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Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Prospecting leads on- and offline has never been more important in our uber-competitive industry of real estate. In the latest installment of RISMedia’s ACE Webinar Series entitled, “Prospecting: Online and Offline Lead Sources That Dominate in Today’s Market,” moderated by Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, and sponsored by Homes.com, panelists proved that lead generation is the bread and butter of any successful real estate business.

Lee Tessier, leader of The Lee Tessier Team with Keller Williams American Premier Realty in Baltimore, Md., discussed the various client appreciation events he conducts, which include a Thanksgiving pie giveaway and a springtime movie event.

“We invite all of our clients out to a movie and we have tables in the front with popcorn, sodas, bagels, and donuts. We also do movie trivia and give stuff away. Our title and mortgage vendors come too,” says Tessier.

At the events, Tessier and his team conduct a drawing for an iPad or a VISA gift card, with the main goal of staying connected with clients and keeping their name out in the community.

Viral videos are also a large part of Tessier’s prospecting tactics. He shares 2-3 minute education videos which hit about 13,000 people. “It keeps us top of mind to our clients as the true professionals out there,” he says.

Systems are also crucially important, especially when it comes to qualifying and converting leads. When a buyer dials a number, it rings multiple agents at the same time and whoever picks it up gets to talk to that prospect. Once contact has been made, Tessier’s team sorts these leads into ABCs—A clients are ready to buy immediately and always have an appointment, B clients aren’t ready for 30-90 days and are contacted twice a month, and C clients won’t be ready to buy until 90-plus days and are contacted once a month. This helps keep Tessier’s conversion rates up.

Mike Wasilkoff, team leader with Dallaire Realty in Green Bay, Wis., says that getting back to leads within five minutes leads to the best results. “Some people can’t even believe we call as fast as we do,” he says.

With a lightning-fast response time and social media marketing as primary sources of lead generation, Wasilkoff estimates that 50 percent of his business comes from referrals, while the other half comes from social media alone. But one key factor to driving social traffic: photography.

“What I believe is the No. 1 key to our success is the photography. It comes down to taking phenomenal photos. People love to look at photos. They follow us and want to use us to list their home because of the photos they see on Facebook,” he says.

Wasilkoff also uses Open Home Pro. He bought 10 iPads for his office so that agents can sign out to use for open houses.

“Instead of having a boring sign-in sheet, we’re able to have some sexy photos. When I hand my iPad to a prospective buyer, the chances of them not filling out the contact form goes down to 10 percent or less. When you hand them a cool-looking gadget with pictures on it, they’re more than willing to answer the five questions we ask: what’s their phone number, what’s their email address, are they pre-approved, are they working with an agent, and, the most important question that I can ask, do they have a home to sell?”

Properly prospecting requires time and energy both on- and offline. For more of Tessier and Wasilkoff’s tips, view the webinar in full:

To view more webinars from RISMedia, subscribe to our YouTube playlist.

Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at nick@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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