Saturday, July 6th, 2013
Whether you’re looking to sell your first piece of real estate or your 50th, getting new clients is always a daunting task. Sometimes it seems like everyone in your sphere of influence are happily housed and nobody’s looking to relocate, upgrade, or buy a second home. That’s when you need to reach outside of your comfort zone and start generating leads.
One of the most common ways to network is to find a local business networking group. You can look on sites like meetup.com or by searching your city/town name plus “business networking” or you can look on the calendar of your local newspaper. These groups generally meet for breakfast or lunch and each person has about a minute to introduce themselves to the group and what their business is. You don’t have to be too comfortable with public speaking, most newcomers are nervous and they’re used to that! Bring tons of business cards and be prepared to tell people you’re looking for real estate leads. Many times your first meeting is free (except for the cost of your meal). Try it out!
Mention your real estate business to everyone you talk to – this includes the cashier at the supermarket! Everyone that you run into each day is a potential lead. Don’t let opportunities to sell yourself pass you by. Practice a one-minute commercial that highlights your best business accomplishments and why someone would choose you as his real estate agent. Hand out your business card at every opportunity. Business cards sitting in a box do you no good – pass them out! If you have children, take them to the local park and chat with other parents, then hand them your business card and tell them you’d love to schedule a play date for your kids. If you’re a retiree, join a local 50+ group and give your business card out instead of just letting people put your phone number into their phones. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do and how good you are at it! Give a stack of your business cards to your hair stylist, your manicurist, your dog groomer, your children’s teachers, your mechanic, your favorite restaurant, your aerobics instructor, and your babysitter. You are your best advertisement!
Where are potential buyers looking first these days? Internet. You need a professional, up-to-date website that highlights your area of expertise. Your website sells you. Once potential clients buy into the idea that you’re the agent for the job, then you sell real estate. Check out the websites of top sellers in your area and you’ll see that their websites advertise them, not real estate.
Don’t be afraid to let family and friends know that you’re looking for more clients. People, especially women, love to feel like they’re helping. Offer them gift certificates to their favorite restaurants for each lead they bring you. Arm them with a stack of business cards and tell them they’re doing you a big favor. They’d be happy to help. If ten of your friends each pass on your business card twice, that’s twenty potential clients! You cannot pass up the opportunity to have an army of promoters!
A great way to meet many potential clients is to hold open houses at your current clients’ homes. People who are just on the cusp of making a real estate decision will meander into open houses “just to look.” Before you know it, you’re talking it up with them and they become your new clients! If you don’t have any current listings, you can offer to do open houses for other agents in your office. Many agents would happily take you up on your offer!
There are an incredible amount of houses listed on FSBO websites. Pick up the phone and chat with the owners! Let them know that you’ve already sold property in their neighborhood and you’re confident that you are able to get the best price for their home. You’ll find that, oftentimes, they are becoming frustrated with selling their own property and you may just be the agent who strikes them at the right time. You could also send a mailing out to FSBO homeowners; make sure the mailing highlights reasons why they should list with an agent, specifically YOU! Offer them a special incentive if they list with you within a month or an “easy out” if you don’t sell their property within a certain time frame. Remember, you’re offering them the opportunity to work with you because you will provide them with the best return on their investment.
Word of mouth is a powerful force! Keep in contact with your former clients so that you stay in their minds. Call them or email them just to say hi every few months. Keep notes on each client listing their children’s names and ages and random information that they’ve told you during your conversations with them, that way you’ll always have something to talk about when you call. Ask about how Johnny’s doing in Math class or how their mother recovered from her recent surgery. Become more of a friend that just a one hit wonder in their lives. And always, regardless of your religious preferences, send holiday cards! Make sure they’re handwritten and hand addressed – people notice! If you stay an active part of their lives, they will be more likely to strongly recommend you to their friends and family. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!