Whether in REO or traditional sales, an agent’s list of leads is like gold and a solid lead can not only result in a short-term sale but also foster long-term business growth through the creation of a fruitful partnership. The REO marketplace is more crowded than ever, but luckily today’s agents have a full arsenal of traditional and technology focused techniques to generate leads and stand out from the crowd.
Lead Generation & Utilizing the Options
The business of real estate is constantly updating, and successful agents are able to utilize new technologies hand-in-hand with traditional techniques to get the lead. Alan Hays, Broker-Owner of Realty Executives The Edge, summarizes generating leads simply: “There are only three different ways to get a lead—you can buy it (websites, ect.); you can wait for it (hold open houses); or you can prospect for it.”
Edward Lukasik, Jr., Broker-Owner of RE/MAX Professionals of Bolingbrook and Burr Ridge, has found social media to be a great way to generate leads but advises that there is still a lot of work behind the scenes to make this method successful. “Buyers want as much information as possible without having to contact anyone. For this reason, I offer mobile websites for every listing that I have. This gives buyers the ease of getting all the property info on their mobile device directly off my signs, while capturing the buyer’s info through QR codes and text codes. I also pay to feature all of my homes on Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com, and many other sites. This drives many leads to my office, and I am able to lead share with the agents in my brokerage, generating another stream of income,” says Lukasik.
John Giddens, Broker-Owner of Emrix Realty, Inc., tells agents that there are numbers ways to generate leads no matter your budget and even recommends leveraging YouTube as a free way to showcase listings. For those agents looking to take on lead generation on a large scale, he recommends the site Listing-2-Leads. “This online marketing platform gives you many ways to promote yourself and your listings to generate leads with single property websites, digital flyers, email templates and pre templates for generating HTML coded Craigslist ads,” says Giddens. Despite this, Giddens is still reminds his agents that leads can be generating by going back to the basics such as “the good old word of mouth, passing out business cards, and sending out emails to past clients to ask for referrals.”
Kendall Butler, Broker-Owner of F.L.I. Properties and F.L.I. Property Management, advises her agents to look at the bigger picture when generating leads, such as hooking investors instead of individual buyers. “Investors are repeat buyers and sellers and they are probably contacting you on a weekly basis to find out about your REO listings. Be the realtor of choice for local investors by knowing more than they do about the market: Have market stats readily available, know potential rent value, know retail value of your REO after repairs, understand cash flow analysis, and take a class to understand 203K exchanges,” says Butler.
Christine Cerda’s of Guarantee Real Estate approach is to step-up branding efforts. “A tip in generating other leads is always being ‘in the game’ and branding yourself wherever you go. Identifying your niche and creating a sphere of influential branding tools can help with that,” says Cerda.
Lead Retention & Closing the Sale
Generating leads is an important step in the process, but won’t suffice on its own. In order to grow your business, these prospective leads need to turn into real business. “Once my office gains a lead we automatically start a drip campaign to that lead to start the incubation process. I have an office policy that every lead distributed needs to be contacted in five minutes or less. If a lead in not contacted right away, they will most likely contact another agent . . . [and] when that lead is ready to make a purchase or sell, they will most likely chose the agent that has had the most contact with them,” advises Lukasik.
“You want to develop a relationship, gain trust, and be a source of information to [the buyer]. Let them know that you can get them minute to minute market information, this way they will come back to you or your website and will not look elsewhere for information. Once you get the communication lines open, gather all details about what their needs are, and explain that when they are ready to look at some homes, you are ready to show them some.” says Giddens.
Cerda has a similar approach, saying, “Once I gain a lead my best advice for growing them into a new client is by providing solutions to everyday common problems. I focus on the future rather than the now and by doing so identify what needs to happen in the now.”
While the task of acquiring and following up on leads can seem overwhelming for already busy agents, it is a crucial aspect of the real estate business that cannot be overlooked. Generating and growing strong leads is the foundation for the future of your business; or as Butler puts it, “if you don’t manage your buyer leads you are leaving a significant amount of revenue on the table!”