How to convert low-grade ‘D’ leads in 3 easy steps

Consumers want information and anonymity, so now it becomes a game

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I had a colleague point out that sometimes the leads we get are “D” quality. They’re the ones who enter “Joe Schmoe” for a name and “650-555-1212” as their number. In my “Six Lists” training, these would be a “C-“! This consumer wants the information, just without giving you the chance at converting him. That’s just not fair! And guess what? He knows that. So now it becomes a game.

Step 1 – Find-the-consumer game

Using Google and the myriad online “big data” resources, such as and, you should be able to find the consumer if you have any real information, such as an address. This is a good strategy to use with listing leads, but buyer leads are a bit harder.

Buyers may use a real email address but nothing else. If so, just Google the email address itself. Trust me, you have a decent chance of finding someplace else online where the consumer used the same email. It’s like playing Whac-A-Mole — they pop up one place, disappear and pop up someplace else. You’ve just got to figure out where they’ll pop up next.

If you spend more than five minutes searching, you’ve probably spent too long.

Step 2 – Lead profiling

First, this person is not a client, just a lead — and a bad one at that. That said, this is about conversion. That consumer wants the information for a reason, and conversion is about getting to that reason.

Using the information you got trying to find them, you should have contact information and other details about who they are. Build a simple profile with name, age, address, phone, email and whatever else you can find so you can keep track of your insights into who they are.

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The value in this is you’ve got something to talk or write about when you reach out to them. They might be surprised — in fact, they probably will be — that you tracked them down. They might ignore you (most do), but you might actually make a connection.

Step 3 – Make contact

This seems like the most obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many agents I meet who don’t call many of their leads. You can use whatever means you like, but here’s what I do:

  • Call (up to five times, various times of day).
  • Email (no more than twice so you don’t look like spam).
  • Personal note or letter (once).

As with all leads, this is a numbers game. For every 100 “C-” leads you work on, you might get two or three to become solid “C” leads or better. They’ll take more work, but they can be just as valuable as the other leads you generate. Just remember to make the most of every contact you make in the community.

HOT TIP: Time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste too much time tracking down these low-grade leads. A little investment is fine — five to 10 minutes per step listed here — but don’t make it a major time suck.

Bryan is the co-founder and managing broker of Catarra Real Estate. In addition to his role at Catarra, he is on the California Association of Realtors board of directors for his fifth year, primarily on MLS related committees.