Real Estate Lead Generation: 5 Proven Keys to Success

Magnifying glass homesWhether you’re a new real estate agent or one with many years of experience, you shouldn’t stand idle just waiting for business. Though real estate is, first and foremost, about assisting home buyers and sellers with an enormously important transaction, agents are still business people. We should always be thinking of activities and strategies to generate more leads.

The most successful agents continually market themselves and their services to their existing clients, friends, families and sphere of influence. Those contacts are low-hanging fruit because you already have a relationship with them. A good agent constantly has a sales funnel full of potential business. Every time you close a deal, you should be shooting to fill the funnel with a new buyer or seller prospect. Here are 5 keys to success in generating new leads.

Give great service, be honest and do the right thing

The most successful real estate agents will tell you that their leads and sources of new business come from referrals from past clients. This is what every new agent strives for. It is the easiest and least expensive way of generating new business. How do you get the referrals? Do a good job. Provide the best service. Be honest, ethical and upfront no matter how difficult the situation. Always return phone calls promptly and deliver the bad news as soon as you hear it. If you’re not available, let your client know that you will get back to them ASAP. Nobody likes waiting around or wondering when you are going to respond, particularly in a stressful situation. Never avoid a client. Remember, the customer is always first. Keep yourself in check and always stay calm, no matter how stressful the situation. Do the right thing and give good service and the referrals will come.

Write a regular email newsletter

The more your clients and sphere of influence see your name, the more likely they will think of you when they hear that a friend, family member or colleague needs assistance. An email newsletter can be forwarded (to a potential client) very easily so consider what kind of content you want to include. It should be valuable, local and informative. Your clients want to hear about your town, their neighborhood and your expertise. Consider sending a newsletter every 4–6 weeks with at least four articles per newsletter. Put it on the calendar as a recurring item. Use a template each time for consistency. One article can showcase a new listing. One can be a personal story about a challenge you or your client recently overcame. Another can simply highlight recent statistics and another can be a feature about homeownership or household tips. As you search the Web or Facebook, save articles that you find informative and use them for the next newsletter. Never brag or send out information that the reader won’t find useful. As tempting as it may be, if the tone is off just once, your newsletter might not get opened next time.

Follow up on every email and phone call

When you have a listing, you get lots of emails and calls from potential buyers (and sellers). Someone who takes the time to reach out to an agent must be somewhat real estate aware. Consider them a potential client, whether in three weeks or three years. Besides answering specific questions about your listing, provide market data and ask probing questions about their situation or what they are looking for. Try to engage the potential client while conversing with them via email or on the phone. If you can provide value in three sentences or three minutes, they will appreciate it. Ask your client’s permission to follow up with sale information once the escrow closes, and ask if they want to be included in your regular market update newsletter. Most agents think that these leads aren’t really great leads if there isn’t an immediate sale. Think long-term. A simple email or quick call could result in a sale in 12 months.

Make the most of every open house

There isn’t a better place for qualified leads than a three-hour window on Sunday. Though there are definitely “looky loo” types from time to time, few people waste their precious weekend walking through open houses. Engage people who come in. But don’t attack them like a piranha. Know up front that people are hesitant to engage with an agent because they fear the piranha. Say hello to everyone who enters and don’t immediately push the home. Hand them the property flyer and let them know that you are there to answer questions. If you sense someone doesn’t want to engage, don’t push it. If it seems appropriate however, ask some open-ended questions and try to uncover, in a brief moment, who they are and what they are doing there. Have knowledge of nearby comps and be ready to talk market data. You have a brief moment (likely 15–30 seconds) to prove you are valuable and to build some trust. Never make someone sign in but always have a signup sheet nearby for them to provide their contact information. Follow up immediately after the open house, while real estate is front and center in their mind.

Get leads via social media

Let’s face it; everyone is on Facebook these days. It’s so easy to share content, like a post or a photo or to quickly comment. Like a regular email newsletter, sharing real estate listings or blog postings on a platform like Facebook can instantly get your message out to hundreds of friends, followers and future clients. Be very mindful of what you post and when you post it. If you post too much, your posts won’t be taken very seriously. The less is more or quality over quantity approach works best here. If you provide good, local and valuable content, people will appreciate it and they will share it. Don’t be afraid to ask for the referral. Provide your friends some sort of incentive for referring you business and be sure to thank people immediately for a referral. Finally, make sure to follow up on any comments right away.

A good real estate agent will always have three to four regular means to produce leads. Try different approaches and see what is best for you. Not great at open houses but you love to write?  Definitely do a newsletter. Are you more of a people person than a blogging or social media type?  Work closely at follow up and customer service. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to getting leads in real estate. Do what you are comfortable with but know that the ultimate goal is for regular referrals from friends, family, co-workers and, most importantly, past clients.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.