Regular movement is generally considered a good thing. 

Sales funnels are no exception. With today’s housing market, it’s gotten more difficult for many agents to not only add prospects to the funnel but keep them moving through it. 

In a recent BAMx livestream, “Breaking Down Lead Sources,” host Byron Lazine shares the top platforms and technology he and his top-performing real estate team are using to keep their funnel full, nurture leads at every stage, and convert them at a high rate. 

Starting with top-of-the-funnel leads, he answers the question, “Why bother with online leads?” while breaking down the best sources of both complete and incomplete leads—including the number one lead source at the very bottom of the funnel. 

Why invest in online leads?

Even free online lead sources require an investment of time. But for those that require investments of both time and money, what makes us so sure these online lead sources are worth it? 

The number one reason to invest in online lead sources (including Zillow) is to build an extensive database

I want emails, I want phone numbers, I want data on where these people are searching—what, when, how. I want extensive notes in my CRM. I want to build such a sick database. I want it to be 50,000 more names and contacts than the closest competitor in my market because that’s how I’m going to build share. This is how my email list is actually going to work and be relevant—if I’ve got a bigger database than everybody.

Byron Lazine

Number two, that large database you’re building can yield a lifetime of value. Every client you serve to their satisfaction is a potential source of reviews, repeat business, and referrals

Keep those relationships warm by regularly delivering value to them, and you won’t ever have to feel awkward about calling them. 

Building Awareness: Top of the funnel technology and platforms

Top of the funnel leads are probably one to two years out. 

Social media leads are an example of this. And we’re talking about all the platforms on which you become a recognizable brand to these leads. It doesn’t mean they know you, but they have seen you. And if they keep seeing you, they’ll become more familiar with your content and gather some impressions from it. 

As long as these leads are on social media, you can use the platforms they frequent to keep your brand in front of them and provide opportunities for them to engage with it. 

While YouTube is less social than some of the platforms above, it’s a must for any real estate agent creating video content—or thinking of doing so. If you can give your target audience a reason to subscribe to your channel (and sign up for notifications), they’ll get a better sense of what you know, how you share it, and what you might be like to work with. 

When they’re closer to transacting, you want them to know they can trust you to guide them through the process and put their interests ahead of your own. 

So, how do you stay on top of your social media leads? Aside from consistently putting out engaging social media content, the best way to keep in touch and nurture those relationships is to get these leads into your CRM and onto your email list. 

Other top-of-the-funnel leads can come from—

  • Google or Bing PPC ads
  • Home valuation landing pages
  • Downloads—high-value lead magnets in exchange for email addresses

Once you’ve got leads added to your email list, you can move them to the middle of the funnel by consistently sending them high-value content—making your brand not just a known entity but one they feel they can trust. 

Value-Packed Reminders: Middle of the funnel technology and platforms

Middle of the tunnel leads are between three to 12 months out from transacting. And that window could shrink in a hurry if they suddenly find a home that ticks all the boxes and motivates them to take action. 

Until then, though, you need to remind these leads that you’re their best shot at the kind of home sale or home purchase transaction they want—with the best possible outcome for them. 

One way to remind them is through an email newsletter. But it’s got to be the kind of newsletter that gets opened at least 25% of the time. As Byron pointed out, the industry average is 18%, so you want to target 25% and above locally. An open rate like that means people on your email list have moved beyond awareness to at least some degree of trust. 

Even better if you’ve got some high-value downloads or click-through offers included, at least some of the time, giving them even more reason to open your emails when they come. 

If you’re not already using a CRM (like FollowUp Boss or BoomTown) to nurture these relationships and keep your information up to date for each client or prospect, find one that makes it easy for you to get started doing just that. 

And if it doesn’t allow you to send out emails, ensure that it integrates with the email marketing service of your choice (like MailChimp or Constant Contact). 

Another tool to help you connect with your database is RealScout, which integrates with many CRMs and which lets you know when one of your prospects is clicking on properties on the MLS. It puts that contact in the “Live Now” category, so you can call them within 24 hours and engage with them. 


Those prospects could formerly have been in the “six-plus months out” category, but if you reach out to them when they’ve just been looking for available properties, you stand a much better chance at setting an appointment with them and moving them to the bottom of the funnel. 

Another tool is Fello, which does middle-of-the-funnel work in your database, delivering education to your prospects and eventually converting some of those prospects into appointments. 



Where (most) conversions happen: Bottom of the funnel technology and platforms

Bottom-of-the-funnel leads typically convert in 60-90 days. And at the top of the list of conversion tools for this level are third-party appointments. 

You can also increase your opportunities to get third-party appointments by signing up for the free version of the following lead-generation sites: 

There are two different types of leads with

  • Incomplete leads— gives you the address, and you can then follow up by door knocking or, as Byron and his team did, track the phone number down (using, give them a call, and start a conversation. 
  • Completed leads— has set an appointment, and it’s up to you to keep it; if you get the listing and close the sale, you then pay a referral fee. There are two different types of leads with

At the very bottom of the funnel, the best lead is Zillow. And because they know the value of the leads they provide, the post-closing referral cut is at the high end at 35%, and it’s likely to go up.

There’s a reason we don’t (entirely) begrudge Zillow its 35% slice of the pie. Roughly two out of three buyers using home search apps (63%) use Zillow. And in 2021, 25% of actual home buyers worked with a Zillow Premier Agent. 

Consumers trust the brand intuitively. They’ve been conditioned over a couple of decades, now, to trust and understand that Zillow is the Google. Zillow is the resource. So, when you get a Zillow lead, they are likely to transact whether they ghost you or not—whether we, as agents, have added the education and value prop enough when we got connected with them. They’re gonna likely transact within 60-90 days when they’re setting appointments on Zillow.

Byron Lazine

While abnormal seasonal consumption and hiring/layoff patterns could be overstating the strength of the overall economy, data releases suggest an easing in financial market conditions to kick off 2023. 

That referral cut is something you need to keep in mind when working with Zillow leads—or any leads from a source that charges a referral fee after closing. 

3 Indispensable tools for your whole funnel

While we mentioned CRMs and email marketing platforms in the middle of the funnel, these tools are essential for all three stages. 

You should be adding prospects to your CRM starting at the top of the funnel, when they’re 12-24 months out. Group these leads according to their status and set time windows for reaching out to them and updating their information.

In the BAMx Facebook group, Byron shared the timetable chart he and his team use to consistently nurture leads and keep them moving through the funnel. 

And while this doesn’t quite fall under the description of “online lead sources,” expired listings are a prime source of bottom-of-the-funnel leads. And one of the best tools we know of for finding these leads is the Vulcan7 data package, which sends them right to your CRM. 

From there, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call them. Sellers of expired listings were already on the market looking to sell. They already have intent to transact. 

If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with these leads, check out BAM’s breakdown of our epic cold calling event for expired listings, featuring Byron Lazine, Tom Toole, and Dan Oneil. 

The “spray and pray” approach will get you nowhere

As helpful as these online lead sources can be for your business, throwing money at all of them indiscriminately is not the way to get the most value from them. 

We don’t want to ‘spray and pray’ on online leads because that’s how we get to a place where we’re just spending money…That’s a recipe for losing money, especially in Q3 and Q4. I want to get really detailed on my data and find out where I should place my bets.

Byron Lazine

A clear-eyed, informed strategy will beat the desperate spending approach every time. 

If you’re struggling to fill your funnel or get prospects moving from top to middle or middle to bottom—and you’re not (yet) a BAMx member, sign up now to watch the full 90-minute livestream.