During the lazy days of summer, a fishing trip is a relaxing pastime – dropping a line, waiting to see what bites, catching some rays while you wait. But, that carefree feeling lasts only as long as we’re in the boat!

Back on land and back to work, fishing for leads is a little more stressful! You try marketing campaigns, send out flyers, email newsletters, buy online leads or ads, but, just like when you throw a fishing line in the water, you never know what the result or “catch” will be until it happens. Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have a budget to pay for leads!” This may surprise you, but there are ways to generate leads that cost you very little to nothing at all.

We can look at this in three steps:

  1. Define your end goal
  2. Are you ready to respond?
  3. Set the Stage

Define your end goal. Determine the purpose of what your efforts are for. Are you looking to build your database up for long-term opportunities? Do you want to drive more traffic to your site? Do you want to stay top of mind with your current sphere of influence? Maybe you just want to get more leads in a certain demographic or geographic area. Make sure you know what you want to accomplish and stay focused on it.

Are you ready to respond? This is the more important question to ask yourself. Before you initiate any lead generation project, you owe it to yourself and your potential leads to have a structured and systematic lead response plan in place. When you start a project that could easily bring you dozens or even hundreds of new contacts, you have to think of it like a water faucet being turned on full blast. If the bucket you have is too small and overflows, then you will miss leads. You will miss business and income opportunities. Set up a consistent 6-10 touch point system in the first month and get creative with it. Text, email, send video messages, invite to connect on LinkedIn or to join RE/MAX Rewards. Even more importantly, incorporate a full and robust CRM into your business so you can track client interactions.

Set the stage. Generating leads can only be done when you properly set the stage to receive them. You have to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible way or you could unconsciously hinder your own progress. There are things happening out there in the online world that are actually what we could call “lead killers” not generators. Think about what a consumer does to research a real estate agent. They Google you! Have you checked all your online profiles lately? Are they complete? Have you proofread them for typos or spelling or grammar errors? Be sure to take advantage of ALL the free profiles out there: realtor.com, remax.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Homes.com, Zillow and Trulia. It should be obvious with proper branding of RE/MAX that you are a REALTOR! Is your photo posted and even more important, is it current? Please no selfies! Avoid commenting, liking, or sharing any controversial topics. Taking a position can cost you leads from the opposing sides. Stay neutral! Finally, be sure to use proper branding everywhere with “RE/MAX” being in all caps. Audit your profiles today and make the necessary corrections.

In summary, keep an end goal in mind on lead generation. Is it to build or revive your database? Next, do NOT initiate any efforts until you have a lead response plan in place! Finally, take the time to build and perfect your online profiles. Cast your lines and go fishing for leads! You can do it!