How To Convert Real Estate Internet Leads (Superstar Agents’ Top Tips)

Gabrielle C. King

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By now, every agent likely knows that their best real estate leads come from referrals. This only makes sense given that referrals are the most trusted source of information for consumers looking to purchase a product or service. But while there are agents who have created referral-only businesses, not everyone has a sphere large enough to sustain a satisfying income. (Plus, there’s the old adage advising you not to put your eggs all in one basket.)

This makes supplementing your referral leads with internet real estate leads a sound strategy. Whether they’re from pay-to-play platforms like Zillow or organic leads from social media, adding internet leads is an effective way to diversify your lead sources.

But online real estate leads are a unique animal, requiring a conversion strategy all their own.

In this blog post, you’ll discover the conversion strategies used by two agents—Jon Gregory and Cody Smith. Both are with Acree Brothers Realty in Lynchburg, Virginia, and both have mastered the art of internet real estate lead conversion.

Say hello to Jon Gregory, Realtor®

Jon has been a real estate agent for about five years and has been converting internet leads since his first few weeks on the job, proving, as he says, that “even new agents can close internet leads.”

In 2022, Jon closed 65 deals. Of those, more than half originated from an online lead, and most were Zillow leads.

Get acquainted with Cody Smith, Realtor®

Before becoming an agent, Cody worked as a call center agent and then a director for an online school. He got his real estate license in March 2022 and began working as an agent with Acree Brothers, but he quicky moved into his current role as director of sales. While an agent who was actively finding and converting leads, he made initial contact with 80% of his clients through online sources, including Zillow, Facebook, Ylopo, and Google.

In what follows, you’ll find some of the top takeaways from my conversations with Jon and Cody, which show that, ultimately, the foundation of their closing strategies and approach is their commitment to consistency.

After all, to be successful, they say, agents simply need to keep reaching out until they get a response. And once you do connect, you may find yourself talking a lead every day, a few times a week, or once a month. The key is to keep providing value and helpful assistance so that you stay top of mind.

Treat all leads the same (unless they’re not)

Here’s the thing about sales leads—they aren’t leads as much as they are people.

People will do business with those they know, like, and trust, which makes creating rapport and developing relationships vital aspects of moving any transaction forward. Overly eager real estate professionals who are more concerned with earning a commission than focusing on the needs of the person in front of them will forget this, making it more likely that they lose the sale instead.

For this reason, Cody recommends agents treat every lead the same: “They’re all people; they all matter. The follow-up is about finding their motivation because that’s how we figure out what they need and how we can help them. If it’s a house in the next month or two, that’s great. If they need longer, that’s okay too. We’re not in it for the sale; we’re in it for the relationships. If their next house is 10 years down the road, I want to be their go-to person when that time comes.”

That said, depending on the source of a lead, how and when you begin these conversations does matter—largely because, as any agent whose been around the block can tell you, leads from different sources aren’t always equally motivated to actually buy a property.

Leads from marketplace platforms

For example, Zillow leads are typically highly motivated. Odds are that site visitors are either looking to buy a new house or comparing home prices to get a sense of the market and what their own homes may be worth. Regardless, when they click “contact agent,” you can be sure their intention is to get more information about a specific property.

A couple of renters gaze into the distance, imagining their first home

Both Cody and Jon agree that the leads they receive from Zillow are very intentional.

According to Jon, “Even if they’re operating under the guise of wanting to ask some questions about it, once you get past all that, they just want to see the property.” This is why he advises agents who connect with leads from Zillow,, Trulia, and similar platforms to “stay out of the way.”

He explains, “An agent who isn’t quite sure what they’re doing, or who hasn’t done this a lot, might talk about all sorts of things—family, where they’re from, their job—which is usually good. But you can also really wear out and lose a lead this way. Remember, they’ve taken the scary step of reaching out to you, a complete stranger, about a house. So they’re not really interested in you.”

Of course, it’s important for an agent to develop rapport with people. But with inbound leads from listing platforms, your first goal is to set a time to see the property that prompted them to input their information.

Jon continues, “They just want to see that house and find out if it’s right for them. Keep your initial contact short—assume the sale, and ask the magic question, ‘When do you want to see that house?’ Once you get there, then you can establish rapport and ensure they never leave you.”

Leads from social media

Leads from Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, on the other hand, have primarily been interacting with your material.

“Maybe you have an ad out on Facebook or an Instagram channel,” Jon explains. “Those leads may be more interested in the idea of real estate—buying or selling ‘someday.’ You don’t have an address to bring them to, so you’re going to have to do more digging.”

When Jon gets a lead from social media, he aims to find out exactly what they want in a house.

“These leads will usually tell you ‘we’re just looking,’ he says. It’s a good defense mechanism against a long conversation. So I’ll say, ‘I’m glad you’re looking—have you found a house yet?’ And they’ll say no. Then I’ll move into ‘So what are you hoping to find in a house?’ to start to dig into their desires and motivations. It’s a longer phone call than one with a Zillow or similar lead.”

Once he has enough information, Jon explains that he’ll be their agent.

If he’s speaking with a buyer (rarely are online leads sellers), he’ll let them know that his service is free—the seller pays his fee—and tell them “Lean on me as much as you possibly can because I’ve helped 65 people last year buy houses, and I can help you. I’ll set up a game plan.”

Closing real estate internet leads

What makes referred real estate leads so attractive is the very thing that makes online real estate leads more difficult to close—you likely don’t have a relationship with the people who find you through Zillow or Facebook. Consequently, they have no reason to trust you. Still, you can build trust with these strategies.

Be confident

By their nature, referral leads, even if they’re a friend of a friend, have an inherent level of trust you can rely on, whereas online leads don’t know you from Adam. Even if you have a significant number of positive online reviews, the level of trust is minimal. This is why the scripts for real estate internet leads you may use aren’t as important as how you deliver them.

“Most people,” Jon observes, “don’t listen as much to what you say as to how you say it. The skill is sounding confident.” Additionally, he advises agents he trains to quickly depend on their credentials. “If you don’t have credentials, lean on your team or brokerage credentials. You can find something to demonstrate why you’re good, so have that value proposition prepared.”


For Cody, the foundation of confidence is preparation. “Scripts are great; they’re really good guides. But what I tell our agents is that it comes down to knowing the major points of a script and then making it your own.”

“You should memorize, internalize, and then personalize. If you’re just reading a script, you’re going to come across as robotic, and that isn’t going to get you anywhere.”


He continues, “You want to be authentic in the way you come across on the phone—that’s huge—and be able to have a genuine conversation while thinking ahead to where you want it to go.”

Emphasize your service

In addition to demonstrating confidence, you can earn a lead’s trust by letting them know that you’re going to help them through a difficult process.

Jon tells me, “At Acree Brothers, we often ask, ‘What are you trying to sell as a Realtor®?’ Most people will say a house. We’re not selling houses. We’re selling our experience; I’m selling my service.”

He explains, “Agents need to paint a picture for their leads letting them know that buying a house isn’t easy. And it isn’t. There are a lot of dangers and problems, so there’s a real benefit to working with an agent. You want to show them that it’s hard but that it’ll be easy if they work with you. And then be prepared to tell them why.”


Jon’s strategy is to let his leads know that he’ll walk them through every step of the homebuying process.

Agents, he says, should reassure leads that they’ll get them a good deal. He suggests letting them know that you’ll show them all the houses, including any off-market properties that your team sells. Explain that you’ve done this many times before, you know the pitfalls that can appear, you’ll negotiate repairs, and you have the full support of your team.

Keep moving forward

Jon further explains his process for closing internet leads.

“I’m selling them this service. I’m telling them it’s free, which is awesome. And then I tell them how they can work with me. The way they can work with me is to get more interested in buying their first house. I ask them to tell me a little bit about the type of house they want and if they’ve seen any on Zillow,, or Trulia that they really liked. Then I say, ‘Let’s go look at one of those houses.’”


“Finally,” he says, “when I can get someone to talk to a lender, then I know I have them. Getting them to commit to that step proves to me that they want to put the process into gear. My added value is my ability to give them the name of my lender who has great rates and can beat online rates—even local rates. As soon as I tell them that piece, I’ve generated more interest and now we’re having a conversation about that lender.”

If you forget everything else, remember this

At the end of our conversations, I asked Jon and Cody for their best piece of advice when it comes to converting real estate internet leads—whether it’s something agents need to remember, do, or not do.

Focus on helping people

“It’s difficult, because we all need to make money,” Cody admits. “But if you focus on the commission, you’ll miss building a relationship with the person on the line. The more you think about money, the less authentic you’ll be—people can feel ‘commission breath.’”

 “Don’t focus on making money this year. Instead, focus on your career.”


He adds, “If you’re consistent about doing every day do what you need to do—prospecting, making calls, following up—and focus on relationships, staying in touch, and providing value, the leads who told you they’d be ready in 6 or 12 months will start coming in along with leads who are ready in one or two months. Then you’ll begin to have months when you’ve got three or four homes under contract. I started in March, followed this advice, and by September had seven homes under contract.”

Keep the process moving forward

Jon emphasizes to always push the momentum forward. “As an agent, your job is to move a lead along, which is what they really want in the end. They just don’t know how to get there.”

“Reassure them that you are going to do a great job for them and that they don’t have to worry about a fee. Put the focus on getting them a house they’re going to love.”


“Just keep in mind that you’re selling yourself,” he concludes. “You have a valuable service that people need, so don’t get in your own way. It doesn’t have to be hard.”

Need help generating online leads?

If you want more help finding online leads, check out “Insider Tips for How to Find Real Estate Leads on Facebook.” You’ll get advice about how to build trust while attracting motivated homebuyers.

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Written by Gabrielle C. King

I’ve spent my 30-year career making complex and unfamiliar ideas easy to understand. Today I routinely write 2,500 words or less to help entrepreneurs like real estate agents, RIAs, insurance agents, and others better understand marketing and feel a renewed confidence in their ability to close more deals and retain more business.