Well.... ok, I survived the trip to REExpert.org in Denver Colorado, a lot better than expected. I probably came in a bit bitter, concerned about what is going on and probably on the defensive. I had some tough questions and I think they answered them well.
I got to the airport in the early morning yesterday and Tara picked me up on time. We went to the company offices in a rather large expensive looking glassed front building, top floor. I took photos of everything that I could. Seeing is believing. So ok..., its a real company with real people working there. I did sign a NDS, Non Disclosure Statement, so there are some things that I will not relate but that being said.... these guys and girls are working overtime to make this work for all of us. - One of the things that I liked was that I had a chance to talk directly with the Chief Operations Officer and the Chief Tech Officers, plus everyone else that I wanted to .... they literally opened the doors for me all day long. I looked at detailed maps on the wall, strategy charts and flow sheets with plans outlining areas that the company are focusing on that need attention. They seemed to have nothing to hide..., I jumped on one of their computers and reviewed all the leads and who those leads are going to.... wow, they have it all lined out and tracked. For those who wonder how the company can ensure that their 20% is honestly paid, forget about it.... they have it tracked, not with just cookies but with software designed to do just that type of tracking. These are real people with kids, families and they come to work daily into beautiful offices with a killer view and all appear to be happy.
A few of the main questions I asked were; (answers are my own but taken from what was told to me)
1. What about PPC? - The official company answer to me; "Its ok. You do not have to do PPC. We have things in the works that will within 3-6 months automatically bring you the leads... we have heard your complaints and understand how you feel. We are responding as fast as we can." - Then they showed me some of their plans and what is going on. - I was impressed. In the end I also offered to assist in bringing some FREE webmaster tools to the members only area of www.REExpert.us
that will be a big benefit to all.... at no cost, since I am a webmaster and understand what needs to be done. Watch for this in the Members Only area, please email me and ask for a password if you do not have one yet.
2. What about the "Call Center" with the Boiler Room approach and people that could hardly be understood? - Answer is, "We fired that company. Apparently since we are a start up company, not every aspect will be perfect in the beginning. Its like trial by fire. We learned that this was not a good approach and our scripts were not being followed, even some in-house sales staff have been replaced, with more rules given to them on what can and cannot be said. The actual original plan was to only look for and take on seasoned and licensed real estate veterans who could prove that they were the best by their certifications and affiliations with the Board of Realtors etc..., however that got changed along the way to be more fair to others and we had to re-group. We are learning."
3. What happened to the original site? - Answer, "Problems with that vendor etc forced us to make a change and we lost a lot of basic data that we had to work to recover. Unfortunate, but most members understood and we are not back on tract."
4. What about false claims about being the best? - Answer, "Our goal has always been to be the best at bringing value to the public, not another sales pitch or transparent lead generating game to get their information to pass on to 10 agents who will all call them. We want to have just one agent call a prospective buyer or seller. A Real Estate Expert in their own neighborhood. We see no one else doing what we are doing and what we will bring to the table in the next few months. So yes, you can say we are the best."
5. What about refunds? - Answer, "There will be No refunds of the initial upfront setup fees. Its part of the original contracted agreement and the company just cannot go against its own rules, which could also set a standard of practice allowing more loss. Members just need to be patient and they will reap the benefits in a big way." In some cases the company has agreed to try to find ways to help out some members in other ways.
6. What is going on with advertising and promotions? - Answer, "Our CEO Jeff Guthrie is currently working on a Hot New Real Estate Video Magazine that should wow the public and will be offered to regular agents at a cost but Free to members. Also the company has some new staff on board now to work just on promotions etc."
7. Are the companies assets and survival Dependant on just signing up new members? - Answer, "In the beginning Investors helped a lot. For now yes its the member/agents who help us the most. We need to grow and put every penny back into this company.., as we develop the Public Awareness and acceptance of our business model. Future plans will include other sources of funding, but in the end our goals are to have enough leads coming in for member/agents that their sales will pay us 20% and that is what will generate all the revenue we desire or need!"
8. I have left messages but no one called me back, whats up? - Answer, "We call each and every one of our members back, if we get the call. Some of our phone systems have been replaced or updated so we hope this will not happen again. Tara has left her phone number in the blog at www.REExpert.us
if anyone would like to call her, or call again to the offices."
9. Why are we not getting any leads? - Answer, "If you have not..., you will. Please be patient. A lot of work is going into building our more Landing pages but more importantly getting them seen. Have you gone into your Account and added your landing pages yet? Many member/agents have not. One of our goals for the future that is on the planning table right now is to fully automate this process so you will not have to go in and do it.... it will just simply all be done for you!"
10. Has the company changed their original goals? - Answer, "No way! Our original intent and goal was to provide the public with a dependable resource for their real estate needs, which mainly is a seasoned or fully qualified, licensed, certified (GRI, ABR...etc.) RE Expert to help them with their needs. Nationally recognized as the only fully qualified local agent.... now this is a growth process and not all members who signed on are fully qualified ....yet. Training and education is on our planning table."
....ok, well there was more seen and done but that should do.
To cap off my day ... in the end I must say that I am sticking with the plan. I am sure it will pay off and in fact I have offered to help out other members.., sort of like a Union Steward or Members Representative. I have no problem confronting issues as they arise. I am just a regular member but want to help. I will be putting up a couple pages in the Members Only area at www.reexpert.us
to help other member/agents who have a password to get in, and there will be some Free Tools and Help for Agent-Members.
As of today I have done a little PPC and received 9 qualified leads in the past week, and it only takes one to close. For those who cannot bear to part with the $3,500 or for those who just cannot see taking THAT much of a risk... you are probably right and really should not do it. - For those of us who do take risks on various marketing programs, it only takes one lead to turn into a sale to equal the one time cost of Lifetime Membership.
Best regards to all,
Don Sr. / Broker & Webmaster www.BCIwire.comwww.REExpert.uswww.Homesandproperties.comwww.RealHomes.uswww.BCI-Properties.com