentioned that you have an outside sales agent. Do you use an internal sales agent as well or is that, would you consider that kind of the same?

Suneet Agarwal

I consider it the same. I have three dedicated people that are virtual, who are making a ton of calls, you know, 13 hours a day, six days a week, and then I have automated systems, too, for the other times.

Tracey Velt

And how important are they to your success with the leads?

Suneet Agarwal

Well, I don’t know how important they are to the success of the lead, or how important they are to me not having to continually watch the agents to make sure they’re nurturing and following up and calling enough times. What happens is a lead comes in, agent calls it, no one answers, then five minutes later when they’re going to call it again, their phone rings or they have an appointment and then that lead gets lost. With OSAs and these services, I know that there are other people making attempts to convert the leads.

Tracey Velt

Well, it sounds like they’d be really important to your success then, because without them you wouldn’t have as much follow-up and to convert the leads.

Suneet Agarwal

Without them, I don’t sleep at night.

Tracey Velt

Okay. And I guess tell me a little bit about your brokerage, and how it relates to your team. Do you run a team brokerage, or do you run a team in addition to your brokerage?

Suneet Agarwal

The second. So I I’ve worked at several different brokerages — the big names, the smaller names — and it was never really that great of a fit, whether it be culture or splits or just being welcoming to team environments and technological new things. There’s some brokerages that I loved working at, but no one there even used a CRM or bought leads. So that may be a great environment for many agents, but it wasn’t fostering to me. And then I’d find agents that gave great splits or brokers that gave great splits, but they weren’t open to teams, the culture wasn’t there, so what have you. So, I’ve been traveling, speaking, and doing the conference tour for a couple of years now. And during those times I met the founders and the executive staff of BigBlock Realty in San Diego. We became good friends, we started talking, and then they wanted growth. So we decided, together, to open this in Sacramento.

Tracey Velt

So you mentioned that you had used a couple of other lead programs, I don’t need to know the names of those, but what were you looking for that you weren’t getting from them but you are getting from realtor.com?

Suneet Agarwal

So I love what … one of the main benefits of realtor.com is the leads are closer to the bottom of the buying funnel. A lot of these other lead sources, the leads are sometimes two years out. They just did a Google search on a home and now it’s a lead and this person was just at the beginning. So the amount of nurturing that takes, while it’s great for those leads, it can be labor-intensive for a bunch of agents who are wanting to make money now. Make sense?

So the realtor leads, being at where they are in the funnel, an agent can start today and have an escrow within two weeks.

Tracey Velt

Okay. And, of your group, it sounds like you hire some young, new, newly licensed agents. What would you say the breakdown is of a newly licensed versus experienced?

Suneet Agarwal

Thirty percent are newly licensed.

Tracey Velt

Okay. So the leads are basically, it makes a lot of sense that they would want to join you right away because they have a source of business from the very beginning.

Suneet Agarwal

Yes.

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After earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida, Tracey set out in the real world at Florida Realtors in 1994 as a communication assistant, working her way up to editor in chief of Florida Realtor magazine. In 2004, she left the association to start her freelance writing and editing business. One of her first clients was REAL Trends, and she started working for the organization in 2005. In 2014, Tracey was promoted to editor in chief of publications for REAL Trends. She handles the writing and editing of all REAL Trends publications and marketing materials, including LORE Magazine, the REAL Trends newsletter and the blog. She is also the primary podcast interviewer where she conducts interviews with top real estate industry leaders and affiliated industry leaders. Tracey is married with two children.

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