Real estate agent with open house signs

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Generating leads and finding new listings in the current low-inventory housing market can be a challenge for even the most motivated real estate professionals. At the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego, experienced pros shared their top tips for finding listings and leads in any market.

For Marki Lemons-Ryhal, a Chicago-based practitioner who is also a speaker, trainer, and author, lead generation is almost exclusively social, both online and offline. She said that through strategic use of social media, online forms, and downloadable information, she’s able to add 4,800 contacts to her CRM database every year.

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Lemons spoke Saturday in the session “Social Selling Made Simple: Habits to Change Your Life.”

The advantage of social media, said Lemons-Ryhal, whose preferred platform is Facebook, is that she can truly understand her target audience. “Social media collects all that data for you. I know my audience is predominantly female and 45 to 54 years old.”

She also generates leads by using online forms and landing pages. For instance, rather than a paper sign-in sheet, she uses a Google form for open house registrations. Visitors scan a QR code on the front door, which takes them to a form where they add their name and email and then automatically receive the property disclosures. Besides lead generation, the form also aids her safety by requiring information before strangers enter the home.

Lemons-Ryhal relies on other online data, too. With so many people moving these days, she studies migration trends using Redfin’s migration report and develops contacts in destination cities to earn passive referral income.

Bernice Ross, CEO of real estate training and coaching companies BrokerageUP Inc. and, also advises her clients to make use of the wealth of data available online when they are looking to land new listings. Ross offered some of her top resources Saturday during the session “How to Create Listings Where There Are None.”

Like Lemons-Ryhal, Ross advises knowing your target audience. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, people between the ages of 22 and 30 who have owned their home for two to three years are among those most likely to be ready to sell, Ross said. Generating a list of homeowners in that demographic through REiSource and then running a targeted Facebook ad campaign can be a great way to create listings, Ross said. Another data source she uses for prospecting is ATTOM Data Solutions. “People think boomers control all the inventory,” she said. “But younger people experiencing life events can be a great source of listings.”

Other demographics Ross recommended are veterans, single females, and multigenerational households, all of whom are likely to be in the market to buy. “Anywhere you have buyers, you probably have someone who also needs to sell a property,” she said.

Innovative use of social media can also help agents generate listings. One tactic Ross endorsed was asking former clients to film a video testimonial of the area where they purchased a home. The agent can then give a copy of the video to the client, who likely will post the video to their own social media channels. “This will put you in front of a whole new group of potential leads,” said Ross. “And while many agents feel funny asking for a personal testimonial, no one minds asking for a testimonial for a town.” And there’s an added SEO bonus: “Google interprets these testimonials for the area as testimonials for you.”

Despite all the data that’s available, Ross said her number one tip for agents prospecting for listings is to meet potential clients in person. NAR research shows that 73% of buyers and 82% of sellers hired the first agent they met face to face. “You have to be that person,” said Ross. “You have to get in front of the sellers.”

Ross recommended that agents reach out to potential clients for meetings to offer assistance rather than give a sales pitch. For buyers, she advised offering to help with a credit check or investigating if they qualify for down payment assistance through a site like DownPayment Resource. For sellers, she suggested reviewing steps that will help them prepare their property for sale or offering examples of before-and-after staging through Such meetings, Ross said, can often pay dividends down the road. “If I have one piece of advice, it’s this: Make more face-to-face appointments. They’re critical to listing success,” Ross said.