What it means to be a real estate agent in 2016 is very different from what it meant 20 years ago, or 10 years ago…or even 5 years ago. For better or for worse, technology has seen incredible advancements over the last 10-20 years, and it’s had an effect on how we all do business. Realistically, unless you’re an agent who has been in business for 20+ years and has a massive sphere of influence, you should be harnessing online leads as a medium to drive yearly sales. With that said, we aren’t all able to pump money into our business right from the start. What’s more is that some of us may find it difficult to excel with online generated leads. But with the online world being the first place people go when wanting to buy or sell their home, this leaves the agents who aren’t harnessing online lead gen at a disadvantage. So what can these agents do to keep up with the pack and reach their yearly sales quotas? Thankfully, there is still a wealth of approaches that an agent can take to source business. If you don’t have the startup funds to jump into online lead gen, here are a handful of methods that you should be implementing:
Pick up that phone
Cold calling is an old school method that works. It has been around for decades as we know it, and surely existed in some way, shape or form prior to the industrialization and commercialization of our modern society. Simply put, if you want business, ask for it. Pick up that phone and start dialing out. The more connections you make the better. As you can almost certainly imagine, most people won’t answer, and most of those who do answer won’t give you the time of day. That’s all part of the game. Keep pushing and dialing out, and you’ll connect with the leads that matter. Be polite, but persistent. This is something you can do from home, the office; anywhere with a phone.
Knock on some doors
Going hand in hand with cold calling is door knocking. This is another decades old method that many agents these days choose to ignore. It may not be the most fun way to source your business (or maybe it is depending on your personality), but getting out there and meeting people face to face is one of the best ways to spread word and source leads. Unlike advertisements that bombard our everyday life, people remember a face; especially if you left them with a good impression. Generally speaking, just like cold calling most people will not answer their doors, or will try to brush you off. But remember, it doesn’t matter what method you’re using to source your business: It’s all a numbers game. Sooner or later, you’ll connect with the person looking to sell, and that will make it all worthwhile. In real estate, the name of the game is quality, not quantity. One important aspect to remember when door knocking: give the lead a reason to open up to you. The lead already knows why you’re there: you want to sell their home. So when you connect with someone, make it about them; ask them when they bought their home, if they know how much homes are selling for in their area, offer to send them updates when their neighbors sell. Entice them with value, not a business card.
Network Network Network!
Business is all about networking. Again, advertisements are a dime a dozen. What sets your billboard sign apart from your competitors; a fancier logo? Maybe. But what really sets you apart is how you interact with the people you encounter in your day to day. Networking will spread word of mouth for your business a lot faster than anything else. People listen to people, and if you’ve impressed someone with any sort of influence, their influence will have a positive effect on your business. Networking will also open up more doors for you in terms of valuable marketing initiatives, partners and affiliates, and insights from other successful agents and business people. Moreover, consistent networking will yield more referrals; again, people listen to people.
Add Content to Your Website
So maybe you don’t have the money to pump into an online lead gen campaign, but I’m not saying to ignore technology all together. That’s a one way ticket to hell, and a sure fire way to failure. Your ultimate goal should be to do online lead gen. Believe it or not, it’s a lot less effort to follow up with online leads vs cold calling, door knocking etc. With an online lead, yes it’s a numbers game, but at least that lead has already shown intent to buy or sell, and you’re only goal is to get them to use you. With cold calling and door knocking, you’re searching for the intent before you can even try to convince the lead to use you. I hope this much is clear. With that said, you should still be harnessing technology prior to the point of actually taking on an online lead gen campaign. You should have a really nice website that showcases your accolades, but more importantly, is a one stop shop of information for buyers and sellers. But having the nice website is unfortunately only half the battle. The other half is getting that website to pop up on Google. If someone Google’d your name, it’s likely that your website will pop up (unless your name is Jane Smith). But what if someone typed in generic key words, like “homes for sale Toronto” for example? Getting your site to pop up then is much more difficult. Ultimately, SEO is the service that may accomplish this. But SEO can be just as expenses (or more) as an online lead gen campaign using Google PPC, and half as lucrative; it’s time consuming and volatile, and may never work. What you can try instead, is adding regular content to your website. Content plays a major role in SEO and being found on Google. You will not see drastic movement overnight by adding regular content, but you can certainly see some movement with time. Adding weekly blog posts, community write ups, testimonials etc, will all help. At very least, it will show anybody considering you as an option that you are a professional and knowledgeable agent; if you have regular blog posts, details about communities and more content that will help a lead to buy or sell, then that lead will see value in hiring you.
So there you have it folks! Leads don’t grow on trees, and businesses don’t build themselves. You absolutely must invest time, or money, or both into your business. If you don’t have the money to invest in your business, you have the time. Get to it!