Not only is real estate prospecting a necessity to your real estate business, but with so many real estate marketing tools at your disposal, generating leads can be as easy as a few simple clicks.
Did you know that 20% of real estate agents sell 80% of all houses? If you’re feeling like you’re a part of the 80% of agents that only sell the other 20% of houses, it’s likely time for you to improve your real estate prospecting strategies.
Let’s take a look at 7 ways to generate more leads and close on more deals, based on what I’ve seen work for thousands of agents we’ve worked with and those I’ve coached on marketing and business growth.
Active VS Passive Real Estate Prospecting
There are generally two types of real estate prospecting: active and passive. Neither one is “better” than the other, and both are necessary to generate leads. The real estate prospecting tips in this article are categorized as either passive or active, but you’ll need to look through them all for your prospecting strategy.
Here is how each term is defined:
Active Prospecting: These activities require your ongoing time and effort in the moment. Examples: attending events, calling your database, door knocking, sending video emails.
Passive Prospecting: These activities take time to set up, but then it runs on autopilot and does the lead generating for you. Examples: Facebook advertising, website content, email newsletters.
Things to Remember When Prospecting
You get out what you put in
Much like anything else, what you get out of real estate prospecting depends on what you put in. If you give 50% effort to setting up a sub-par website, you’ll see a 50% return on investment (ROI). When you put in 110%, the leads you generate will show for it.
Focus on relationships
Real estate prospecting is often a long-term investment. Even if you meet someone who isn’t ready to purchase a house, invite them to coffee! The power of referrals are unmatched, and the more people you form relationships with in your community, the more referrals you will get. Go into real estate prospecting expecting to make relationships rather than just a sale.
Think of what YOU can do for THEM
Whether you are writing a blog post, going to a networking event, or simply posting on social media, always be thinking about what your audience (or potential client) wants. In every interaction, especially real estate interactions, your potential buyers want to know what you can do for them. Make your focus and selling point about providing as much client value as possible, and the numbers in sales will follow.
Passive Real Estate Prospecting Ideas
1. Have an Updated Website
Nowadays, there’s little excuse for not having a website. A real estate website is fairly simple to set up and relatively inexpensive, and it adds legitimacy, authority, and authenticity to your brand.
While having a basic website with your contact information is better than nothing, it’s best for your business and brand to have internet data exchange (IDX) integration. This means you can be advertising property online and displaying real estate listings right on your site.
Having property listings on your own website helps you retain more clients.
90% of millennial homebuyers use real estate agents to purchase their homes. 100% searched for their home online and 72% found their home online. Real estate agents with growing businesses know they have to provide an incredible home search on their own website.
If your buyers are using a large real estate portal like Zillow or Trulia, they’re getting called regularly by other agents trying to court them.
According to independent real estate marketing studies,
“Showcase IDX retains 8.5x more clients than IDX Broker and 4x more clients than the typical iHomeFinder website”.
Having your own website generates more higher quality leads
I’m a huge fan of pay-per-click (PPC) ads when used while building organic search traffic (SEO can take 6 – 12 months to start showing results) and strategically boosting your marketing results, but too many agents waste money on ads that they do not need to.
Leads from organic are known to convert 4x - 5x better than even the best PPC leads.
Having your website protects your business when you change brokerages
It’s not if you’ll change brokers but when. According to the 2019 NAR Member Profile Report, the average REALTOR changes firms every 4 years, and it’s been between every 4 and every 5 years for a while now.
Your personal brand, your website, and your contacts are your biggest asset. Make sure you own and invest in all three. A good website serves as the hub for all of your marketing.
Clients expect you to have your own website
More and more clients are expecting agents to provide modern search tools that they need to find a home online AND to protect their contact and budget information from being sold to dozens of other service professionals like some of the large portals.
If you already have a website, now might be the perfect time to revive and optimize your site.
2. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Social media is one of the top ways you should be generating real estate leads. You can either promote your posts to specific demographic variables and geographic locations or run advertisements.
Facebook and Instagram are both known as top platforms for building your brand. On Facebook, you can set up a business page and start running ads and promoted posts. On Instagram, you can post images of your listings as well as photos highlighting the region you work in.
Here are some other platforms your real estate business should be on:
Having social media accounts will help you reach a larger audience and will keep you present in the minds of potential clients. In a world where social media is increasingly dominant, it’s important to have a presence there.
Facebook Groups are an amazing way to stay connected with your current clients, while also being exposed to new potential clients daily. There are countless community Facebook groups for you to join such as neighborhood groups, Realtor associations, and local events. When you join and post in these groups, it gives you the opportunity to network with other agents as well as the local community (AKA your clientele).
You can even create a group for your real estate business to encourage community among your network. Not only will more people see your content, but if you tie everything back to your real estate website, traffic to your site will improve without you even doing a thing.
Hashtags are the greatest social media hack you can use. There are ways to use them on every platform, and they help your content reach a number of potential buyers that wouldn’t see it otherwise. Use a mixture of general real estate hashtags and local real estate hashtags to have the farthest reach.
Here’s an article that shows how to use hashtags for real estate (and even includes some hashtags for you to copy/paste).
Pro Tip: Make sure your social media content reaches your clients for the 80% – 90% of the time when they are not actively buying and selling. Want some free social media content and a course on how to easily set your social media on autopilot? Here are 300+ free pieces of social media content you can download now.
3. Engage in Content Marketing
Whether you’re posting articles, videos, or images, content is still king when it comes to marketing.
In order to use content for real estate marketing, remember that your content should be more educational than sale-oriented. By offering your audience information that is valuable to them, you’ll increase the trust and authority with which people view your brand. Using web analytics, you can track the results of your content to see what’s working for you and what isn’t.
The best way to make your content work for you is to make it evergreen. Evergreen content is anything that stays continually relevant and “fresh” to readers. When creating blog posts, pick out a few sentences or quotes that you know will be relevant for the long-term. Create social media graphics from them to post on Instagram and Facebook.
This way, you are constantly pushing out “fresh” content for your network, but because the post has already been written, it doesn’t call for much extra effort on your part. You can create 10-12 social media posts from one blog post that you’ve already written, which is a solid way for you to work smarter, not harder.
Pro Tip: Picking a real estate niche or a few niches to focus on makes this incredibly easy. Most of the agents I’ve coached are incredible sources of knowledge and helpful information.
As I write this, a friend for years and agent in Guntersville, AL just came by to give me some advice as we get a lakefront house ready for sale. The advice he gave could easily have been turned into 2 short blog posts for his site that could then be dripped out in email and social to past clients and the community.
Active Real Estate Prospecting Ideas
4. Network With Family Law Attorneys and Other Local Businesses
When a couple is getting divorced, often one of the biggest tasks to deal with is selling their home. If things go smoothly with helping them close a chapter in their lives, they may separately look to you when it’s time to purchase another home.
While you may worry that this tactic makes you a bit of a vulture, you’re actually helping a couple during a difficult time in their lives. I’ve also heard stories of reconciliation that were aided from the approach of a selfless agent.
The role of an agent is not to encourage separation but to provide assistance to clients in any situation. This can be one of those situations where a consultative approach can be of great value to your clients.
Pro Tip: This approach can also apply to networking with lawyers that focus on estates, probate, and wills. The loss of a family member can be difficult for so many different reasons. As an agent, you can provide incredible help. Sometimes this may mean helping in the sale of a house. It may also include providing information on the value of a property and the potential options when family members lose a parent and need to quickly understand options as new caregivers, which may lead to a transaction or referral in the future.
5. Track Down FSBO Listings
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings are typically not available on MLS listings. Rather, owners will place a sign in their yard and sometimes post it for sale on websites like Craigslist.
Take some time to look online for FSBO postings and reach out to these sellers. When you drive around your town, take note of any FSBO signs you see in yards and contact the homeowners.
You can share with them the benefits of selling through an agent. For example, in 2018, the typical FSBO home sold for $200,000, compared to agent-assisted home sales which sold for $280,000.
Pro Tip: Create a quick one-page PDF of marketing/sales tips that could help FSBOs (with your contact information on it) that you can send to them after you reach out. It’s a great way to show your value and stay top of mind. I’ve seen this lead to a large increase in new clients, some for the sale of the house after a few months and other times as a potential buyer.
6. Prioritize Netweaving
Whether you're building an online Realtor network or attending community events, networking is one of the most important parts of real estate prospecting. If you can generate consistent word-of-mouth recommendations, your business will prosper.
What is netweaving?
Netweaving is similar to networking but with a focus on protectively looking to add value and to help as many people as you can. This help or the insights you offer could include putting them in touch with someone you know or sharing insight that can help the other person.
Pro Tip: There are groups such as CEO Netweavers that specifically focus on this and you can learn more by reading from Bob Littell’s book Power Netweaving: 10 Secrets to Successful Relationship Marketing. Focus on the follow-up and the follow-through.
How do you go about netweaving?
Make time in your schedule specifically to attend neighborhood events, community gatherings, and professional networking events. Always carry business cards with you and don’t let anyone walk away without knowing you’re a real estate agent.
Of course, you don’t want to be pushy or overly sales-y, but meekness won’t get you very far, either. Find the sweet spot where you can confidently and unobtrusively market yourself in a palatable and agreeable way.
Don’t just go to group events to network, though. Once you have people in your lead funnel, reach out and ask if they want to grab a cup of coffee. People naturally prefer to do business with people they know and like. When you reach out, be sure to be flexible and willing to meet up at the time that works best for them.
Pro Tip: There are groups such as CEO Netweavers that specifically focus on this, and you can learn more by reading from Bob Littell’s book Power Netweaving: 10 Secrets to Successful Relationship Marketing. Focus on the follow-up and the follow-through.
7. Follow Up on Each and Every Lead
You never know which lead is going to turn into a client. Leaving leads on the table by not following up is an all too common mistake.
Successful real estate agents are absolutely relentless about lead follow up. Make sure you are storing all necessary contact information and keeping records of your interactions. By keeping meticulous notes about everything and anything you learn about a prospect, you'll set yourself apart from the crowd when you follow up.
Follow up afterward either by email, phone, or letter.
Pro Tip: Make sure to 1) identify action items from new contacts and your existing network 2) use your CRM or a tool like Trello to capture these action items in writing (a trusted system) and 3) set aside time every week to “follow-up” and “follow-through”.
Real Estate Prospecting Is Essential to Your Success as an Agent
Without a real estate prospecting strategy, you’re going to have a difficult time generating leads and finding new clients.
Remember, marketing yourself as a real estate agent can be relatively frontloaded work.
If, over many years, you become the go-to agent in your region, and all your past clients are recommending you to their friends and family, then you can get work solely on referrals. This isn’t going to happen overnight though, and it’s not going to happen without a lot of initial networking and prospecting work.
Pick one or two of the ideas above to focus on this month. Add another one to your weekly activities when you feel like you’ve mastered those and have integrated them into your business life.
Save this article for easy reference as you continue to improve your prospecting. Check out this article for more lead-generation tips and tricks.
Have questions or a tip I did not cover in this article? Leave a comment below and I’ll reply.Are you ready to take your marketing and prospecting to the next level? Take a look at our selection of the most advanced IDX property search tools.