We just cut our Zillow advertising back to the minimum.

At the beginning of the year, we made the plunge and took on about 18% of the Encinitas territory. We definitely got more calls!

Here are the incoming calls and emails per month – total is 157:

zillow 2016 stats

The best realtor-teams nationwide are achieving a 3% to 5% lead conversion, and ours has been less than 1%. Why? Because the consumers who inquired either have an agent and thought they were calling the listing agent for general info, or they were calling on the hottest new mobile-home listing.

Yes, if this was Glengarry Glen Ross, there would be no coffee for me.

But the 1% conversion rate means I talk with 100 people to find one who will buy or sell a house.  My conversion rate is close to 100% with people who call from the blog – I am here to help you, and together we get it done! But that is a personalized, dedicated service, not an order-taking real estate factory.

At the last Zillow conference, there was an agent team from Florida that swore by the Z-advertising. They had several junior agents manning the phone banks, and shuffling buyers into houses for $100,000 to $300,000 up and down Florida.

But that’s not Encinitas, and it’s not me.

I’m still a believer in the Zillow platform, because they have the eyeballs – somewhere between 60% and 70% of the real estate traffic.

But they do funky things – for example, they tell the Premier agents that we have the exclusive ability to include 2-minute video tours of our listings only, and they will put those at the top of the search lists.  But within 1-2 months, they are letting everyone do a video tour – including for-sale-by-owners. The tours are rinky-dink, so I don’t expect much, but the integrity of the switch-a-roo was terrible. You can’t help but feeling you got hustled…again.

The future of the real estate selling business is whether the consumer will stick with their realtor for life, or be persuaded enough by promises of insider deals and coming soons to switch to a phone-bank agent.

Here is how Spence sees it today – the usual banter:




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