If you want to know what really gets my goat — hang out in one of the plethora of real estate agent focused Facebook groups for a single hour and just observe. Watch the discussions between the “it’s a relationship business” crowd and the “online lead generation” crowd.

  • Don’t be foolish in your quest to prove that face-to-face is what matters.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, it’s not a one versus the other game.
  • Strategic use of your time is more important than 1,000 hand shakes.

If you want to know what really gets my goat — hang out in one of the plethora of real estate agent-focused Facebook groups for a single hour and just observe. Watch the discussions between the “it’s a relationship business” crowd and the online lead generation crowd.

It’s like Democrat vs. Republican, Ford vs. Chevy, Coke vs. Pepsi. Apparently, there is one way and one way only that real estate can be done. That is, according to the “it’s a relationship business” crowd, in person at all times — for all things.

Of course, it’s based on opinion — much of which is personal preference, not based on solid statistics, data or facts.

Nothing beats a handshake?

I have no idea where they come up with these things. Maybe it’s a fear of technology? Maybe it’s in retaliation to the rapidly increasing changes in our world today? Who knows.

But what I do know is that ignoring online lead generation because “nothing beats a handshake” is the absolute worst thing you can do for your real estate business.

Well, maybe it’s not the worst thing. Maybe you want a business that requires 10-plus hours per day of you constantly on the go, back-to-back appointments just making face-to-face connections. If you are an insanely high-energy extrovert, this might work for you — for a time.

Eventually, something will happen: you’ll get sick, you’ll have a family commitment, or you’ll just plain get tired of constantly working your butt off to make connections.

Eventually, you’ll struggle with time management or prioritizing or something else that interferes with your ability to be pounding the pavement 10-plus hours a day.

The thing is, it’s crazy to think that you could possibly connect with the number of people in-person needed to truly scale your business — and I’m not talking about the “grow a team to hundreds of transactions a year” mentality.

I’m talking about the basics — having a real estate business that you enjoy, that brings in the income you need and desire and never leaves you hungry in the middle of winter.

There is this mentality out there that nothing beats a handshake and a face-to-face conversation. Well, I’m here to tell you that yes, there is something that beats both of those. There is something that makes both of those things happen, and without it, you’ll always be fighting to find your next deal.

Something we need to remember is that technology is the gateway drug to human interaction.

Pounding the pavement

Regardless of how you meet people, whether it’s at in-person networking events or creating content on your blog to capture leads, you still have to meet 10 times to 20 times more people than you will actually do business with.

Not only that, but you’ve got to nurture them — because let’s face it, even the one out of 10 or one out of 20 people you meet who will do business with you is not ready to do business immediately. That person is a future prospect, not a now prospect.

Without technology, how are you going to nurture a long-term relationship — with hundreds, even thousands, of people? Without online lead generation, how are you going to build your “met” sphere into hundreds and thousands of people?

Door-knocking 10 hours a day? How absurd. What a waste of precious time and energy.

An easier way

Online lead generation amplifies you. It amplifies your presence. It amplifies your reach. It amplifies your business. Without online lead generation, you are stuck back in the world of random and slow progression, subject to the whims of the market.

With online lead generation you narrow in on the highest and best use of your time and energy. You create constant and consistent flows of people connections into your business. You are able to filter who needs you now versus who needs you later.

As real estate agents, we should know this term “highest and best use,” and yet we don’t apply it to our own time. It’s not just a real estate term, it’s a time term. What is the highest and best use of your time, every moment of every day?

Random door-knocking is not the highest and best use of your time — it never has been. But as an industry, we cling so tightly to things that are perceived to work that we don’t open ourselves up to things that actually do work!

In a time when towns were small and everyone in a community knew each other and you were one of two or three real estate agents, door-knocking was a good use of time. Today? Today strategic “warm” door-knocking is a better use of your time than random “cold” door-knocking.

This is nothing new. People like Rick Deluca have been teaching the whole “spend your time and energy on your VIP circle” concept for decades. Yet somehow, focusing our time and energy strategically has gotten lost in today’s push for belly-to-belly.

Let’s face it, a healthy real estate business has a solid dose of both methods — in-person and online. A healthy real estate business with a solid online lead generation plan and a well-structured face-to-face schedule is a business that makes it through shifting markets.

Online lead generation is the fuel that drives our face-to-face moments. Don’t toss it aside.

Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert, and close Facebook leads.

Email Christina Ethridge.

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