304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
New agents often have a scattershot mentality.
“I have to do everything!“
That is what I did. I door knocked, mailed a farm, started a homebuyer seminar called FSBOs and expireds, bought paid leads, worked with renters, networked with investors, blogged, and spent time on social media. Any real estate lead generation technique or tactic you can muster to begin growing your business.
The result? By trying to do everything, I did nothing well. I was not consistent because I was spread too thin.
Instead, focus on just four prospecting pillars, any one of which can support your goal 100%.
Then, resist the temptation to try other lead gen strategies.
In my article about the Hub and Spoke, the goal of lead generation for real estate agents is to build your audience. Your audience includes:
These are people in your CRM that you are marketing to.
Your audience is first and foremost. This includes your sphere of influence, referrals, and repeat business. Every agent has an audience, whether just starting out or a top producer.
Limit yourself to just four strategies for growing your audience.
What is your business? Real estate?
It’s lead generation.
You can be the best real estate agent in the world. Without leads, you will earn $0.
You can be the worst real estate agent in the world. With leads, you will earn something (even if you’re just referring them to the best real estate agent in the world with no leads).
To make it in this business, you must be a lead generation machine. That means focusing on a few lead sources that can sustain your business and mastering them. As you will see, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to earn business. You can’t do them all.
Pick the ones suited to your strengths, and stay focused!
These are the principles taught by coaches like Verl Workman.
You need to pick pillars that can sustain your business. Is your goal to close 30 homes this year? Then EVERY lead source should have enough opportunities to generate 30 closings a year. That puts you on track for 120 closings, and if any pillar falters, you are overshooting your target.
Work backward from your annual goals to create weekly prospecting goals.
If you are growing into a large team or a brokerage, it is possible to add more than four pillars as your team grows. But most agents and teams should keep focused on four.
When selecting your four lead generation pillars, it makes sense to diversify between those with quick and slow results.
New agents need at least one business pillar in the “quick and free” quadrant.
The “Quick” quadrants feature lead sources so you can land listings and buyers quickly and start earning money to support your business quickly.
The “Slow” quadrants feature lead generation strategies more desirable for the long term: lower customer acquisition costs, building a brand, and scalability. You’ll want to start developing one or two of these strategies early on.
Mix it up!
A countercyclical business model does well when the market is doing poorly.
Having at least one countercyclical business line can help hedge against a changing market and keep you alive during the following real estate crash.
Obvious examples include:
In good times, these are probably going thin businesses. But by having an established competency in them, you will be well poised to pivot quickly when the market shifts.
Consider at least one countercyclical model as part of your four pillars.
Sphere of influence, repeat customers, and client referrals! This is where top agents get most of their business and must be one of your pillars if you are serious about real estate.
The majority of leads still come from referrals and repeat customers. Not PPC. Not Zillow. Not social media.
These have the highest ROI because they are warm leads with high conversion, usually involve few to no commission concessions, and have a relatively low or even $0 customer acquisition cost (CAC).
I can only begin to scratch the surface of all the different techniques, tactics, and platforms that might be worth your time.
My main recommendation is to focus on one or at least two social media platforms. It is tempting to start a Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram account as soon as you are an agent. While doing so may be worthwhile to brand yourself as a real estate professional, only select one for your real estate marketing effort. You will not be able to effectively manage them all.
Below are just a few social media channels. Instagram, NextDoor, Quora, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and other sites also might be great options for building an audience of home buyers and sellers.
What in the world is “audience building”? There are a few components: content marketing, building a brand, and top-of-mind awareness.
Your content strategy’s main effort will probably be your website and email marketing to your database.
This category is different than the others. Unlike leads you pay for or social media on which you “rent” space, you own these lead generation methods. Facebook can’t change an algorithm, and suddenly, you’ve lost your leads’ email addresses and phone numbers. Those are yours.
It is my favorite prospecting category.
I define hustling as those tasks that are usually free but take your time and persistence.
Cold calling, networking events, sitting in open houses, and working hard as a real estate agent.
These prospecting methods often have a lower conversion and aren’t for the faint of heart. But that is an advantage for the agent who can stick to it persistently. They succeed where most agents do not.
These are also some of the best methods for agents new to the business to cultivate potential leads on the cheap and lead with revenue.
Networking also has much in common with Referral and Sphere of Influence strategies. Making friends at your kids’ soccer practices, attending your local Toastmasters, and expanding your SOI are all ways of building a database.
I see networking as building mostly B2B relationships (lenders, investors, property managers, etc.). These relationships can unlock massive potential.
I call this business model prospecting because it pursues a specific niche, usually a B2B relationship from which you get leads.
These often require the cooperation of your broker if you are not a broker-owner. They often sacrifice some of the commission for a steady volume of leads.
Buying leads is the easiest way to lead generate, although it’s expensive!
Consider, if you, on average, make about $5000 on a commission, would you pay $1000 for a lead? Of course!
And that is about what the numbers work out to. Targeting a 5:1 ROI is very typical for these leads. You can see how the math adds up quickly. If you want to do 30 deals this year, you probably need to spend $30,000 or more on paid leads.
The problem is that this assumes a good lead conversion, often about 2% for these lead types. Most agents don’t have the patience or follow-up to realize a conversion that high. Instead, they waste money and then complain that the leads are junk.
Good agents get contact information and stick with it 6, 12, or more months after the lead.
Often these leads are prospects buying or selling in a particular zip code who were captured on a landing page, either your own, Zillow’s, or another third party like BoldLeads.
Farming is not its category, as it includes elements of the previous prospecting plans. If you are farming a neighborhood, you will want to apply elements of all the prospecting methods above.
For example, you might send direct mail to your neighborhood while hosting a community event, working open houses for builders in your neighborhood, participating in the HOA leadership, and creating or commenting in the neighborhood Facebook group.
Lastly, you need to implement a system to be consistent with the pillars you’ve chosen. Your CRM might have workflows that keep you on track. CRMs don’t just have to be for reminding you to call leads. Many can be used to remind you to do a task.
Browse my list of the best real estate CRMs for your business!