"Lead Generation is What Selling Real Estate is All About, Plain and Simple." (Seriously?)

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Salesman"Lead generation is what selling real estate is all about, plain and simple." 

"I have three jobs: Getting a listing appointment, preparing for a listing appointment, and going on a listing appointment," 

"My primary duty is to prospect. Everything else is secondary."

These are direct quotes from real estate agents; some here on Active Rain, others from, well, other places.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

That's why we have to go to real estate school and pass a proficiency test? That's why we have a license and continuing education requirements? That's why we pursue various advanced certifications and designations?

Because selling real estate is All About Lead Generation?

Okay, if you want to convince me that part of our job is procure leads FOR our buyers and sellers (that is, buyers for our listings or listings for our buyers), I'll buy that. But it's certainly not ALL we do; in fact, in some ways, putting buyers and sellers together is the easy part. Keeping them together is a whole ‘nother story. And certainly has nothing to do with Lead Generation.

My friends, generating leads is a necessary part of any small-business owner's business model. Whether you're a massage therapist, a dog-groomer, an insurance agent, a dentist, a chiropractor or a real estate agent, you need incoming customers to stay afloat. And it's up to you to figure out how to find those customers and do what it takes to lure them in.

But that doesn't mean it's your job. It's how you stay in business so you can DO YOUR JOB and make a living doing it!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, Jennifer. Who cares? What's your point?

My point is that our clients deserve better. Sorry, but they do. How would you feel if your veterinarian appeared to place a higher priority on finding new customers than on figuring out what's wrong with your beagle? What if your CPA seemed to care more about building his business than on doing your taxes correctly? Doesn't it annoy you when a service provider you hire seems more interested in getting referrals from you than in providing the service you hired him to do?

Our buyers and sellers deserve our full attention. They deserve to be our top priority. And until we give them our full attention and make them our top priorities, we'll never enjoy the professional respect we so long for. And as long our industry considers our primary duty to be lead generation, we won't deserve it.

Doctors, Lawyers and Real Estate Agents?
Which is More Important to you - Sales or Service? 


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Comments (46)

Mario Jannatpour
RE/MAX Alliance in Louisville, Colorado - Louisville, CO
Author of the Book, "The Honest Real Estate Agent"

Jennifer--I agree with you.  My primary job is take care of my existing Clients and give them my full attention.  I take care of my Clients and give them the best service and then they generate leads for me with referrals and repeat business.  To me it's about building strong, lifelong relationships and then everything flows from that.



Nov 01, 2010 11:13 AM
Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES
Long Realty West Valley - Anthem, AZ
Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate

You're absolutely correct Jennifer. Lead generation IS an important aspect of the real estate business, and a certain percentage of an agent's time should be spent on that daily.  But if we treat our current clientele well, the leads will come easier via referrals from happy clients.  Good post and best of luck to you.

Nov 01, 2010 11:32 AM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

"If we can, as an industry, start celebrating taking great care of our business as our first priority ..." I completely agree with that. However, without lead generation, there will not be enough business to take care of. So of course lead generation is focus number one.

There is a lot of overlap between your philosophy and the lead generation approach. It's just expressed in a slightly different way.

Nov 01, 2010 11:40 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I think prospecting for numbers is fine, but once you get those "numbers", you have to treat them like humans.

Nov 01, 2010 12:15 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

If you don't generate leads, you are soon out of business. It does not have to be one or the other. You can generate leads and still provide exceptional service to your clients.

Nov 01, 2010 12:22 PM
Ron Parise
LocateHomes.com - Cape Coral, FL


As I see it we have two distinct jobs to do, Prospecting and Selling.  Prospecting a) generate the leads, b)  filter the prospects from that lead pool, and c) stay with those prospects until they are ready to buy or sell. Then we sell. selling is simply matching a buyer with a home that will meet their needs. Is one more important than the other?...I never thought of it like that. They are both important and I cant have a business without them both

The way I see it if we do a good job prospecting we dont have to sell; our prospects (now clients) buy. And as has been pointed out in other comments, If we do a good job selling, we dont have to prospect either.

This perpetual motion machine is an ideal business model, but for me is still just a dream. I still have to feed the machine with new prospects. So for me prospecting is my first priority


Nov 01, 2010 12:36 PM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


My primary job IS lead generation! But I have team agents to handle the customers and clients so I make certain that they are in good hands and thet they get professional service. You point is well-taken.

Nov 01, 2010 12:51 PM
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Jennifer,

Excellent point.  If you take good care of the clients you have and build a good reputation, the leads do come.  I would take a good lead that was referred to me over five that came via some lead generation system.


Nov 01, 2010 01:15 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I really don't think you mean it is either/or?

We do need to prospect every single day, it is hopefully at least 2 hours. Let's see out of the 12 I work most days, that is a small, critical amount.


Nov 01, 2010 01:28 PM
Christine Wade
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Operations Strategist / Online Business Manager

OOOhhh...love this one...I definitely understand Jennifer's point...lead generation is how agents get to do their jobs...but it's not what their job is.  Their job is to sell real estate and have their clients' fiduciary best interests at heart in the process.  The lead generation is part of "running your business", but it isn't what you were licensed to do.  And it's often best outsourced..."Do what you do best and outsource the rest!"  But the agents are correct too...without someone doing that lead generation...there wouldn't be anyone to sell to.  A doctor is licensed to practice medicine, but without someone telling the patients to contact Dr. X (whether thru referrals or yellow pages ads, etc...), there would be no one to play Dr. with!!!

Nov 01, 2010 01:45 PM
Gene perez
Greater Mortgage Solutions & Valley Hills Realty - Santa Maria, CA

sometimes I feel like I spend more time doing prosepecting or ways to prospect more than anything

Nov 01, 2010 02:02 PM
Victor T. Gurrola
Remax Realty 100 - Diamond Bar, CA
Diamond Bar Real Estate Professional

I could not agree more with you.

Nov 01, 2010 03:30 PM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

I think it is the right balance, good customer service and also prospect/lead generate. If the client/customer do not receive high quality service, there will be no referral or testimonial of a good job. Reputation is very important in this business.

Nov 01, 2010 04:10 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Jennifer - This is definitely a valid point.  Even if we do great lead generation, if we don't care of the clients, they won't be ours for long, nor will they give referrals which are much easier than lead generation.  We have to take care of them and do right by them.

Nov 01, 2010 04:35 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Of course Jennifer - the fact that the same people who say its all lead generation and nothing more are the same people who compare us with doctors and lawyers (justifying the fee) makes total sense!  And yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek.

Nov 01, 2010 04:54 PM
Troy Charlton
CENTURY 21 Charlton Realty - Nashville, TN
There is a difference.

You make a good point.  We do need to prospect to get business so that we can take care of those buyers and sellers that we are fortunate to work with.  Prospecting can also benefit our sellers if we are looking for buyers for their home..However, if we really did spend more time on our clients and listening to their needs, we would probably find that doing real estate the way we did 4-5 years ago by throwing it on the MLS and websites and hoping for the best is not working.  By listening to their needs, we may come up with more effective ways to help them find ways to get out of the home they are in and buy another one.  

Nov 01, 2010 05:05 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ruthmarie - LOLOLOL! That's exactly right! On so many levels! Love it.

Nov 02, 2010 12:38 AM
Chrissy Doremus ~ US Inspect ~
US Inspect - Chantilly, VA
Residential Property Inspections

Couldn't agree more. In a service industry, doing the best job we can for people every day and truly caring about them will lead to referrals anyway--our service should be the top priority and at the end of the day we will get the referrals we deserve.

Nov 02, 2010 01:47 AM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

I really like Tanya Nouwens' comment and analogy, Number 23.

Nov 02, 2010 05:27 AM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Jennifer - Too many agents chasing too few clients creates the focus on lead generation vs. service.

Dec 21, 2010 04:44 PM