Back in 2004, I was a newly minted real estate agent, eager to build my business. I came across a statistic that claimed joining a leads group could increase business by 25% in the first year. Since I was broke, and wanted to NOT be broke, that was pretty much all I needed to hear. 

At first, I reached out to every leads group in my city. The problem was that each one already had their Realtor spot filled. Rather than give up and move on to something else, I decided to start my own group. 

And the results have been incredible.

My leads group has consistently brought in $3 to $4 million in volume each year, which has translated to about $90,000 to $120,000 in gross commission income (GCI) per year. To this day, the group continues to thrive and remains an incredible lead pillar.

The best part? After some initial preparations (which I’m sharing below), it requires just one hour a week—and a very small budget. Not only has this generated leads year after year, but it also strengthens relationships and offers fantastic opportunities to sharpen leadership and public speaking skills. 

So, to help you get started, I’m sharing nine key decisions you need to make when creating your own leads group. 

What is a Leads Group? 

In case you are not familiar, a leads group is a networking group where professionals from different industries meet regularly to exchange business referrals. Unlike traditional networking events, leads groups are exclusive—only one person per business category is allowed, ensuring all referrals for buying or selling a home go to you. 

Here’s why lead groups are invaluable for real estate agents:

  • Exclusivity: You are the go-to real estate professional in the group.
  • Warm Leads: Referrals are the number one way consumers choose an agent—which means leads from a leads group are more likely to convert than cold leads.
  • Extended Network: You leverage not just your sphere but the networks of all group members. On average 6-10 people in your database will transact in the next 12 months. That means 6-10 members in each group member’s database will, too. 
  • Cost-Effective: The primary investment is your time, making it a budget-friendly lead pillar.
  • Personal Endorsements: Members endorse your services based on personal interactions and trust, adding instant credibility.
  • Feedback from Other Professionals: During meetings, you can gauge reactions, adjust your pitch and refine your approach based on feedback from professionals in your community.

9 Key Decisions to Make for Your Leads Group

When starting a leads group, there are several decisions you need to make to ensure you get up and running as quickly as possible. In my course, The Blueprint To Build a Leads Group That Converts, I provide templates and planning pages (and much more!) to help you streamline the process.

Decision #1—Choose Your Core Members

You already know the value of a good referral, and this group thrives on that very principle.  

Forget about just picking professions—you need enthusiastic and collaborative individuals who complement each other’s services. 

For example, aim to select an insurance agent who constantly interacts with homeowners and potential buyers, a mortgage lender who has their finger on the pulse of the housing market, and a financial advisor who deals with clients making major life decisions. This core group of 3-5 professionals provides a powerful network for exchanging referrals. Choose those who are hungry to grow the group and share referrals. Don’t be afraid to pick a passionate young salesperson over a jaded veteran—the right fit is key.

2. Name Your Leads Group

Picking the perfect name for your leads group is like crafting its identity. It’s your group’s first impression, branding tool, and a key element that will stick with members and potential leads. 

Here’s how to choose a name that will stand out from the crowd:

  • Uniqueness: Research online to ensure no other local group shares the same name.
  • SEO-Friendly: Include your city’s name for better online visibility.
  • Reflective of Mission: Choose a name that resonates with the group’s purpose.

Finally, keep in mind that you are building a long-lasting lead generation machine. So be sure to pick a name that won’t feel dated in a few years. 

3. Determine Roles and Responsibilities

Keeping your leads group running smoothly requires assigning clear roles and responsibilities. Leadership roles include:

  • President: Coordinates meetings and sets agendas.
  • Vice President: Handles membership and assists the President.
  • Treasurer: Manages finances.
  • Public Relations: Manages communication and social events.

Each of the above roles should have a term of six months to a year to ensure fresh ideas and perspectives.

In addition to the leadership team, members of your group will take part in weekly rotating roles:

  • Speaker: Each week, a member presents a 10-15 minute talk about their business.
  • Business Builder: This weekly role focuses on sharing business hacks, software finds, or other helpful tidbits.
  • Commercial Corner: Keep everyone informed about new businesses, expansions, or changes in the local area that could benefit the group.

Assigning these roles strategically plays a big part in the success of your group. Consider each member’s strengths and interests when assigning roles, and don’t forget to set reminders for deadlines and responsibilities. A well-defined structure with clear ownership not only keeps things running smoothly but also allows members to contribute meaningfully and develop their skills.

4. Schedule Meetings

Consistency is key to maintaining momentum. Regular weekly meetings are key to building strong relationships and momentum, so don’t be tempted to switch to bi-weekly or monthly meetings.

After deciding on a schedule that works best for members of the group, stick to it. Treat each meeting like an important sales opportunity and prioritize it accordingly—and hold the expectation that each member of the group will do the same. 

5. Choose a Meeting Location

Choosing the location for your leads group meetings is more than just finding a place to sit. The right spot sets the tone for the entire group’s interaction and effectiveness. Ideally, you can host meetings at your own location for convenience and control over the environment. 

Then, just like with your schedule, once you’ve established a regular venue, stick to it!  Consistency helps members plan their schedules and build a routine. Avoid the temptation to move locations each week, as this can lead to confusion and lower attendance.

The ideal meeting space should also be professional.  Choose a venue that fosters business discussions and avoids social distractions, like restaurants or bars. The whole point of these meetings is to connect and share referrals in a professional setting. In fact, if possible, avoid virtual meetings altogether. The in-person interaction is a key component to building relationships and trust within the group. Encourage members to see these meetings as important commitments, not optional attendance.

As your group grows, you can occasionally consider “field trips” to members’ workplaces. This can add variety and allow members to see each other’s work environment firsthand. However, balance these visits with the need for a regular, consistent meeting space that forms the foundation for your group.

6. Establish Guidelines 

Establishing clear rules is essential for a successful leads group. Here’s how to set the framework:

  • Membership Fees: Decide on a monthly fee (around $35 is suggested) and how you’ll collect it. Consider offering discounts for paying upfront or rewarding long-term members.
  • Representation: Will members be allowed to represent more than one business? If they have multiple businesses, will each require separate membership?
  • Attendance: Set clear guidelines on acceptable absences before a member’s spot is reconsidered. Allow sending a company representative in emergencies, but limit this to avoid overuse.
  • Speaker Absences: What happens if a scheduled speaker can’t present? Do they need to find a replacement or lose their speaking slot?
  • Financial Management: Designate someone to manage finances and determine how funds will be used (social events, donations).
  • Penalties: Consider small fines (like $1 for a ringing phone) to discourage disruptions during meetings.
  • Group Size and Structure: Limit the group to a manageable size (around 30 members).
  • Lead Tracking: While not essential, you can choose to track leads generated to measure group effectiveness and aid recruitment.
  • Meeting Schedule: Pick a consistent day and time for weekly meetings.

These are just suggestions—adapt them to your group’s needs. Clear guidelines keep things running smoothly and promote a sense of order and commitment among members.

7. Finalize Your Agenda

Now that you have established your members, schedule, location and guidelines, it’s time to decide on the structure for each meeting. This helps keep the meeting on track and ensures all members can contribute and benefit. 

Here’s a sample agenda for leads group meetings:

  • Introductions: Welcome new members or shadowing prospects.
  • Overview of Presenters: Briefly introduce the day’s speakers including the Speaker, Business Builder Presenter, and Commercial Corner Presenter
  • 30-Second Commercial Rotation: Each member gets 30 seconds to introduce themselves and their business. Be sure to explain this process to new members or prospects before starting!
  • Leads and Testimonials: This is where members exchange leads, updates, and testimonials. This is a vital part of tracking the group’s effectiveness.
  • Detailed Presentations: Allocate time for: 
    • Speaker: Allow the designated speaker to present their business in detail.
    • Business Builder: Feature a member sharing a business tip, trick, or hack.
    • Commercial Corner: A member presents new or changing businesses/entities in the area.
  • Recruiting New Members: Briefly discuss strategies for attracting new members to your group.
  • Wrap-Up: Announce next week’s presenters, share any upcoming event announcements, and inform members of any changes to the meeting venue or schedule.

8. Set Goals for Recruitment and Delegation

To effectively plan and execute your recruitment strategy, start by defining clear recruitment goals. Set specific targets for the number of new members you aim to recruit and establish a deadline. Assign specific recruitment tasks among members, such as outreach and follow-ups, and encourage them to leverage their networks to identify potential recruits.

Personalized invitations from existing members can be highly effective in conveying the value of the group. Hosting open meetings for guests to experience the group firsthand can also generate interest. Additionally, promote your leads group on social media to reach a broader audience. Keep an updated list of potential members and track recruitment progress regularly, discussing updates in your meetings to maintain accountability and momentum.

Calendar integration is crucial for realizing your recruitment goals. As Tony Robbins says, “If it isn’t in your calendar, it doesn’t exist.” Schedule each recruitment task and goal in your calendar to ensure they receive the same priority as any other critical appointment. Finally, regularly review recruitment goals in meetings to ensure alignment with the group’s core values and objectives, motivating members through a shared vision of mutual growth and support.

9. Establish a Digital Presence

Navigating your online strategy for your leads group involves deciding between investing in a template website, creating a Facebook group, or integrating both for maximum impact. Each option has its pros and cons that can influence your decision based on your group’s needs, resources, and goals.

Investing in a website offers a more professional image, enhances credibility, and provides full control over content and layout. Additionally, a website can be optimized for search engines (SEO), increasing your group’s visibility and boosting SEO through backlinks. However, the upfront cost of setting up and maintaining a website and the need for some technical know-how or support are potential drawbacks.

On the other hand, creating a Facebook group is quick, easy, and cost-free, leveraging Facebook’s vast user base for potential member recruitment. It offers engagement tools that facilitate easy communication and interaction among members. However, Facebook groups have limited customization options compared to websites and are subject to Facebook’s rules and algorithm changes, which can impact your group’s visibility and functionality.

Combining both a website and a Facebook group can offer the best of both worlds. A website can serve as the central hub for detailed information, resources, and member highlights, while a Facebook group can enhance daily interactions, updates, and community building, leveraging social media’s engagement tools. Starting with a Facebook group can be a cost-effective way to build your online presence and, as your group grows, investing in a website can further solidify your digital footprint. 

Start Today

From my own experience, I can attest to the incredible benefits it brings, not just in terms of leads and commissions but also in building valuable relationships and honing essential skills. With minimal investment and a commitment of just one hour a week, you can establish a powerful, cost-effective lead generation system that will serve you for years to come.

And the best part is, I’ve done all the heavy lifting of figuring out how to build a leads group that generates GCI year after year. (My favorite way to learn is by failing forward!)

I’ve laid it all out in my course, The Blueprint To Build a Leads Group That Converts. This goes far beyond the 9 key decisions and includes:

  • How to establish your operations framework including done for you templates to plug and play effortlessly
  • Recruitment strategies, onboarding and new member template packets
  • Referral and leads trackers
  • Best practices to generate leads off your group for years to come
  • Capitalizing on the 30-second commercial, perfecting your pitch, and written-for-you presentations