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There are so many different ways of generating leads today that brokers and agents struggle to determine where they should spend their limited marketing dollars.

In poll after poll, as we survey audiences and coaching clients, we have found that a majority of agents want more high-quality leads. Yet in the same polls, we find most do not track the conversion ratio from the leads they do generate, so they have no way to measure whether a lead source is valid.

I have found that implementing a true lead-tracking system, even if it’s as basic as a spreadsheet, increases the conversion ratio. Regardless of the system you use, the following categories should be tracked: first and last name; email address; property type; potential transaction value; lead type (buyer, seller, short sale, investor, etc.); lead source; rating; lead date; first contact date; next scheduled touch; status; win reason; loss reason; status detail; notes; and when the lead was converted to your CRM.

Tracking leads at this level allows leaders to see where leads are coming from, which agents are converting those leads and what the pipeline looks like. I have found that tracking leads at a higher level takes the guesswork out of deciding where to ramp up and spend marketing dollars. The numbers don’t lie. As you track the leads, along with your agents’ conversion rates, you will also see who is really calling and following up with the leads. If agents don’t maintain or work the lead-tracking system, they should not continue to receive leads. Today’s marketing dollars are sacred and they must have a measurable return on the investment.

Are you wondering what type of marketing to use to generate leads? Here’s what I know: different people respond to different types of marketing. A solid marketing mix of both online and offline advertising will cover the market and create a variety of quality leads.

Offline methods include postcards, home magazines, signs, flyers, sign call capture, door knocking and good, old-fashioned phone calling of expired listings and FSBOs. Technology has put many of these lead sources on steroids. Companies like continue to improve their data such that working FSBOs and expireds is more effective than ever.

Online lead generation is an entirely different animal. Avoid signing long-term contracts; if a lead source does not deliver the expected results, you need to be able to move your marketing dollars elsewhere. On the other hand, when something works, increase your spend and ramp it up.

And let’s not forget your own database. Effective use of your own real estate CRM to stay in touch with past clients and referrals continues to be the No. 1, highest quality lead you can generate. It is also the least expensive lead to generate. Implementing something as simple—and inexpensive—as Dave Beson’s letters ( into your prospecting strategy on an ongoing basis can make a huge difference in your company’s profitability. Using systems to increase the frequency and quality of your touches will reduce the time needed to capture and convert your most profitable leads. The keys are action plans, consistency and activity. Activity breeds productivity.

Lastly, keep in mind that improving your dialog, increasing your touches and tweaking your communication strategy are all as important, if not more important, than simply throwing more money at lead sources and marketing. If you need help with those things, find a qualified coach and put your marketing strategy on steroids.

Verl Workman is a speaker, coach and business consultant.

For more information, visit