After you obtain your real estate licence and find a brokerage to work in, you’ll realize that the hard work in your real estate career has just begun. First of all, you’ll need a lot of patience. Mainly because you’ll have to wait before what you earn from real estate is enough to cover your living costs.
The biggest challenge for the majority of new agents is building a database of contacts and signing your first buyers and sellers. After the ball starts rolling, it becomes easier. However, be aware that going from a few closed deals a year to a few closed deals a month takes time.
This long wait is one of the reasons why so many new agents don’t start doing real estate full-time initially but rather keep their current day jobs and do real estate part-time.
In this series of blog posts, we will show you how to build your database from scratch and secure your first deals. Of course, we are a bit biased. AgentLocator offers online lead generation services to real estate agents in Canada and the US. Naturally, we think online lead generation is awesome. But… We don’t believe that it’s the ideal solution for every agent.
The first blog post in this series goes through all the different ways you can generate leads for your real estate business.
How to Build Your Database as a New AgentStarting with your friends and family is the first step you’ll take towards finding your first clients. Reach out to them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or WhatsApp to let them know you’ve received your licence and can help them find a property in the areas you work in.
However, don’t expect this move to be particularly fruitful. You’ll need to build a contact network outside your sphere of influence. Here are some ways to introduce yourself to strangers and generate leads for your database.
1. Offer to take over rental clients from your colleagues
Real estate agents mostly start with rentals and move towards buyers and sellers. Rentals are an excellent way to get your feet wet in real estate. However, once agents have built their pipelines and portfolios, they seem like a waste of time.
Offer your busier colleagues to take over rental clients they don’t have time or patience for. You’ll be a great help to them, and your brokerage will see you’re willing to put in the necessary work to succeed.
Rentals are not only a good way to start in real estate, but they represent a pool of your potential future clients. They may be renting now, but they’ll probably purchase in a year or two.
If you’d like to find out more about rental leads and how to handle them, we’ve written an extensive blog post on them as well. You can read it here.
2. Offer to help your colleagues with their open houses
Before you do an open house by yourself, offer to help your colleagues with their open house events. Busier agents working on multiple listings will especially appreciate your help.
For a new agent, hosting another agent’s open house event is ideal for learning more about the local market and meeting potential buyers. It’s also a great opportunity to build your personal brand. You’ll get the chance to interact face-to-face with your market and impress them with your knowledge and presentation skills.
Don’t forget that to reap the benefits of an open house event. It’s essential to collect the attendees’ contact information carefully and follow up with them adequately.
Door-knocking sounds like a crazy thing to do. The key to success is knowing when to do it.
If you’re working with a buyer, one way you can show dedication to finding them their dream home is going door-knocking within an area they truly liked but couldn’t find an adequate listing in.
Following this strategy will also make you less creepy when you talk to the people on whose doors you’re knocking on. You can introduce yourself and say that you’re trying to find a perfect property for one of your buyers. There’s nothing in that area currently on the market fulfilling their needs, and you’re trying to find some additional options for them.
Think about it.
Even if you don’t find any interested sellers, they’ll remember you for your work ethic. Everyone would want a Realtor that goes around door-knocking, trying to find the perfect home for their clients. You’ll leave a good first impression, and rest assured that some of them will contact you when they decide to sell.
4. Contact FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listings
Trying to sell your property on your own sounds like a good idea. Until it isn’t.
FSBO properties take more time to sell and sell for less money than those listed by an agent. You have rock-solid arguments to reach out to these leads and offer them your services.
With FSBO leads, it’s important that you strongly emphasize the value you’ll provide. Most wonders decide to go for an FSBO listing because they don’t trust real estate agents or think they cannot offer any value.
Make sure you present yourself as a trustworthy person who’ll do more than just take nice pictures of the property and shake hands on the open house. Show that you are worth the commission they’ll pay you.
5. Contact owners of expired listings
The most interesting expired listings are those that expired a while ago, not the more recent ones. A lot of Realtors will be after listings that expired recently. Focus on connecting with the owners of listings that expired a year ago and find out what happened. This is a good conversation starter.
Be wary that the owners might have had a bad experience with their former Realtor, or there might be a more personal reason why the property was pulled from the market. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. However, be careful not to come off as too pushy.
6. Use social media
Social media like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube can be excellent promotional vehicles for your real estate brand. They have enormous user bases and ad platforms that enable you to reach precisely those audiences you want to focus on.
On Facebook, you can go beyond just using their ad platform. Join real estate-related groups, answer people’s questions and, why not, actively reach out to people you see have an interest in buying or selling.
If you need ideas on what content to create, here’s a helpful blog post about Instagram. If you want to focus more on video, you can read our blog post on video marketing here.
While you can certainly focus only on organic content without ads, you should know that Facebook and Instagram offer excellent ad solutions for lead generation. Such ads can provide you with good-quality inexpensive leads while at the same time helping you build your brand.
AgentLocator has run hundreds of Facebook and Instagram ads for real estate agents, and we know what works and what doesn’t. If you want to know more about our Facebook Managed Ads Services, you can do so on the following web page.
7. Build an IDX website with a blog
A blog is a valuable tool in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By writing content interesting for specific audiences like first-time buyers or presenting specific communities you work in, you can get a lot of free traffic from Google. Capture this traffic with a newsletter sign-up form, and you’ll have an online lead generation system in place.
However, be aware that writing a blog and bringing visitors to your website is a long-term strategy. It can take several months or even years until your content ends up on the first page of Google.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a blog. Writing a blog can certainly help position you better in the real estate market. But don’t expect instant results.
To build an IDX website without coding knowledge, you can use services like WordPress or Wix. If you don’t have the time and don’t want to be bothered with technical details such as hosting, AgentLocator has a wide range of IDX branded website templates available for any price point. Check them out here.
8. Google Ads
Everybody’s property search starts online. You’ll go to Google, type “properties in Mississauga,” and hit the Search button. As you might have noticed, for most of the stuff you google, the first results that will appear are Google PPC Search Ads.
Investing in Google PPC Search Ads is one of the best ways to generate leads online quickly. Use search phrases that indicate an interest in buying or selling as your target keywords to capture warm leads.
Note that, like with every ad platform, you’ll need a few test runs before figuring out which ads work. Start with a smaller test budget and then increase and scale when you see results.
AgentLocator is a Google Premium Partner, which means we are in the top 3% of companies participating in the Google Partner Program. We run thousands of successful Google Ads campaigns for our real estate clients, connecting them with buyers and sellers in their respective markets. If you want to learn more about our Google PPC service, you can do so here.
The Internet era has given real estate agents a plethora of new opportunities to generate leads for their businesses. However, you still have a lot of old-school, non-digital ways of generating leads at you your disposal.
The good thing is, each of the ways described above will give you results. We suggest you try a few different ones and assess which ones work best for you. And remember, if one of the ways might not work for you today, keep an open mind. They might work for you in the future.
In Part Two of our series, we explore the power of paid online leads and why they are a convenient solution for new agents.