This guide is written by Keith Roy for the RESAAS community. Keith Roy is the team leader of Keith Roy and Associates at Macdonald Realty. Keith has been in the top 10% of all Greater Vancouver Realtors for 7 consecutive years. He can be reached at or team@keithroy.comTo learn more about what Keith does for his clients, watch here:



Do you know that feeling when you don’t know where your next commission cheque is coming from? Do you have that feeling now? It’s terrible right? Nobody likes it! Sometimes we have that feeling for months, or even years, at a time. Other times it's a feeling that comes around even when we have another cheque coming, but its not enough to cover the debt racked up since the last cheque came.


This motivating, but gut wrenching and fear inducing feeling is the one commonality that all commissioned sales people have. We have all experienced it at some point; whether it was our first day in the business or the whole first year. No matter when you experienced it we can all agree it was (and is) horrible.

So, what is an agent to do? How can we ensure that we always have another deal closing and another commission cheque on the way? 

Have More Leads

That’s how we make sure we always have cheques coming, we get more leads. In fact, the only difference between those who make it in real estate and those who don’t is that survivors generate new leads on a consistent basis. The more leads we have, the more deals we do. The more deals we do, the more cheques we get. Its just that simple.

Don’t get confused, I didn’t say it was easy. I said it was simple.

How many times have you heard that internet leads are the way of the future? The newest miracle cure for your lack of leads, deals and income currently being preached by trainers and coaches is buying internet leads.

Tweet: Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it's there - Barbara Corcoran

Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it's there - Barbara Corcoran 

The more you pay, the more they click, the more leads you get. The internet is an endless source of leads we’re told. Just pay per click, follow up consistently and you’ll soon be doing hundreds of deals a year you’re promised. But is it really sustainable? Do you have the capacity to sit at your computer 24/7 waiting for leads to come in so you can respond instantly to do deals with 1% - 2% of them? I didn’t think so.

The other option you have is to become a “farmer.” Pick a geographic area, send flyers, plan community events, knock on doors, talk to business owners, volunteer to build the school playground, sponsor the little league teams, send out note pads and calendars and become the neighbourhood expert.

Does it work? Of course it does. Is it a good strategy? Yes, but not immediately. It’ll take you 2-3 years to really get going. Is it cost effective? Eventually. But not when first start. It will cost you about $12 per house per year just to maintain it effectively. More to get it started.

Could you knock on doors around your listings? Send mail to For Sale By Owners? Take out ads in the paper? Put your face on a billboard? Yes, you could do all of these. Will they work? Of course they will. But, are they sustainable over the long term? Will they get rid of the feeling you had not knowing where your next deal was coming from? No.

So, what is a Realtor to do?

I believe the only way to build a successful and sustainable business in real estate is to think of building your business like ripples on a pond. Imagine throwing a rock into a body of water. After the rock hits the water, small waves ripple out from the centre of the landing zone. If those circles are your lead generation strategies, the rock you just threw is your database. When you supercharge your database, every other lead generation strategy becomes easier and flows naturally. Listings get you more listings. Listings get you more buyers. Buyers know other buyers. Sellers know other sellers. Doing business in a neighbourhood gives you a reason to talk to neighbours and something to put in your newspaper ads. Sometimes you just need to get busy to be busy.

If you want to build a business that is reliable, predictable, sustainable and enjoyable you need to start from within. According to the 2014 NAR profile of buyers and sellers 60% of all sellers and 52% of all buyers found their agent through repeat use or through a personal referral. Read that again....more than half of all transactions were a result of repeat and referral business. Nothing else even came close! That’s why you need to start making waves in your business by serving your database. When done properly it is the single best way to build a business that has all the characteristics that I mentioned above.


Sustainable, predictable, and enjoyable.

How should you do it? Here is a simple program that you can start implementing RIGHT NOW to turn your database in a wealth of sales opportunities through repeat and referral business.

This technique applies whether you are new to real estate or a seasoned veteran. The first thing you need to do is get your database set up.

1. Write a list of everyone you know. Don’t rule anybody out.

2. Get all the contact information you can for the people on your list. If you have them on Facebook, message them for their address. If you have their phone number or email, reach out for their address. If you have their address, look up their phone number.

3. Put all of this information into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database. Most people seem to have 100 - 200 people. Unless you have been selling real estate for a while and have a long list of past clients. (I use ixact contact management - tell them I sent you for a free trial. You can sign up at and enter KR1 in the Partner Code field. This will give you an extended 60-FREE trial courtesy gift from me).

4. Draft a letter letting people know that you are a Realtor at Company X and really excited to be helping people buy and sell real estate. Also, tell them you are looking forward to being their homeowner resource.

5. Mail Merge the letter with your database onto company letterhead.

6. Print the matching envelopes.

7. Stuff and seal all of the letters along with the business card. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that a phone call makes a letter 7 times more effective because talking to someone requires a response, whereas a letter is just a passive form of communication. 

When you get people on the phone, you are not trying to sell. Your goal is just to let people know that you want to be their homeowner resource and to ask for permission to keep in touch with them.

Once you have permission to stay in touch, you need to design a plan that asks for referrals, keeps you top of mind and, most importantly, brings value to your contacts. I recommend 27-33 touches per year.

A typical plan includes:

- 12 Monthly newsletters with valuable homeowner information.

- 12 Monthly emails about market dynamics and interesting listings.

- 1 Annual pro-active CMA.

- 1 Client appreciation event based on your passion so people can see you in a different light.

- 4 Phone calls.

- 1 Spontaneous message or visit.

- 1 Birthday card or home anniversary.

By strategically keeping in touch with your friends and family you can build a business that gives you a reliable source of clients and referrals that will eliminate that feeling of fear forever!

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