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Real estate sales is not rocket science, yet the concept of lead generation—and, more importantly, consistent lead generation—seems to be a challenge for most agents whether they’re on a team or not.

Let’s first define what lead generation is: the act of looking for and finding new prospects to either buy or sell a home. It’s not lead follow-up, it’s not transaction management and it certainly isn’t chatting up your bestie on the way to the office.

Most agents are hyper-focused on the lead that needs to make a move in the next 30 days, only to be disappointed when they find out that the prospect is six months to a year out (or longer). But those are the leads that fill your pipeline. You should never get out of bed in the morning and wonder who needs your services; however, in order to do that, you need a pipeline, and building a solid pipeline takes consistency in both prospecting and lead follow-up.

I worked with a buyer who took more than two years to relocate to Arizona from the East Coast, and they built a new home that took another six months to complete. By the time they closed, I felt like I was a part of their family because of the relationship we formed during that time. If I would have failed to follow-up somewhere during those two years, I would have failed to receive that commission.

If I had not had the motivation to keep following up, I wouldn’t have kept pursuing that lead. In fact, one of my favorite things that Verl Workman, CEO of Workman Success Systems says, is “keep following up until they buy or tell you to die.” As an industry, we are losing millions in commissions because we fail to reach out again. Even worse, even though we are aware of this, we still fail at long-term prospecting and following up. In order to build your pipeline, an agent should be prospecting no less than one hour a day. If you’re new, bump that up to three hours per day.

Also, an effective open house plan should be a pillar of lead generation in a real estate business model. If you have a team, then your buyer’s agents should be doing the open houses. If you are in a state that cannot conduct in-person open houses at the moment because of the pandemic, then a virtual open house should be the method implemented. Open houses work, but only if you do them effectively and consistently.

Consistent follow-up is vital—like your life depends on it (because it does). On average, in our industry, it takes nearly two hours for a lead to receive a call back, and 29 percent of the time, that call is never returned. It doesn’t matter how many times it takes to engage a lead after the initial outreach. What matters is that you keep trying until they either buy or tell you to die.

Sarah Michelle Bliss is a coach with Workman Success Systems. She has been in the real estate industry since 1995 and is a founder at RE/MAX Professionals, where she has been a part of the Nate Martinez Team since 1997. Over the past 20 years, she has taught locally and nationally, and coached and influenced her peers through team management, agent development and training. For more information, please visit