What do you feed into you real estate sales funnel? Leads, of course. Where do you get them or how do you increase the number of leads you are generating? This is the question agents often ask and I will offer a few lead generation ideas and tools that will give you what you need.
- Spending time on the phone, a.k.a. cold calling: This point appears on top of the list for a reason. This will give you the skill and the confidence to talk to prospects and to convert them into clients. This will also give you the discipline to execute daily. Even if you do nothing else, this is enough to lift up and sustain your business.
- Door knocking: Door knocking is a great supplement or sometimes a good substitute to your “on the phone” prospecting activities. A lot of agents feel it is easier to connect with people face-to-face than on the phone. Yes, it is correct, rejection is generally more muted. If you have an accent, it is easier for people to understand you in person, if they have an accent, you can understand them better. It is just easier to connect. I find it less effective than phone prospecting, especially if you have the advantage of calling on multiple lines.
- Referrals: About 10% of your database will refer new leads to your, if you are consistent in staying in touch. This is one of the best sources of business. A person referring gives a part of the trust they feel towards you to whomever their refer. Unlike some other business sources, your new referred clients don’t see you as a commodity and you will likely have a much easier time building a trusting relationship with them.
- Social media: This is the area where many agents spend most of their time, hoping that the business will come from their friends on Facebook. Only a small percentage of your Facebook friend circle is a part of your “raving fan” group - sometimes they just happen to be there. Many of them don’t care to be the recipients of your sales activities. Unless you have been grooming your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube etc. followers to be the audience that cares about your business, and you have been providing them with high quality, consistent value, they will not be ready to trade their money for what you offer. Doing business on social media is is a sense similar to being a “cult leader”, if you are more left leaning, you can settle for a “thought leader”. These are the platforms, where people come to see what you have to say, like it, and come back time and time again for new interactions. You need to be consistent - releasing new content on at least a weekly basis. You also need to be engaging, passionate, truthful, educational, lighthearted and many other things to build a solid following. It is a long game. It is also a hard game. It is worth pursuing, if you understand the long term nature of organic social media marketing and have something valuable to say.
- Drip campaigns and lead followup: Most agents are not being consistent enough with their lead followup, which is a necessary component of a drip campaign. Leads you setup on your drip campaign will not be calling you to say that “I am now in my buying window, please come and list my property.” You are just building familiarity with your brand by providing them with valuable and engaging content. Next time you call a prospect on your drip campaign, the chances of them recognizing who you are and engaging in a meaningful and honest conversation are higher. Follow up is what seals the deal, a drip campaign, just keeps them “warm”. First, answer the questions of what a lead is. For example you definition may be: “anyone who is considering buying, selling or investing in real estate in the next 60 days and is within 3 miles from my office”. Once you have your own definition of a lead you will know how to set them up for a drip campaign and how often to follow up with them on the phone.
- Website prospecting: You cast your net wide, provide your leads with valuable content, include a call to action with your messages and if they end up on your website, it is ready to have them registered. Once you receive the registration information, you need to engage them on the phone, loosely determine what their buying window is and then possibly go to the previous point: drip campaigns and aggressive lead follow up.
- Social weekends: No, not social media weekends. Social weekends is physical involvement with your community. Meet people face to face attend community events, festivals and parties. Talk to people, get to know them and allow them to get to know you.
- Business to business marketing: There are other business owners in the area you are in. Meet with them as often as possible. Grant Cardone says that that the white space on your calendar is the devil. He is right: it does have the subliminal appeal of the unstructured time, but does not give you anything in return. It is a one sided deal. The whitespace wins and you loose. Meet with business people, expand the network of your preferred professionals and discuss business ideas with them.
- Follow up consistency: Be on top of every lead. Not much will happen without aggressive lead follow up. Phone prospecting, door knocking or getting leads from other sources is a dead end, unless you masterfully and consistency follow up with those leads and know how to convert them. Learning scripts, role playing and prospecting is key to developing the confidence that will help you stay consistent.
- Having a daily prospecting plan: Prepare your plan of attack the night before. Go over the lead sources you plan to reach out to in the morning. Know who you need to follow up with. Write the information down and do it.
- Real estate seminars: Who do you prefer to work with? First time home buyers? Retirees? Professionals? Growing families? Renters? Be clear about who you want to work with. Once you decide on your target group, make sure that you build expertise in that area. When you feel that you have become an expert, start organizing seminars or webinars to share what you know with your audience. Try to do this at least once a quarter or monthly if you can.
- Client appreciation parties: Say thank you to your true fans a couple of times a year. Invite them to events where they can eat, drink and socialize or simply where they can be entertained. They will love you for it, they will refer people they know and and they will look forward to your phone calls.
- Reach out to local employers who are hiring from out of province: Seems like a long shot? There are a lot of companies extending their talent search efforts beyond your state or province. Employees will be buying and selling and your job is to be in the middle of those transactions. See if you can make connections within HR departments of large employers within your area and enjoy this great source of business.
- Open houses: I am not a fan. Don’t see a lot of value in them for either clients or agents.
A couple of closing thoughts. You don’t have to be involved in every single lead generation activity I listed here. Pick and chose. They are not all equal though. Prospecting on the phone and door knocking are foundational. They will build your skill, your discipline and your business. With very few exceptions, a real estate salesperson will not go far, without mastering the skill of selling appointments (getting your prospects to meet with you in person) and without the discipline necessary to prospect for appointments consistently.