February is New Agent Month at Inman. Follow along as we go deeper on the tools, tech and tips you’ll need to survive and thrive in 2024. For curated content crafted just for first-year agents, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Basics.
We face a lot of change in our industry. Some good, some bad, some scary, and some necessary. Perspective will be an important part of our everyday mindset from here on out. (As it always should be.)
Although we live in a digitally savvy world these days, we should never discount the value of person-to-person connection. Some might tell you that this business is a “numbers game” — and I get that. Prospecting, in particular, can feel that way when you are “dialing for dollars.”
Prospecting with just numbers in mind can make you feel defeated and detached. Instead, make it about building relationships.
Take the opportunity to talk to human beings about their needs, goals, questions and more. When you are calling to give information, tools and time — and be of service — it feels very different than calling to take something from someone — like a listing. Keep that in mind as you work on building your business this year.
Why listings matter more than ever
Listings are the lifeblood of the real estate profession. They always have been, and I suspect they always will be. They drive sales and fuel your visibility and credibility in the market. That credibility will be a big focus this year.
Things are shifting with the way buyers will work with agents in the near future. That’s not to say that buyer agency will go by the wayside. I’m not saying that. With the right transparency, tools and training, agents can certainly earn their commissions working with buyers.
What I am saying is that listings still remain the name of the game, and the agents who will lead their markets in 2024 will have the systems and skills in place to list properties and create client relationships that will last.
The 24 proven strategies for listing leads
Let’s dive into this quick list of listing lead-generating ideas:
1. Call current FSBOs
They are currently letting complete strangers into their homes. You are the safest person they can let through the door. Don’t sell. Serve.
2. Call older FSBOs
Get your hands on a list of FSBOs who took their homes off the market in the past six months; this would be a great time to call them and let them know that market change is in the works and how you can help them. Don’t try to make an appointment on the phone — just get in the door so you can share what they need to hear in person.
3. Call expired listings
Don’t get it in your head that all expireds are angry or difficult. They’ve already believed in agency and shown that they had a desire to sell. They need a consultative touch and active listening to get them back on board.
4. Call past clients
Check in, ask how they are, and make it truly about them. Later in the call, you can offer something of value like a “Neighborhood Market Report: (aka a CMA) — everyone should know what the value of their property is in this market.
5. Orphan clients
Nope, we’re not talking about kids. In most companies, there are client files from agents who left the business or changed offices. Ask your manager if you can call them and become their new liaison for your organization. See if there is anything you can do to help them!
6. Public open houses
One of the best ways to attract both buyer and seller leads. Preparation is the key to making these a success. Here are a few ways to make your next open house amazing.
7. Neighborhood open houses
Before you do a public open house, you should host a neighborhood version just for the neighbors. Send official invites to each, and let them know the owner won’t be home and that it’s by invitation only! This will help eliminate the “lookers” at your public open house and garner the interest of those who were thinking of selling.
8. Local networking
One thing is certain in this market. It doesn’t pay to be a secret agent. Network with area businesses and professionals and share the love and the leads.
9. Door-knocking with value
Some love door-knocking, some don’t, but we hear tremendous stories from our members every week about how this act of meeting and greeting has helped agents make all new connections and reinforced past client relationships when they show up with either a Free Market Report certificate, item of value or even a small SMILE Stop for their past clients.
10. Direct mailing campaign
Direct mail will always be a great lead magnet — but only if there is consistency. One-and-done mailings will never do the job. Be prepared for at least six months of mailers before you start seeing responses, and don’t rely solely on mailing. Follow-up is your friend if you want results.
11. E-newsletter campaign
Want the client touches without the postage (that’s going up)? Try sending monthly e-newsletters. Many CRMs have them ready-made to set and forget. If not, there are so many sources for content!
12. Host an informational seminar
Get a few vendors together to help with the cost and promotion and host a homebuying or homeselling seminar in your market!
13. Handwritten sphere notes
Agents tell us that hands-down, handwritten notes that are thoughtful get them a high return on their time and investment. They are so personal in a sea of commercial postcards and junk mail that they really stand out.
14. Call rental owners
Many are ready to get out of the landlord business and cash out on their investment. Your goal is to find them!
15. Wear your nametag everywhere
You might be shocked to know how many leads this can drive for you. We just had a 15-minute conversation on a recent brainstorming session about this. We call these interactions “in-the-line” dialogues. Make a new friend and see what happens.
16. Determine a niche market, and start working it
What’s your favorite type of home to sell or group to work with? Make it your specialty. Condominiums, horse properties, veterans, first-time homebuyers, and seniors are just a few examples.
17. PTA/PTSA partnership
The schools need all the help they can get and the local PTAs and PTSAs usually have business partnerships that work well for agents. Give them a call.
18. Community Facebook page
We have one coaching member who literally made six figures in her first full year in the business by establishing and growing four community pages and interacting with the neighborhoods.
19. Get a wrap or magnetic sign for your car
This way, everywhere you go, someone can see your name, face and what you do for a living. (That’s the foundation for a successful marketing tool.)
20. Local community event participation
Again, don’t be a secret agent. Many community events have sponsorship booth opportunities. See what is happening in your market, and get out there.
21. Local market podcast
Share insights, and build a following.
22. Call homes around a new listing
Lean into that domino effect. Where one house is listed, there are usually a few more waiting in the wings. Call those neighbors.
23. Give out your business card every chance you get
Is this old school? Absolutely. Does it still work? You bet! Where you do business, ask for business!
24. Instagram and Pinterest showcases
Once a week, showcase noteworthy properties in your market, and get those likes and questions from your network.
Facing Your Fears and Ditching the Scripts
Not all the ideas above involve the phone, but for those that do, we picking up the phone to call leads can be tough. It’s why so many agents rely on a script to get them through. However, what happens when the person on the other end doesn’t say the right thing? That’s why we say, “Ditch the scripts and speak from your heart.”
Picture this: What would your conversation feel like if you were intentional about listening and responding authentically during these genuine conversations with another human being? Would it feel better than trying to maneuver the homeowner into giving you an appointment or listing as quickly as possible? It would probably be pretty great and a lot less stressful.
A mistake that many agents make when cold-calling is this: They forget that this is just a conversation between two human beings.
When you strive to build relationships and trust by sharing valuable information about real estate trends in your area or helpful tips that could improve their homebuying experience, not only will this make your calls more enjoyable for both parties involved, but it will also increase your chances of success in building rapport, winning leads, getting referrals and closing deals.
How the heart leads to homes
The journey to becoming a top real estate professional in 2024 is paved with a heartfelt dedication to service, a determined commitment to continuous learning and an adaptable strategy. By embracing these varied and innovative methods for generating leads and securing listings, you’re not just growing your business — you’re enriching your community, strengthening your network and establishing yourself as a trusted real estate authority.
Remember: Our greatest asset is our ability to connect, understand and deliver exceptional service. Dive into these strategies, refine your skills, and let’s reshape the real estate landscape together to build an industry of integrity, honesty and service. The future is bright, and it begins with your next listing.