ONE FREE THING to Gain New Leads in 2009

Services for Real Estate Pros with Classy Inbound

Technology is advancing at the speed of light, or so it seems. Just when you think you've bought the most advanced lead capture system, paid someone for SEO for top ranking in Google, BAM! Something else catches your eye in that Realtor magazine or at your local office meeting.

The best thing you can do when comparing or considering new products to help manage your business is this: WAIT. Think about it. Breathe. Chart it. Compare it's main function with your main goals - is it even in the same category? As the Real Estate industry itself has suffered some setbacks and slow downs in the last year or two, so have the companies that sell products to Realtors. Lead management software companies, web site hosting companies, printing companies for all of those fancy, glossy postcards, Computer equipment manufacturers. Flyer companies. You name it, they want YOU to buy it from them. Only the fittest will survive, and unfortunately survival sometimes means more of a numbers game for them than providing you with the best service possible.

It's easy to get drawn in by claims and slick advertising. It's nice to think there is a way to get 'quick leads', but even those hot leads mean a closing at least 6 months out, and you still have to work them and compete with all the competition. So what's a budget conscious Realtor to do? Here is one suggestion, that if implemented on each and every closing, is practically guaranteed to result in a new lead. And not a cold lead either, but a lead that is a friend of a past client, one who already knows and you trusts you. Loyalty won't be an issue - you've come with their friend's seal of approval. You may be the only Realtor they interview. Wouldn't that be awesome!! Here's that FREE THING:

Improve your current escrow system, so that the buyers and sellers you work with get a report on EVERY task you performed after they entered into a contract to purchase or sell. At the end of each day, their file should receive a note of every activity you did for them: Took a call from Title regarding their closing details, followed up with the cooperating agent on inspection details, gathered names and numbers of contractors for them, gave them a list of moving companies, forwarded them a list of the utility companies, all of the 'small stuff'. No detail is too small. On the days you don't do anything at all, mark the task down as 'Reviewed Time Sensitive Deadlines', or 'Reviewed Communications, Upcoming Tasks that Need Completed'. All of these tasks should be documented, and about 5 days prior to closing, this detailed 'Escrow Report' should be sent to your client. Preface it with an intro letter saying that your goal as their Realtor is a hassle-free, smooth closing. Due to the existence of so many third parties and conditions in financing, you cannot guarantee a 100% problem free closing, but here is what you did to ensure the best chance possible - and give them the list. 30-45 days of activity on your part. List all the things you did. Close the letter by saying that you will be there before and after the keys have changed hands, because you truly care about their move. Although you help dozens of families make this type of transition every year, it is still important to you to provide them with the most professional, caring service available.

That, my friends, is called a Seed. A Referral Seed. You just sent them a letter telling them what a hard worker you are. You're paving the way for compliments!! And when is the best time to directly look your client in the face and ask for the names and phone numbers of people who are going to be buying or selling a home in the next 6 months?? When they are telling you how wonderful you are!! Believe me, 30 days after closing, unloading those endless boxes and meeting new neighbors and adjusting to new commutes/schools, that glossy postcard that says 'By the Way, I love Referrals' isn't going to resonate as much as saying to them in person or on the phone 'I'm so glad you appreciated my services. What is it that you especially liked so I know to continue to provide particular service?' Once they elaborate, let them know that you will do that for each and every friend or family member they refer you to. By the way, who do you know that is going to buy or sell a home in the area over the next 6 months? Oh, your sister? Would you mind emailing me her contact information, or I can write it down now if you have it handy. Boom. New Lead. Good Lead. Warm, friendly, the best kind of lead you can get. And you didn't pay anyone else to get it for you!

Can you imagine if you gained one solid referral from each escrow you closed? Or two? And it costs you nothing. Just some rehearsing in the mirror to have the conversation. Maybe a little time keeping the tracklist of tasks going. But a lot less than glossy postcards, calendars, recipe cards, etc.

Referral business is the best type of business to have. Master a system that works, and it will not matter how high your site ranks on Google or what your latest domain name is. 


To learn more about gaining business through referrals, visit 

Need an assistant to complete the tasks that will bring you referrals? Visit



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Brent Johnson
Chase International South Tahoe Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA

Great idea. Clients have the escrow on their mind the entire time, and it is comforting for them to know that their agent is working on it!

Feb 16, 2009 11:49 AM #1
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC
BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR, Wilmington NC Homes an

Very good advice Markelle - like that letter in advance of closing - Great!!

Feb 16, 2009 11:50 AM #2
Keith Pound
Realtor, Auctioneer - Louisville, KY - 502-645-5950

Great idea, I like the letter and the personal touch you give each one

Feb 16, 2009 07:43 PM #3
Barbara Canada
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Probate & Estate Sales Specialist

Markelle - what a great idea.  I am going to print your post and keep it handy in my office as a constant reminder for myself and my husband. 

We might think that a short phone call or scheduling an inspector are small tasks, but when you put them all on paper and see the entire "proof" of what you do for your client it really makes an impact.  Thank you for sharing this tip with us.

Feb 17, 2009 11:06 PM #4
Hey do you think its worthwhile to get  a <a href=""> virtual office</a> ? I know a couple but their plans look rather pricey. Appreciate any recommendations
Feb 19, 2009 02:41 PM #5
Markelle Harden
Classy Inbound - Charlotte, NC
Digital Marketing Specialist

Sorry that link does not work - I'm not sure what you are referring to savantadmin.

You're welcome for the tip - I've attended several 'By Referral Only' seminars and the ideas really have stuck with me all these years. Whenever I start helping a Realtor, I try to focus on helping their clients recognize their value during the listing or buying process. Respect, patience, and trust develop more quickly and help both of you weather  'issues' during escrow if they can clearly see the value in your service. Unfortunately most Realtors don't realize their clients are clueless to all the work that Realtors put in behind the scenes. It's so important you all are your own cheerleaders out there, now more than ever! 

As Joe Stumpf said "Value cannot be received if value is not recognized". So true!

Feb 24, 2009 06:10 AM #6
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Markelle Harden

Digital Marketing Specialist
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