Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Inside Trulia’s Boiler Room

The news just hit the wire. Trulia just took the term “interlopers” to a whole new level by opening a new inside sales office in the Denver Tech Center, in the same neighborhood as RE/MAX’s World Headquarters.

And they are hiring sales managers, sales reps, customer support, HR, their very own “boiler room”!

Dave Liniger, co-founder and Chairman of RE/MAX has been critical of sites like Trulia for being “the guy who shows up at a pot-luck dinner bringing only a fork.” And with a big move like this I thought it might be interesting to see what exactly Dave’s new neighbors will be doing just up the street.

Just how does Trulia’s sales team operate? Last week a post by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch blasted a new company for naming their new start-up, “SalesCrunch”. The founder of SalesCrunch is none other than the founding VP of Sales for Trulia, Sean Black. Small world.

On SaleCrunch’s site they have a section called “SalesSchool”.

Posted is a short video, named “how Trulia Scores and Process Leads” where Sean Black Interviews his former Trulia workmate Lead Generation Manager, Steve Rossi who talks about how Trulia sells products to agents.

It’s a must see for anyone in the business of selling to real estate professionals. Lots a good tips from someone in the front lines.

But then at about 1:10 in to the video Steve reveals something that I almost missed. Turns out Trulia mines the syndicated listing data, that powers their site, for valid prospects to sell their wares. Meaning agents who just sold a million dollar home get prioritized for a sales call to buy Trulia’s products.

Now I know that the listing data coming from syndicators like ListHub are stripped on many of the restrictions that a typical IDX vendor must adhere to. But this practice just seems wrong.

Typically most vendors are restricted from using MLS data to mine/contact agents. In fact many MLS providers seed their listings data with false e-mail addresses that flag when an unscrupulous vendor tries to use the data to market to their membership.

The irony here is that many agents and brokers have criticized sites like Trulia (and even Realtor.com) for using their own listing data to generate revenue (advertising) and charging the same agents to “enhance” their own listing data. Now it turns out they are also using the listing data to target who the best agents and brokers to sell to!

Something tells me that Trulia shouldn’t be heading over to RE/MAX to borrow a cup of sugar anytime soon.

UPDATE [ LOOKS LIKE SALESCRUNCH MADE THE VIDEO PRIVATE]
UPDATE 2 [LOOKS LIKE ITS BACK UP. WEIRD]
UPDATE 3 [ITS BACK TO BEING SET TO PRIVATE- What are they hiding?]

  1. Pingback: Interview with Trulia’s Lead Generation Manager Steve Rossi | GeekEstate Blog - Real Estate Technology News and Analysis for Real Estate Professionals

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  3. Hi Greg,

    At Trulia, we pride ourselves on being a great place to work and and we focus on delighting our customers. Anyone who talks to our employees or visits our offices would realize that our employee experience is anything but a boiler room. For our customers, instead of indiscriminately marketing to real estate agents, we do our homework before reaching out to you and make sure we know who you are and what your needs may be.

    Our goal is to be your #1 source of clients and help you drive transactions. The only way we can do that is by knowing how your business works. When we know what listings you currently have on the market and what you’ve recently sold, we then can make recommendations on the best marketing solutions to help you succeed. If you have questions about our process or recommendations on how to improve it, please feel free to reach me at srossi@trulia.com .

  4. @steve I think what you guys are doing is very smart and well implemented. My point is that vendors working with MLS providers directly have a set of restrictions that Trulia is not bound by. I can appreciate that someone from outside the MLS industry, like yourself, might find this absurd. But I believe those restrictions are there for a reason.

    But similar to criticisms leveled on Facebook, sometimes brokers and MLS providers have no idea what they are giving permission to, when working with listing syndication providers like ListHub. WAV Group has done an excellent white paper on this subject which I linked to in the post. (http://waves.wavgroup.com/listing-syndication-terms-of-use)

    Good luck with your efforts.

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  6. I wrote a while ago of Trulia’s affiliate program that was paying out $40 – $120 per lead – encouraging real estate trainers, MLS’s and even real estate brokers to treat Realtors like a sales lead.

    http://www.webrealestatetools.com/real-estate-updates/realtors-you-have-a-price-on-your-head

    This is one step better – target the agents who just got a big fat commission check.

    Now that Google has tossed real estate to the curb, just watch as Trulia tries to maximize revenues to become a more desirable takeover target …

  7. Pingback: MLS providers and NAR need to give real estate franchisors a fighting chance. | Vendor Alley

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