By David Greenspan

The roller coaster of marketing ideas continues to take over the real estate industry. As we search for new ways to get business, it seems that the easy answer is to spend money on a technology-based tool – such as a new website, social media, chatbots or any type of online advertising. Why? Because this new world of “lead gen” is what’s going to make the big difference in the amount of business you will do in a year. Or will it?

It is said that most people know between one and five Realtors. Yet with that knowledge, Realtors are still spending their money chasing leads, also known as “strangers”. It is also said, and I can attest through my own research of bluntly asking the question hundreds, in fact probably thousands of times, that 90 per cent of Realtors get 70 to 90 per cent of their business from people who know, like and trust them. These same people who probably already are, and if not, definitely should be, on your contact list.

Now, I am not saying that online lead gen does not work.  I am saying that before getting all caught up in spending big money with the hopes of making it back from strangers, you must do three things:

1. Recognize where your business comes from and whether this new tool is best suited to connect with that audience.

For example, if all of your business is coming from people you know, why spend a whole bunch of money advertising to people you don’t know? Instead, do an even better job of marketing to the people you do know and have a diligent process to ensure you’re keeping your database up to date at all times.

This database is your gold mine. Even any new people you meet from any source should always be going into this list. Work it the right way, make more money. That is your goal every day.

2. Analyze your marketing budget and determine if you’re focusing at least 70 to 90 per cent of it on the audience who delivers 70 to 90 per cent of your income.

Ask yourself whether you can afford to try this new bright shiny tool for the amount of money it costs, and the amount of time it will take to convert this new lead.

Just spending the money to get the lead is not enough, you need to plan and budget to market to these people during the “conversion” process, and you need to do the same during the pre and post “nurturing process”. If you get repeat and referral business from your list, then if you do get this new lead and you do convert them into a client, you will need to budget to market to them after the fact as well.

3. Recognize that relationships take time to build.

When meeting someone who may be this new “online lead”, your goal is always to develop the know you, like you, trust you factor before trying to lock anyone into a contract. Think about it. You’re not the only person who got that “new lead” from that exact same person (lead). So why should they choose you? Just because you got their info online? Why not the other salesperson who also got their information?

The key is to develop the relationship so they like you more. That’s where business comes from. So, it’s up to you to get past the tech and get involved. That will make all the difference in the world. The process for obtaining a client is the same as it has always been. Tech can help but cannot be the only tool you use. Remember, once you get the deal, you now have a relationship, you are now both real people. Online is no longer enough.

Although technology has given us new tools, and it has helped speed the process for many aspects of the business, has this business really changed? It is still and always will be a people business. Technology is helpful, but it can be expensive, and more time consuming than imagined.

Stop making yourself work so much harder than you should because you decided to spend more money than you should. Focus on the right audience, deliver the right message across the right channel, remember that this is and always will be a people business. Don’t get caught in the hype without proper planning and budgeting. Be smarter. You will spend less, work easier and make more.


  1. You were so right David! Spend time and focus on your SOI, the people you already know and know YOU. Thank You for this wonderful message of realization

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