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It’s no secret that lead generation is a vital part of your business. As technology has become ubiquitous in our industry, many agents have begun purchasing leads in the hopes of filling their pipelines with reliable business all year round. However, real estate is a social business that’s built upon relationships. While many agents are focused on turning cold leads into new clients, the most reliable source of new business lies with both past and existing clients. According to the National Association of REALTORS®,  80 percent of all real estate transactions come from referrals. Why purchase cold prospects when you can work by referral?

Invest in Your Relationships
Purchased prospects tend to be low-quality. Since you don’t have a relationship with them, they’re less likely to trust you or choose you to help them buy or sell their home. Although purchasing prospects gives you a larger number of people to contact, quantity does not equal quality. Everyone is so preoccupied with leads that no one talks about the significance of quality. Which is better: a hundred cold leads from a list, or one or two warm leads—or referrals—from your clients?

The only way to generate high-quality leads is to build relationships with your clients and ask for referrals. Sure, developing relationships with your database takes time; however, by investing your time and energy into your clients, you’re developing a network of advocates who will refer you to people they know and trust. In the process of delivering high-quality service, you’ll stand out from your competition.

Build Trust With Your Clients
As your clients grow to trust you, they’ll begin to refer you to others. The best way to stay on your clients’ minds is to maintain consistent contact with them. Send a marketing piece with topical information each month and follow it up with a phone call. After the call, send a handwritten note that mentions how much you enjoyed speaking with them, while reminding them that you’re never too busy for their referrals.

To encourage consistency, track your communications with your contacts—that is, each time you call them, write them a note or send them an email. Mark it in your CRM.

Although it may not seem connected, committing to personal growth will help you build trust with your clients. How? The sharper your skills, the more your clients can rely on your knowledge and expertise to guide them through the real estate process. Attending industry events and trainings will keep you on the cusp of emerging trends in your market. Additionally, events offer plenty of opportunities to network with other like-minded professionals, and share tips and strategies to help you serve your clients better.

Think Like A Farmer
Cultivating relationships with your clients may take time, but the payoff is a pipeline full of reliable referrals from people who trust you and are advocates of your business. What could be better than spending time with people you like and enjoy? By staying in touch with your clients, you’ll generate a steady stream of leads throughout the year. Every time you communicate with your clients and ask for a referral, you’ll plant the seed for future business.

Buffini_Brian_60x60Brian Buffini immigrated to San Diego from Ireland in 1986 and became a top performing REALTOR®. He then founded Buffini & Company to share his powerful lead-generation system. Buffini & Company has trained over three million people in 37 countries and coaches more than 25,000 business pros. Today, Brian’s a New York Times best-selling author and reaches over one million listeners a year through “The Brian Buffini Show” podcast. For more information, please visit

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