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Lead generation is a huge part of being a successful Realtor, but with the hot sellers’ market of the last few years, many real estate agents who recently joined the industry haven’t had to do much in the way of generating leads.
As the market shifts, real estate professionals need to reconnect to the fundamentals of their business, agents said during a panel at Inman Connect on Tuesday called “Lead Generation and Follow-Up Strategies,” moderated by Anthony Lamacchia.
Lead gen strategies that work
Jasmine Sunkara, of Big Block Realty in Sacramento, said she’s been maximizing her team’s open houses.
“We take one open house and maximize on that,” Sunkara said. “We’ve dialed our open houses very deep as far as doing an open house with fliers, marketing, mimosas and pastries and inviting as many people in as possible to help us generate leads.”
Her team also does a lot of networking and marketing through Facebook groups. They will post videos on Facebook, share them with their friends and within various Facebook groups and have those who see those videos share them again.
Willie Miranda, of Miranda Real Estate Group in Albany, said that some members of his team have needed a refresher on getting back to the basics after having phones ring off the hook over the last few years without much prompting.
So he’s been coaching agents on making phone calls, sending out personal notes, sending personal videos, going deeper on reaching out to clients and holding client events. In general, he said, the team is also trying to use more videos in their marketing.
“I’ve been in the business for 25 years, and this is nothing new,” Miranda added, of the marketing techniques to which they’re returning.
He said agents’ databases will be critical to them during this time of market transition.
“The best database is the one you use everyday,” Miranda said. “I don’t care if it’s an Excel sheet, it’s Top Producer, it’s Follow Up Boss … It’s gotta be organized in a way where it’s not just 3,000 or 4,000 leads going into a website.”
For Chelsea Hamre, of RE/MAX in Ottawa, Ontario, leveraging video has been her most effective lead-generation tool.
“It’s using one opportunity of video and leveraging it in many different ways,” Hamre said, “whether that’s taking one video and repurposing it on multiple channels — like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube — or creating an opportunity where you’re meeting a client for the first time and sending them a video before you meet them, after you meet them, [during] follow up … They feel as if they know you before they actually know you.”
In her videos, Hamre likes to discuss the nuts and bolts of what’s happening in the market, because homeowners want to stay informed.
“I’ll talk about what happened the night before, what’s going on in the market today,” Hamre said. “People genuinely like and want to know what we’re doing — our business is interesting.”
“It’s about creating that news without being the noise, which I think helps stand out,” she added. “While being real, you’re creating that trust and you’re delivering factual content from somebody who’s in the business — it’s not somebody in the news talking about what they think is happening.”
Miranda has encouraged his team to do the simple lead gen strategy of logging into Facebook, seeing which of their friends have birthdays that day and taking the time to post a quick, 10 to 15-second happy birthday video to their page.
“I really believe, sending out video, going deep into the database with that, is a 1 percent activity,” Miranda said. “And I think if you’re going to do it, [real estate] tech companies are going to take your business away or charge you a 3 or 4 percent referral fee.”
Sunkara also DMs her social media contacts happy birthday videos, and once the conversation starts, those contacts start seeing her posts, stories and listings increasingly show up in their feed.
Strategies that aren’t working now
The panel speakers said that sending out postcards to a huge farm area and door-knocking were not very fruitful strategies for them lately.
Instead, more than one said that sending out personalized letters to a targeted farm area has been very effective.
Miranda said his team uses the website letterprinting.net for generating letters to send to would-be sellers, notifying them that he has an interested buyer with a competitive offer.
“We have to get off-market properties and this is the way to do it, but you’ve got to be direct and it’s got to be personalized to them,” Miranda said.
Hamre said she takes a slightly different spin on the personalized letters, instead notifying neighbors of buyers she’s recently represented that they have new neighbors in their area. This lets them know, indirectly, that she’s a competent agent who is familiar with their neighborhood.
Sunkara clarified later, that when she has found success with postcards, she’s done so by sticking to one particular neighborhood and sending postcards there every month consistently. She includes her personalized QR code to allow homeowners to easily find her. Once homeowners scan the code, Sunkara writes them personal letters and includes a comparative market analysis (CMA). This method has gotten her about four listings in the last six months, she estimated.
In conclusion, Miranda suggested that agents reconnect with their clients from 2019 through 2021 who didn’t succeed in the market at that time, because the competition has become much less fierce.
“That’s going to be a huge pillar of business this year,” Miranda said. “Getting back in front of [those buyers] is going to be important.”