The state of real estate lead generation in 2019 is constantly evolving. What brought in great leads at an affordable rate a few months ago might not work today.
Since Zillow introduced their Ibuyer program, Facebook advertising, and more, many real estate agents are looking for new and innovative lead generation strategies.
Here are 33 innovative ways to generate buyer and seller leads in 2019:
1. Increase Response Rates With Facebook Messenger Ads
Nathan Dadosky, Director of Marketing at Game Plan
Each step in the process is an opportunity for a lead to lose interest or otherwise drop out of the lead generation process. Contrast that with Facebook Messenger ads, where an individual has the option of starting a LIVE conversation when they click an ad as opposed to filling out a form—eliminating several steps in the conversion process.
What’s really cool about this type of ad is you’re giving a lead the opportunity to start a conversation with you WITHOUT coughing up their precious contact information—which can mean more leads at a lower cost AND better response rates.”
Jeff Manson, Founding Partner & CEO, Real Geeks
Did you know that text messages have a whopping 97% open rate compared to 20% for emails?
It’s true. Some millennials have abandoned email entirely, or at best, check their email once or twice a week.
That means your marketing message is going to get buried under an avalanche of emails from a million other companies desperate for their attention.
That means instead of sticking to email to communicate with your online leads, you should try using text messages.
The only issue is texting and driving, or texting when you’re sitting in another boring sales meeting.
Amazingly, a good quality CRM like the one you get with Real Geeks will let you send out automated text messages to your leads.
If you have a few minutes, you can even have several open text conversations with multiple leads at once.
3. Work Divorce Leads
Kelly Lise Murray, J.D. Co-founder, Divorcethishouse.com
Okay, let’s stop beating around the bush here. Competition for the low hanging fruit leads in pretty much any farm area is usually fierce.
If you want to get and close more leads, sometimes it can help to think outside the box.
Want leads that are truly motivated? How about leads that have a court order to sell their home?
How about leads who really, really, really want to move?
If you’ve got reserves of patience and empathy, then working divorce leads might be the perfect lead gen strategy to close a few more deals this year.
There’s even a designation—RCS-D™—that you can get to show potential divorce clients that you know your stuff and mean business.
Since they’re by far the most sought-after leads in real estate, seller leads can be tough to generate and tough to nurture.
One of the best ways to get seller leads is to create home valuation landing pages and advertise them on Google AdWords and Facebook.
However, that’s not the only place you can use your landing pages. You can post links to them on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or pretty much any other social media you use. While boosted posts sure do help you increase your reach and target audience, you might be surprised at the leads you can get on your own.
Even better, if you use landing pages from BoldLeads, their system will automatically gather their social media info as well. You can also get partial leads for door hangers or direct mail campaigns.
Christina Griffin, Tampa Bay Realtor & Team Leader
Let’s face it, circle prospecting is one of the best ways to stake out your claim in your farm area.
If you want to become THE real estate agent in a neighborhood, you’re going to have to get in front of the neighbors as often as possible.
The only problem is that some neighborhoods are already blanketed with door hangers, flyers, and postcards from your competition.
With a little creativity, you can beat the competition to the chase before they get their flyers printed.
Working with real estate coach Tom Ferry, Tampa Bay Realtor Christina Griffin came up with an ingenious strategy to reach homeowners in her farm area.
She bought lists of homeowners’ cell numbers, then, after cross checking with the DNC, used a clever new app called Slydial Broadcast to automatically leave them all voicemails advertising her next open house.
The response was immediate, and massive. She got 200 leads her first day! To learn more about how she did it and her inspiring personal journey, check out our case study on Christina’s real estate lead generation strategy here.
One of the hardest parts of being a buyer’s agent is constantly pitching buyers who don’t want to work with an agent. Sure, statistics show that they’ll eventually come around, but who’s to say they’ll remember you?
Amazingly, there’s a way to snap up buyer leads who actually WANT a buyer’s agent: Zillow Agent Finder.
There’s two ways to generate leads from Agent Finder: Have an amazing profile with the most closed deals in your ZIP code, or you can join Zillow Premier Agent and show up at the top of the search results for any ZIP code you want. Pretty cool right?
7. Master Cold Calling
Kevin Ward, Yesmasters
While your competition is sitting back waiting for leads to roll in from Instagram or Pinterest, take the bold route and pick up the phone.
Sure, it’s a little intimidating to get hung up on, but there is no better way to build the thick skin you’ll need to become a top-producing real estate agent.
In order to become a cold calling ninja, you’re going to need three things:
A Great FSBO Script
Yup. Even the pros memorize and use scripts when they’re pitching for sale by owner (FSBO). We recommend Kevin Ward’s excellent FSBO scripts. Here’s a great archive of FSBO scripts, including Kevin’s from Keller Williams Moving Careers.
Even the best script in the world won’t help if you don’t have leads. There are plenty of places to get local FSBO leads. REDX offers great FSBO leads all over the country at great prices. Click below to check your ZIP code:
A Growth Mindset & a Good Sense of Humor
If you ever want to get leads from cold calling, you’re going to have to get used to the idea you’re going to get rejected 99% of the time. Of course, that 1% might be enough to launch a new career as a listing agent, so the odds are actually in your favor.
In order to help deal with the rejection and stay positive, you need to develop what’s called a growth mindset. Luckily, we have an article on how you can work to develop a growth mindset here.
Julie Gurner, Senior Editor, The Close
Market Leader owns one of the largest and best home valuation sites online: housevalues.com. Homeowners use the site to check the value of properties they’re interested in selling. Market Leader then sends those exclusive leads out to agents who claim their ZIP code. This is one of the best ways to generate seller leads at the beginning of their decision process before other agents pitch them.
If you want to check if Market Leader has exclusive seller leads for you, check availability in your ZIP code here.
9. Pick Up the Phone & Make Outbound Phone Calls Without Even Using Slydial!
Leigh Brown, REALTOR®, CEO, best-selling author, coach, and speaker offers the most in-depth online real estate curriculum at https://www.leighbrownu.com
“Calls to whom? The contacts IN your phone. The people you actually know. Statistics show that an estimated third of the public does something related to real estate annually (renovations, updates, repairs, refinancing, buying, selling), and savvy Realtors® are there for all of those steps in the work of being the trusted Realtor® adviser over time.
“Costs nothing. How to make it happen? Set a doable goal of ONE call per day. It will get done—and once you do one, you’re likely to make two.”
10. Create a Lead-optimized IDX Website
Chris Linsell, Staff Writer, The Close
A well-optimized IDX website is one of the easiest ways to bring in leads on an ongoing basis.
11. Become the Digital Mayor of Your Farm Area
Let’s face it: If you want to 2x your GCI this year, you need to become a hyper-local expert online. The only problem is that it’s getting harder and harder to break through on social media, even with paid ads.
Luckily, there is a much better way to show off your hyper-local expertise and build lasting relationships with local business leaders and influencers that lead to referrals. Parkbench hands you the keys to a sticky, hyper-local website that centers you as the expert in your farm area.
Of course, like anything new, spaces are filling up fast. Parkbench only allows one agent per local area. Click below to find out if your farm area is still available.
12. Sign Up to Do BPOs, Then Market to the Owners of Distressed Homes
Sebastian Frey, Broker & Owner, Realty World Virtuoso
“When a borrower starts to miss payments on a mortgage, a lender or loan servicer will often order a ‘broker price opinion’ on a property in case they end up having to foreclose, do a loan modification, or short sale. They may do this before it is reported as a late payment to a credit agency, and well before they file a notice of default. So this is an early indicator of a homeowner who may need to sell sooner rather than later.”
13. Pitch Your Listing (or Your Expertise) to News Outlets
Christian Petterson, VP of Marketing & Business Development & Realtor, isella.com
“Most people do not think about pitching their listings to news outlets, but it has surprisingly proven to be one of the best strategies for getting a lot of leads extremely quickly! One of my listings was featured in a New York Times article last week, and I have been receiving at least five calls a day since publication—I had three showings just today! It’s amazing to see the response you get when backed by a reputable publication. Not only can I sell a property extremely quickly through the publicity, but I gain a lot of new clients for other listings as well. The response from media coverage has blown me away every time.”
Don’t have New York Times-worthy listings? You can still pitch journalists your expertise on sites like HARO, or by following the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter.
14. Build & Advertise a Real Estate Brand Instead of Your Personal Brand
Kristina McCann, Founder, Off Market Homes
One of the most common misconceptions with online advertising is that you need to constantly push your “personal” brand. In reality, of course, most people are not looking for you. In fact, many of them might not want an agent at all. Instead, build a brand that offers buyers and sellers in your area something they want. That might mean IDX listings, or in East Bay San Francisco Realtor and entrepreneur Kristina McCann’s case, she discovered that what buyers in her area wanted most was off-market homes.
After building and launching her site, she generated $40 million in buyer leads in her first month.
15. Shoot Local Videos & Share Them With Your Sphere
Sue Pinky Benson, Naples Florida Realtor & Nationally Recognized Speaker
The key to generating leads with local videos according to Naples Florida top-producing Realtor Sue Pinky Benson? Consistency.
“Shooting one video and expecting to get leads is never going to work. Instead, produce and post videos consistently to your social media channels and email list with BombBomb. It may take time, but eventually the local community will begin to associate your brand with the area.”
16. Connect With Pet Loving Leads by Sponsoring a Local Adoption Event
Alisa Cunningham, Realtor, Douglas Elliman
“A great opportunity is to approach local animal shelters or rescue groups and offer to sponsor an adoption event. You give them money to pay for renting a space, tables, and canopy shelters, maybe hire food trucks to be there, do advertising for them, and then show up and work the event. People love their pets—most people consider them members of the family.
“Being of service and finding a home for those abandoned pets is critical work and usually really appreciated, plus you get to talk to people. Pet lovers bond with other pet lovers. ‘Creating home for you and your pets’ or ‘Finding homes for you and your pets’ or something like that. But you have to be a pet lover yourself.”
17. Send Sales Letters to Absentee Owners
Jason Pantana, Tom Ferry Master Coach, Speaker
“Good old fashioned sales letters. There’s a difference between direct mail and drip mail. Most of the time, in real estate, we call drip mail, direct mail. For instance, sending postcards twice a month to a geographic farm isn’t really direct mail (despite us calling it that) because it usually isn’t angling for a ‘direct response.’ To the contrary, it’s more about creating top-of-mind awareness and branding. Direct mail, on the other hand, has more to do with organizing a vetted and scrubbed list of ideal recipients and then delivering a calibrated letter (or a few letters in a row) that are designed to get the recipients to take action within a relatively short time frame.
“Given that the market is adjusting pretty much everywhere, we’re having some clients who are sending out kindhearted and well-reasoned letters to absentee owners in communities and areas where appreciation has been favorable and where it looks like selling now may be the best play in the foreseeable future.”
18. Hand Out Free Seasonal Treats With Your Business Card
Nelene Gibbs, Broker & Owner, Nelene Gibbs Real Estate
“One suggestion I offered my newer agents was to go to the mall or shopping center during the holiday shopping season and hand out business cards attached to a candy cane to everyone walking by. No need to wait in line to see Santa to get a candy cane. Spread a little Christmas cheer with the candy canes and hopefully pick up a new client or two for the new year. Everyone loves a candy cane at Christmas!!
“One other suggestion I had was to print water bottle labels, go to the shopping areas where the crowds line up waiting for the big Black Friday sales events, and pass out water bottles with your brand (business card) on them to the crowds waiting in line.”
19. Pitch Older Expired Listings
Dan Prud’homme, Owner, Carolina Realty Group
“I don’t just reach out to listings that are newly expired (like everyone does), but I dig deeper and pay special attention to the ones that expired a year or more ago, that never relisted. I figure that at some point these potential clients wanted to sell, so why not reach out to them to see what their plans are, how they may have changed, and how I could help them meet their objective. If their plan is to sell sometime in the future, I offer to assist them with a strategy so they’re ready to hit the ground running when the timing is perfect.”
20. Make a Plan & Work the Holidays
Courtney Poulos, Broker & Owner
Since most of your fellow agents will head for the hills during the holidays, staying in the office can mean easy lead generation. Here are a few tips from Los Angeles’ Acme Realty Founder, Courtney Poulos, on generating leads during the holidays.
”My advice to newer agents who are looking to work through the holidays would be to use the fact that you are present and available during the holiday season as the dominant messaging in your marketing. And if you have listings that you are going to be showing during the holidays, have holiday-themed events such as a holiday-themed broker’s open with spiced cider, or at your Sunday open house, have a jazz musician playing holiday music. You can also take new pictures of the property with some holiday decorations to use in your social media posts.”
21. Become a ‘Coffee House Consultant’
Justin Potier, Broker, Carrington Real Estate Services
Since you’re going to spend a ton of time in coffee shops anyway, why not advertise your services for free?
Justin Potier of Carrington Real Estate Services had an agent who set up their laptop to work, then put up a little sign, saying “Free real estate advice.”
22. Meet Your Top Fifty Contacts in Person Once per Quarter
Nate Martinez, Owner, RE/MAX Professionals
“Lead generation is about personal connection. At our office, we have created our ‘Top 50 program,’ where we designate the top people in our network who have the greatest potential to bring in one piece of business. From there, we look to meet with our contacts once a quarter face-to-face to learn more about their lives and develop a deeper relationship with them. We also host exclusive parties and events, which we invite our ‘Top 50’ to, including movie nights, parties, and so on. Leveraging your network is a great way to generate leads and in order to get those, you need to build strong personal relationships with them.”
23. Network at More Non-real Estate-related Events
Eseosa “Sosa” Eke, Founder, Sosa Real Estate Design & Branding
“If you’re going to events where everyone else is just like you, your odds of meeting quality leads is slim to none.
Instead of going to the same old real estate mixers or networking events, think outside the box and join some non-real estate-related local events. Your next client can be found at a community yoga workshop, a sip and paint night, a book reading, or even at a concert.
“Just be careful of trying to ‘sell’ to people you meet. Instead, go to an event you’ll truly enjoy, engage in the flow of conversation, and when you get the ‘what do you do?’ question, give them an answer that truly makes your real estate services shine. Even if you don’t get any new leads, you’ll spend time doing things you love. How can you go wrong?”
24. Try Ranking Articles on Google for Luxury or Historic Listings
Tristan Roberts, Lake Tahoe Realtor
“Too many people believe that the time has passed to successfully rank organically on Google—specifically targeting ranking opinion articles for individual property addresses and then providing ‘the rest of the story’ so the potential buyers can read your opinions of the property’s strengths and weaknesses. This works extremely well with very high-end or historic properties. The buyer gets to hear your tone and gets a feel for your personality, as well as some honest insight about the property they’re considering buying.”
25. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Cynthia Emerling, Associate Broker, Finger Lakes Premier Properties
If you join your local chamber of commerce, you can get your name and business listed in newsletters and websites, and get referrals and make valuable connections who are well established in your area.
“You can become members of the town and county Chambers that your office is in, as well as nearby areas or counties that you serve or have offices in. Similarly, you can look into becoming a member of a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) or Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). Sometimes these are the same as the Chamber and other times they are a separate entity.”
26. Use Seasonal Leave-behinds
Nick Slocum, Partner, Realtor, The Nick Slocum Team
“By far and away, our two best unique leave-behinds are when we had placed an American flag on each lawn just prior to the 4th of July and when we place a pumpkin on each doorstep around Halloween. The response is incredible and the connection to the community is even better. In fact, over the years, the neighbors have come to expect it and often refer to us as ‘The Pumpkin Guys’ or ‘The Flag Guys.’”
27. Learn to Rank Your Website on Google by Building Quality Backlinks
Shawn Breyer, Owner, Breyer Home Buyers
When doing SEO, focus on building links back to your site from sites that are relevant to your business. If you’re selling houses, then getting a link to your site from a blog on Realtor.com is going to drive your site up in the Google search rankings. Whatever you do, don’t perform shady backlink building practices, such as buying 500 backlinks for $20 on Fiverr. SEO won’t produce leads for your business immediately, but over time, your organic lead flow will increase, which will drastically improve your ROI on your business.
Want to learn more about SEO? Check out Backlinko’s 2019 Definitive SEO Guide here
28. Help Your Buyers Find an Investment, Not Just a Home
Rebecca Saenz, Realtor, RE/MAX Estate Properties Los Angeles
“I have found through the years that agents do not have enough knowledge of how to guide their clients through real estate investing from their primary residence. I work with business managers and accountants to share business and guide our clients together to gain wealth through real estate. Most people think you buy a house and live in it, sell it, and buy another one, but what if they kept that first house and bought another one, and gained passive income from the first? I have clients for life because they trust I’m guiding them on the right path of when and what to sell based on their needs and income desires in the future.”
29. Schedule Outreach to Your SOI Every Day
Akos Straub, Top-producing Chicago Realtor
“In my opinion, the best underrated lead-generating technique is accessing and utilizing your current network. After all, unlike cold internet leads, these are people who probably already know and trust you. So carve out time every day to reach out to your sphere and just ask for business. Lead generation doesn’t get much simpler (or more effective) than this.”
30. Become a Reliable Source of Real Estate Expertise in Facebook Groups
Bryan Bowles, Founder & CEO, Transactly
“You don’t need to create one, but get involved. For example, create a survey to find out ‘What’s stopping you from buying a home?’, and then engage people individually in a very casual manner. The key is coming up with creative content that makes people want to participate, remaining consistent, and measuring the results. I see too many agents who let these things go if they don’t see immediate results or start getting busy.”
31. Host a First-time Buyer’s Workshop
Cindy Bowman, Listing & Marketing Manager, The Ramsey Group
“A great, underrated lead generation technique for real estate agents? One word: Altruism. Do good for others without expecting anything in return. Get involved with charity or civic organizations and do so with the sole intention of helping. A side effect of doing good is that it gets your name in front of others, and more importantly, it gives those people an opportunity to learn something about you outside of real estate. When a real estate need finally arises, you’ll be top of mind and thought of more as a ‘real person’ as opposed to ‘just another agent.’ Also? It feels nice to help others!”
32. Create an Avatar of Your Ideal Client & Then Target Them on Social Media
Kyle Alfriend, REMAX Hall of Fame Agent
“Create an ‘avatar’ of your ideal client … their income, interests, personality, age, family size, and hobbies. Then post a steady stream of videos and blogs on all social media outlets, all about those things. If they are active, start running and biking, and posting updates on your activities. If they have school-age children, attend school sporting events, concerts, and plays, and post about them. Restaurants, wine enthusiasts, religious events, sporting events, hiking, swimming, and charitable causes—identify your ideal client, then post yourself being involved in the things they do.”
33. Pitch Local Real Estate Investors
Alison Bethell, Real Estate Investor & Editor, The Close
If you’re working in an area with a lot of investor activity, then seeking out investors to work with may help you close more deals this year.
Sure, you may not be working with glamorous properties, but if you get in good with a busy investor, you’ll never need to worry about lead generation again.
What does it take to become the go-to real estate agent for your local investors?
Here’s Alison on what she looks for in a real estate agent:
“As an investor, I look for certain things in a Realtor that a first time homebuyer doesn’t necessarily need. I want a Realtor who is either an investor themselves or has at least two years of experience working with investors. The Realtor needs to be a strong negotiator, know the market, and not be timid about submitting conventionally low offers. I look for a Realtor who thinks outside the box, has access to off-market listings, and has a strong network including lenders and title companies.”
Over to You
What real estate lead generation techniques are you using for 2019? Still sticking with Zillow? Let us know in the comments!