Many real estate agents view online leads as either paid or organic (free). While organic leads may seem more ideal than shelling over money for a lead, in the long run, an agent may get better results—actual closings that lead to commission—by paying for a lead. At the end of the day, this two-pronged breakdown of leads is lacking for an agent who is really looking to grow their business.

Instead of viewing online leads from the paid versus organic point of view, consider categorizing leads based on the cost of generation and the length of time it takes for a lead to culminate in a closing. This can help you avoid chasing free leads that go nowhere. Make these three categories your new approach to online leads: inquiry, registration and social.

Inquiry Leads
Potential customers inquiring for specific information about a property, home value estimate, or the services an agent provides often result in a sale. These people have already made the decision to buy or sell, making them much more likely to close in the near future.

While more expensive than other leads, if you have the means to purchase inquiry leads from sites like Zillow, Trulia, and, you’re likely to receive a commission two to three times more for each dollar spent.

Registration Leads
Think of registration leads and window shoppers. These people have just signed up for a website to begin conducting their own research and are usually in the very early stages of buying or selling a home. They’re not yet ready to speak to an agent, but they may be down the line.

Companies like BoomTown, Commissions Inc., Real Geeks and Kunversion build robust CRM websites and campaigns for agents to help acquire and nurture these leads. While the process can be more affordable than purchasing inquiry leads, registration leads generally take longer to close—if they close at all—meaning a longer wait for your commission.

Social Leads
Leads generated through social media websites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube tend to take less money than other online leads. Instead, they require time and effort on the agent’s part through regularly posting relevant, interesting content.

Over time, followers will begin to view the agent as an influencer and expert, the main person they trust on all matters real estate. So when it comes time to buy or sell, they’ll turn to that agent.

Make the Most of Your Leads
There is no one true winner when it comes to inquiry, registration, and social leads. Each segment has its own pros and cons, and what works for one agent may not work for another. Still, being equipped to better understand the value of different leads is the first step to making the most of them. If you can repeatedly make a return on your investment of time and money spent on leads generated from one or all of these segments, then you’re on the right track.

Grow Your Business
At Benchmark, educating our agents is a top priority. Our online lead generation point of view comes from one of the many educational opportunities we provide exclusively to Benchmark agents. If you’re looking to grow your business, consider joining the Benchmark team. Click here and take a quick online assessment today to learn more.