Lead Generation Systems & Tools For Realtors
In Part 2 of this series, Jennifer dives into all of the systems and tools you need in your real estate business to generate leads without using traditional methods like cold calling, door knocking, hounding your database or buying low-quality leads online.
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Well hey there, Jen Percival here. You’re listening to the women rocking real estate show and this particular episode is part of a 4-part series is all about the business systems and tools available for agents to start, grow and scale a real estate business you’re proud of. As I said in last week’s episode, you cannot run a viable business, any business without systems.
However systems will only work for you if you actually use them, so in this series I’m going to be recommending not just the tools I recommend, but I’m going to be focusing on how you can use the ‘start low and go slow’ principle where you only invest in paid tools AFTER you’ve built healthy habits using free tools wherever possible. Because I’m pretty sure everyone listening is currently paying for at least one tool, that they are not using, right?
So You need systems and you need systems you’re actually going to use and that is what this series is all about. I’m going to be diving into what I believe are all of the systems every agent on this planet needs, whether you’re brand new to real estate or have been doing this for decades – everyone needs the same systems. What may be different, is the TOOL you use for that system and we’re going to unpack all of that as well.
Last week I shared my recommendations for all of the systems you need that fall under the umbrella of the operations of your business and that included systems for money management, systems for goal setting, business planning and business tracking, systems for task and project management, systems for file management and lastly systems for time & calendar management. Now I included links to even more tools in the free toolkit that I created to go along with this series, so if you have’t downloaded it, be sure to check it out. You can find it in the show notes or on my website at womenrockingrealestate/tools. Many of the programs I recommend are free and for those that are paid, I’ve got some discount codes included with the download, so be sure to check it out.
This week we’re going to be diving into all of the systems I recommend for marketing your business and I’ll be sharing lots of tools available to help you do that.
Lead Generation System
So the first system that every agent needs under marketing, whether you’re brand new or whether you’ve been doing this for years and are scaling your business and building a team, is a lead generation system. This is a systematic process, that everyone needs to do daily, without fail, to generate leads. The tool that you use for lead gen is what differs. I won’t mention brokerages names, but anyone that works for one of them knows that they have a very specific system and systematic framework for lead generation and it involves making calls to your database daily to book appointments, cold calling and door knocking as well. Although I personally don’t like this system and never used it, let me be clear that it works. For those who work it. However for many, many agents, it doesn’t work and that’s because they simply won’t do it.
The problem, is that you can’t opt-out of using those lead generation systems and not replace them with a different system and unfortunately this is what happens for a lot of realtors. They don’t want to use those traditional lead gen tools, but they don’t have an alternative lead get system that they use just as consistently and unfortunately they find their business is either non-existent or inconsistent.
So because I don’t subscribe to those methodologies, I will not be covering systems or tools for them. Instead I’ll be sharing all of the lead generation systems and tools that I personally used to build my business and that I have taught to hundreds of of other agents.
So in this episode I’m going to be going through all of the tools I used for lead generation, but it’s important to realize that without a system for implementing these tools consistently, they won’t work. The reason the more traditional systems work is not because of the tools they use (ie. door knocking and cold calling, etc.), it’s because of the rigid structure that is taught around using those tools consistently every day and tracking your use. When planning your days and scheduling activities in your calendar, you need a system for scheduling time for lead gen every single day and sticking with it consistently. So you should be setting aside at least an hour every day, some people say closer to 3 hours, but at least one hour every day where you are focusing exclusively on lead gen. What tool you use during that hour will change, but you need to schedule it and you need to track it. Again, notion is the perfect tool to manage this.
So what are the tools you can use for lead gen if you don’t want to door knock and cold call? Well I’m going to be sharing the entire set of tools I used and it’s important to also realize that you can’t pick and choose which of these you decide to use consistently. For it to work, you need to use them all.
Tool #1 – Networking
So the first tool I used for my lead gen system and this is not ground breaking by any stretch, is Networking. The size of your net worth will equal the size of your network. But I am not talking about going to networking events and handing out your business card to anyone within reach. Don’t do that. I’m talking about you having a system to grow who you know, build a relationship with them, demonstrate your authority, stay top of mind and provide value. It uses the acronym GRASP to help you remember. There was one really important word I used in there and it was system. Too many people think they’re ‘networking’ but most don’t usually have a plan that they execute daily, let alone a mechanism to track it. Both are needed for the lead gen tool of networking to work.
How, when and where are you going to constantly meet more people?
How are you going to build a relationship and connection with them?
How are you going to consistently demonstrate your authority in real estate with them?
How are you going to stay top of mind?
How are you going to provide value consistently over time?
For you to grow who you know, nurture and reap a harvest, you need a system and a plan and you need to track it every single day. You should be aiming to meet a new person every single day and you should practice your skills of building rapport and connection with people. It’s super easy even if you’re introverted and not outgoing. Just take a genuine interest in people’s lives. Ask questions about their families, their occupation, their recreation and their motivations and then genuinely and actively listen to their answers and find areas in common where possible. Steer clear of politics and religion. You can build a connection with almost everyone if you take a genuine interest in them, ask genuine questions and then actively listen. If your conversation gets interrupted, remember what they were talking about and circle back to it. People just want to be seen and heard and feel like they’re important. It’s not rocket science.
And whatever you do, don’t pick and choose who you try to build connections with, based on what you think you can get from them. For starters that’s beyond gross and I guarantee you’ll build a reputation for it quickly and it will ruin your career long-term anyway. But you have no idea what you might be missing out on. People have lead some really interesting lives and have stories that could captivate you for day if you just take the time to get to know them. So don’t judge anyone about anything and just grow who you know and get to know them. Your life will be more enriched for it and sales will be a natural side effect.
Ok so the first tool you need for your lead gen system is Networking, but again you need a plan for how you’re going to grow who you know and you need to track that you’re actually doing it. The tool I recommend for this, is once again Notion. You can use notion to house your contact database and I’m going to be talking all about that in next week’s episode, but you can add any field or property you wish to your contacts. My Notion Dashboard Templates that you get in my Foundations of Success program automatically includes a column for the date the contact was added, so that you can track how many new names you’re adding to your database. Now sometimes you’ll just be adding a name and a reference of where or how you met them, but may not have an email or address or phone number and that’s ok. When appropriate, see if you can find them on social media and connect with them there.
Tool #2 – A Website
After networking, the next tool you need for your lead gen system is a website.
I did a big deep dive into everything websites related in episode 55, so if you haven’t listened to it, make sure you check out the episode. There’s a number of reasons why your website is a very important system in your business, but the two biggest reasons are:
Potential clients and those referrals will want to check you out. We recently conducted a survey and found that a whopping 93% said they would not hire a realtor or refer a realtor that didn’t have a website. So you need one. Thinking you can build a consistent real estate business on social media alone, is misguided.
The second reason you need a website is because it is the easiest and cheapest form of lead generation available to you. Instead of hunting around for people who might be buying or selling, just focus on getting found by those who are already actively in the market and searching for a realtor. Why on earth would you ignore them and focus your energy on trying to find random leads instead? Where are people actively searching for a realtor? On search engines like Google. Getting found on google means having a website.
So what type of website should you have. Well I went into detail in episode 55 about why agents are making a huge mistake when they use the website provided by their brokerage or the rent an expensive IDX site that isn’t actually generating any leads or they build a site on Squarespace or when they hire an expensive developer to build a custom website, which isn’t needed. So if your website falls into one of those buckets, I recommend you listen to the episode.
What I do recommend for your website is that you personally own the domain and the hosting so that it doesn’t matter if you change brokerages or change teams. You need your own website and I recommend you build it on WordPress.org. Not dot com. Those are two different things.
In terms of website hosting, there are only 3 companies endorsed by WordPress themselves and the one we recommend is linked in the FREE toolkit that you can download for this episode.
Once you’ve got a wordpress.org website, the next thing you need is a real estate specific theme. If you want to generate leads on your website, the best way to do that is with your own personal listings. Your website must have the ability for you to add your own properties, not IDX or MLS listings – you may want those too, but it MUST have your own listings if you want it to generate leads for you. So in order to add properties, your website needs a real estate theme and the tool I recommend for that is called Houzez. Again you’ll find a link to it in the free toolkit.
If you do want to include IDX or MLS listings on your website, there are lots of companies that provide wordpress plugins to allow you to do this. Not every company services every real estate board, but they are all different in terms of how they’re built and how good they are in terms of search engine optimization. Some will do absolutely nothing for lead generation, but there is one company that if you’re lucky enough to be in a market they serve, their IDX solution is amazing. Again I link to it in the free toolkit.
In terms of designing your wordpress website, I recommend a free drag & drop pagebuilder called Elementor that allows you endless design options for your website.
Now if this entire website system intimidates you and you just want a simple solution to get you up and running, I do have a Websites Made Simple program for only $49 that teaches you step by step exactly how to do everything.
Alright the last tool related to your website and this one is super important is to make sure your website content is search engine optimized. If your content isn’t optimized for search engines to find it, your site won’t rank in the search results, so no one will find it and you won’t generate any leads from it.
The SEO tool I recommend is called YoastSEO and it’s a free plugin for wordpress websites. It walks you through each page of your website and teaches you exactly how to optimize the content you’ve got on it, so that those pages will rank higher in the search results. It even scores each page, so you know where to focus your efforts.
Tool #3 – A Content Plan
HERE!!! Alright moving along, the next system your business needs under the marketing umbrella, also falls under lead generation, but it probably feels more loosely connected and that is content marketing. If you don’t think of content marketing as lead generation, I want you to start shifting your perspective about it and realizing it is just as closely tied to lead generation as door knocking or cold calling. However instead of pursuing people, you’re attracting them with valuable content that is relevant to them.
When you create valuable video content and blog content and social media content, you are accomplishing everything you need to convert leads in clients. You’re getting found and growing who knows you, you’re building connection – especially with video content, you’re demonstrating your authority in real estate as a community market expert, you’re staying top of mind with your sphere when you share that content and you’re providing value. All of that helps you build know, like and trust and people will only work with and refer people, to those that they know, like and trust.
So you need a content marketing system and there are loads of tools that you can use to help you research, plan & implement a content marketing strategy.
Let’s start with tools for researching content ideas. One really common mistake that agents make when creating content, is they come up with content ideas without researching whether it is content that people are actually searching for or care about. Not all content is equal. If you’re looking to use your content for generating leads, then you need to be strategic about the type of content you create, because content creation is a time consuming process. So you ideally want to focus on creating content that 1) has a high search volume and 2) has low competition, meaning there’s not already a ton of content out there already about the topic. There are two tools that I recommend you use to conduct this research. One is for researching YouTube video content ideas and the other is for researching website blog content ideas. Both of these tools are invaluable and will make the time you invest in creating content worth it.
Content Planning tools
Once you have validated the content ideas you’ve come up with, the next tool you need in your content system is for planning your content across your website, YouTube and social media platforms. If you’re just randomly creating content without a PLAN, you don’t have a system and your efforts will be inconsistent at best and non-existent at worst. So ideally once a quarter or at minimum once a month, sit down and plan out your content for the entire month. Once again, I recommend Notion as the tool for this. You can create free content calendars so that you can plan out everything in advance, with checklists, automated tasks and due dates that you can then schedule in your calendar. Because once again if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. You can also attach files in notion and even include links to your canva design templates.
Having a monthly content calendar helps you see your entire content plan for the month at a glance and it will make sure you’re changing up your content and adding variety across content pillars. For example, you don’t want to always be making promotional-type posts on instagram. You need to mix up your content so that your audience doesn’t get fatigued and unfollow you. A content calendar can help you make sure this doesn’t happen.
As a bonus, when you don’t have to THINK about what to post, because you’ve already planned it, you’re like 100 times more likely to stay consistent with your content than you are if you just create on the fly.
Content Creation Tools
The next tool that you need for your content system is a way to actually create the content – specifically graphic content and video content. There are tons of tools available for you to create your content online. Everyone knows about Canva – it’s really the only graphic design tool you need to create all your social media posts, thumbnails, buyer and seller guides and ads. When it comes to video creation, I recommend an online tool called InVideo. You can use it to create all your videos for YouTube and your website, as well as videos formatted for Instagram reels and stories. In the free toolkit, I have a discount code for 30% off, so be sure to check that out if you’re looking for a video editing tool.
When it comes to publishing your content on social media, I personally recommend you use Facebook’s native tool called Creator Studio to schedule and auto publish your posts on both Facebook and Instagram. Let’s face it, the algorithms just prefer you use their tools, so it just makes sense to and they’re free, so bonus points for that.
Alright moving along, the next tool that you need to market your business effectively and generate leads is a….
Tool #4 – List Building & Email Marketing Tool
Never ever make the mistake of relying on platforms that you don’t own for lead generation. I know of so many people recently that have had their Facebook or instagram accounts shut down and they’ve lost all of their followers. That is legitimately catastrophic for your business, so a huge priority for everybody needs to be growing your email list, so that you own your ability to connect with people off of social media.
One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of lead magnets. For these to be effective however, they really should be unique (meaning every agent doesn’t already offer it) and they absolutely need to be loaded with value. The topic has to be enticing, compelling and click-worthy enough for someone to want to opt-in and give up their email address to you.
Once you get that email address, you need to treat it very carefully. If you start harassing people on your list with emails that don’t provide specific value that is relevant to the particular subscriber, you will lose them just as fast as you gained them.
The tool that I recommend to create the landing page for this this opt-in, the automated delivery of your lead magnet, segmenting your subscribers and the email marketing system to nurture them is called FloDesk. This program allows you to create beautiful landing pages, opt-in forms and stunning graphic emails. Although it is a paid tool, in the freebie I have available you’ll get 50% off. When compared with a free tool like Mailchimp, in my opinion it doesn’t compare and Mailchimp’s free version doesn’t allow you to automate lead magnet delivery, so the free version doesn’t work anyway.
I do teach how to set up your entire list building system and email marketing strategy including what types of lead magnets to create, how to set them up and then exactly how to nurture your subscribers with segmented and automated drip campaigns in my Convert Accelerator, but that program is only available to agents that have completed the Attract Accelerator because you have to have a system for attracting leads first, before you can convert anyone. So you won’t be able to find anything about this program on my website.
Tool #5 – Paid Online Ads
Alright last but probably the most important tool for your lead generation system is the one that gets missed the most. If you implement all of the tools I’ve talked about in this episode – you’ve got a website, you’ve got a content marketing strategy and you’ve got a list building strategy, but you try to just use organic methods to promote and share your content, it either won’t work at all or it won’t work fast enough and you’ll give up. Unless you have a huge database and social media following, you will HAVE to invest in paid ads for you to expand your exposure and reach more people outside of your sphere. If you try to rely on a small database and a small social following, the numbers just won’t be there.
I talked a lot about this in Episodes 48 and 50, so if you haven’t listened to them make sure you do, but you can expand your reach from less than 100 people seeing your content every month, to thousands and thousands. Most of the agents in my Attract program (depending on the size of their market) are reaching close to 50,000 people who are watching enough of their content to be able to know who they are and recall them and they’re doing it very affordably. Do you know how many doors you’d have to knock on to get that much exposure? It’s not possible.
Now you can blow through that budget very quickly if you’re not strategic about what types of ads you’re running and how you set them up. But when you know how to target leads based on the right interests and more importantly when you re-target a warm audience who already has been exposed to you, the results are really impressive. If you want a step by step roadmap of exactly how to do this, I teach it in the Attract Accelerator and doors will be open again for it soon, so if you’re not on the waitlist get on it now. There will be an early bird offer that’s only available for those on the waitlist, so don’t miss out on that if you’re interested.
Alright so just to summarize this episode. Everyone needs a lead generation system that they use every day and that they also track so that you stay consistent with your efforts. If you’re not generating consistent leads, you’re probably not taking consistent action. The tool I recommend for that is Notion.
The tools that I recommend for lead generation and you need to use them all together for it to work are networking, a website, a content marketing plan – this includes video content, blog content and social media content, a list building and email marketing plan and finally paid ads to promote and share all of your content and your lead magnets.
Alright next week, I’m going to be covering all the systems and tools I recommend under the umbrella of Sales your business. This includes…..database management, CRMS, transaction management, client communication systems and tools and so much more.
You’re not going to want to miss it, so make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast so that you’re notified when new episodes drop.
I’ll see you next week and remember the more you learn the more you’ll earn, but only if you’re implementing what you lean.
Until next time.
Hi Jen! I am currently working on obtaining my license and have a little under 30 hours left out of 150 for Oregon. I started listening to your podcast last month trying to see if there were any on Spotify to learn tips before I jump in with both feet. It has been insightful and extremely helpful and I plan to use your toolkit to start my business off right. Looking forward to catching up on the episodes!
I already have a website set up through Ihouseweb, but am wondering if I should drop this or work with it. I wish I had known about your tool kit before I had the site set up.