We all know how important leads are to building business—and how you talk to them can make or break you. 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national conversion rate for online leads falls between 0.4% and 1.2%. In other words, for every 200 leads you come into contact with, you’ll only convert one or two of these to a customer or client. That’s a lot of phone calls. And in today’s world, just getting someone to pick up their phone is like hitting the lottery. 

That’s why, when someone does pick up, you can’t blow it. You have to be prepared to ask the right questions and do the right things to keep them on the phone talking to you while you build rapport

One of the biggest mistakes agents make is dominating the conversation while trying to make a sale. No one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to talk about themselves. So, asking the right questions and allowing the prospect to talk will help you find out everything you need to know while building trust. 

Keep reading for a few strategies to do just that. 

Find a Commonality

Connecting with leads isn’t just about being an order taker and finding out how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want. It’s about building relationships. 

As you ask questions and allow the lead to talk, look for clues or ways to find something in common with the person on the other end. It could be your shared love for animals, you both have the same favorite football team, or love the same type of food. Whatever it is, use that as a way to foster trust and build rapport. 

Here are a few questions to ask: 

  • Do you have any pets? Tell me about them!
  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Any hobbies or activities that you’re passionate about?
  • Are there any particular restaurants or cafes in the area that are your favorite go-to spots?


There’s a reason for the saying “God gave you two ears and one mouth.” 

You need to listen twice as much as you talk. Ask open-ended questions, let the lead talk without being interrupted, pay close attention to the details they share, and take notes so you can reference them in the future. 

Maybe they have a specific neighborhood in mind or a favorite grocery store that has to be close by. They may share more personal things like what sports their kids play or something fun they like to do with their spouse or partner. These nuggets of information offer valuable clues into who they are and what they’re looking for. 

Some questions you could ask include: 

  • Tell me about your ideal neighborhood. What specific characteristics are you looking for?
  • Are there any particular amenities that you want to have nearby?
  • Tell me about your family. Do you have any children? What sports or activities are they involved in?

Determine Motivation

What is their why? Digging deeper into motivations can help you better understand their timeline and decision-making process. 

Ask questions that uncover the reasons for buying or selling. Are they relocating for a job? Upgrading their home to meet the needs of their growing family? Are they buying an investment property to build their real estate portfolio? Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to ask. Having clarity on what is motivating them helps you better serve them and insures you are doing the right things that line up with their goals. 

You can get this information by asking: 

  • Is there anything in particular that prompted your decision to move at this time?
  • What specific needs or changes are motivating you to buy/sell? 
  • Do you have any specific timeline or deadlines in mind for your real estate goals?

Asking the right questions, listening, and allowing the lead to talk will not only keep the conversation going but will also help you gain valuable insight and information to get to know the stranger on the other line. Spending time to build rapport will ultimately be the differentiator that helps you convert leads into clients.