Before and After: Building a $1M/yr Real Estate Pipeline

Woman,Hand,Money,And,Piggy,Bank,With,House,Model,OnReal estate can generate a fair amount of income, and it’s good to have goals. How does $1 million a year sound? 

$1 million a year may seem ambitious, but it is doable. It requires the right sales tactics. This article will outline a strategy that will help you achieve your financial goals. 

Here’s How Typical Pipelines Work

A real estate strategy involves working people through a sales funnel. A sales funnel is a marketing term that refers to a visual representation of the sales journey. It takes buyers and sellers from a place where you raise awareness to action and conversions. 

Sales funnels have different stages. In this section, we’ll take you from the top to the bottom of the funnel describing the strategies you should be using at each state. 

Agent Advice Tip: Check out this list of the best real estate lead generation software tools to help get your pipeline started.


Business,Team,Working,On,Negotiation,To,Money,Return,On,InvestmentAwareness is the funnel stage that involves you trying to get the attention of buyers and sellers. With such a broad scope, there are no hard and fast rules. You’re just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. The more you do, the more likely you are to attract flies. 

Here are some common top-of-the-funnel tactics:

  • Social media: This includes posting, sharing links, joining groups, interacting with users, and doing paid promotions. 
  • Cold Calling: Cold calling involves picking up the phone and dialing prospects. You can make your calls slightly warmer by calling people that might be interested such as probate sales, foreclosures, and FSBOs. 
  • Door Knocking: Door knocking is a tried-and-true method that will help you stand out from the crowd. Get an angle, bring your materials with you, and learn how to deal with objections. 
  • Mailings: Mailings are effective because they are low cost, and they stand out from digital marketing. They are a preferred marketing method among Gen-Zers
  • Blogs: Blogs are a good way to establish your value to the masses. 
  • Video: Real estate marketing videos will also establish value. They provide visual and audio elements to give people the full picture. 
  • Emails: Emails are known for producing a high level of ROI. 
  • Lead Generation Services: Several of the best real estate lead generation companies will help you get in touch with people going through foreclosure, FSBO, probate sales, and more. 


Interest is the stage where people become interested in your services. You may not be aware that they are in the interest stage as they may not have reached out to you to ask any questions. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. 

Here are some ways to ensure people make it past the interest phase:

  • A Good-Looking Website: Your real estate website must look professional. It should feature nice-looking images and well-thought-out content. It should be easy to navigate. Extras like virtual tours, chatbots, and well-written listings and blogs will make it look even more impressive. 
  • Professional Social Media: Your social media must be engaging. Your posts and images should add value. You should show you have an ongoing presence through regular posts. Keep your personal social media pages free of overly personal content. 
  • Other Marketing Content: Other marketing content such as business cards, flyers, and billboards should express your brand image and have an upscale appearance. 


The,Real,Estate,Agent,Hand,Holding,Money,And,Explains,TheIf a prospect likes what they see, they may decide to get in touch with your company and ask questions. Here’s what you need to be aware of to keep them working through the funnel.

  • Return Phone Calls Promptly: The longer you wait to return phone calls, the more likely the person will be to have moved on to another agent. Returning calls promptly will make you look good, and it will increase the chances of closing a deal. 
  • Be Knowledgeable: The more knowledgeable you are, the better the impression you will make and the more confident you will be. 
  • Have Experienced Staff: If you work with other agents or have administrative staff, make sure they are kind, courteous, and knowledgeable enough to address client needs. 
  • Follow Up: Keep in mind that you will need to initiate several touchpoints before the client decides to go through with the deal. Keep in touch to move them through the funnel. 


If all goes well, the client will move forward with the sale. It’s up to you to provide excellent service to close the deal.

Even if you don’t convert the client, it’s a good idea to stay in touch. You never know when they may need your services in the future. 

Promote Loyalty

It’s critical to maintain a relationship with the client after the deal closes. You never know when they will need your services again. Or they may have a friend or relative looking to buy or sell. 

Here are some ways to promote loyalty:

  • Send a Thank You Card or a closing gift so they will have fond memories of you. 
  • Keep Them on Your Contacts List: They will continue getting your emails and newsletters so you will be on the top of their mind. 
  • Reach Out on a Personal Level: Reach out occasionally, to wish them a happy birthday or see how they are getting along in their new home. This type of personal contact can go a long way. 

How a Pipeline Works

calculating moneyIn this section, we’ll break down the steps of the pipeline to better explain the process. 

Identify Your Ideal Lead

There are a few ways to identify your ideal lead. You can base it on your target audience (age group, location, and other demographics) or you can use a lead generation service to reach out to FSBOs, foreclosures, etc. The important thing is to narrow it down, so you are not wasting your resources on leads that won’t convert. 

Reach Out and Follow Up

There are several ways to reach out to leads including calls, door knocking, emails, social media, and many of the other ‘raise awareness’ tactics we mentioned in the early section of our article. It’s essential to be persistent. Most people won’t convert until they receive at least eight touchpoints.

Get the Greenlight

If all goes well, you will get a greenlight from your client. Now is the time to take action.  

Secure a Written Contract

A written contract is essential when you are representing a seller. It will determine your ability to represent a seller and sell for them exclusively. 

Contracts are also necessary when you work with a buyer. 

There are various types of contracts including:

  • The Exclusive Authorization and Right to Sell: This contract means you are the only one who has a right to sell the property. It also establishes your commission. 
  • The Exclusive Agency Agreement: This agreement means you are the only one permitted to represent the seller. However, it allows the seller to bring a buyer to the table. If the seller finds the buyer, you may not get a commission. 
  • The Open Listing Agreement: This allows the seller to work with multiple agents. It means they will entertain any agent who brings them a buyer. It does not grant any exclusivity. 
  • Buyer Agreements: Agents also have agreements with buyers. These contracts lay out term length, termination rights, buyer exclusivity, representation, compensation, property description, and agent duties.

Businessman,Drawing,Sales,Funnel,Diagram,Concept,About,The,Stages,InEstablish a Listing

If you are working with a seller, you will need to establish a listing. The listing should describe the finer points of the home in a flattering way without exaggerating. It should include professional pictures of the property. Video is a nice added touch. 

Once the listing is created, make it as visible as possible. Put it in the MLS and other listing sites. Place fliers in front of the property and hang them around the neighborhood. 

Accept an Offer

If you are in the right market and have a good property, the offers should start rolling in. Discuss offers with your client to determine if they want to accept them, reject them, or request a higher bid. Provide your professional advice as needed. 

Go Home Shopping

If you are working with a buyer, listings will not come into play. It will be your duty to find homes that are in line with what they are looking for and accompany them on showings. 

If they decide to make an offer, you can help them come up with one that will get accepted. Assist them in finding a reasonable price point. Encourage them to add a personal touch to their offer to increase the likelihood that it will get accepted. 

Close the Deal 

Male,Hand,Pointing,With,A,Pen,On,A,Sales,FunnelIf all goes well, you will work your way toward closing a deal. An agent does not have to do much during closing. But they will need to help their client get prepared for closing. 

It’s important to work with trusted partners when closing a deal. You may want to refer your client to lawyers, mortgage lenders, inspectors, and title companies you have worked with before. 

The inspection is another big hurdle. If unexpected issues are found, you may have to do some negotiating. Do your best to keep both parties happy. 

If you are representing the seller, you will need to stay on top of the mortgage process. You must keep track of when the mortgage commitment is due and make sure the lender and your client are processing the necessary financial data. 

If you are on the seller’s side, you will need to make sure the other side is sticking to the contract timeline and that financing is being secured. 

During this time, the title company will be working on a title commitment that insures the title. You will receive a ‘marked up title’ that you will need to review with your client. It states that all closing requirements have been met and a settlement date has been announced. 

At least three days before closing, your clients will receive a Closing Disclosure from the title company. It outlines the buyer’s financial obligations including closing costs, tax, insurance, and mortgage payments. It should closely resemble the loan estimate- but it’s more like a loan invoice. 

The settlement agent will take care of most responsibilities at closing, so you won’t need to do much. Just make sure your client is prepared. 

Lead,Generation,Business,FunnelFollow Up

It’s essential to follow up after the deal is closed. Doing so will increase your chances of the client coming to you the next time you need to buy or sell. It will also make them more likely to refer you to friends and family. 

Keep past clients on your mailing list. Send them a thank you note or gift in return for their patronage. Email or call on occasion to find out how they are doing. 

Before & After: Building a $ 1 Million Real Estate Pipeline

I know what you’re thinking… that’s all well and good. But will it help me make $1 million a year as a real estate agent? 

Well, we’re not going to lie. Making $1 million a year as a real estate agent is not an easy goal. But it is achievable.

Here are some tips that I used to help me do it. 

Make a Business Plan

Happy,African,American,Real,Estate,Agent,Working,On,Paperwork,WhileA real estate plan is a document that outlines a plan for growing your business. Studies have shown that creating a business plan can increase your chances of success by 12%. It will help you identify your goals moving forward. 

A real estate plan should include a few key elements as follows:

  • A detailed business description
  • A SWOT analysis that identifies your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
  • A marketing strategy
  • A financial plan
  • An analysis of your local competition
  • A description of your ideal customer
  • Means of implementation
  • Evaluate and revise your plan over time to ensure it continues to meet your business needs

Sell More Expensive Homes

If you sell more expensive homes, it will be easier for you to reach your million-dollar goals. You can break into the niche by: 

  • Joining a high-end brokerage
  • Becoming an expert in upscale home features
  • Getting a handle on sales and pricing strategies
  • Networking with high-end agents
  • Dressing the part
  • Understanding the best time to sell based on the stock market and other factors that affect wealth
  • Plan a comprehensive end-to-end customer experience
  • Offering best-in-class imagery. 

Work Full Time

Real,Estate,Agent,With,House,Model,And,KeysYou’re not going to make $1 million as an agent if you work part-time. Working full-time will give you more time to make an income. It will also help you improve your expertise. 

Take Care of Your Clients

If you treat your clients well, they will recommend you to others, so you grow your business. Top-notch service will also get you prepared to work with higher-end clients if you decide to go in that direction with your business. 

Follow Up with Leads 

We cannot stress how important it is to follow up with leads. An agent needs to initiate several touchpoints with clients before they can close a deal. If you don’t follow up, you won’t make money. 

Additionally, not following up shows a lack of responsibility on your part. If you follow up with clients, they will see you are a hard worker, and they may use your services in the future. If you don’t follow up, you will likely lose their business forever. 

Tips and Tools

Crm,Business,Customer,Crm,Management,Analysis,Service,Concept,Business,TeamHere are some additional tips and tools that will help you reach your million-dollar goals. 

Use a CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool helps you manage your customer relationships. It keeps track of your interactions with clients and potential clients. It can also be used for marketing, digital commerce, and sales. 

The best real estate CRMs will keep you organized. It will help you determine where prospects are in the sales funnel. It will make it easier for you to convert and retain customers. 

Solicit Feedback

Feedback can come in many forms. Here are some examples:

  • Colleague Feedback: You may work with colleagues that can provide feedback on how you are doing. Actively ask for advice from people you respect. 
  • Mentors: Many agents work with mentors who will provide them with feedback to help them boost their careers. 
  • Customers: Encourage customers to provide feedback after you close a deal by sending out surveys. They will offer advice that helps you make valuable improvements. You may even get some testimonials out of the deal. 

Use Project Management Software

Business,Person,Reading,Emails,On,Smartphone,And,Laptop,Computer,ScreenProject management software helps with the planning, scheduling, and budgeting of projects. It keeps tasks on track by monitoring communication, assigning responsibilities, and ensuring everything is completed as planned. It is ideal for large-scale projects that involve multiple clients. It keeps track of risk and cost management, so projects run more efficiently. 

Log Phone Calls

Call logging involves collecting, analyzing, and recording phone call data. Your data may include the call origin, the time of the call, the length of the call, and other details. The information you collect will make your cold-calling technique more effective. 

Final Thoughts

Following these strategies may not make you a million dollars, but it will significantly increase your income and transform your business. It will get you closer to reaching your economic goals. Which methods will you be including in your marketing plan? 

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: 11/30/2023