Real estate comes down to a very simple job description: generate leads and convert them into closed business. If you want to generate more leads in your business, here are four of the best ways to do it.

1. Best strategy for locating a virtually untapped source of repeat buyers
Prospect "for rent" expireds. This strategy has several components. For example, if a single-family residence is available for lease, track when it was leased and then contact both the lessee and the lessor about nine months later.

Real estate comes down to a very simple job description: generate leads and convert them into closed business. If you want to generate more leads in your business, here are four of the best ways to do it.

1. Best strategy for locating a virtually untapped source of repeat buyers
Prospect "for rent" expireds. This strategy has several components. For example, if a single-family residence is available for lease, track when it was leased and then contact both the lessee and the lessor about nine months later. (This assumes a one-year lease). This may yield both a listing and a buyer sale. For the lessee, point out the financial advantages of purchasing rather than renting, especially with today’s low interest rates. For the lessor, provide information on the present market conditions as well as comparable sales information. Also, check the public records to determine what other properties the lessor may own. This year, an estimated 1.65 million investment properties will sell as compared to approximately 5 million single-family homes. The typical investor buys two properties per year as compared to most homeowners who move once every five to six years. In other words, the typical investor purchases 10 to 12 times more property than those who purchase only a primary residence.

2. Best lead-generation marketing pieces for past clients
For clients who sold or purchased with you this year, personally deliver a fresh copy of their closing statement. This eliminates the hassle of having to make copies for their accountant or having to obtain copies from the closing agent if they misplaced the documents. It also opens the door for you to obtain a testimonial or a referral.

For your entire referral database, drop off an Annual Report in person. To create an Annual Report, place a color photo of a distinctive landmark from the community or a picture of your client’s home. Then provide the listing and sales data for the past 12 months as well as an estimate of their property value. If values have decreased, your client may be eligible for a property-tax reduction. Have them contact you to obtain the forms. Offer to provide the same service for their friends, family and acquaintances.

3. Best lead-generation closing gift
Hold a housewarming for your principals in their new home. You will handle all the details including providing the refreshments and contacting their database. This is a great way to obtain personal introductions to your clients’ sphere of influence. Send out the invitations and then follow up at least three times. An excellent way to do this is to use Jott.com, a service that allows you to leave a voice message, or send a text message or e-mail, depending upon the person’s preferred style of communication. Best of all, you can send the message once on Jott to the entire group rather than having to do it individually.

Your first contact is the invitation. Depending upon the age of the client, you may want to send a paper invitation via snail mail or a digital invitation using an online service. The second contact is to confirm their RSVP. The third contact lets the person know how much your clients are looking forward to seeing them at the housewarming. After the event, contact each person who attended to thank them on behalf of your clients for attending. At this point, you can ask if the person who attended would be interested in receiving your quarterly update of what has sold in the area. Your clients’ face-to-face introduction at the actual event greatly increases the probability you will be more likely to obtain future referrals.

4. Best strategy to generate new leads from your referral database
The script, "If you know of anyone who is thinking about buying or selling a home, I’m never too busy for your referral," has been used so often that it has lost much of its effectiveness, especially for Gen X and Gen Y. A better approach for lead generation is to shift to social networking. For example, approach the service providers that you use (i.e. mortgage officers, inspectors, contractors, etc.) and invite them to join your network on LinkedIn.com. Then, when you meet a new client, invite them to join your LinkedIn network so that they can access your "preferred vendor" list — the people you use when you have your own home repaired. The beauty of this approach is that LinkedIn allows you to see your new client’s sphere of influence. It’s also a great way to reconnect with past clients.

If you’re ready to make your business soar in 2009, make lead generation and lead conversion your top priority.

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of "Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters" and "Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?" Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at LuxuryClues.com.

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