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Agents and brokers today are obsessed with buying leads, and they spend more and more money paying others for leads that could—and should—be generated by us, the real estate agents.

Surveys of top teams and companies clearly show that the cost of transactions is going up and the average amount collected in commissions is going down. That means we need more leads and more closings to earn the same amount of total commission—but where can we find these leads? What is our strategy to capitalize on our existing opportunities and find real gold in our prospecting?

The answer is that we have to do better at keeping and managing our relationships, as well as establishing ourselves as experts in our communities.

So, how is this done?

Every business, no matter the size, can benefit from doing the following:

  1. Create a database with action plans and workflows that allow you to manage relationships at the highest level. If you work with a team, look into—a solution that’s making a tremendous impact as far as how workflows are created and managed. This system is designed for teams and transparency.
  1. Have a robust web strategy. Zillow, Trulia and others have created a better real estate experience than most agents can, so it’s time to up our game. CINC, formally known as Commissions Inc, creates an online user experience that competes with the big portals. The difference is you’ll end up spending one-tenth the cost for lead generation, and the follow-up tools and conversion strategies are second to none.
  1. Work your Top 50. This goes for every agent at every level. Each of us has a list of 50 people who are likely to give us at least one referral per year. Make your Top 50 list and then have one personal touch with them each month. We have coaching clients doing as many as 80-plus transactions a year working with just 50 people one hour a day.
  1. Focus on listing and marketing around your listings. This isn’t a new concept, but we’ve become lazy and rely too heavily on the MLS and online portals to sell our listings. Each listing should generate 6-8 leads per month, and you should sell 1.5 buy-side transactions for every listing you take. Just Listed, Just Sold and Your New Neighbor cards are a great start. Our top listers knock doors and hold their listings open. Open houses work well and deliver great value for the seller, as well as generate more opportunities with every listing.
  1. Be exceptional. The consumer today wants to deal with a smart, professional, knowledgeable agent who knows the market and gives clear and reliable advice. Experts don’t wing it. If you want to grow your business, then you must know your business.

The key to finding the gold is to stop mining where everyone else is and work your relationships. Be a true professional and work harder to be exceptional.

Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams. Contact him at For more information, please visit