A Modern Approach to Lead Generation

by : Karen Hoeve

Learning to generate leads might be the most coveted skill in the real estate industry. For agents and brokers it's simple: the more people you contact, the more deals you'll close, and the more commissions you'll earn. A big part of the challenge is turning those contacts into clients, but a successful initial meeting, phone call, or email, can make all the difference. This article looks at ways to use all your resources in targeting leads (buyers and sellers in your market) and set up that crucial first meeting or contact.

Until recent years the most popular way to generate leads was to simply buy them. There were generally two methods of this: one was to pay real estate "Internet portals" for the names and email addresses of people who filled out contact forms. As websites positioned to rank well for popular search terms such as "Raleigh real estate," portals could be relied upon for a steady supply of contacts. Another common method for buying leads was to purchase them from peripheral service providers, like financing and investment consultants.

Both of these methods owed much to the development of the Internet, which brought traffic to any site that could position itself properly. The problem was that agents and brokers never knew who they were contacting - they were simply buying email addresses and phone numbers and hoping for the best with their pre-formatted sales pitch. The success rate for this was often low.

The preferred method is now to have leads contact you instead. While the advantages of this may seem obvious, many agents and brokers always assumed it would be too hard to be worthwhile. But with a little ingenuity you can have the ball in your court all the time, and increase the effectiveness of your lead generation campaign.

Instead of relying on other people's websites for lead generation, many real estate agents and brokers are making themselves visible on their own sites. Other ways to stay visible include writing articles for syndication, and publishing as much free information as possible. Real estate blogging is also great tool in this regard, especially if you are a good writer, and can generate trust with regular readers.

Maintaining a strong track record is also key to lead generation, especially in today's online marketplace, where good or bad news can spread fast. When a client is satisfied, a savvy Realtor will help him or her spread the word as much as possible to ensure others hear about it.

Once people start contacting you, the focus can shift back to quality service and improving your skills, as opposed to digging up contact information wherever you can find it.