Is that Internet Lead Really Worth $16,000?

I received the following message through my blog and because many of us worry about getting nailed with an $16,000 fine for our first offense, I thought I would post it here along with my response to it as well.

I have been using your LCM method for a little more than a month and I have collected 20 leads out of 120 Google clicks. I’m happy with the process. It works exactly as you claim for generating the leads. However, I have been getting nervous recently about the Do-not-call rules since a number of my leads were not happy about getting called.

I reviewed the exact rule to be sure and I wonder if you have any experience testing the assumption that an existing business relationship (EBR) is implied based on the LCM success process. The client is registering their name, phone number and e-mail but I am not sure if this alone satisfies the rule as being an “inquiry, application, purchase or transaction” as defined in the rule.

In addition, the LCM prospect can check one of two boxes (they are looking for an agent or looking for a home) and all of my leads select the “home” which implies they do not want or expect me to call. I cannot find an example on the Do-not-call website of a case involving a registration such as this as establishing an EBR. I cannot afford a single non-compliance fine, so I’ll do whatever is required to assure compliance.

The Do-Not-Call laws do not apply to anyone who enters their name into a web form inquiry — the law is very clear on this point.  Think about it… where did you get their name and number to begin with?  From their inquiry.  You legally have 90-days to call them even if they are on the DNC list.  The only caveat being, if they tell you not to call them again, then you have to honor that.

In my many years of calling web leads, I have to say that if you are having customers who get angry with your phone call, you are not doing followup the way we teach.  Please, please listen to my interview with Jennifer Allan or read my many articles on working Internet leads on my blog.  There are also a number of articles where I address the DNC list as well.

Call the leads using a customer service approach and not like Joe-Salesman and you will never have a problem.  When somebody gets upset when you call, that should be a red flag that you are coming across salesy.  Even if you don’t mean to.

Many of us have been selling so long, we close without even thinking about it, and we come across as if we are selling when we just talk.  If you are getting icy responses, please take a moment and look at your approach.  As we teach, this skill takes a little while to learn, but once learned will be the most valuable skill you can have in this Internet age of real estate.

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Comments 3

  1. author Matt Jones posted January 25th 2011. 10:34 am

    Hi Wayne. Now I have a name and a face to associate that comment to. Great comment by the way. I have read several “legal opinions” about responding to Internet and IVR (call-capture) inquiries as being perfectly legal. If you search the web you will see that your responding to their first contacting you through your place of business (website) is in the clear.

    I have never heard of it being challenged or of any test-case regarding prospecting calls to Internet inquiries, but I tend to be more of the “non-worry” type. I think it would be very difficult for somebody to make a case for my violation of the DNC statutes when the victim had first approached me and had left their phone number in a response form, particularly when the terms of use clearly state that they might be contacted.

    Thanks again for the great comment. Several others have thanked me since you brought it up.

  2. author Wayne Adams posted January 25th 2011. 10:19 am

    Thanks for the response. I have not had any “angry” clients, only a few that were obviously not expecting the call and seemed to be a little unhappy about it. I have been trying to follow your approach verbatim but I am certainly no expert and I will take your advice and work on polishing my style on calls.
    I completely agree with your assumption that these calls should fall under the “existing business relationship” part of the rule, but I wondered if we have anything more than an assumption on this. Have you ever had a legal opinion of it during your work? Has this ever been tested by a client that you know of? I am a worry-wort by nature and probably should drop the issue, but I had to ask.

  3. author Frank Brown posted January 25th 2011. 3:12 pm

    Take the time to learn from the master, so people will realize you are trying to help them by providing a no-cost searchable website in the first place and actually you are not a pushy agent. Simple follow up from a friendly person who may have more helpful info is usually welcome.