Most real estate agents steer clear of Google pay-per-click (PPC) ads. 

PPC ads can be time-consuming to set up, difficult to convert, and a magnet for online scams. But toward the start of his real estate career, Rick Lee, Team Lead of Rick J. Lee Realty Group, decided to focus on ads as one of his lead sources. 

It’s a decision that has paid off for him. PPC ads have become Lee’s number one lead source—and most recently, a single $5 PPC ad netted him over $327,000 GCI and a referral deal with Ryan Serhant

Google PPC Ads to Generate Business

When Lee began his career in real estate, he wanted to explore all his options for lead gen. So, in addition to his efforts in maintaining relationships within his sphere, leveraging social media, and nurturing local connections, Lee decided to invest in PPC ads. 

A lot of agents do well with social or YouTube. A lot do well with working their sphere. Some do well working their farm. For me, it’s about having four or five different sources of leads

Rick Lee

Realtor® & Team Lead

Despite widespread skepticism and warnings about how difficult PPC ads are to convert, Lee started testing the waters. Like most lead generation strategies, there would be no shortcut—converting leads into clients takes time and effort.

You have to have the time, energy and resources to make the effort to call and convert. Otherwise, you will waste a ton of money.

Rick Lee

Realtor® & Team Lead

To truly grasp the ins and outs of PPC advertising, Lee opted to handle the campaigns himself before eventually outsourcing the task. Fast forward three years, and with hundreds of campaigns running, Lee has become adept at converting PPC leads through consistent follow-up. He often calls, texts, and emails 10-15 times before having a conversation with a lead who filled out a form from a PPC ad. “You have to go out and make the calls and be aggressive to generate opportunity,” Lee told BAM.

The results speak for themselves: in the past year alone, Lee closed 32 deals, with PPC ads as his top lead source. 

Beyond the volume of leads generated, Lee spoke about who these ads attract. 

Of course, there are plenty of online scams, whether a prospect claims to have just won the lottery or is looking for a multimillion-dollar home for a family member. As an agent connecting with online leads, it’s crucial to do your due diligence and secure an in-person meeting.

But as far as the leads that are legit, Lee said many of them have a few things in common:

A lot of PPC leads that come in are people who don’t have Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube. They are usually older—Baby Boomers—and have cash. And they answer the phone.

Rick Lee

Realtor® & Team Lead

What agent doesn’t want more of that?

How a $5 Google Ad Led to a Landmark Deal

One lead, in particular, exceeded any of Lee’s expectations. 

After reaching out to the lead about 10 times, Lee received a response: they were interested in leasing a property for $10,000 per month. While Lee doesn’t typically do leases, he thought, “I’ll see what this turns into,” and started sending rental properties that fit the prospect’s needs. 

Shortly after the initial contact, the lead replied to say they were actually interested in buying—with a budget of $7-$10 million. 

I’d never done a deal between $7-$10 million,” Lee said. When it came time to meet in person, he noted, “I didn’t know how to dress, how to act, I didn’t know how to perform in that price range. I got my suit out and was preparing, and I just thought to myself, ‘I’m just going to be myself.’”

By the time Lee’s PPC lead—a couple from Florida—came to California to meet with Lee, he was prepared to show them a few properties. At this point, he learned that they were also trying to sell a property in Florida so they could move to LA. 

For the next few months, Lee kept sending properties and communicating with the buyers. During their next trip to LA, they wanted to see four properties and wrote an offer on one before leaving. Their offer of $8.65 million was accepted and closed without any major issues. 

There was, however, one challenge remaining—their Florida home still had not sold. 

A Listing Referral for Ryan Serhant

Lee’s clients were already working with an agent to sell their home in Florida, but were nearing the end of their agreement and ready to work with someone else. 

Through the process, I was listening to my clients. I learned they weren’t really happy with their Realtor in Florida. I knew if I was going to refer anyone, I wanted to make sure it was someone who was going to knock it out of the park.

Rick Lee

Realtor® & Team Lead

Lee decided that the best person to refer his clients to is one of the country’s most well-known and reputable brokers: Ryan Serhant. 

Unable to reach Serhant by phone, Lee obtained Serhant’s email from Katie Day, Team Leader of The MOVEMETOTX Team. She assured Lee, “If you email (Ryan), he will reply right away.”

True to Day’s word, within thirty minutes of Lee’s email, Serhant responded. After discussing the details with Serhant, Lee connected him with his clients. The outcome? They listed and sold their Florida home with Serhant for $15 million. 

Reflecting on the experience, Lee expressed his admiration for Serhant’s professionalism, stating, “Ryan was amazing. He was the exact person he is on TV or social media. He was very diligent in doing what he preaches in his books and on his videos.” 

This successful referral, coupled with the $8.65 million sale, netted Lee a total of $327,815 in GCI.

Not bad considering it all stemmed from a $5 Google PPC ad.