Generating Leads in Real Estate: 12 strategies to ensure you can get through any market lull
As any real estate agent knows, finding quality leads and generating new business is important for maintaining a healthy pipeline of leads to get through market lulls as well as to keep progressing.
But, if you don’t already have a large referral base or if you are new to an area, generating new leads can feel like a daunting task.
While tried and true strategies of open houses and cold-calling or print advertising are an option, agents with a lot of success are able to generate referrals by working more within the community and expanding their advertising beyond the traditional means.
Here are a few strategies for thinking outside the mass mailer and ahead of the curve.
1. Build partnerships
Sales is all about relationships, so of course number one is going to be about building these relationships into strong partnerships with key community leaders and local businesses. You’ll often find that they are also looking for opportunities to expand their network so will see these opportunities as mutually beneficial. Ideas of how you can collaborate include (but are not limited to); co-host happy hours, send gifts to clients or leads, and form local alliances that will help you go far. Here are a few industries with which it can be helpful for real estate agents to form partnerships:
- Insurance companies – Homeowners insurance is a must, but some home buyers are also looking to turn their new property into rentals, flip homes, or businesses. Having the right insurance is key.
- Personal bankers/Mortgage Brokers – A home is the largest financial investment many of us will ever make. Having someone trusted to run numbers by can be a huge help for buyers.
- Commercial lenders – Loan officers are an integral part of the home buying process, but most buyers don’t have one in their back pocket.
- Bakeries – Whether you’re sending pies to former clients to keep your real estate firm top of mind or ordering treats to make your open house extra sweet, connecting with a bakery is never a bad idea for a real estate agent – or anyone, for that matter.
- Landscapers – Landscaping is often the first impression potential buyers have of a home. Encourage your sellers to have their homes professionally landscaped to set them apart from the crowd.
- Cleaning services – No buyer wants to enter a home that looks a little grimy around the edges. Partner with cleaning services to offer discounted house cleanings to your clients.
- Staging experts – Very few of us have TV-worthy show homes, but an aspirational home is a home that sells. Build partnerships with local stagers to get your clients’ houses under contract faster.
2. Keep up communication with past clients
When’s the last time you made contact with past clients? If you don’t already have a spreadsheet or tracking system in place to remind you about birthdays, holidays and regular checkpoints, create one today and be strategic about staying in their lives. Here are some ways you can stay in touch:
Pick up a pen, paper, and an actual stamp, and send a note thanking them for choosing you as their realtor, and remind them you’re available to answer questions, suggest a reliable moving company, or send important documents for tax season.
A handwritten note goes a long way to express your appreciation. And it keeps you from becoming yet another unread subject line in your clients’ inbox. Feeling confident? Pick up the phone a few days later and ask for a referral.
Additionally send out a weekly or monthly newsletter to your email base updating them on your business. Send Christmas or other holiday cards to update your former clients on your family. Send a “Happy Anniversary” gift at the one year anniversary of when they bought or sold their home.
Invest in paid advertising.
Here are a few effective ways to market yourself as a real estate agent:
- Post billboards.
- Run Facebook ads.
- Run LinkedIn ads.
- Canvas neighbourhood mailboxes with your card.
- Run Google ads.
- Advertise in the local newspaper.
- Blog for local or national real estate websites.
4. Build your own website
Your brokerage will likely give you a page on their website, but it’s important to create your own web presence. This allows you to build a personal brand, showcase your specialties, and share reviews from satisfied clients. It also ensures you have a cohesive presence in the local market — even if you switch brokerages.
Don’t forget to optimise your site. Write blog posts tackling common questions or challenges clients confront during the buying process. Create and share helpful how-to videos. And capture email addresses by having a newsletter signup.
5. Develop a niche
Specialise in a certain neighbourhood, historic homes, or helping clients find their perfect apartment? Lean into it! Find your niche and become an expert. This allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a specific group and develop a reputation as the go-to realtor for these buyers and sellers.
Here are a few common real estate niches:
- Historic homes
- Mid-century modern homes
- Luxury homes
- Student rentals
- School district
- City or town
- First-time home-buyers
- Distressed properties
- Senior homes
- Holiday homes
- Commercial real estate
- Industrial real estate
- For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties
You don’t have to be an expert immediately. Decide which niche interests you and immerse yourself in it. If you want to develop a niche in helping seniors find their perfect retirement homes, learn what their needs are, research local senior centres, senior-friendly neighbourhoods, and work with financial planners who understand the unique home-buying requirements of the seniors in your area.
6. Generate leads on LinkedIn
Join LinkedIn groups you know your target audience frequents. Maybe it’s a group for local real estate investors or one for first-time homebuyers. Find the groups your buyers are spending time in and contribute to the conversation before making a professional pitch.
If you’re posting in a real-estate investment group, consider sharing a blog article about up-and-coming neighbourhoods in your city. If someone in your first-time home-buyers group asks a question about interest rates, provide a knowledgeable answer in the comments.
Once you’ve built rapport, follow up with interested prospects, and offer to discuss their questions further on a call.
7. Organise educational events
Host educational events in your community. By teaching local consumers about buying their first home, what the market’s like now, or what to look for in a rental property, you’ll build your personal brand and drum up new business at the same time.
Not sure how to get started? Partner with local businesses to host home buying seminars over lunch. Or co-host an event with a mortgage lender to broaden your audience base and increase lead potential.
8. Don’t neglect leads
Did you show a prospect three properties before she realised she wasn’t ready to buy? Don’t throw her number away. Send her postcards sharing developments in the market, keep her on your email list, and leave the occasional voicemail reminder you’d love to help her find that perfect home when she’s ready.
9. Throw a housewarming party
Did a well-connected client just move into their new home? Offer to cater their housewarming party – and make sure to stop by to mingle. It’s the perfect place to meet prospects in similar life stages who are awestruck by the home you’ve helped their friends buy.
Did they invite the new neighbours? Now’s the time to ask if they’ve considered selling. Neighbourhood sales usually generate fresh homeowner interest, and a housewarming party can turn cold leads to hot.
To make this more attractive to your new homeowner, offer to cater an open bar, pay for the appetisers, or deck the place out with gorgeous flowers.
Become a restaurant regular
Meeting clients at a restaurant or local coffee shop to discuss terms? Always schedule these meetings at the same restaurant.
You’ll build clout with the wait staff, gain access to the best tables, and appear popular and plugged into your community. You might even get to know the other regulars — making you the perfect person for them to contact when they’re ready to buy.
11. Target “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) listings
Very few FSBO listings sell within the desired time, and of these, a small percentage report receiving the right price. Find these listings on other real estate sites and offer to help them get the most from their property listing.
Share a blog post, or a few bulleted stats, about why working with an agent is beneficial to the seller and ask if they’d be interested in learning more.
12. Reach out to expired listings
Pull lists of expired listings. Be sensitive to the fact these sellers are likely frustrated with their current realtor, discouraged they haven’t sold their home, and under a lot of stress.
Open the conversation by explaining you understand their frustrations and share a few ways you’d do things differently to sell their home fast.Leads are the lifeblood of the real-estate industry. Give these tactics a try and see how they benefit your business.
Finally, once you have a client who is happy with your services, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!
You never know when one happy client will lead to more. Looking for more ways to market your real estate business? Check out these stellar real estate videos and reach out to your local Open2view rep.
Search Engine Marketing is a no-brainer. As the volume of search queries fielded by Google grows, the more chances you have to drive traffic to your website through the paid and organic results. It can end up feeling overwhelming and be costly if you don’t know what you are doing. So it is always recommended that you get an expert in to help you out with both getting your website optimised for SEO – and provide you insight on how to manage and maintain it yourself, ongoing – as well as get your key search and display campaigns set up.
Social media platforms are always looking to improve their value offering and engagement of users with features being introduced all the time. It can be overwhelming to continuously have to navigate these changes and know how best to leverage them for your business. So in order to try and strip back some of the overwhelm, whenever you are looking to post any type of content on any platform, just take 5 seconds before hitting post to ask yourself, does this piece of content educate, inspire or engage. If the answer is no, then step back from it and reconsider how you could turn it into one of those three things. However, if it does have one of those characteristics, then go for it.
Update: Released August 2019, Hootsuite’s ‘The Global State of Digital in 2019 Report’ provides some very interesting digital stats both globally and by country.