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Real estate lead generation – What no one is talking about

Real estate lead generation is always a hot topic with agents. This article will cover 11 ways to attract clients and get your name out there.  

Many of these methods have been around for decades. One method is relatively new and is not being used by many agents at this time. This method of real estate lead generation is not only scalable, it is cost effective and builds trust with your community

This is where you can stand out in your market, improve your profile in leaps and bounds and really take your real estate career to the next level.


The (very) common ways that most agents use to get clients as a real estate agent.

These activities are very standard in the real estate industry. All agents are doing them. So  you’re not really giving yourself any true advantage or point of difference over your competitors.

And one not so common but much more effective way

Content Marketing.

This method is used by only 5% of agents. Content marketing gives you an opportunity to really stand out in your market. You can learn more about content marketing here.

How times have changed

I’ve spent the better part of 15 years working in real estate sales. I’ve obtained this experience across three decades. During this time I’ve seen the real estate industry evolve from box file card systems (showing my age here), through to having buyers at your fingertips, by way of a mobile phone.

real estate lead generation
Things have come a long way since images were developed at the Pharmacy.
traditional real estate lead generation
Each agent had a box file system that sat on their desk to hold and track leads.

I remember the days when you’d be rushing around to get your film to the Chemist so that you could get your pics back to display in the window of your agency. 

Yep, that’s right, for you millennials reading this the Pharmacist use to develop film. And it usually took at least a week to get the images back! Looking back it seems odd. Why would a pharmacist develop film? Anyway, moving on.

How to get clients in real estate businesses

A lot has changed in real estate since the early 90’s. But at the same time a lot has remained the same. The one thing that I’ve noticed in my experience is that some things never change.

If you want to work in this industry you need to learn how to prospect well. Real estate is one of the few industries that I can think of where you don’t just dial up your suppliers when you are running low on stock.

We constantly have to source our own stock, i.e. our listings. These methods have remained constant throughout my three decades of real estate with of course the addition of online methods in more recent times. And this is where you can really stand out and make a difference in your community.

1. Door Knocking

If you’re an agent reading this then you’ve no doubt done plenty of this. And if you haven’t then there’s probably a reason holding you back. If door-knocking makes you nervous or uncomfortable there is another way to prospect for leads and its infinitely more success and will give you far greater results.

If you’re not yet in real estate and don’t know what door knocking is then it’s exactly what it says. Door knocking is a very traditional, in my mind old fashioned, real estate lead generation activities. 

Agents go out into their ‘patch’ or ‘farm area’ and knock on doors, asking owners if they are interested in selling, if they know anyone who is considering selling or to tell them about a nearby sale or listing.

Another approach is to knock on the neighbours of a recently listed sale or listing, this is often referred to as the 6 x 6 x 12 method. This is where the agent will door knock the six homes either side of the listed or sold property and the 12 directly opposite. This method was around when I first started my real estate career and I’ve found it to be reasonably effective in relation to a lot of the other lead gen methods that I’ll cover here.

2. Letterbox Dropping

This one is pretty self-explanatory. This usually involves dropping DL brochures of just listed, just sold’s, agent profiles or some form of market report to the local area or to the agents patch or farm area. This form of real estate lead generation is  very much a scatter-gun approach.

Principals will argue that it keeps your name top of mind with the locals but for the time, cost and effort involved I feel that there are far more productive ways that you can get
yourself out there.

3. Telephone Prospecting

Phone prospecting to cold or warm prospects. Many agents prefer this form of prospecting over door knocking. In my experience phone prospecting is not as prevalent now as it once was. A lot of this is due to the Do Not Call Register and the privacy laws that now protect people from Telemarketers (and real estate agents).

Back in the 90’s you could basically call whoever you wanted that had a phone. As it is with door knocking, the reception could range anywhere from being happy to have a chat, to slamming the phone down in your ear after abusing you.

The other method of phone prospecting is to your database. In real estate if you’re short on listings it’s usually because you haven’t been prospecting as much as you should. Or it could be that your conversion rates are not as high as your competitors, in which case you need to increase your prospecting.

One of the best ways to turn that around is to stay in semi-regular contact with your pipeline and in very regular contact with your hot sellers, those people who will be selling within the next 2- 3 months. There are plenty of ways to do that without coming across as pushy or annoying.

4. Contacting past clients

Over the years I have found this to be one of my most successful methods for generating real estate leads and referrals. If you are a new agent reading this then treat your past clients like gold. I’m talking about sellers and buyers here. Schedule a yearly or twice yearly call to these folk. If you’ve handled the transaction well they will be thrilled to hear from you.  Send happy anniversary notes on the anniversary of their purchase, offer an updated once a year appraisal. This works particularly well for out of town investors. 

5. Database calls

A lot of you reading this may not even have a database. There are many agents who feel that it’s a waste of time putting people into a system if they aren’t immediately ready to sell. But there are just as many agents who wouldn’t dream of not having one. 

I would class prospecting calls, to my pipeline sellers and past clients, as database calls. I found this to be a very effective method of real estate lead generation when I was working as a real estate agent.

6. Referrals

Referrals can come two ways, paid for or organically. Obviously the organic way is far better and if you follow my tips above about past clients these should give you a good source of leads throughout the year. The other method is by paying for leads through sites like OpenAgent.com.au The problem with these lead generation sites is that they usually take a fee of about 20%. Also the quality of the lead isn’t as strong as someone that you’ve formed a relationship with over time. You’re effectively going in cold. As a result, the fee that you would write is generally lower as there is no know, like and trust factory. In many cases, you will drop your fee to get their business. Often times the client already has an agent in mind they have just contacted the lead gen company to get a second opinion on price and to keep the chosen agent honest so to speak.

7. Billboards & Bus Shelters


This can be expensive and there is no way to measure return on investment. 

There are much better ways.  

Have you considered 

Content Marketing?


8. Sponsorships & Community Involvement

I know a number of agents who have had success by sponsoring local sporting clubs. This usually though has come through their many years of involvement as a player and a member of the local community through their school years and family connections within the area. If you have a lot of person connection in your area and are involved with either a school or sports team this may be a good option for you.

But keep in mind people will expect see you at their events and to be a part of it. Don’t expect that you can throw them some cash twice a year and that the leads will flow in. It doesn’t work like that. You actually need to be involved. 13 players running around with your name on their back isn’t going to mean a thing if people don’t see you at these events.

9. Upskill

If you’re struggling to get more real estate clients you need to be honest with yourself. 

Are you doing the hard yards? If the answer is yes, then perhaps it’s a training issue. 

Fortunately our industry has no shortage of (free and paid) training available. There are plenty of places to go for in person, or on-line, training.

So if your conversions could do with improvement then brush up on your scripts and dialogues, find a good agent that you can learn from, or go to my favourite Uni, You Tube.

Real Estate Trainer Tom Panos

10. Facebook Marketing

There are literally thousands of agents posting on Facebook every week. They talk about their successes but the majority of them are not doing Facebook well at all..

It can be a very effective real estate lead generation tool if used correctly. It is rare in this industry to see an agent doing well with their social media posts. But it can be done.

Facebook can be a difficult beast to navigate. And its advertising platform is very complex. It’s such a vast topic that I’ll be dedicating a full article to it in a future blog post. If you’d like to be notified once it’s complete, subscribe here.

real estate lead generation

And I've saved the best till last - drum roll please........

In my opinion number 11 listed below is THE best real estate lead generation method available to agents today.

11. Content Marketing

I’ve left the best till last. Content marketing is my passion topic! I am truly obsessed with it, which is one of the reasons that I left full-time real estate selling. 

In my opinion, the VERY best real estate lead generation activity for a real estate agent is to produce regular and relevant content on your own blog

Read more here about why Content Marketing is the way of the future for real estate agents.

To get started on your own content marketing journey follow these steps.



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Hi, I’m Karen

blogging for real estate

I help real estate agents to get found online without paying a fortune on banner ads or subscription services.

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