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What do you feel are the best 2 or 3 systems to get listings?

An email I received last week:


Hi Russell,

Good to hear about your new association with AgentGenius. We all need your stuff.

We can’t afford a Radio or TV marketing campaign, so I would appreciate your thoughts on…

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Other than Radio/TV, what do you feel are the best 2 or 3 systems to get listings?

Other than marketing my listings, what is the next most effective method of attracting buyers?

Thanks for your help.


Good news, it is a short list.  There are precisely two ways to get business: marketing or prospecting.  All methods of getting business fall into one of those two categories.  If the question on how to get business includes, "We can’t afford….." then for now skip the marketing part.  Prospecting is your answer.

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Prospect for listings.  Buyers are almost never "looking for an agent", they are looking for a house.  So, prospect for Success - Failure listings.  Emulate top agents.  Almost all long-term top agents are listers.  To get a closed escrow you must first have an open escrow.  To get an open escrow you’ll need a listing.  To get a salable listing you will have to have gone on several listing appointments.  To get a listing appointment you will have to have leads.

Therefore, you are in the lead generation business.  Full time.  If you are going to succeed that is the business you are in all the time.  You are not in any other business.  Just getting leads.  Get enough leads and you don’t really have "unsolvable problems" in your business.  Don’t get enough leads and all you have are "unsolvable problems".  Your main dollar productive activity is getting leads.  Time spent working on getting leads is time well spent.  Invested, if you will.  Time spent on most other stuff is quite possibly wasted time. 

There can be a real charm to deliberate nonsense.  It can raise a person’s tone and get them out of a bad mood – it can do a lot of good things, it can change lives for the better.  Laughing, joking, having fun, creating and spreading a "spirit of play" can be one of the most joyous experiences in life.  Do it often.  But if not knowingly and causatively "playing" please don’t pretend that the mindless time wasting activities that most real estate agents spend their days working on are productive.  Are you causatively playing?  Cool.  Otherwise, if you don’t physically have a buyer to show a house to or are in the process of physically writing a contract, or on your way to see someone to do just that or to take a listing – prospect.  Get leads.  Get more leads.  The number of leads that you actually need is far far more than you even think it is – you need more than that.  Lots more.  Work on that. 

I found the following hereYou don’t need a life plan. You don’t need motivation, self-confidence, peer support or even luck. All you need is the willingness to take the next most obvious step—then repeat the process again and again, regardless of how you feel. Try it. Happiness comes from seeing the results of your efforts. You don’t need it before you start.

In response to your question, "Other than marketing my listings, what is the next most effective method of attracting buyers?"  My answer?  Market someone else’s listings.  This is what is done with an IDX search.  If you want more to market via the various listing propagation sites, borrow them.  Ask other agents if you can advertise their listings.  Buyers are looking for houses.  Get lots of houses on those various sites.  Hundreds is the correct order of magnitude. 

____Success Series - smaller

Something I am just delighted to be able to announce is that the Realtor Success Series is finally compiled and there for anyone to see and use.  Even I personally had no idea I already had that much content available.  I hope you like it.  More to come.

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Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Ryan Hukill

    May 12, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Oh, so true! Get enough leads, and you won’t have any time to waste anymore, I guarantee. Do it well enough, and you’ll get to the point you can’t even work all the leads, then you bring in another agent to work the ones you can’t, then another, and another. Next thing you know, you’re making money from their efforts, and you can spend THAT money on marketing!

  2. ines

    May 12, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Hi Russell! I have to tell you that lead generation is absolutely a must in our business, but being able to capture leads and turn those into clients becomes an art (I know it sounds far fetched), but I know plenty of agents that are great at capturing and converting and others that are not so great.

  3. Barry Cunningham

    May 12, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks..great info for some of our people on the real estate side of things.

  4. Mariana

    May 12, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Russell – No wonder KW loves you so darn much… Leads. Listings. Leverage.
    Prospect for leads… Take GOOD listings… Leverage your time and money…. Be awesome like Russell.

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    May 12, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Good “learning” stuff and great foundational information!

  6. Mike Price

    May 12, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Welcome to AG Mr. Shaw. Nice to have you here.

  7. Benjamin Bach

    May 12, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    We are all in the lead generation business

  8. BawldGuy Talking

    May 12, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    One of these days folks are gonna realize how truly simple your operation is. Of course that’s the genius of it, (unforgivable pun intended) you’ve simplified your system to the point of bullet proof success.

    Plow, plant, tend, harvest. Plow, plant,…

  9. Sean Purcell

    May 12, 2008 at 9:53 pm


    you are in the lead generation business. Full time. If you are going to succeed that is the business you are in all the time. You are not in any other business. Just getting leads

    Countless business books on success distilled into 35 words… only Russell Shaw.

  10. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    May 14, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Well said Russell. It is a lead generation business– I suppose every service business is. The more leads, the more chances to convert into clients. You can either (a) buy leads (eg. HomeGain) or (b) use your own creativity and ingenuity to get them (eg. referrals). I was surprised to learn that when (b) fails to produce enough leads, agents have turned to (a), with success.

    To Ines’ great point about conversion being an art: One must also consider that converting internet leads may not be the same as converting others.

    Nice to read you here, Russ.

  11. Sue

    May 19, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    It is nicely and simply put. We should constantly be prospecting, generating leads – the old numbers game. If an agent isn’t good at converting, being part of a team could be a good solution.

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