Updated: Jul 12
Real estate success necessitates a consistent and focused effort on lead generation.
It’s time consuming, it’s repetitive (read as “boring”) and it’s absolutely mandatory if you want to be successful.
When you’re just getting started out the best thing you can do is focus on just one or two things which you get good at and let them drive your results. Why? Because focusing only on one or two things will make it easy to get really good. Focusing on a dozen things will dilute your focus and you’ll only deliver at a low level on all the things you’re trying.
Like aiming the sun through a magnifying glass, you’ll light things on fire!
The challenge is that in order to keep growing past a certain point you’ll need to add a few tools to your belt so your business isn’t prone to a risk created by concentrating all your efforts on just a few key demographics.
Think about it...
➡️ If all your leads come in through facebook and they change the algorithm you might be SOL.
➡️ If you only focus on farming a certain neighbourhood and there is a shift locally, it might really hurt you.
➡️ If you only work with your family and friends and you get too drunk at a party…. Well you get the idea.
Most of the highly successful businesses have 3-4 main lead generation pillars which are responsible for bringing 80%+ of their business.
This is a nice balance because it means you have the focus you need to really ace your pillars and at the same time, you can build diversity into your plan.
So if we know we want 3 or 4 main pillars, how do we go about selecting which ones we want to focus on?
Well first off, we need to understand a few foundational aspects of how we should weigh our options:
1: Prospecting vs Marketing
Prospecting is the act of engaging people and requesting business
Marketing is the act of using tactics to draw people into you and your product or service.
Prospecting is active, belly to belly engagement. We’re talking about doing things like canvassing, cold calling, open houses, hosting a booth at the local bank or attending networking events. It’s typically low cost or no cost, it takes a lot of time and it has an instant feedback loop, meaning if you say the wrong thing you will know right away.
Marketing is a little trickier. This involves things like putting advertisements in newspapers, social media, buying signage and displaying it locally, or creating absolutely amazing content which grabs people's attention on the internet. Marketing typically costs quite a bit more, but takes much less time, and it has a much lower feedback loop. Sometimes you don’t have a clue why it didn’t work, you just didn’t receive any calls. This means it is much more difficult to master.
Because marketing is more expensive, difficult and can often not work out, it’s typically only recommended as an accent to a newer agent's business plan. Experienced agents use it as a way to scale their existing business once they are already doing all the prospecting they can. They have this luxury because they have the cash to pay an expert and they don’t have any more time to prospect.
2: Bringing You Energy VS. Draining Your Energy
There are 101 ways to generate a lead without spending a lot of money… So if you hate doing something, don’t do it! Find a way to generate business that works with your skillset and gives you energy.
Some people love engaging and connecting on social media, so they message friends, put up videos of themselves and deepen relationships by having fun with it.
Other people don’t want to be responding to messages on their socials when they finish work so they go out and door knock for a few hours every morning. For them it’s a nice walk and for the social media butterfly it sounds like an absolute nightmare to knock on a stranger's door.
Both agents have the same potential for success, and both will be more successful if they choose something which makes their heart sing so they can have fun while they are doing it!
3: Diversity Of Your Leads
I mentioned the concentration risk of only working a certain type of business earlier, but this is a big one. People who worked predominantly with baby boomer downsizers got hit hard when covid struck… So think about what kinds of clients your lead generation will create and make a plan where your four pillars are adding a diverse mixture of leads to your database.
Will your efforts bring you buyers or sellers?
Will your leads be focused around a certain area or spread out?
Will your leads generate long term or short term leads to manage?
Will your leads be niched into a specific client type like investors, first time buyers or people with job transfers?
Consider how this will balance throughout the year, or in a market shift.
How will your pipeline react in an up market or a down market?
Which parts of your business will generate clients who will work with you multiple times vs only once?
Build your plan out to have diversity and you’ll have a business which is more predictable in the long run. If you plan to start a team, consider how easy the pillars will be to teach to your teammates and consider if you have pillars which will allow you to partner with a broader group of potential team members.
4: Build On The Basics
You’ll be tempted to try some really cool, creative and inventive ways to grow your business, these are exciting! We all have seen interviews with agents who do 100% of their business through Tiktok or they are famous for doing standup locally and it’s pivoted into a smoking hot career… These people are the exception, not the rule.
For every rockstar who makes it big there are 10K people whose album you’ve never heard of. If you aren’t doing this as a hobby and you actually need to make money doing it, you’ll want to start out by mastering some of the basics and add the cool projects later once your neck is above water financially.
Don’t wait to start, get moving and add or improve as you go.
No matter what, make sure your key relationships (past, repeat and referral) are your top priority because they are always going to be the most reliable source of growth. Think of everything else as ways to bring new key relationships into your world.
Make it fun but remember it’s still work and you need to show up every day to push this thing forward if it’s going to be successful. Even if you choose things you enjoy, there are still going to be times when it isn’t easy to get started and these are when it’s the most important that you put your shoulder into it and GO!
Have fun out there and happy hunting!