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Lead Generation

Are You Generating Leads or Simply Creating Them?

Create-To cause to come that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

Generate-To cause to come that would be by a vital or natural process.

It’s always interesting to me (from a coaching stand point) the have’s and the have not’s of this business. As unbalanced as an Irishman at a Wake (wait for it…), the number of small business owners (Yes, that includes Real Estate Agents) successfully generating leads is incredibly out of whack! 

Creating Leads vs. Generating Leads.

I was doing some consulting the other day with an agent when I happened to peak over at his facebook wall at a post that struck me. Seems there was an agent who proudly commented on their wall that they had made 60 FSBO appointments. He exclaimed, “Now that’s someone who is doing it.” Doing what?

What this agent was doing was creating leads. What do I mean? Well, since we already know these folks want or need to sell their homes, there was little in the way of generating anything…including a lead. In my view, all this agent was able to do was convince 60 people who already have (or had) their homes on the market to talk to them about their homes…on the market! So, unless this agent has some super fix-a-FSBO formula that magically solves their problem, she is working very hard and not very smart!

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So, why do very few new and or struggling agents (or small business owner) commit to a true, honest and successful lead generation program? You see, as I illustrated with the FSBO appointment taker, generating leads takes time. It takes lots of effort. And, it means having a little something called patients! With 4 out of 5 successful sales usually not coming to fruition until the 8th to 12th  time your talk to that person, most of us don’t  have the fortitude to truly build rapport nor establish the trust and worth needed to generate a lead.

If it’s what we have to do to be successful…why don’t we just do it? 

Many of us don’t like to Lead Generate! It’s hard and many of us don’t do it very well…if at all. So let’s look at it like this, if you were to talk to someone you knew and asked how their day was, that’d be easy, right? Now do that with someone you don’t know. My experience is you’ll probably not have the same conversation. Why? Because the person you don’t know is automatically defensive or at the very least, not too forthright with their answers. Generating a lead is the same thing. You’ve all heard the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Generating a relationship based on trust and caring is lead generation. Talking to someone with an agenda other than their well being is tantamount to Creating a Lead…that’s the difference!

The ‘X’ factor.  

So, what makes lead generation so tough for some? Why do some of us suck at it so badly? Is it because we don’t know what to say? Probably…but we can fix that! Is it because we don’t like to hear the word “NO”? Certainly…but we can fix that too. So, what’s the reason so many do so poorly at Generating Leads? It all starts with your motivation to call the lead. What are you thinking about? What’s your mindset? Is it about money or is it about building a relationship? Those two are not always mutual so perhaps the breakdown begins there?  

When I’m presenting my listing clinic and I ask the question, “What is the first thing you think of when you meet the sellers at a listing appointment for the first time?” The responses vary from the ordinary to the extreme but very few ever get the right answer. I tell them, “The first thing you think of is your commission!” The general look on everyone’s face tells me that’s exactly what most of them think of! And, when you waltz into that appointment with only one thought…”What is 3% of $500,000?” You’ve already lost the listing.

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Lead generation is hard for some because they don’t try (or want to) build rapport. They don’t try to build a relationship or connection…they just want to create a lead that gets them paid! And here is the kicker gang…I haven’t met a seller (or buyer) yet that wants to be a lead! They are not interested in becoming a number…they are interested in knowing you’re interested in them…and their real estate needs!

Take your commission out of the equation. You don’t get paid if you don’t get the listing! Turn that lead into an ally; generate a lead that gets you into a relationship. Make the appointment about them. Turn the meeting into a conversation about what they want and need from their experience.

In the end, I repeat this over and over again, “I don’t get paid when I take the listing…I get paid when I sell the listing.” So for me, it’s all about generating rapport, generating trust and ultimately generating those leads so I can generate some commissions!

Photo courtesy of sebas

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Written By

Patrick Flynn is a 13 year Veteran of this Real Estate fray and a blogger on mySeattleblogs and is active in various social networks. Like many writers at Agent Genius, Patrick wears a few hats other than a Broker's lid- he is also a Certified Real Estate Instructor for the State of Washington and has enjoyed delivering 1,000+ hours of clock hour and non-clock hour approved courses in his career. Patrick has also been a Designated Broker since 2003 and revels in being able to coach and mentor fellow real estate professionals.



  1. Nashville Grant

    March 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    The issue I have found is my own time limitations. With the advent of blogging, facebooking, twittering and everything else out there, the built in limitations have made us relationship-less. I love sitting down to speak with buyers and sellers, but their schedule limitations in addition to mine (have new baby at home) have made such interactions rare. Perhaps the next step is Skyping?!?

  2. Patrick Flynn

    March 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Hey Nashville Grant-Congratulations on your new addition! I can relate my friend. Nothing will replace the time it takes in building a relationship with your customers! That said, there may never be enough time in the day to get to all of them either…perhaps quality over quantity is the answer here! What do you think? I’d bet you find focusing on just a few clients is a whole lot easier! Plus your little one will like having Daddy around more!

  3. Nashville Grant

    March 1, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Well, in an effort to be around my son more in the future, I am teaching the little guy a few key phrases: “My mommy will leave me daddy if you don’t buy this house” and “Please mister, my daddy doesn’t have enough money to send me to camp this year. Please buy this house”. I am hoping this allows us more time to spend bonding.

  4. Patrick Flynn

    March 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    You may also want to try having him hold a cardboard sign that says, “Daddy’s in Real Estate…will work for food.”
    Best of luck my friend! I don’t know if I worked any harder than I did when my Son was born 12 years ago!

  5. Joe

    March 2, 2010 at 8:53 am

    We generate and create. We generate by PPC, and create by unique content. What more important is our cultivation of leads. We have leads that are nurtured month after month and many of these turn into happy customers! 🙂

  6. Patrick Flynn

    March 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Hey Joe-I agree with your statement about folks that are nurtured month after month…this is my point exactly! Thanks for your comment.

  7. Amber Davis

    March 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Since I work for a lead generation company, we see agents have very different experiences with leads. Some agents complain that all the leads are terrible, and other agents average 20%+ closing rates on leads. Why is there such a big difference? It’s because some agents understand lead nurturing and others don’t.

    We can generate/create a lead for an agent, but how the agent proceeds with that lead is what may or may not convert them into a closing. Some agents expect immediate results, but that doesn’t happen often. Normally closing a sale takes work: potential clients need some nurturing. You have to sell your services and court a client — maybe for months. Buying or selling a house is a huge deal. Most people don’t do it on a whim: they need some hand-holding to reach the point where they’re signing a contract.

    This article is 100% right: it’s the agents with a little patience who spend the time and effort working with leads who actually end up closing deals and seeing excellent success rates. And did you know that if you continue nurturing those leads in your pipeline up to 70% of them will eventually convert! It might take some time, but that’s certainly worth it.

  8. Missy Caulk

    March 2, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Good post, I just listed a house and wrote and offer on a person who has been on my site for 800 plus days. Never give up. Most agents do, they spend all the time getting them and then if they don’t respond on the first call or email forget them and say they are bad leads.

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