Even the best salesperson fails when they have no one to hear their pitch. When most people start in real estate they begin with the easy-picks: friends and family. But, to make your business grow, you have to move outside of that circle. This is where many real estate agents fail – they are not sure how to keep gathering contacts.
Some sales programs will argue that it is not the quantity of leads, but the quality of them that counts. In many ways that is correct, but you need to have a large group of contacts before you can determine where on the ‘quality’ scale they land. Some agents pay for leads – which can be dubious if you cannot guarantee the source. But any agent can use a multitude of free and relatively cheap methods to grow your circle.
1. Attend Community Events. When was the last time you volunteered at a community fundraiser or event? You do not have to spend money to sponsor an event, just give some time as a volunteer. You will open your acquaintance circle and, as a natural part of introductions, can let people know you are a great agent who is always looking for referrals.
2. Use your Facebook. If you are just posting your listings on Facebook, you are doing it wrong. Your agent site is for your listings; use Facebook to get people to share what you post. Post pics of funny houses, interesting facts, some of those crazy quizzes – anything that will get your current friends to share your content with others. Facebook is where you can show who you are and let people see why they should work with you.
3. Be an expert on real estate sites. If you visit Trulia or other real estate sites, you will see the same agents answering all the questions. When the people who visit those sites are looking for an agent, guess who they are going to choose? It is not hard to get signed up and really broadens your market.
4. Google yourself. Many of the sites that pop up (look past the first 5 listings) are real estate information sites where you can post your basic contact information and a link to your website. As you will see, many of these sites have lists – usually from the real estate commission – of licensed agents, but most agent information is blank. As long as the site is not charging you, get your name out there and network.
5. Gather on your website. If you are not offering some sort of free property listing updates or market advice on your website, you are missing a lot of potential clients. Make sure you site has a ‘More Information’ feature which allows you to collect at least a name and one contact method (usually email). Make sure you quickly reply with the advice or listings you have promised.
6. Five foot rule. This is for all the social agents out there. Are you talking to anyone who is within 5 feet of you? Don’t carry a stack of business cards and force them upon strangers, but talk to those strangers around you. Simple conversation can often lead to introductions where you can slip in what you do. Then have that business card on hand.
If you are truly prospecting in a meaningful way, you will soon have a vast collection of potential leads. Make sure your prospecting time does not go to waste by having an organized lead collection. Many different commercial lead management software companies exist –some of them more geared towards real estate than others. However if you are looking for a free method, take 10 – 15 minutes to watch a YouTube video on Excel or Google Docs. The
advantage of using Google Docs is that you can access your list from a variety of internet devices, not just one laptop or computer. Using either method allows you the ability to easilyadd qualifiers for each lead then sort by qualifier, name, address, etc..
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About Tom Davidson — Tom Davidson is Vice President of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.