Real estate agents are always looking to get leads to help increase their business. As the industry is so competitive, it is important for them to be able to find leads anywhere they can. There are several different ways in which real estate agents can find leads.
Cold and Strategic Calling
According to professionals in the industry, cold calling is essential to a real estate agent’s success. It is recommended that this lead generation activity be engaged in daily. Agents are advised to start by placing calls to the owners of expired house listings as well as houses that are currently on the market per their owner. By going to these people, agents are more likely to get leads than they would be if they sat back and waited for these people to come to them.
Strategic calling is like cold calling, but only includes those clients a realtor has worked with in the past. Even if previous clients are not in the market to buy or sell a home they may know someone who is. This is similar to word of mouth marketing, something that many real estate agents turn to for new leads.Online Ads and Pay Per Click Ads
Placing an online ad locally is also an effective way to generate leads. There are sites that can help agents get their ad out to those in their area who need to buy or sell a home. Posting ads in the desired area codes helps agents get leads that they can quickly turn into profits. Pay per click on the search engines is called SEM. On Google, these show up as sponsored ads and are set up through Google Adwords.
Direct Mail Marketing
Agents that want to search for leads without using the Internet are urged to create a direct mail marketing campaign, which has a long history of success in many industries, including real estate. Doing careful research can help determine potential candidates who are open to receiving direct mail from realtors. This can be a time saver for busy agents.
Door To Door Marketing
The old tried and true method of going door to door is a technique that agents can still use to find leads. The key to making this marketing method successful is for agents to prepare and memorize a script. Though the interaction needs to sound natural it is also important to exude confidence and knowledge. For agents who would rather not speak face to face, door to door marketing can still work. Going from one door to the next and simply hanging an informational ad on each one also gets the word out and can get agents new leads. It also ensures that each homeowner will see the ad, as opposed to receiving one in the mail that they might throw away without even reading.
Neighborhood Open House Events to get Leads
Attracting neighbors to an open house is also an effective way to generate leads. It is hard for many people to resist the lure of getting a glimpse of a neighborhood house. When real estate agents come face to face with neighborhood residents they are more likely to get leads than they would by other methods. The face to face interaction is more powerful and effective than mailings, internet marketing or anything else.
Real Estate Websites
The truth is, real estate websites specifically don’t generate leads. It’s what the agent does with the real estate agent website that generates the leads. Ranking the search engines (SEO) is generally done through value centric content and IDX listings (these are the real estate listings appearing on your website through your MLS). Ranking for terms such as “(Your City) homes for sale under $400,000 can generate leads. Some agents will pay for ads or pay per click to generate leads through their real estate website.
Real Estate Agent to Agent Referrals
A growing trend with the boom of social media is agent to agent referrals. A popular real estate agent can generate enough agent to agent referrals through these groups to do a big business. The thing to remember though is that you are likely to be asked to pay a referral fee that could be in the ballpark of 25-30% of the sales commission. Many look at this as “extra money” they wouldn’t have had otherwise. That’s fine, but if it becomes a large part of your business, you will have to take into account the lower profitability one each transaction. And should you build a team, this gets split even more. Keep this in mind when business planning.
There are other ways to connect face to face with potential clients. One of out of the box idea is for a real estate agent to wait 30 days after a closing and throw a housewarming party for the buyer. By inviting all of the new homeowner’s neighbors, agents can network in an environment conducive to relaxing and socializing. Scoring new leads at a housewarming party provides the perfect opportunity for an agent to get to know those in the neighborhood.
Coffee Lunch Meetings at One Restaurant
Yet another way to meet face to face with potential clients and networking opportunities is to choose one particular restaurant to hold several consecutive coffee/lunch meetings. Scheduling them one after another provides a natural opportunity for additional networking when agents introduce their exiting coffee or lunch dates to their arriving ones.
Plan Happy Hours
For those not interested in coffee or lunch, a happy hour can also be a great way to find new real estate leads. Hosting a happy hour at a popular neighborhood bar allows an agent to invite all of their contacts in the business. Any financial planners an agent works with can also be included in happy hour. They can invite their own contacts in their industry and a natural networking opportunity is born. Bringing together those an agent has done business with to those who may be seeking their services can be a fun and easy form of lead generation.
Handwritten Referral Thank Yous
Thanking those clients who have referred someone else to an agent goes a long way in helping gain future leads. A handwritten thank you note leaves a lasting impression on its recipient and makes agents more popular and more likely to be recommended by current and past clients. Many real estate agents fail to realize that thank you notes are always a classy way to show appreciation to one’s clients. Making a lasting impression on clients is in invaluable tool for real estate agents. Gaining new leads is essential to a rewarding career.
Business to Business Networking to Get Leads
Engaging in business to business networking can be a profitable lead generation activity for a real estate agent. Many business networks allow for only one professional representing each industry. When creating relationships, especially through value, the agent designated for the real estate industry can rake in the leads.
Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and other Portals
The Internet is a key factor in the leads real estate agents get. According to a National Association of Realtors study, 92% of people who want to buy a house perform online research to find possible options. This is why realtors are flocking to Zillow, a website that can generate many leads, as more than 130 million people visit the site monthly. As far as web leads go, Zillow is often a huge help to agents. This is a hot topic in the real estate industry and many are angry that this is the case. Yet, anger be, real estate agents are buying leads from these big portals.
Facebook and other Social Media Channels
Virtually every realtor can get leads by having a Facebook page for their business. Suggestions for how to use a Facebook business page to get new leads is to post a pair of images and prompt those following the page to choose their favorite image of the two. This type of interaction can often result in new leads that may not be found otherwise.
A savy real estate agent understands the power of niche marketing and will create a Facebook group for a hobby, niche, or geographic location. Facebook Ads are growing daily among the real estate agent community.
You’ll find the more specialized your business and the more specialized the group, the better you can do, even if they are small.
Some of the Facebook Referral Groups you could join are:
Just about every popular city has a shopping mall offering kiosks, free standing “mini” shops that generally line the center of the mall. While most people aren’t going to the mall to buy a house, capturing a passer by’er might just gain you a new contact.
Not what it once was, floor time is still offered in some real estate brokerages. Essentially, the agent has a designated block of time in which he or she will get all of the incoming phone calls and walk in’s. New agents can benefit by catching the occassional call that comes in on a real estate listing or inquiry about selling a property.
Sphere of Influence (Friends and Family)
An agent’s sphere of influence or (SOI), also referred to as center of influence or book of businesss is generally made up of the friends, family and past clients. These are people the agent has gotten to know well. The sphere of influence, when added to a database and cultivated throughout the year, can be the largest source of business for an agent. Typically, these are high profit transactions as the cost of lead is much lower to cultivate leads from people you have met rather than cold leads that you have to earn trust with.
Marketing strategically and continuosly to a geographic area, a neighborhood specifically, is known as geographic farming. The agent works hard to brand themselves in the area as the neighborhood specialists. This is generally done through direct mail, sponsored events, and pop by visits. An agent wanting to have a good business generated from geographic farming needs to commit to a process that could take years. There is no instant gratification in geographic farming. You first buy in, and then you earn in. It takes time.
Many of the top agents these days are involved in radio. It’s not an easy channel to enter, as many already have the top spots “locked up”. It’s expensive and takes time to see a return. Most who invest though seem to be very happy with their steady flow of leads.