Real estate agents, you know the mantra…”more leads, more business.”

You also know there are two types of leads, paid leads and earned leads. Paid leads come from websites such as Zillow or realtor.com or sitejabber.com or whatever that give agents a chance to contact potential leads who have inquired about a property on its respective website.

A couple of things to keep in mind with paid leads…unless you’re able to jump on that potential lead immediately, some other agent out in web land will have already responded to that person. And, if you have unlimited financial resources and you’re not paying for the top agent spot on that platform, you’re simply throwing out your money. Additionally, read/reread last week’s post titled “More Reasons to Earn Your Own Leads.”

So, now that earning you leads makes more sense on every level than paying for leads, how do you generate those leads? How do you generate and grow your contacts, your sphere of influence, your family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances from all aspects of your life/work/passions/pleasures?

Here are some tried and true tips that can both amortize and maximize your time/effort in generating and growing your leads. Each is, as Tim and Julie say, a spoke in your wheel. Sync these spokes so your wheel turns efficiently and effectively.

1. Special Events – host great events at great spaces that focus on things you care about and/or things of interest. Invite your friends and make the events great enough that they’ll want to bring their friends. Make sure you have a guest book to get everyone’s name, email address and contact information. Bring along your business cards.
2. Blogging – blog about something that’s interesting and/or valuable that’s market related. Find a niche and fill it. Market updates, tips @ design/landscaping. Blog weekly.
3. Social media marketing – no reason under the sun not to be marketing your listings/services/etc. Your clients expect you to do everything possible to sell their house. Cross-market your blogs and special events.
4. Email marketing – you may hate it but it works. Try app like Mail Chimp to upload your contacts, design great looking newsletters, and drip distribution to your contacts on your schedule. Mix your content with listings, success stories, blogs, special events, etc. Either 1 or 2 X month.
5. Neighborhood Farming – knocking on doors works. Leaving mailers on stoops works. (More cost effective than advertising with online services.) Do both once a month. Also, pursue expired listings…doesn’t matter how long the listings have been expired. You never know.
6. Networking with both general public and other agents is one of the most effective ways to build and sustain your contacts. Do this weekly. Network with agents in complementary markets so you both can call each other when a client wants to look in your/her market.
7. Open houses. Have a guest book to gather names and contact information from anyone who walks in the door. Bone up on the immediate market of your open house…maybe whoever walks in may prefer another close-by house. Write a thank you note to everyone who attends that night. Open houses are your opportunities to meet new potential clients.