By Jack Stubbs
Many companies are seeking to change the ways by which real estate investors identify leads in the residential market. Dealbot, a company founded in 2009 and based in North Carolina, allows industry professionals to locate and capitalize on some seller leads in real time.
We recently spoke with Blair Halver, founder and CEO of Dealbot, about the platform’s goals, how it seeks to implement technology into its business model, and where the platform is headed.
What can you tell me about Dealbot (the platform, how it works, when and where it was founded, etc.)?
Dealbot is the only full-service marketing company that uses both online and offline marketing channels to generate unlimited exclusive, motivated home seller leads for real estate investors. We’ve been in business since 2009 and have a number of clients across the U.S.
We currently generate approximately 25,000 inbound motivated seller leads per year for our clients using a combination of direct mail, telemarketing and online advertising. Our clients tell us what zip codes they want to target and how much they want to spend each month, and then we go to work using our proven campaigns to generate as many motivated seller leads in their target zip codes as we can.
Where does the company operate, demographically and geographically? Based in North Carolina, how does the company’s geographical locale influence its operations?
Dealbot is based in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. Our clients’ business relies on a steady flow of off-market properties to purchase either at a discount or with flexible terms so that they can fix-up the house and sell it at a profit. Dealbot focuses on serving real estate investors, some of whom are licensed agents, but are primarily investors. Dealbot’s geographic locale does not significantly influence operations because of the decentralized nature of the marketing platforms and campaigns we use to generate leads.
What is the current state of the dynamics behind buying and selling in today’s real estate market? Does Dealbot prioritize commercial or residential properties?
Dealbot focuses solely on residential single-family homes. Today’s real estate market is a seller’s market, which means [that] it’s much more difficult to find profitable deals. But when our clients find them, they are able to sell them much faster once fixed up. This helps cut down on holding costs, and increases profit over all.
Because it’s a seller’s market, real estate is hot right now, and house-flipping shows are all the rage again, there are a lot of new investors coming out of the woodwork, which can drive up prices on fixer-upper homes and squeeze profit margins for the existing investors. That’s why it’s critical for investors to maintain their competitive edge in their marketing.
There are many platforms seeking to do the same thing as Dealbot—streamlining and simplifying the transaction process for professionals at all levels of the transaction. How does Dealbot strive to maintain a competitive advantage over similarly-focused companies?
Whereas other companies provide more of a do-it-yourself or educational approach to motivated seller lead generation, Dealbot provides a completely hands-off service for investors who understand the value of delegation and automation.
Additionally, when an investor hires Dealbot to handle their lead flow, they get a team of marketing professionals working for them who are constantly developing and testing new methods of lead generation so that they reap the benefit of cutting-edge strategies before their competition catches on.
What can you tell me about Dealbot’s recent implementation of CallRail? How have call-tracking analytics changed over time? How integral are they to today’s market?
CallRail is the call tracking and analytics platform that allows us to see which campaigns are working and which are not. It allows us to provide a very customized service for each of our clients where we can tailor the work flows to do exactly what the client needs on the back end.
After using another call tracking vendor for several years, we recognized that the platform’s technology just couldn’t keep pace with our plans to grow, and we were unable to manage the increasing number of inbound leads. Developing and innovating new strategies and methods of lead generation in such a competitive industry requires the call-tracking analytics that CallRail provides. With CallRail, we can also integrate with a wide range of CRM systems and other platforms to create a truly customized solution for our clients.
What are some of the challenges ahead in ensuring that Dealbot can maintain a competitive advantage? How will Dealbot refine and evolve its strategy moving forward?
The challenge in maintaining a competitive advantage relies on our ability to generate consistent results for our clients. As established campaigns lose efficacy over time, it’s critical that we continue to innovate so that we are always on the cutting edge of what’s working now, not two years ago. To that end, we will see even more of a shift from offline to online marketing channels over the coming years.
One of Dealbot’s goals is to be interruptive and proactive rather than passive and reactive. How does the current climate of today’s real estate market—which necessitates a rapid adoption of technology—further inform Dealbot’s strategy?
Effective lead generation for real estate investors requires both “inbound” and “outbound” marketing strategies. A portion of the motivated home sellers out there are searching online for a solution, and we make sure we are there to catch them. Others are simply hanging out on social media, not even thinking about selling their house until one of our ads reminds them of their need to sell. It takes many different strategies to ensure [that] our clients are receiving any and all motivated home seller leads in their target market so that they can get the lion’s share of deals in their market.
The current climate of today’s real estate market necessitates this sort of “market domination” approach. The leader in each market likely gets 80 percent of the available deals in their market, while everyone else fights over the remaining 20 percent. I’d say we’re even heading to 90/10 and eventually 95/5 ratios. That’s why it’s absolutely critical for our clients to be the leader in their market, and we help them achieve that goal.
Given that it is an automated generation machine, it seems as though Dealbot to a degree reduces the possibility of human error in the negotiation process. Can you elaborate on this idea?
Pre-screening leads once they’ve been generated is likely the most important part of this business of buying and selling houses. With the sheer number of leads we generate, it’s critical to have a streamlined and automated process for doing this so that our clients can focus on motivated sellers and not waste time with any unmotivated sellers. CallRail provides an important function in weeding out these time-wasters for our clients.
Is there a steep learning curve associated with the product? How does Dealbot’s software scale across different contexts? i.e. does it cater better to individuals, smaller groups or larger organizations?
Dealbot provides a hands-off lead generation services for our clients, so there is no learning curve to overcome. Leads are generated using several methods, but it’s all handled on our end. All our clients have to do is receive the leads either by phone or email and take the deal to its conclusion from there.
Our target clients are smaller firms with 1-5 employees who can run nimbly and efficiently. Clients are usually already doing at least a couple deals per month or more, they’re already spending money on marketing, their average closing rate is 1 out of 20 or greater, and their average profit per deal is at least $10,000. This criteria isn’t required, but the clients that meet this have the best potential for success.