Generating leads is one of the most important skills an agent can master, and it’s often one of the most difficult, especially for newer agents. Some find it difficult to create the relationships needed to generate leads, while others find the task too expensive, because they think they have to purchase lists or spend a ton of money on marketing.
And some agents think lead generation should be quicker and easier than it is.
“Lead generation is not always about getting a ready, willing and able buyer and seller. Lead generation is about building your network,” says Ronnie Glomb, CEO of Your Town Realty in Morristown, N.J. “The toughest part is always keeping your eyes open for an opportunity,” noting that essentially, real estate agents are matchmakers who have to stay vigilant and aware in order to make connections.
Generating leads doesn’t have to be expensive, he adds. He believes it’s about giving value that other real estate professionals aren’t providing, being creative to attract inquisitive potential clients and staying authentic to one’s unique personality.
If your agents have expressed issues with lead generation and don’t want to spend a ton of money, there are still some great ways they can find clients.
Reach Out to Human Resources Departments
“This is one of the really inexpensive ways of getting leads,” Glomb, EPRO, SFR, C2EX, says. You meet with the HR people and bring along your marketing package to show what you can offer new hires or those relocating to that area.
Some companies, especially hospitals, says Glomb, bring in talent from other areas, but don’t necessarily use a relocation company to help that talent settle in. Forming a relationship with the HR department and offering services could lead agents to a lasting relationship as the go-to person for the company or organization to field incoming employees to when they need help securing housing.
Find a Cause, Get Involved
JJ Devore, a former New Yorker who was in the city during 9/11, witnessed the incredible sacrifice and dedication of the first responders who showed up after the terrorist attack. She wanted to give back to those who give their all during a crisis, so in 2016 she joined Homes for Heroes as a real estate affiliate. The organization helps first-responders, military personnel, veterans and teachers achieve the dream of homeownership by offering a nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage and local business specialists to help navigate the home buying process. To become an affiliate, the service professional pays a monthly fee of $189 or an annual fee of $1,500. Devore, AHWD, EPRO, designated managing broker-owner of Green Acres Real Estate, which operates out of four offices in Illinois, was then added to a database and when Homes for Heroes clients in her area need assistance, they're referred to her. Representing the Homes for Heroes client as their real estate agent is not guaranteed by becoming an affiliate, but Devore says she didn't get involved with the organization to gain leads. Whether she represented them or not, she wanted to help first-responders find their path to homeownership.
Still, the veterans she's counseled through Homes for Heroes often refer her to their friends and family, and she does end up with referral clients that way. Devore chooses to pay it forward on any lead that turns into a sale. “Whenever I help a hero buy a house, I donate 30% of my commission check. Twenty-five percent goes back to the hero after closing, in a reward check, and 5% goes to the Hero Foundation,” says Devore,
Even if you don’t volunteer with an organization that offers a built-in affiliate program, being a part of your community in a service-oriented way can help you meet people, learn about what your community needs and help you make connections.
Network, Network, Network
“Networking will always be important,” says Kama Burton, AHWD, C2EX, broker-owner of CMB Realty Services in Moreno, Calif. “Whether it’s social media or face to face, building relationships will never be replaced.” You never know where the relationships you build will bring you.
In many cases, it’s as easy as an active social media presence, says Burton. Stay active on social media by posting pictures, commenting on others’ posts, and staying current with new social media outlets.
Try a Giveaway
Glomb still uses this lead generation tactic by giving away free vacations. Anyone attending one of his company’s open houses and providing their information on the sign-in sheet is entered into a contest that can get them a free two-night, three-day hotel stay, choosing a location from a list of options he provides. He says that, at around $100 per contest, the cost for him is relatively minimal and allows him to build up a roster of people.
He’s able to provide this kind of contest by working with a company that offloads excess hotel and timeshare reservations. “People will come to the open houses just to sign up,” noting that everyone who signs up can be treated as a potential lead.
Use Scripts for Everything
In his early years, if Jeff Glover didn’t have an appointment scheduled each day, he would put on a suit and knock on doors of For Sale By Owner properties or contact those whose contracts had expired with other real estate professionals. His broker taught him to write scripts every day, chant them, and role play until he had them down. “Just sound like you have been doing this a long time, and no one will question your experience,” his broker advised.
At 19 years old, Glover sold 30 properties that way. Today, Glover leads the Glover Agency, a seven-office brokerage in Michigan affiliated with Keller Williams. He also runs a coaching company called Glover U. Scripts got him to where he is today, and he makes those available to other agents through a free download called Jeff’s Prospecting Scripts, which includes scripts for FSBO sellers, expired listings, seller and buyer objections, pricing presentations and more.
Get That Camera (Phone) Out
Video is one of the top-performing media types out there, and every real estate professional can benefit from creating video content to share with prospects and social media followers.
“Video creation is important,” Burton says. “Don’t feel like it always has to be perfect or real estate–related. Find a hobby or a subject you love to talk about, and people will draw to you.” It’s free. If you have a phone and camera, you are set. Later, you might want to look into upgrading to buying some ads to gain a bigger audience, she suggests. “If done right, it will sustain your business and keep you current.” Glover agrees, and believes every real estate agent should have a YouTube channel.
Use longer videos on YouTube and repurpose that same video content for social media, Glover adds. “You can chop up a [longer] video and turn it into three- or four-minute-long videos for Instagram or TikTok.”
Focus on How You Can Help
“Karma is very real if your heart is in the right place,” says Devore. “REALTORS® can never be replaced by technology with their human compassion for others.” She focuses on meeting her clients where they are in the process, and helping them in whatever way they need to secure a home.
“You take their hand and tell them, ‘We will get you there.’” Whether that’s saving a little more for a down payment or working on their credit so they can become mortgage-ready, Devore guides them through the process and ensures her clients have what they need to be successful homeowners. This personalized, service-oriented approach often leads to referrals.
Offer HUD Seminars
Glomb has been certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and offers free seminars to teach people how to buy a HUD home for as little as $100 down. He says he packs the house every time. “Everybody that walks into the door is a buyer. That person that comes in might need some credit repair or guidance on saving a little more for closing costs. You get those people ready, willing and able to buy with some education.” He has the seminars in library meeting rooms, which are free to use, keeping costs low.
When it comes to generating leads, many options are available. It’s important, though, not to get too bogged down trying several new approaches at once. Glover says that many real estate professionals get overwhelmed that way. “You need to double down and go all-in on one or two sources instead of spreading yourself too thin,” he adds.