If you need deals NOW and looking for a quick fix, lead generation is not for you. 

Before we get into today’s article, I invite all of you to go back to what I wrote last week about generating Mortgage Leads in 2023. That article sets the foundation for Critical Step #1.

The steps in this article are from my 7+ years of lead generation in the housing industry. I have been a top-level marketer for consumer direct, retail, wholesale, and real estate channels, along with B2B and B2C. Over this time, I have generated over 300 million in closed loans and increased production by 75% using my marketing strategies. In short, what I do works, and I hope this helps you learn from my expertise.

Critical Step #1: Set Realistic Expectations

If you are in the “I ran Ads for 30 days with no results” and then told yourself a story that it doesn’t work, then I am talking to you right now. 

Setting expectations may seem like an odd number one, but nothing derails lead generation success than not having the right expectations. Too many enter the lead generation space expecting “deals on a platter,” hoping to fill their pipeline within 30 days with immediate closings. I hate breaking the news to you, but that isn’t the reality. 

If you need deals NOW and looking for a quick fix, lead generation is not for you. 

Lead generation from cold traffic (people who don’t know you) will take 3,6,12 months or more to become viable prospects that can close. The industry standard conversion rate is around 3% (NAR has this at 1.2%), so you must understand that most leads will not close. 

When you don’t have the right expectations, you will waste time and money and give up too early, which will cost you the ability to create a never-ending pipeline.

Critical Step #2: Stop Planning to Fail

Wait for a second. Who the heck plans to fail?

Well, you do when you don’t have a plan, which in my experience, is 90% of those I have worked with. 

Do you have a plan for those who are credit challenged? Do you have a budget in place? Are you ok with being in the red for six months? Do you have your tech stack set up? Have you researched lead gen channels? Do you know who you are trying to reach?

Lead generation isn’t flipping a switch, my friends, and the sooner you realize that it takes time and money to plan to make money, the better your results will be.

Critical Step #3: Lead Management System (aka CRM)

This could arguably be #1 on the list since it is paramount to successful lead generation. If I had a dollar for every time I have seen people start with lead generation without a lead management system (LMS), I could buy Encompass and shut it down to save the industry from that headache. But seriously, folks, you must have a system to convert your leads. 

Next to not having realistic expectations, not having a proper LMS is one of the top reasons for failure. There are elements to having a system like this, which I will cover later in this article, but they are all born inside an LMS.

Unfortunately, our industry loves making over complicated and crappy software, especially in the CRM space. CRMs will NEVER manage relationships, so that is issue number one and two; without lead, management CRMs aren’t worth anything. 

For this reason, we built rebel Convert to NOT be a CRM but instead a Revenue & Opportunity Management (ROM) solution. This is our version of an LMS, and because we literally wrote the book on Mortgage Marketing, we poured all our knowledge about lead conversion into this system.

Critical Step #4: Speed to Lead

Speed to Lead, aka Speed to Contact, is a non-negotiable need for successful lead generation. It is cardinal. You MUST contact leads within 5 minutes because it dramatically increases the likelihood of converting them into prospects. 

The data shows that leads contacted within the first 5 minutes of submitting an inquiry expressing interest are significantly more likely to convert into prospects than those contacted later.

When a lead expresses interest, they are in the motivated mindset stage, and contacting them quickly allows you to capitalize on that. Also, a quick response shows your responsiveness and interest in their needs, which can help build trust.

Time kills deals, and while waiting too long to contact a lead, their interest may have cooled off or already found another responsive LO. Data shows that the likelihood of converting a lead drops by 10x if you wait more than an hour to follow up. 

This isn’t fiction; it is a fact, which is why this is a critical step. 

Critical Step #5: Follow Up

For lead generation, the money is in the follow-up. Now pause, read that sentence again, and write it on a sticky note. 

Long-term follow-up is critical because not all leads, especially from cold traffic, will be ready to proceed after the first contact. The data shows that only a small percentage of leads are ready to roll immediately. However, that doesn’t mean that these leads aren’t valuable or won’t eventually convert into prospects, so take note.

A relevant and structured long-term follow-up plan allows you to stay in touch with these leads over time and develop these opportunities while building trust and credibility. By consistently providing value and staying first in thought, you increase the likelihood that you will convert these leads. 

Having long-term follow-up also allows you to identify and overcome the lead’s objections. By continuing to engage with sales empathy, you can tailor your messaging to stay relevant until the lead is ready to take that next step. 

Finally, long-term follow-up is crucial because it allows you to address any changes or opportunities that may arise for that specific lead. The market does not tend to stay on the straight and narrow, so staying in touch allows you to identify shifts in their needs related to any market changes.

This is a massive opportunity, as most in our industry stop talking to leads after 30 days. Clean up when the competition clears out.

Let me leave you with this. Everyone is a lead, but not everyone is a prospect. When you get into lead generation, your first objective is to convert a lead into a prospect and move them down the funnel. But you should follow the five critical steps for the best chance of success. 

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