Who Does Lead Generation Work For Anyway?

by | BiggerPockets.com

I’m a marketing director at a real estate firm.  If I had to sum up what I do every day in three words it would be, “I generate leads.”  It’s both much easier and much harder than you would think.  Confused?  Let me take you inside and show you why everyone in the real estate industry seems to have it wrong… including me.

What’s a lead?

Gosh.  That seems like a simple question to answer.  A lead turns into a sale in some form or another which makes you income right?  Maybe, possibly, well… probably not.  A lead is simply a bit of information about someone that might want something from you.  In our case, property.  Leads range from no name with a single email address all the way to your next door neighbor who gave you his social security number “just in case you need it.”

Most people say a lead is only as good as the information you have.  I say phooey.  A lead has only two variables…

  • The intent (read seriousness) of the potential client/prospect/sale
  • The ability of the professional to convert that lead into business

If a lead has no urge or facility to buy a home, they won’t.  If they are serious buyers or sellers then a followup stud of an Agent will convert a higher percentage of email only leads into sales than a newbie Agent ever will, whether they have a phone number, address, mother’s maiden name, and vaccination history, or not.

Many companies and products dub themselves lead generation powerhouses.  Market Leader has RealtyGenerator.  There’s 1parkplace, homegain, just listed, real estate webmasters, point2agent, along with many more and a myriad of e-book style or PPC landing page lead systems.

They all do it the same way… more or less.  Some systems are slick and nearly seamless… some are sloppy and ghastly.  Choose one at your own risk.  Good system or not, they all generate some form of a ‘lead.’  Now what??  Give it to an Agent or keep it to yourself but you better convert it into a sale or you’ll end up with smaller pockets; maybe no pants at all.  Most agents have MAJOR trouble contacting, converting, and following up with leads.  So now you just took that precious lead you paid $5-$20 bucks for and threw it out the window.  I do it too.  That’s what I’m paid to do.

Decipher from my rambling two points…

A.  Serious lookers or those in serious need of assistance will convert into $$.  Whether you convert them or not.  Be where they can find you and have a system in place to immediately contact, convert, close, follow-up.  Properly executing those four simple steps will make you a big old pile of money.

2.  Our industry is one of the most poorly run, bass-ackwards (see, I’m from Arkansas), sad-sack profession that exists on the face of the planet.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, there’s just room for improvement.  It’s exactly the reason that 6% of the agents make 94% of the money.  Those are the only ones that know what they are doing.  The rest are just hoping to make enough to pay their fees for the year.  I used to work with a great commercial guy that said:

If an MLS membership cost $5,000 per agent, we wouldn’t have any of the problems we have in this industry.

I tend to agree with him.  The real problem is that there’s no barrier to entry, no hurdles.  The problem is the independent contractor.  Consider what a corporate or systemic real estate system would look like.  What if every agent was accountable to meet a certain level of production, training, knowledge, and professionalism?  What if every lead belonged to the agency and agents worked together to prospect, obtain, and close deals?  What if you were a professional or got fired?  What if…

It would be quite a different industry would it not?  Take a look at some thoughts on systemic brokerage or some form of it.  What do you think?

About Author

Ben's an 'out of the box' Realtor and Internet Marketing guy. He's recently started a brand spanking new Training, Coaching, and Marketing company for Realtors called The Exit Pro. He likes all things blogging and teaches Realtors to be more professional through training. He spends most of his time getting the word out about his cool new real estate company and writing guest posts for great sites like BiggerPockets.


  1. Oh Ben . . . you got my mind running at the end of the post. I almost went off on one of my rants, but I’ll save it for another day. Regardless, your line of thinking about adding barriers to entry to the business is something that “real estate professionals” have needed for a long time.

  2. Amazing post! Serious but with nice humor in it. Made me smile as I run through reading. ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s direct to the point and well written. As an online business owner myself, I definitely agree that all leads are prospects and be sales eventually if we just have a right follow up program. Show appreciation to people who shoot us any email may it be a simple inquiry or more. Reply promptly and and also ensure them a privacy policy of their info. Use the internet wisely and safely as to generating leads.
    Have a great day!

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