One thing seasoned pros and newbies in our industry have in common is that they are always on the lookout for fresh prospects. Having a lead generation plan is crucial to thrive in real estate.
A portion of your leads will likely come from your sphere of influence. By staying in touch with past clients and keeping the rapport going, they will hopefully refer you to others who are looking for a real estate agent. When done right, continually working your sphere of influence will lead to a steady string of leads in the years to come.
Patricia Clarke, a real estate broker at Right at Home Realty in Ottawa, finds leads by focusing on a niche. “I don’t like to use lead generation systems as most of them are not qualified buyers or sellers. I also believe that the traditional cold calling and email marketing are not efficient or effective nowadays as people often perceive them as intrusive and ‘spammy’. What has worked for me is the use of ‘organic’ social media (not paid) and I focus my efforts on a niche. There are thousands of real estate agents in my market and that’s why it’s so important to have your own niche.”
Clarke explains her process: “Something that has worked for me incredibly well and with very little expense is informative (not sales) videos that I record and post periodically in Facebook groups that I am a member of and include my niche. In my videos I talk as authentically as I can. My videos are not rehearsed. I don’t use a script. People in my niche often tell me that they follow all my videos and are always looking forward to the next one. When I attend social events, people tend to recognize me and often introduce themselves or even just say hi as if they know me very well – so I believe my strategy works.”
Clarke continues, “Another thing that I do constantly is be very active in social media groups; answering questions regarding real estate, (making) recommendations. I do this from my Facebook professional page so my professional name shows. In this case, my goal is not only to help my community but position my name and constantly reinforce my brand. In this business, as we all know, having a full pipeline of leads and a ringing phone is often the most difficult goal to achieve.”
COVID-19 has shown us how essential it is to focus on technology to get more leads. Using social media to connect with people is often more effective than mail-outs or emails. Embracing the use of videos for your social media will kick things up a notch. If your phone’s camera isn’t adequate, you can get a quality webcam for under $100 that will do the trick. (Speaking of technology, you do have your own website to connect with clients, right? Not just a page on your brokerage’s website.)
Wins Lai, a real estate broker with Living Realty in Toronto shares how she gets more leads, “I think when it comes to being a successful Realtor, a lot of people don’t understand that you need to spend money on making more money. Allocate part of your commissions for marketing (for example, 20 per cent of the commissions should be reinvested in your business), spending it on Facebook, Instagram marketing or flyering.”
One agent who asked to remain anonymous does one thing that she claims is responsible for more than half of the leads she receives – she picks up the phone. She calls one person a day from her contact list to keep her name uppermost in people’s minds. As she points out, not only is it effective because few people do it, but it’s also free. She is especially vigilant to call people on their birthdays and other milestones. Another agent takes it a step further by making sure he sees each of his top 50 contacts in person at least once or twice a year.
A Vancouver real estate agent with more than 33 years experience, Les Twarog with Re/Max Crest Realty, may have nailed the way to get more quality leads. Twarog is aiming to create the next Zillow of Canada.
“Zillow is the number one company in the U.S. for lead generation with over $2.7 billion in sales to Realtors per year. They are now in Canada. Zillow’s market cap is $24 billion. With Realty Mega Data, we have the top local lead generation platform that provides real estate leads to Realtors in the Lower Mainland, with plans to expand to the rest of B.C. and then later to the rest of Canada. We get 4,000-7,000 unique visitors per day and 200-300 internet sign-ups per day with verified names, addresses and phone numbers. The conversion rate averages around two to three per cent, which is double to triple compared to other platforms.”
Twarog says “33 per cent of Realtors leave the industry in less than a year and 80 per cent of Realtors quit the business within five years. The biggest problem is getting leads. We have solved that problem with our platform.” Realty Mega Data is currently focused on expanding to cover all B.C. properties.
Amy Youngren, a founder and sales representative with Keller Williams Real Estate Associates North Group in Toronto, aims to never put herself in a position where she panics about generating more leads.
“The way I run my business, it’s all about consistency,” she says, “connecting with five to 10 people consistently – every single day – about their real estate plans and offering them value through that call, text or DM. Consistency is hard, so I put measures in place to keep me accountable: calendar reminders, a great CRM, accountability partners and a business coach. In fact, my business coach once said, ‘Big results are built on the back of daily micro-commitments.’ ”
Whatever you choose to do to generate more leads, it is vital that it fits your personality. Just because an expert or a fellow agent has success with something doesn’t mean that is the route you should go. For example, making videos to post on social media may not be the best lead generation option for an introvert. Cold calling isn’t ideal for people who don’t deal well with rejection. Staying true to yourself and doing what you are most comfortable with will get you the best results.
Nailing the ability to generate leads ensures your business will continue to grow. Having a lead generation plan in place is an investment in your future business.
Toby Welch is a contributing writer for REM.