How To Generate High Quality Listing Leads (The Missing Ingredient In Most Marketing Campaigns)
The secret to high quality leads is high quality marketing.
This may sound like circular reasoning, but it’s not.
Most agents pursue quantity of marketing rather than quality of marketing, and then they wonder why they are generating so many unqualified “tire kicker” leads who waste their time.
It’s better to generate 15 quality leads a month than a quantity of 150 leads a month.
The math is a pretty convincing argument: if you convert just 20% of 15 quality leads a month, that’s an additional 3 closings per month!
And yet most realtors spend thousands of dollars to generate as many leads as possible every month, usually with a conversion rate of 1% or less.
That means they have to follow up with 100 people for every person who ultimately buys a house.
This is a big problem!
If you’re already a successful agent, the problem usually isn’t lack of money. It’s lack of time.
That will always be the #1 constraint on the growth of your business.
In fact, as you become more successful, the relationship between time and money intensifies. The more money you make, the less time you have.
Therefore, any marketing strategy you commit to needs to be designed to free up as much of your time as possible by warming up the leads for you, so you only have to spend your personal time following up with buyers and sellers who actually want to talk with you.
This is why I designed the “High Hanging Fruit” marketing system.
I realized that pretty much every other marketing company (Boomtown, Curaytor, Zillow, CINC, etc) wanted to get people as many leads as possible. That was their only deliverable. They didn’t really care about the quality of your business as long as they could deliver an impressive-sounding quantity of leads.
For some agents (especially those just starting out), this can be useful.
Sometimes you simply need more leads.
But once you hit 20-30 transactions a year, your biggest challenge isn’t lack of leads. It’s lack of time. Therefore, any marketing strategy that doesn’t factor this in will make your business worse, not better.
At this point in your business (20-30 transactions per year), your marketing plan needs to prioritize not only lead generation, but cultivation.
Do you have a proactive strategy for warming up your leads?
Do you have a specific system in place to make sure that once someone clicks on your ads, they remember you 6 months from now when they’re actually ready to list their house for sale?
This is not “icing on the cake” anymore, it’s the damn cake.
Lead generation was enough to grow your business back in 2015 when there was less competition with Zillow and Facebook ads.
In 2020 and beyond, what makes the biggest difference is your lead cultivation strategy. This is more difficult because it requires filming retargeting videos and producing local content. It’s not scalable. And that’s why it’s so effective for agents who are willing to do it.
We call this the “Platform” strategy.
This is especially important if you’re already selling 25+ homes a year, because you don’t have time to manually follow up with hundreds of new leads every month while being a top producing agent. Your marketing strategy needs to do that for you, so your time is actually spent serving your clients.
You can spend $10,000 a month buying online leads, but if you don’t have the time to follow up with all those leads….you might as well flush the money down the nearest toilet.
It’s just not worth the time to start a new marketing program, no matter how effective it claims to be, if it’s going to require that much of a time investment to follow up with all the leads.
Marketing and “lead generation” are not synonymous.
Anybody can generate leads.
Not everyone can build a trusted local brand that attracts leads, so you get weekly warm phone calls from homeowners who are ready to list their house with you. They don’t even need to bother with the formality of a “listing appointment.” They aren’t interviewing other agents. They’re going to work with you, because your marketing system convinced them that you were the most trustworthy agent in your community.
That’s a much more difficult thing to do than “generate leads,” but it’s worth it.
In reality, the quality of your marketing determines the quality of your leads.
There is really not such a thing as good and bad leads, but there is good and bad follow up. This is what creates the perception of “bad leads.”
Many agents think there is a magic Facebook ad hack, or a “secret” way to target sellers that brings in higher quality listing leads.
This is nonsense.
Most agents think of leads like a commodity that’s bought and sold (like stocks bought and sold at the New York Stock Exchange). Leads aren’t a product you buy or sell. Leads are people. Even though we reduce them to names and email addresses in a CRM, remember that every buyer and seller is a real person.
To increase the number of leads that you “convert,” there is no Facebook ads hack or secret direct mailer you can send out. This is not about split-testing email subject lines or the color of your website. There is no shortcut.
The only variable that matters is how effective you are at earning people’s trust.
And you can’t automate that.
This missing ingredient can’t be bought. It can only be earned.
Here are 4 effective strategies we use at Platform to help our realtors accelerate the trust cycle with their leads, and therefore convince a higher percentage of those leads to actually work with them.
- Listing video tours as retargeting ads
- Authoring an actual book about your local real estate market…and giving it away for free in your ads. This builds goodwill in your community and establishes you as THE expert. After all, you can claim that you wrote the book on your local real estate market….literally.
- Creatively promoting local small businesses in your videos. This establishes you as an expert and advocate for the overall community, not just an expert on selling houses. This results in more referrals and more loyal clients.
- Strategically sharing “personal” information to build your brand. This is perhaps the easiest strategy to implement, but it’s the rarest. Make your ads more personal and less business-y. Usually the most effective ads don’t feel like ads.
I wrote a separate article that goes into specific detail on how to implement these 4 strategies.
For now, remember this: GCI is a lagging indicator of trust.
It’s really that simple.
The more people in your community trust you, the more leads you will convert and the more referrals will seemingly “randomly” call you ready to list their house.
It’s not a coincidence that agents who work with Platform typically see better results the longer they follow our system. Most digital marketing companies worry about “saturation” issues with ads (ads stop working when people see the same ads over and over again). We see the opposite result with our clients: the longer they follow our strategy, the better the results get.
Their return-on-investment gets better over time, not worse!
We are consistently able to double the GCI of agents who work with us.
How could this be?
Well, the answer is actually a question.
We start with a different question than most marketing companies.
Rather than asking “how can we generate as many leads as possible,” we instead asked ourselves, “how can we use marketing to build actual relationships with leads?”
This is a completely different mindset from most other marketing systems for realtors.
And it leads to completely different results.
When you optimize for relationships instead of leads, you’ll get fewer leads but stronger relationships.