Here’s how to figure out where to spend the bulk of your time, energy and money to get the best return on your investment.

The best way to make your lead generation dollars go further is to laser-focus on your top three lead generation activities that produce the highest number of closed transactions. 

In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber discusses the importance of “working on” your business as opposed to just “working in” your business. 

“Working in” your business references all you do to deliver real estate services to your clients. “Working on” your business references taking time to evaluate where you are concerning your business plan, which activities are generating the best return, as well as where to alter your focus due to market shifts. 

Most top producers schedule “working on time” at least once a month. Many do it once a week. Regardless of what you decide, here are the key factors to consider. 

1. Make getting face-to-face your most crucial lead generation goal

No matter what type of prospecting you do, your most important goal is to be the first agent to speak to the sellers when they decide to sell. Based on the NAR 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, here’s the reason:

“Seventy-seven percent of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.” 

This finding has been consistent for many years. The first agent to discuss listing the home gets the listing 77 percent of the time. 

Consequently, speak daily with at least five of your past clients or sphere who are most likely to transact or send you a referral. (Five a day, for 30 days is 150 contacts.) You can do this by phone, face-to-face or on video platforms such as Facebook Live, Skype or Zoom

As you “work on” your business, calculate how many of your closed transactions resulted from a phone call or face-to-face prospecting activity. No matter what you do for lead generation, increasing your face-to-face interactions (even if it’s virtually) will help you close more transactions. 

2. Put 67% of your money and prospecting time here

The NAR Profile also highlighted the importance of being the first agent a seller or buyer interviewed:  

“Sixty-seven percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.” 

Based on this finding from NAR, devote at least two-thirds of your time and money marketing to your sphere and staying in contact with past clients. 

3. Figure out what your top 3 face-to-face lead generators were in 2020

As you can see from the NAR research, getting face-to-face, especially with those you know, can represent a substantial proportion of your business. 

In 2020, which face-to-face or live lead generation strategies did you use? Once you have that list, which three generated the most revenue?  

Next, review the following list for additional ways you can be in live contact with your past clients and sphere in 2021:

  • Regularly call to see how they’re doing, share something they might find to be of interest, or ask if there is some way you might be able to assist them. 
  • Send personalized video messages rather than traditional email. 
  • Go “live” from a sporting event, a street festival or even a city council meeting where they’re discussing a topic that impacts the people in your market area.  
  • Share a funny video or funny observation that makes others laugh. 
  • Introduce the people you know to those who could help them with their business or with personal interests such as charitable fundraising, supporting a local school, or volunteering at a local food bank or animal shelter.

4. Ask yourself: What other lead generation activities generated closed transactions? 

If you haven’t done so already, start tracking which lead generation activities generated each of your closed transactions as well as which activities generated the most significant number of new leads. 

5. Rank each lead generation source 

There’s only one criterion that matters here: the number of closed transactions coming from each different source. Your goal for 2021 is to focus 80 percent of your efforts and marketing dollars on your top three lead sources. 

6. Critically look at your website 

Is your website up to date with your current listings? Can people who are considering working with you find you on the web easily? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, seriously rethink the money you are spending on web marketing and whether you could better spend this money on other more profitable activities.  

7. Dump your bottom 20% completely

The 80-20 rule says the top 20 percent of your activities are responsible for 80 percent of your results. The bottom 20 percent of your activities provide about 1 percent of your total revenue, which means you can eliminate the bottom 20 percent of your current lead generation activities, and it will have virtually no effect on your business. Use this time and money to experiment with new strategies that can give you a competitive edge. 

Once you have completed your evaluation, rework your business plan, so you spend the bulk of your time on your top three lead generation activities and zero percent of your time on the bottom 20 percent. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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