How to Find, Nurture, and Close More Leads in Real Estate

Being a real estate agent can be tough since the competition’s always growing. If you’re not on the top of your game, you can get left behind. New agents often want to go out there and market themselves yet they just don’t know where to start. In that case, here’s a quick guide on finding new leads in real estate.

How To Find Real Estate Leads

Most real estate leads come from real-world networking and online sources. Some tried and tested methods that result in valuable leads are:

· Contacting those who previously listed their homes

· Regularly touching base with former clients

· Hosting open houses

· Following up on “For Sale” sign inquiries

· Following up on client referrals

· Advertising yourself and your business

Moreover, social networking sites can be a goldmine for new leads, when done correctly (see below).

Online

Prospective clients have enormous amounts of information at the tip of their fingers thanks to websites such as Zillow and Trulia. What sets you apart? How do you generate leads in a crowded online market? Create value for your prospects and demonstrate your knowledge.

Post market updates on your social media platforms (like Facebook), offer valuable tips for your prospects such as how they can increase their home’s value using low-cost improvements, and share success stories of past current clients (with their permission, of course). These kinds of efforts will position you as an authority and make it easier for them to reach out when they do want to buy or sell.

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Classified ads are a traditional method of real estate marketing and can still be an effective tool to reach prospective clients, especially if you’re targeting an older audience. Some successful agents recommend devoting an hour a day to lead generation, which includes knocking on doors, distributing “For Sale” or “Just Sold” flyers in the neighborhood, and calling potential clients.

Networking

Successful real estate agents know how to market themselves without being pushy or obnoxious. At parties and social gatherings, always work to build rapport and offer value first. If you feel like you made a solid connection and might be able to help them in their real estate search, let them know you’re an agent and that you’d be happy to assist them in taking the next steps.

Specialize

Generating leads in real estate is easier when you specialize in one particular area. Get familiar with the school districts, upcoming neighborhoods and developments, and even popular hang-outs. You can send postcards or flyers with local attractions as part of your marketing strategy and as a way of keeping in touch with your clients.

How to Nurture Leads

Real estate agents work very hard to generate new leads, yet they often fail to convert them into clients. Most leads never convert due to a lack of follow-up and lead nurturing. Here are a few tips to nurture your real estate leads and convert them into loyal and lifelong clients.

· Add each new lead to your real estate CRM: You need a real estate CRM (customer relationship management) platform to organize and manage your business, stay in touch with clients, and nurture leads. Assign each new lead to a marketing campaign, such as email auto-responder sequence that contains buying or selling tips. This helps to educate them on your services and ensures that you’ll be the fresh on their mind when they’re suddenly ready to make a move.

· Contact immediately: Respond to each lead as soon as possible since response time is critical in the early stages of the relationship. Being the first person to respond to a lead gives you the upper hand when it comes to converting a hot lead into a buyer or seller. When a person’s in the heat of the moment and you don’t call them back, they’ll just move on to the next agent they find.

· The most effective way to nurture a lead is to become their trusted advisor by providing them with relevant information throughout the home-buying process, without being pushy. Remember that not all leads will be ready to buy or sell right away. If you stay in contact with them and provide valuable information, they’ll choose you when they’re ready.

· Be open to alternate forms of communication. Most agents want to get every lead on the phone. This is a huge mistake. Some prospects prefer to communicate in written form, such as by email, or even text (with the younger generation). Simply ask them, “Would you prefer to continue communication by email or phone?”

Turning Leads Into Clients

In a perfect world, every lead would be interested and engaged with you and your services. Yet it doesn’t work that way in the real world. People are busy and often get side-tracked and will forget to follow-up with you.

Make sure to continually follow-up with them in a professional manner and ask them open-ended questions. Here’s a breakdown of the communication from start to finish.

· The first contact is precious: During the first contact, you have to chance to find out what what’s really driving them. Do they want to sell their home so they can distribute the earnings to their family? Do they want to buy a new home so they have enough space for a new baby that’s on the way?

· Once you find out their real reason for making a decision to buy or sell, you can use it as a touch-point to build rapport. “How’s it going with your brother and sister? Are they still pushing you to sell?” As the client explains their reason behind the move, you can be their confidant and advisor.

· Demonstrate your expertise: Send them a list of references without being asked, and show them your case studies. Reassure them that you’re watching the market constantly and continually touch base with them on their desired end result (such as distributing the assets to the family or getting a bigger house for the baby).

· Talk about your success: Share stories of past deals during casual conversation to reinforce their confidence along the way. Many prospects get nervous when they’re about to make a big decision. It’s your job to keep their interests in mind and keep them grounded.

· Make them a priority: When clients reach out for help, talk with them right away. Sit down with them and address their needs and concerns. Go through the entire buying process and layout a clear and concise plan for them. Often times the prospect is just getting nervous and needs your reassurance.

· Keep them on track: Help them to continually take the next step in buying or selling. When that final counter-offer comes in and you know it’s their best chance, strongly encourage them to take the deal. Likewise, if a bad deal comes in, advise them against it.

Their most important need is for you to be there when they’re ready, answer their questions, and provide resources and solutions. When they come out on the other side with a new home and a successful transaction, celebrate! Ask them for a quick note so you can save their experience as a case study and add it to your portfolio. Then add them to your follow-up system and keep in touch every few months to see how they’re doing.

How Real Estate Professionals Help You SELL Your Home

Most people realize, when they decide to sell their home, they can either attempt to do – it – themselves (known as a FSBO), or hire a real estate professional, to help get it done. When one decides to not take advantage of a real estate agent, and thus uses the For Sale By Owner approach, he must familiarize himself with the advertising necessities, be on – call to show the house, know what to say, understand the legal requirements, paperwork, etc. Surveys indicate that the single – biggest reason, these people say they use this approach, is to avoid paying a commission, yet studies done for NAR (National Association of Realtors) consistently indicate that FSBO’s usually get a lower selling price, so even after a commission, it would still pay to use an agent. In addition, few of these individuals realize the amount of time, details, efforts, etc, involved, which might explain why about 90% of these people eventually turn the job over to a real estate professional. So, let’s, from a mnemonic perspective, examine how real estate professionals help you SELL your home.

1. Specific system; strategy; search: A qualified, quality, real estate professional uses a specific system, to market your home, to its best advantage. This begins with explaining pricing, staging, clutter, curb appeal, etc, and getting you to understand, and agree to a mutual strategy, which will best serve your interests! In addition, agents have access to many areas to search for buyers, come into contact with other agents, and generally, get more potential buyers, to take a look.

2. Experience; expertise: Just as you have a job or profession, where you have the experience and knowledge, an agent’s job is marketing and selling homes. Let the real estate professional’s expertise work to your advantage, and listen to his or her suggestions, ideas, etc. When agent and homeowner work as a team, you get the best results!

3. Listen: The right real estate agent, for your purposes, will listen attentively to you, to learn your thoughts, concerns, ideas, misconceptions, suggestions, priorities and goals. We usually say, we try to help a homeowner, get the best available price, in the shortest period of time, with a minimum of hassle, but which of these is most important to you.

4, Learn; leading; listing: Listening will help the agent learn about you, and tailor – make a strategy, specifically for you! Agents must urge homeowners to make the best decisions, for the homeowners’ best interest, sometimes despite themselves. This begins with getting the best listing price, from the onset, so the house is best – positioned to sell!

Obviously, as a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, I have a personal bias, and strongly believe homeowners benefit, when they select the right real estate professional. Isn’t the purpose of deciding to put one’s home the market, to SELL it?

How Reliable Real Estate Professionals Earn TRUST

In most areas of the country, there is certainly no shortage of licensed real estate agents. Obviously, some are far more successful than others, but this discussion is nor about finding a real estate professional, who merely earns the most commissions, but rather the importance of earning TRUST, as it relates to one’s dealings, attitudes, serve, etc. Before hiring the best agent to serve you and your needs, be certain to interview several, and focus on relevant issues, such as why you should select him/ her, what she does differently/ better, the marketing plan, etc. But, perhaps the single – most overlooked characteristic, is how he will earn your TRUST.

1. Timely; true: Will you be tempted to list with the agent who suggests the highest listing price? If so, do you understand listing and selling price, are often not the same? In fact, have you reviewed how timeliness, and the time – span, of a listed property, often impacts the final selling price, the most. Many studies indicate that a high percentage of houses receive their best, highest offer, in the first three or four weeks, after they are listed, for sale. In light of that, wouldn’t it probably make the most sense, to offer the house, priced – ro – sell, from the very beginning? Most homeowners state their goals as: getting the highest possible price, in the shortest period of time, with the least amount of hassle/ aggravation. Therefore, homeowners should ask to receive the true picture of the probable selling price of their house, and the reasoning. Is a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis, the basis of the suggestion? Take a step back, and ask yourself,”What would I pay for this house, if I was thinking of buying it?”

2. Reliable; relevant: Are the homes being compared to, truly comparable? Is the information/ data used, reliable and relevant? Is it based on recent sales, or older ones? These comparisons should be based on houses sold very recently, depending on market conditions, as little as three months and less, or in some cases, within 6 to 9 months.

3. Useful; urge: Your real estate professional should be the expert, you are not! Therefore, how useful is her input, including, pricing, staging, curb appeal, etc? How effectively does he urge you to do what needs to be done, rather than merely agreeing with you? You are hopefully hiring a professional, whose function should be to provide necessary, relevant, professional advice!

4. Streamlines; satisfies: Will the agent streamline the process for you, in order to take a large amount of the hassle out of the situation? Is the focus on client satisfaction?

5. Take time: Does your real estate professional take the time, to fully explain your options, and all relevant matters, to your satisfaction, and to assure you understand as fully as possible? Will he make himself available to you, throughout the process, from the listing, showing, marketing and selling stages, through to the closing stage?

The reliable real estate professional often makes all the difference in the world! He should be constantly working to maintain, and earn your TRUST.