Real Estate Lead Generation – Go Deep, Not Wide

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller,June 8, 2022

Lead,Generation,Analysis,Business,Marketing,Strategy,Financial,Concept.,Man,PressesThe number one thing that drives agents away from the real estate is the grueling topic of “trying to grow your business”.

Most successful agents reach a ceiling where they either punch through it, or invariably die trying. And while there are no hard and fast statistics on exactly how many agents leave the industry because of reasons related to business growth, if you stop and think about it, one could probably name a couple of agents in your sphere of influence who once were performing but now have disappeared to take up a position in another industry.

There are multiple reasons for their departure. A lot of it lies at the feet of trying to grow a business while trying to operate one from within. One aspect of this is the constantly analyzed, but rarely understood, importance of lead generation in business growth or better put – consistent marketing. 

Many of the real estate coaching services give you checklists for lead generation growth. They almost always begin with advice on how to grow your personal brand, often pushing you to get 5,000 Facebook followers, 10,000 Instagram followers, 10,000 TikTok followers, 5,000 LinkedIn followers, etc… These mediums can sometimes be powerful drivers of branding, rarely will they drive true lead generation in the best and most effective way.  This is going wide.  Limited touches with a significant group of people.  It is terribly ineffective – although everyone gets lucky every once in a while. 

Lead,Generation,Concept,On,Tablet,Pc,ScreenThe problem with this type of branding solution is that they rarely work because the number of targets is significant and an agent cannot afford to deliver the message over and over again to the same people, which is necessary for branding to be effective. 

Then of course there is the backstop position of purchasing leads. Once you travel down this road it becomes a simple case of mathematics. You will always be trying to figure out if the money you are spending on leads is bringing you the best return on investment. At the end of the day it has to make a deal worthwhile. Plus, agents rarely calculate in the amount of time it takes to follow up with cold leads – which is tremendous.  

If you analyze the long-term players in the real estate industry and truly listen to what they say about lead generation, there is always a common denominator. They phrase the solution in different ways, but it always boils down to effectively harvesting your sphere of influence.

Lead,Generation,Business,Funnel,Marketing,ProcessYour “sphere of influence” usually includes those who you have contact with regularly. Importantly, there is an implied relationship of trust between you and your “SOI”. In other words you already have a “brand” without having to spend a single dollar with this group. Leads can come in directly from your SOI, or they can be people who are connections of your sphere. The important part about it is that these leads are stronger because you know them personally, so they are not affected by market conditions or other outlying factors. They are often more likely to seek your advice and direction as a trusted family member or friend which makes for a smoother and faster transaction.  Therefore – the opportunity cost of follow up with these types of leads – is very low, because the closing ratio is higher than any other source.

Every single time an agent has hit a ceiling, or is “stuck in a rut”, invariably they will have stopped executing patterns of behavior that were leading members of their sphere of influence to them as a form of lead generation.

Constant Contact

Lead,Generation,Business,FunnelThe hardest part about lead generation through your SOI is that it is not a tap that you turn on and off. Your SOI requires constant contact points, without which, they leave your SOI. You can grow your SOI, and sometimes this will involve personal contact, video messaging, phone calls, text messages and emails to a much lesser extent. Of the utmost importance is that your SOI feel as though they are constantly getting communication and touch points from you as a central point. To do this, you should schedule when you are going to contact your sphere, with lots of frequency through as many different forms of contact or channels as possible to keep the communication fresh.  This is what I would consider going “deep”

Sphere of influence lead generation is undoubtedly the most affordable and thus most profitable form of lead generation within the real estate industry. If you are reading about it today for the first time, take a moment from your day to consider who might be in your sphere of influence. Then take the time to consider the best way to maintain constant contact and create funnels that convert those people from cold leads all the way through to sales.

It has been my experience, that if an agent has a list of 500 true contacts that he has a connection with and markets aggressively to them over a period of time (even if the marketing isn’t very good)– that agent will earn a minimum of $250,000 to over $500,000 each and every year in commissions.


James Becker


Written by: James Becker is the CEO of Fusion Growth Partners. Fusion Growth Partners is the engine room that powers the operation and growth of thousands of North American Real Estate Agencies.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 6/8/2022