I talk to many companies on a regular basis. The most consistent message I hear? Lead generation. Much of this discussion is about gaining leads in the online space. An interesting two words together…lead generation. It makes me think of some things:
1) It makes me think that maybe I’m not the one doing the leading.
2) It makes me think that I have forced someone to enter into a relationship that the person on the other end didn’t actually want nor intend to get into.
3) It makes me think that this business is all about the deal, and not about the people.
4) It makes me think that the only value a real estate agent has is by controlling information.
Now, maybe it is merely semantics, but do you think we should think different about “lead generating” including the words we use for it?
What if we could be the leaders? What if we could be given permission from them to work with them as their agent, instead of forcing them to deal with us and us dripping on them? What if we, as Chris Brogan said in an interview about online marketing, “…treat[ed] people like people,” because then “everything goes a lot better.” What if we realized that agents can and (some) actually do have a legitimate, non-commoditized value that far surpasses any kind of MLS information access (and worth the fees we charge)?
We should answer ourselves this question: What is our truly legitimate, differentiated value? Some of us know it, some of us don’t, and some of us don’t have much. After that question is answered, take that kind of value to the people (and guess where many of those people are). Become a trusted agent, become a thought leader, become a servant to people you don’t even know yet, by going out of your way to give them value. What could happen?
Like one business I know. They got a call from someone whom she had never met; the client told them that he wanted to use them for business because of her blog/value. Was that a lead? I don’t think so. That was trust-generated business.
Maybe then we wouldn’t have to do any “lead generating” because we have already generated their trust and then subsequently their business.