Real Estate Marketing Not Pulling in Leads? Here’s the REAL Problem (& How to Fix it)


In real estate I often talk about how it’s a game of consistency in securing leads from your marketing efforts. But one aspect that I would like to expand on today that I think that is equally is important is the notion that you are working on the seller’s timetable — not yours. People don’t seem to understand this concept very well, and it’s something that I wanted to touch on today.

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“My Marketing Isn’t Working”

At meet ups and get togethers with colleagues, one of the most common complaints I hear right now is there just aren’t enough deals out there. Yeah, I get it. The Dallas-Fort Worth market is hot right now, and in many areas, we are under two months of supply of inventory (six months is equilibrium here, to give you an idea).

Some of these complaints are coming from people new to the game — others come from those more seasoned who should know better by now. So I talk with them, ask about the type of leads they are mailing to, how often they are mailing, and what type of marketing materials they are hitting these leads with. Usually everything checks out. The real problem is their expectations. Because they are unrealistic, they get impatient, frustrated and flustered, making them more prone to marketing mistakes.

The fact of the matter is there will always be distressed properties out there and sellers who need your help, but people need to adjust their attitudes and expectations accordingly.


You Are Operating on the Seller’s Timetable

It can all be summed up with this: You are dealing with the seller’s timetable, not your own. We often get impatient when there is a dip in responses or our calendar appointments start to taper off due to lack of leads. This is normal.

Related: Word of Mouth Marketing: The Completely FREE Way to Find Hidden Deals

Despite how many years you have been in the business or how much money you spend, the fact of the matter remains the same. Now, what this might cause some people to do is to quickly shift gears, change lists, pick a new marketing piece, etc.

Don’t do that. Stay the course.

If you keep changing lists and fiddling around with everything, you are never going to get the consistent results that you want. Split testing is one thing, but continuously dropping lists and starting new ones every few months is not a good strategy. This is one of the top most reasons many direct mail marketing campaigns fail.

You must wait on the seller to have some sort of trigger event that causes them to sell. It’s often a case of the metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back. They are often under multiple sources of stress and finally give in and say enough is enough.

Red Flag Events

Often it is not just one single event that finally motivates a seller to pick up the phone and call you or send in an email. It’s usually multiple red flag events that finally set someone off.

For example, maybe the property is a probate and it also has some sort of minor lien on it — maybe a violation from the city. The executor usually is not alone with dealing with Mom and Dad’s house; instead, it is usually a family matter with several other siblings trying to figure out what to do.

Oftentimes the siblings might be out-of-state or far enough from the property. Sometimes the siblings get together and try to make some of the repairs themselves and find out they have bitten off more than they can chew halfway through the rehab project. Other times, it’s a bunch of siblings all with their hands out telling the executor what they “should” be doing while the siblings sit back and do nothing — and finally the executor gets fed up and decides to sell.


Urgency of the Moment

Here is what I liken it to. Let’s say it’s late at night on a weekend and you have a major plumbing leak. Water is now flowing through the pipes, pouring over your kitchen tiles. Your kitchen is now being flooded with several inches of water. You now have a distinct sense of urgency — something must be done. You hurry to the internet or phonebook and start rapid dialing, and you book the first plumber that answers the phone.

That is precisely the sort of mentality that describes these red flag events I touched on earlier, where the burden becomes so stressful for the seller that they finally decide now is the time to do something about the old, beat up house they own.

Related: The Real Estate Marketing Mistake That Could Cost You Millions

But did you notice something here? In all of the examples I have given you, there is nothing you personally did that caused them to pick up the phone and call you. It is something that happened to the seller. Again, their timetable — not yours. You cannot create motivation. All that you can do is consistently put your message in front of them in the form of marketing — so that when they have some sort of red flag event or events in their life, you are on the top of their mind and they give you the first call.

What strategies do YOU use to pull in valuable leads through your marketing? What lessons have you learned?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

Chris Feltus

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. In addition, Chris operates as a licensed Realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  1. Linda Summer

    Absolutely right Chris, consistency is key and we need several ways to market depending on what is happening in our area. Just a few strategies our great REIA leader used is knocking on doors where ever there was a For Sale sign whether from FSBO or Real Estate sign (NEVER cutting out the realtor from the deal). It is easier to make a face to face deal with a seller that will benefit everyone than having a go-between that may not understand your way of deal making. He would sit down and write out three offers and leave it with them in case they wanted to take him up on his offer. He would also knock on doors in neighborhoods where he wanted to invest and ask if they knew of anyone in the area that was thinking about selling their house and then leave a postcard size magnet with their info in case they heard of anyone selling. He also wrote a weekly real estate column for his local newspaper which gave him “real estate go-to expert status” locally. When foreclosures were a good investment he would send letters to home owners who were about to be foreclosed on.

    These marketing tactics are not for everyone but he has built quite a large portfolio with the up close and personal approach, creative deal making and working with a network of other trusted investors. He really felt like his investing was a team sport and was of the mind set of Zig Ziglar that “You can get anything you want if you will help enough people get what they want”.

    Markets change and learning different ways to market, just like learning when is a good time to buy, sell and hold are skills that are learned over time. We all have ways that are comfortable for us and work with our personality and market, these are just a few ways that I saw work for a very successful investor and tools that I will be working on perfecting for myself. I am looking forward to hearing about other marketing strategies that work for others.

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