The right tools and systems can only create more opportunities. Whether or not they turn into a workable lead depends on how you engage with them. I repeat: Technology will not get you more leads. Here’s what will.

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Between my smart home, smart office and business automations, I use technology to keep every aspect of my life running as close to clockwork as possible, even when I have no idea what time it is. I’m a tech guy. I love finding the newest and best ways to do absolutely everything.

Having said that, technology is a tool, not a strategy. Although you can implement high-tech tools to automate content publishing, pipeline management, transaction management and/or post-closing follow-up, all of the bits and bytes in the world are not enough to get you more leads.

The right tools and systems can only create more opportunities. Whether or not they turn into a workable lead depends on how you engage with them.

I repeat: Technology will not get you more leads.

Here’s what will:

Remember your ABB’s 

That’s not a typo, and no, it’s not the ’80s anymore. People are sick of being sold to — of someone trying to “close” them every time they answer the phone. Instead, as we say in our office, “Always be branded!”

If you’re working your sphere of influence, whether that’s personal, professional or familial, constantly trying to sell everyone you speak with just makes people want to avoid talking to you.

However, if your name, brokerage and contact information are on your car (that you always manage to park conspicuously at the end of the driveway), if your phone case is emblazoned with your company logo, if you always have a brand or industry pin on your lapel and if your computer is decaled with, “I’m a Realtor, ask me anything!” — you will never have to start the selling conversation.

Give it all away

As already stated, people are sick of being constantly sold to. But you know what people will never get sick of? Gifts.

Gifts of knowledge, time or regular old trinkets and swag can turn a potential slammed door into a heartfelt “thank you.” To take the figure of speech literally, if you’re holding an open house and you want to knock on the 20 closest doors, consider the two possible scenarios:

  1. Nice brochures in hand, you walk door to door with a script like, “Hi, I’m (name), and I’m going to be holding an open house tomorrow at (address). I just wanted to introduce myself and invite you to stop by. Here’s a little information about me and how I can help with your real estate needs.”
  2. You buy 20 $1-scratch-off tickets, staple your card and a little note about the open house address and schedule to each one, and use a script like “Hi, I’m (name), and I’m going to be causing a lot of traffic on your street tomorrow, so I wanted to stop by with a pre-emptive thank you. Feel free to stop by or call if you have any questions.”

In the first example, you’re disturbing someone, in their home, just to talk about yourself.

In the second, you’re giving them a fun gift. Apply this same principal to your knowledge and expertise. You may think your ideas are special and precious, but I’m sorry, they are not.

If you are truly doing something that nobody else is, it probably means that other people either can’t or don’t want to do it.


Here’s how you do it: Write up a start-to-finish guide on how to sell a home FSBO, and send it to everyone you find — then forget about them.

When they finally give up, they won’t call the person who was pushy about insisting they needed a real estate agent. They’ll turn to the one who offered to help them without expectations.

If you’re thinking, “But then they won’t need me! How can that be good for business?” I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Google.

Everything you know about real estate is publicly available information. Your success will come from doing things well, not from simply knowing what to do.

I know how to play football, but that’s never going to get me into the NFL.

Pick up the phone, and dial

Hundreds of studies confirm that response time is the biggest factor separating a lost opportunity from a workable lead. When someone gives you their contact information, they are asking to be contacted. So contact them!

Be sure to do it immediately while they’re still in the frame of mind that made them reach out to begin with.

Don’t have any opportunities in your pipeline today? Call your sphere. Just make sure that whoever you’re calling, your call has a purpose and benefits the person accepting the call.

If it’s a potential lead, the purpose is clear: they’ve asked for your help. If it’s a sphere call, the purpose can be as simple as seeing how they’ve been.

Utilize the FORD technique (family, occupation, recreation, dreams), and you’ll never be short on something to say.

I call these the best practices for getting leads because they are basic principles that can be applied to any lead acquisition system, tool or technique.

Have some best practices of your own? Do you have any creative ideas to apply them? Let me know in the comments section below.

Jon Starwalt is the director of technology with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Star Homes in the Chicago area. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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