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As a real estate agent, acquiring listings may be one of the hardest things to master from the start as well as where your contacts should come from. Every Agent should want to focus on property listings. As a newer agent, you’re still trying to make a name for yourself, and unfortunately might not have the referrals or repeat clients that a longer-term agent would have. What you probably don’t realize is that cold-calling and referrals are not the only ways to get new clients. There is a myriad of different pathways that new clients can come from, and some of them are probably right in front of you! You can use a variety of information and contacts that you already have available to you to find another whole group of potential clients (and consequently, their referrals as well).
Here are some ways you can get more listings:
* Look for expired and withdrawn listings – By exploring the MLS for listings that were on the market in the past but that were never sold, you can find listings that may have been handled inappropriately before you, or were pulled off the market for whatever reason. The homes may have been overpriced, or the market may have been off at that time for what the seller was looking for. By reconnecting with these listings, you may have a second chance at selling them. Make sure you indicate to the seller (if it’s true) that the home is in a better position to sell in this growing market, and be perfectly clear what they need to do for the best chance to sell within their window of time if they suggest one. They are often much more prone to respond if they know that there is a chance you can sell it for them.
- Interact with your already existing network – Are you already in a PTA group? Soccer leagues? A neighborhood association? Use the groups that you are a member of to advertise that you’re a real estate agent. You’ll gain more contacts from people that are like you with similar interests, and the people in your club, who needed services anyway, will be happy to use someone they already know and trust. In my opinion, this is the absolute best thing that you can do for yourself, because successful real estate agents do not form client lists, they form tribes of like-minded like-interested individuals. The more you have in common with your clients, the easier it is to work with them, get referrals, and build a better tribe.
- Decide the kind of business you want to have, and act accordingly – If you’ve decided that you’d like to sell mostly mansion listings in upper class neighborhoods near your home, then you should hang out at the local country club or golf course, or business networking meetings. It would be fruitless to try to find these types of clients at places like the local discount market or the public-school parking lot because although it’s possible, it’s not extremely likely to meet a large majority of your clientele there. Think about the lifestyle of the clients you want and the neighborhood you want to target and act accordingly. You may really enjoy being an agent for renters, and if that’s the case- maybe you should hang out at the local college or health club. It’s all relative to what you want and what you want your niche to be. Just make sure you focus on acquiring listings.
- Along these lines, your niche should be based on your already existing talents.
I’ve talked about interacting with your already existing network and acting according to the type of business you want to have- these two things should go together. Don’t try to pretend to be something you aren’t, or avoid the kind of people you already know to try to build your business a certain way. If you play golf, it makes sense to try to find clients at the golf course. But if you don’t, you’re only going to sound like a fraud by faking an interest in hobbies that aren’t yours. Use what you’re already good at and the skills you bring to the table through past experiences to find clients who can benefit from those skills and talents.
* Search social media hashtags and posts. – An out-of-the-box way to find potential sellers is to get on Twitter or Facebook and search the posts of people who might be looking for a real estate agent but not realize that fact yet. By putting in and searching for hashtags (a group of words or phrases starting with a # sign), you’re able to find a variety of posts that meet certain conditions, with hashtags that people may have used when they were considering selling their home or buying or renting somewhere new. Try #needtomove #ineedtomove #sellmyhome #iwanttomove #wanttomove and #lookingtobuy as your first hashtag search suggestions, but you can always add your own ideas.
- Remember that everyone you meet is a prospective client – If you’re going to the post office, pass out your business cards. If you’re at the supermarket, start up a conversation with the checkout clerk. Ask to leave your postcards or business cards on every bulletin board at every business in your target area.
* Marketing Materials Are Not to Be Underestimated – A lot of agents feel that postcards, for example, won’t do them a lick of good. Often times these are newer agents who frankly do not want to spend the required amount of money on their business. You’d be surprised at how powerful marketing materials can be, and it takes money sometimes to make money. Consider investing in a magnet for your car with your name and number on it, a website with your contact information, and pens, corkscrews, or anything that you think your target market may keep and use often. Not only does this prove that you’re serious about your business, but it constantly puts your name in the back of people’s minds. When they’re ready to buy or sell, you will be the first person that they think of.
- For Sale by Owner Signs – Looking for “For Sale by Owner” signs will help you identify homeowners that are looking to sell that definitely do not have a real estate agent. They may not want one, but it couldn’t hurt to ask- or at least to have a conversation about why it is that they want to sell. Worst case scenario, perhaps you can bring them a buyer and get a piece of the commission. When approaching “for sale by owner” owners, the best thing to do is word your pitch not as a sales pitch, but as an offer to help. “Do you need assistance making the flyers?” “Are you prepared for your open house?” “Has anyone given you comparables?” – These questions will show that you’re a professional, that you know your stuff, but most importantly that there is a lot to selling a home that maybe the homeowner hadn’t thought about.
- Look Out for Garage & Moving Sales – Sometimes people have garage sales just because they want to spring clean, but in many cases, they have them because they’re selling their home and moving. Specifically search Craigslist and your local newspaper for “estate” or “moving” sales because those almost always indicate some kind of transfer of property. In many cases, people will clear out the homes before they even think about getting it on the market so you may be getting a head start versus competing with other real estate agents in your area. You can also try scanning Estatesale.com or Estatesales.com, or even advertising on those sites as well.
* Befriend Estate Sale Companies – Similarly, people who have estate sales almost always use an estate sale company to help them process and sell the goods. Link up with an estate sales company and you’ll get each of their referrals. You can return the favor by referring your clients who need someone to help liquidate assets before you list and stage the property. This can be a very beneficial relationship for both of you.
* Watch Out for Rentals in Your Area – Properties are often for rent as a last resort if a sale was unsuccessful. By keeping an eye on the rentals in your area may produce an owner that wants to try to sell again under better circumstances in the future.