- Since only a small percentage of leads convert to customers, securing a large number of leads is essential to building a successful real estate business
- Lead generation strategies include networking, getting referrals, building a brand, hosting webinars, and targeting FSBO and expired listings
- Lean into warm leads, often referred by family and friends, since they’re more likely to trust you and your services
Nearly six million existing homes were sold in 2022, and this figure is expected to grow in the coming years. But with approximately three million active real estate licensees in the United States, there’s a lot of competition for clients among real estate agents, brokers, and realtors.
Real estate salespeople must compete constantly to get potential leads—people who have expressed genuine interest in buying or selling a home—into their sales pipeline, or sales funnel. A successful real estate agent lead generation strategy can help move potential clients through that pipeline until they complete a transaction.
The basics of real estate leads
When someone expresses interest in your services, they’ve taken the first step toward entering your sales pipeline.
Until that person becomes an official client who is working with you to buy or sell a home, they are a lead, or a potential client. The sooner you get a lead into your system, the more likely you are to land a customer and close a deal. In fact, research shows that if you follow up with a new lead within five minutes of their first outreach attempt, you are eight times more likely to land their business.
Lead generation may be a bit frustrating when first starting since just a small percentage of qualified leads convert to sales. But the more leads you get, the more sales you make. If you can figure out how to get real estate leads, you’ll have a better chance of improving sales and growing your small business.
Plus, homeowners stay in their homes for a median of 13 years, meaning they could purchase as many as five houses in a lifetime. Convert a lead into a sale, and you’ll likely get their business again in the future.
6 ways to get real estate leads
Lead generation (“lead gen” for short) can seem a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t necessarily have to pay for lead generation services either. Whether you’re a new agent in search of your first sale or an experienced realtor looking to increase your book of business even more, the tips in this guide will help you learn how to get real estate leads.
By focusing on these proven strategies for gaining buyer and seller leads, you’ll be able to set your real estate business up for long-term success. Consider these six real estate lead generation ideas as your go-to marketing tools to secure more real estate leads.
1. Establish your brand
Branding, or establishing a distinctive identity, is an essential component of real estate agent lead generation, as it attracts attention to your realty company, distinguishes it from the competition, and lays the groundwork for other lead gen strategies to succeed.
When establishing a new brand, it’s imperative to have a memorable company logo and slogan people will associate with your company. If you have a clever slogan, people you meet while networking will be more likely to remember and associate your name and face with it.
Your brand should also be tied to your value proposition, which is what sets you apart from your competitors. Perhaps you can offer more experience than other agents in your area, or maybe you focus on selling specific types of property. Whatever your value prop is, your brand should focus on it.
Your branding should be consistent across all your marketing materials and online platforms, including your business cards, real estate website and landing pages, and social media channels, like LinkedIn.
Some of your branding freedom might be limited if you’re working for a brokerage firm. You might not be able to create your own logo, for example. In this case, focus on the professionalism and reputation your brokerage offers or the deep connections you have with local businesses. Whatever the circumstances, find what sets you apart and make that your primary focus.
2. Network to establish buyer and seller leads
Your success depends on your ability to connect with clients and build relationships, so you should always have your elevator pitch ready. An elevator pitch is a 30-second explanation you can give to potential clients that outlines:
- Who you are
- What sets your real estate business apart
- What you can do to help the client
Once you have your elevator pitch down, you can use it at networking events like open houses. An open house focuses on selling a home currently on the market, but from a lead generation perspective it’s much more than that. An open house gives you the ability to build relationships with other potential clients. By attending an open house, a potential client is demonstrating at least some interest in buying a new home.
Network with people who come to the event, and take time to introduce yourself and give your elevator pitch. Make sure you get everyone’s contact information, including their name, email address, and phone number. If you can, jot down some notes about any conversations you had. Taking notes about your conversations will allow for a more personalized follow up.
For example, let’s say you meet a couple interested in buying a home in 12 months. You can include this information in your notes, then follow up in eight months with a personalized message that asks if they’re ready to start looking at homes.
The real estate business is all about connections and meeting people, which is why in-person networking is a valuable source for leads. Best of all, it doesn’t cost much since it primarily entails establishing and building genuine connections rather than spending money, such as buying expensive advertisements.
3. Ask for referrals
What if you don’t have a vast network? This is especially common for new agents. You may feel that cold calling (making phone calls to people with whom you have no prior connection) is a necessary first step in your real estate marketing plan. However, it takes an average of eight cold calls to secure one new lead. Referrals, on the other hand, are much more effective when you’re breaking into the real estate market.
As in any industry, word-of-mouth referrals are an excellent way to get new leads and build customer trust. Asking your friends, family, acquaintances, and any past clients for referrals can help you obtain new listings, and it also provides a much more personal touch than cold calling.
These so-called warm leads are more likely to trust you and your expertise because you have been recommended to them by someone they know. In addition, your clients, friends, and so on are probably only going to give referrals of people who want to buy or sell anyway. This means you’ll be reaching out to people who are more interested in your services in the first place.
4. Add your business to Yelp
Another great lead source for real estate professionals is to add or claim your Yelp Business Page. Over 80 million people visit Yelp each month, and 83% of users hire or buy from a business they found on Yelp, giving you a big opportunity to generate leads from your business page.
You can add a description of your company to your page along with your contact information. Upload photos of homes you’ve listed and receive reviews from previous customers, boosting your online advertising for free. Plus users can request a consultation from you right on Yelp.
A Yelp Business Page also serves as a place for virtual word-of-mouth referrals, since customers can post reviews about their experience with you. Positive reviews are a powerful form of online lead generation, as 95% of consumers say they read online reviews before they shop.
Lastly, listing your business on Yelp can also improve your ranking on local search engine results, giving you even more exposure.
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5. Look at expired listings or for sale by owner (FSBO) properties
For listing agents, who help clients sell their homes, looking at expired and for sale by owner (FSBO) listings can be a great way to find warm leads. Expired listings were previously on the market, meaning the homeowner was interested in selling in the past but either took the home off the market or didn’t pay to have it relisted. For sale by owner properties are currently on the market without an agent.
More often than not, the reason a listing expired wasn’t because the owner changed their mind. It could be because the valuation of the property was wrong, or they had poor listing photos that failed to draw in potential buyers. Regardless, these sellers are frequently still highly motivated and are often interested in working with a new agent.
In the case of FSBO properties, sellers may be discovering that the selling process is harder than they anticipated. They could be eager to work with an agent to reduce their own workload and speed up the sales process.
Not only are these leads more likely to convert to a sale, but they also typically require less work on your part. It is easier to adjust a listing than to start the whole process from scratch with a brand-new seller, which means that you may be able to close more sales faster. As a result, these are some of the best real estate leads for listing agents.
6. Host a webinar
You don’t necessarily need to meet face to face with people in order to obtain new clients. One proven real estate agent lead gen tactic is hosting online webinars. For instance, you could host a digital seminar called “Trends in the Real Estate Industry: Understanding the Local Market” or one called “Homebuying for Beginners.”
Your webinar can be free, but make sure you collect the contact information of people who attend. If someone is attending a webinar about homebuying for beginners, there’s a good chance they’re seriously considering buying a home. Much like networking, following up with these new leads can improve your chances of converting these individuals into clients.
Webinars and online videos can make a tremendous difference in your lead generation. Seventy-six percent of marketers say webinars help them reach more leads, with 53% saying that webinars bring in the highest-quality leads.
Landing and managing real estate leads
The real estate industry is built on relationships, and once you convert a lead into a client, that person often remains a client for life.
You can set yourself up for long-term success by focusing on proven real estate lead generation strategies. When you use networking, referrals, brand building, your Yelp Business Page, FSBO and expired listings, and webinars, you can find quality leads who will be more likely to become your clients.
Leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage real estate leads can be an important part of this process. This software helps you keep track of all your leads, categorizing them based on your most recent interaction with them, their buying or selling timeline, and so on. An organized system ensures that no one slips through the cracks. Many of these tools even use automation to remind you when you should contact someone.
For more growth tactics, check out six ways to improve SEO for real estate agents and four steps to effective real estate email marketing.
How can you generate real estate leads for free?
There are a few things even a first-time realtor with no budget can do to boost their marketing strategy. First, claim your Yelp Business Page to give leads a way to reach you. In addition, being active on social media platforms (particularly through local groups and your own page) can help get your name out there and provide a free way to connect with people. Blogging is another free way to boost SEO and bring more traffic to your website. And, of course, in-person networking and asking for referrals are generally free, and these are often the most effective ways to find new clients.
How many leads do you need to guarantee a sale?
In real estate, the average conversion rate is 2.4%. That means for every 100 leads you contact, only two or three will turn into a sale. You can get a higher conversion rate by focusing on high-quality leads. The best leads are people who plan on buying or selling soon. By offering consistent outreach to prospective clients, you can position yourself to stay at the top of their minds, which can help you get more sales.
Is Zillow a good way to get leads?
Zillow has become a market leader in the real estate industry, in part because of its role as a real estate lead generation company. Because people who submit their information to Zillow are more interested in buying or selling a house, they’re more likely to be quality leads. However, online scams (such as people stealing valid listings by changing the real estate person’s contact information) are relatively common. Zillow also charges per lead based on home prices in your desired ZIP code. Depending on your market and the level of competition, signing up with Zillow could be more expensive than it’s worth. The same is true of similar sites like RedX and Realtor.com.
Is paying for real estate leads worth it?
Real estate agents are paid by commission—and the amount you earn will depend on the price of the home you sell. Paid lead generation strategies like direct mail, Google Ads, Facebook ads, PPC (pay per click), and email marketing are worth it if they help you land a real estate transaction that earns more than what you spent. Consider your local demographics so you focus your paid marketing efforts on strategies that are more likely to provide quality leads.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.