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There has been lively debate on the merits of prospecting for leads versus using a paid lead program. At realtor.com® and Top Producer® we provide both solutions—and what we offer is segmented by where your agents are in their careers.

A newly licensed agent would have likely invested more capital than they planned– and there is the “down-time” between leaving a paying job and creating an income stream. But these new agents have more available hours to invest – and this is where you hear stories about sitting at an open house three out of four weekends a month or volunteering to cover everyone else’s opportunity time.

We have provided free solutions for these agents, including the campaign we put together around Nationwide Open House Weekend (we provided free posters, sign-in sheets and a free e-newsletter, which you can find here). By making these time-and-effort prospecting investments more efficient, we endeavor to create good will, and our hope is that these agents ultimately progress to the next level.

Once an agent really starts making a good income—say above $85,000—their time spent with customers is worth more than $40 per hour. This is where paid lead generation programs can be useful—as prospecting for half a day to get a handful of leads actually costs these agents more in terms of their hourly rate than a paid lead program. We surveyed agents to see what they were most interested in—free solutions to capture prospects with some effort or completely paid solutions including systems for sellers and for buyers who have a house in mind. The reactions were mixed, 47% were interested in only free programs, 44% wanted paid lead programs and 16% were interested in both.

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