As Managing Editor for The Close, I’ve interviewed hundreds of real estate agents. From wide-eyed kids who just got their license to brokers with yearly GCI in the billions, I’ve talked to pretty much every kind of agent there is. After all of these interviews, I’ve found one thing that all of the successful ones understand (and all of the failing agents complain about!!): Learning how to get clients in real estate is a never-ending process.
Of course, technology moves at lightning speed these days, so if you want to keep getting clients, you need to adapt. However, learning how to find well-qualified clients is only half the battle. Plenty of agents can get their phone to ring, but only experienced agents can keep their phone ringing consistently.
That’s why we decided to work with some top-producing agents we know at Compass, Warburg, and Real NY to come up with some underrated ways to find real estate clients that will keep your phone ringing in 2021 and beyond.
1. Use Beverly Ruffner’s Long-term Lead Nurturing Scripts
One of the most satisfying parts of my job is watching new agents finally learn that the vast majority of their competition never bothers to follow up with their leads. That means if you want to convert leads to clients, you only need to be a little bit better than the competition.
Take it from Beverly Ruffner. As a consultant and coach, Beverly has called thousands of “cold” leads for other brokers. Her conversion ratio with these leads is so high that she earned the nickname “the conversion queen.”
Over the years, Beverly developed a series of easy scripts that she uses to follow up with leads that just collect dust in other brokers’ databases. She shares some of her best scripts here: Long-term Lead Nurturing: Tips & Scripts to Avoid Overtasking
2. Use Sean Moudry’s Strategies to Find Hidden Listing Opportunities
Here’s a great tip for uncovering hidden listing opportunities to get seller clients from 27-year real estate veteran, coach, author, speaker, and Close contributor Sean Moudry:
“While other agents are chasing the same old FSBOs and Expireds, try something new. Real estate investors, preforeclosures, and vacant/abandoned homes are fantastic opportunities that other agents overlook.
Sure it is more difficult to source the data, and you may face stronger resistance from the homeowner, but you won’t be competing with 20 other agents for the same listing.
Keep in mind when you are prospecting these leads that the quality is in quantity! Use systems like Freedomsoft to help find the properties, source the contact information, and manage the leads.
For a full list of hidden listing opportunities, see 9 Proven Strategies to Find Hidden Listing Inventory in 2021.”
3. Get Exclusive Buyer & Seller Leads From Advertising Pros
If you’re a newer agent or just want to fill in the gaps in your showing schedule, you might want to try leaving it to the pros. Here’s why: Even if you have, say, two years of experience trying to get real estate clients, companies like BoldLeads have decades of collective experience creating engaging real estate ads. That means they’ve tweaked and perfected their ads to get you the best leads, for the best price. That’s insanely hard to do.
Close even one of them, and you’re already in the black. Close two or three, and you’re getting a 200%+ return on investment (ROI) from your ad spend.
Are you getting that kind of ROI from your own Facebook ads? If not, getting exclusive leads from BoldLeads can help bump up your gross commission income (GCI) in 2021 without the hassle.
4. Host Open Houses for Listing Agents in Niches You Want to Be In
As any experienced agent will tell you, the riches are in the niches. The only problem is that breaking into niches like luxury homes can be very difficult for new agents.
Here’s luxury Broker Gill Chowdhury of Warburg Realty in Manhattan on how hosting open houses in niches you want to be in can help jump-start your career:
“If you’re a new agent, consider hosting open houses for someone more experienced. Working open houses is the obvious way to get exposure. Hosting an open house will let you experience firsthand the type of questions that people ask when pursuing a home in a niche you want to be in.
Further, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to come in contact with a prospect of intent and means (hopefully) and for them to view you in some sort of authoritative position. You are associated with a property they are directly interested in.”
If you want to learn 10 more ways to break into the luxury market, check out Sean’s article 10 Easy Ways to Break Into the Luxury Market (If You’re Not Rich) here.
5. Learn How to Build & Leverage Your Personal Brand Online
These days, the competition for leads online is fierce. Smart agents are beginning to realize that a mediocre personal brand just won’t cut it anymore. The only problem is that hiring a good graphic designer to help build your brand and keep it consistent is very expensive.
Lab Coat Agents Marketing Center is one way to start building a great personal brand without the hit to your wallet. It’s the first easy-to-use marketing platform just for real estate agents. With their hundreds of gorgeous and easy-to-edit templates for everything from social media posts, to open house flyers, to door hangers, they make building your personal brand easy.
By the way, a lot of agents think they’re too new to start building a brand. Well, guess what? If you’re not actively building a brand, then in the eyes of your potential clients, your brand is basically “I’m an agent who doesn’t care.” Is that how you want to be seen in your market?
6. Master Social Media Advertising
If you’re tech-savvy or at least willing to learn through trial and error, then advertising on social media is a great way to generate clients in 2021. Yes, Facebook recently reduced real estate agents’ targeting capabilities. This has made it much harder to target buyers and sellers than it was just a few years ago. Of course, difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
Remember Beverly’s maxim: You just need to work a little harder than the competition to get amazing results.
To get started or help troubleshoot your current social media ads, check out our step-by-step Facebook advertising guide here.
7. Get a CRM That You Will Actually Want to Use Every Day
We all know agents that get free customer relationship managers (CRMs) from their brokers but still end up using the old “scraps of paper” system to stay organized. Sure, they might close a few deals, but they usually end up getting overwhelmed at the drop of a hat and have dismal conversion ratios.
The truth is that taking the time today to actually research CRMs to find one you actually want to use will have a massive ROI down the road.
That’s why we put together our comprehensive CRM buyer’s guide. In it, we do a deep dive to compare CRMs for every budget, from brand-new agents to large teams and brokerages.
Check it out here: The Best Real Estate CRM for 2021: In-depth Reviews & Pricing
8. Offer to Shoot Free Listing Videos for Your Clients or on Spec
Want to know a dirty little secret about shooting real estate videos? They’re actually not that hard to make, and if you live in a decent-sized city, you can probably hire someone to make one for less than you spend at Starbucks every month.
What most agents don’t realize is that you don’t even really need your own listings to shoot and show off real estate videos that prove you’re a property marketing pro. Here’s a strategy to position yourself as a marketing expert even if you’ve never pitched a homeowner in your life:
Approach a senior listing agent in your brokerage and tell them you want to help them market their listing. FOR FREE. Then, either shoot the video yourself or work with a local video producer. Once you have it finished, you can then show it off on your website and social media as an example of your marketing skills. Even better, once you do nab that first listing presentation, you’ll have professional-looking property videos to show off. Not bad for a few hundred bucks, right?
9. Leverage Existing Relationships to Get More Referrals
Advice on how to get clients from Louis Adler, Principal and Co-founder of REAL New York:
“The best way to get and nurture clients is to build strong relationships with your current clients because they can help you to expand your network even more. Leveraging existing relationships is the best way to get clients who already trust you.
A referral is way more valuable than any other marketing technique. By using your relationships and their referrals, you can snowball your business to the max. In the end, referrals will get you a higher closing ratio compared to cold leads.”
10. Educate Your Social Media Audience With Insider Knowledge
Advice on how to get clients from luxury Broker Rebecca Blacker of Warburg Realty Manhattan:
“I like to educate potential and existing clients. I do some of this through my Instagram account so I can reach more people at once. I will point out a feature in an apartment or something about a building that a client wouldn’t know by looking at the listing online.
I think people appreciate learning something from their real estate broker. I find that it helps to build trust and a feeling for them that you are adding real value to the buying or selling experience.”
11. Get Yourself Some Press
Another great way to get real estate clients to reach out to you in 2021 is to get some press. Getting your name on a real estate website or local newspaper is a great way to position yourself locally as a real estate expert. Even better, if you can write good quotes and develop relationships with journalists, you can get them to link to your website and refer to you as, say, “San Diego’s Luxury Real Estate Expert” rather than just “Real Estate Agent.” Believe me, your clients are going to be impressed!
You don’t even have to worry about getting your sphere to see the article when it comes out. Instead, you can create a press page on your website to show off all the places you’ve been quoted.
In order to start getting quoted, sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or, if you want to get quoted or even write a guest post or video for The Close, email us here. Just remember to proofread your quotes!
Don’t have a website yet? Don’t worry, we have you covered. We have in-depth reviews of everything from $40 per month sites like Incom to high-end team websites from Propertybase. Check out our website buyer’s guide here.
12. Show Off Your Press Mentions on Social Media
Once you have some press mentions under your belt, you should start showing them off on social media. One great way to show off your mentions is to head to Canva and create a template like the one above. It’s attractive, easy to read, and shows off both your expertise and the site you were quoted in. Trust me, the sites you get quoted on will appreciate you promoting their articles! That’s a win/win in anyone’s book.
13. Fake It Until You Make It
Since you’re reading this, you know very well how much luck can change your real estate career. We’ve all heard stories about agents who stumble their way into seven-figure listings their first week on the job. For the most part, those stories are true. I’ve personally worked with agents who made well over six figures their first year as an agent, mostly due to good luck.
But luck isn’t everything. Even if a local millionaire takes a shine to you, you still have to prove to them that the risk of hiring you is worth their time. Since you likely don’t have many accomplishments to point to, your personality is going to have to work overtime to seal the deal.
Now don’t get me wrong—we’re not advocating for you to lie! In fact, starting your career off on lies is a surefire way to end it before it really starts to work for you. Instead, work on yourself and develop the confidence and knowledge that every good agent needs. Study your MLS. Read everything you can about real estate and business, and face your fears BEFORE you get lucky enough to book that listing presentation.
Want to learn some basic mistakes to avoid once you walk through their door? Check out our guide to common listing presentation mistakes here.
14. Humanize Your Personal Brand Online by Highlighting Interests & Hobbies
Another great way to get clients is to try to integrate your hobbies into your personal branding. The idea here is to appeal to your audience’s fun side by highlighting hobbies or interests you might have in common.
For example, if you’re a dog lover, you might want to consider making a cute Instagram post with your dog at your new listing, or maybe go out and rate the local dog runs and post the videos on YouTube.
Then you won’t just be another real estate agent. Instead, you’re the dog-loving real estate agent. Clients who are also dog lovers will be far more likely to choose you over someone with similar skills who isn’t a dog lover. Of course, that other agent may have four dogs and volunteer at the ASPCA, but their audience will never know.
So don’t be a secret agent when it comes to your hobbies and interests! Just make sure they’re safe for work, and ideally are at least a little bit related to buying or selling a home.
If you want to learn how top-producing luxury real estate agents integrate their dogs into their personal brand, check out our article Million Dollar Dogs: The Pampered Pooches of Luxury Real Estate. Warning! There are lots and lots of cute dogs in that article!
15. Join a Luxury Real Estate Team
After buying exclusive leads from BoldLeads, the second easiest way to get clients to work with is joining a luxury real estate team. Even though you may get a smaller split, most luxury teams get more buyers and sellers than they can handle. That means your odds of just getting handed a great lead will go through the roof. Even better, since your team will have a great reputation, those clients will be far less skeptical of working with you.
16. Start a Boutique Brokerage
If you’ve got some experience under your belt but feel like you’ve hit the wall with your real estate career, it might be time to hang your shingle and start a boutique brokerage. While running a brokerage isn’t easy, if you create a great brand and have a strong business plan, you’ll attract hungry agents and inside sales agents (ISAs) who will constantly generate leads.
Of course, instead of working them, you’ll be running the show and collecting checks. Don’t worry, though. If you get the itch to start showing again or want a few listings to stay sharp, small local real estate offices are like catnip for local homeowners and buyers. You’ll soon start getting plenty of walk-ins.
17. Know When to Leave a Brokerage That Isn’t Working for You
Sometimes it’s not how lucky you are, how hard you work, or how skilled you are that keeps you from landing clients. Instead, the brokerage you sign up with might be the thing keeping you from getting buyer and seller clients.
If you find yourself defending your brokerage’s bad reputation, or worse, making excuses for it, then chances are it’s time to move on.
Want to learn the other warning signs you need to watch out for? Check out our meme-filled guide on signs it’s time to join a new brokerage here.
Over to You
Have any thoughts on the ways to get real estate clients that we covered in the article? Let us know in the comments!