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As a real estate professional, you know that leads are the lifeblood of your business. There are many ways to generate leads, whether through traditional means such as cold-calling and door-knocking, or through more reliable means such as asking for referrals from past and current clients and connections. Remember, the more leads you generate, the more business you’ll close. Ramp up your lead generation in the first quarter of the year. Here’s how:

Think like a sprinter. Many real estate professionals fall into the trap of equating productivity with working nonstop. When you work in marathons, you end up stressed out and ineffective. However, when you work in sprints—that is, set periods of intense focus followed by a period of rest—you’re able to give the best of yourself to your leads and clients.

Luckily, real estate has a natural rhythm that easily lends itself to periods of sprinting and recovery. The first three months of the year are all about lead generation. Your clients have real estate on their minds, regardless of when they want to buy or sell. The most successful agents follow this rhythm and generate 40 percent of their leads by the end of spring. In April and May, you may not be as focused on lead generation, but you’ll be connecting with your clients on a regular basis. The early summer months naturally lend themselves to more lead generation, and you’ll likely generate 20 percent of your leads during this time. From October to December, you’ll generate another 25 percent of your leads as you connect and reconnect with clients during the holiday season. You’ll work less, make more money and enjoy life more.

Commit to a system. Systems help you stay organized so you can manage the priorities of your day. When you have a system for generating leads, not only will you consistently generate leads when things are calm, but those good habits will carry over and allow you to generate leads when things are hectic, as well. A system holds you accountable to your work, actions and productivity so you can accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself for the day, quarter and year. You’ll not only know how to spend your day; you’ll also make better use of your time and energy because you’ll always know what your top priorities are. Instead of pushing lead generation aside when you get busy, you’re able to pinpoint the most important tasks that drive your business—one of which is lead generation—and make them a priority.

Connect with your clients. When you work by referral, the relationships you develop with your clients drive your business. The better the service you offer, the more likely they are to refer you to their family, friends and connections. For relationship-based businesses, lead generation is more than calling prospective clients; it’s staying in touch with your clients, finding new ways to serve them and needs to fill, and providing value to everyone in your database. With inventory tight in many areas of the country, staying in touch with your clients could mean the difference between getting a listing and missing out.

Use the motivation of the new year to set your business up for success all year long. When you do the hard work in spurts throughout the year, it eases your workload and restores your most important resources—your time and energy. Work in concentrated bursts of productivity, commit to a system and continue to connect with your clients, and you’ll be sure to achieve your goals by year’s end.

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