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Nurturing Leads Wins the Race

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Home sales aren't always to the quickest, but to the disciplined lead generator

It seems natural for real estate agents to seek out prospects in the final stages of the buying cycle. However, that story of lead generation is comparable to the old slow tortoise and quick hare fable. When buyers are ready to buy, everybody speeds into the frenzied fray. Agents who have nurtured their leads over time, though, will win the race.

house for sale
Low houising inventory means better work to get leads.

Lead generation is an art because building relationship between buyer and seller adds dimensions of trust, confidence, and reliability. Regardless of what you’re selling, those are critical, but when talking about customers’ home, insurance, or financial situations, they become paramount.

For Realtors, the current situation of low inventory makes lead generation and nurturing even more important. The National Association of Realtors reports that 57% of member agents cite lack of inventory as a critical issue. That means the battle for leads that convert to sales is crucial to being involved in a home sale or purchase.

Ensuring you have leads is the significant point. The strong demand for homes pushes pricing up, pressures affordability downward, and reduces the pool of eligible buyers. The phenomenon means real estate agents are sharing more sales among fewer buyers. NAR said NAR members reported having 12 transaction sides last year, up from 10 in 2020 (during the pandemic peak).

That bodes well for experienced Realtors, who typically reported sales volume increased to $2.6 million in 2021, compared to $2.1 million in 2020. Even with that sales increase, Realtor median gross income for experienced Realtors only increased $11,000, from $43,300 to $54,300 for the same period. Good, but not stellar when you consider 57% of agents with less than two years of experience had a median gross income of $8,800.

For comparison, 45% of members with more than 16 years of experience made more than $100,000 in the same period, the NAR reports.

Like all business cycles, peaks and valleys occur, but when housing comes back will you be ready? Top performing agents know that finding new leads, keeping existing customers, and getting referrals from happy customers are the best lead sources. Lead generation is an ongoing discipline regardless of the cycle.

How you find new customers changes over time. With more experience and a foundation of existing customers, leads come in from all sources. However, when you’re new or when you hit those business-cycle valleys, you need to cast the broadest net possible to find new leads.

Buying ads on Zillow or sending internet ads have their place, but when it comes to real people looking for homes to buy or for agents to sell their homes, the closer you are to the customer the better the opportunity.

Homebuyers sign contract
Leads are the first step in a long process to closing.

Agents usually focus on neighborhoods, price ranges, or home types to fine tune the customer relationship. Agents understand the customer’s language and needs and can represent them on any side of the transaction. Whether you focus on horse ranches or condos, you must know the customer beyond a potential transaction. How do they think? What do they say? What do they really want from your product and service?

Agents should avoid what motivational speaker and trainer Brent Kelly calls “commission breath.” Kelly says commission breath is that unmistakable smell of desperation that erodes trust and respect and kills sales.

Your strategy should position you as a listener and problem solver to those people you are targeting, not a buy-now wheeler dealer, got-it-all, with a trench coat full of pocket watches.

Nearly 70% of Realtors reported they have a personal website they use to promote their properties, provide information, and offer helpful resources to prospects and customers. Websites and agent communications also reveal personality through interaction on the site, email, and marketing communications that link back to the website.

Websites and marketing communications are important tools to create and reinforce your personal brand. A brand is the promise you make to prospects and customers about who you are and how you serve them. Most agents also link personal websites to their broker sites and other helpful sites for homebuyers and sellers, effectively creating a brand of service to the customer.

Your website is the central source of information about you and what you’re selling. So whatever promotional marketing and advertising you do can refer to this central source to support your messaging of who you are and what you do.

All marketing is beneficial to some extent, but because Realtors and agents typically focus on specific areas and neighborhoods, direct mail marketing can be very effective and very affordable generating leads. You can personalize your messages and send various types of formats that represent strategic outreach goals that match your marketing goals.

Special marketing services, such as handwritten envelopes and handwritten greeting cards, put an authentic and personal touch on your marketing that attracts people and increases impressions, calls, and conversions.

Remember, the race isn’t always to the quickest but to the one disciplined to compete, serve, and generate leads.


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