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agent_family_pipelineGenerating more leads is probably permanently on your to-do list. But as we move ahead through the year, it’s a good time to tackle this one head-on. Why now? According to recent research, typical consumers think about the possibility of buying or selling a home for 6-12 months before becoming active clients. That means that if you start engaging leads now, you’ll be top-of-mind when the busy spring and summer real estate season gets here.

Set yourself up for success in 2013 and beyond by following these five tips:

Be at home in today’s online marketplace. Today’s consumers are doing most of their research online. Because of this, agents need to be comfortable marketing and communicating online. If a lead has contacted you online, resist the urge to pick up the phone right away. Take cues from the way the lead is communicating with you. Make a potential client feel comfortable by delivering valuable information in a customer-centric way.

Faster is always better. Did you know that 65 percent of buyers and sellers use the first agent they contact? Additionally, most consumers spend only one day interviewing agents, and only interview one agent. When it comes to converting leads, the early bird always gets the worm. Respond to new leads as quickly as possible. If you don’t, you’re just increasing the chances that they’ll move on to another agent.

Work your existing leads. While you’re busy acquiring new leads, don’t forget to work the leads that are already in your database. You never know when an inactive lead will be ready to engage, so stay in contact.

“Every day, I ask myself whom I should re-engage with,” says Katrina Benton, team leader for the Come Home Anchorage Team with the Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group. “I’ll look at my contacts and see who has been online in the last 24 hours. Then, I’ll send those people an email and check in.”

Embrace technology. Acknowledge that there are only so many hours in the day, and invest in technology solutions that make acquiring, tracking and following up with leads quick, easy and automated, leaving you available to grow your business.

“The technology is there,” says Joe Bornstein, broker/owner of Florida’s Rock Springs Realty. “I think that people just lack an understanding of the tools that are available at their fingertips.”

Be persistent. Cultivating new leads, engaging your database and turning leads into clients takes discipline, daily hard work and patience. Don’t get discouraged.

“A lot of people focus on the 95 percent of leads that don’t turn into buyers, when they should really focus on the five percent that do,” says Benton.

By spending time acquiring new leads, responding to inquiries quickly and cultivating dormant leads already in your database, you’re equipping yourself for yearlong success.

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