If you’ve worked in real estate for more than 30 seconds, you’ve probably come to the (painful) realization that 1. you NEED seller leads to become a top producer, and 2. finding and converting seller leads is hard work.
First, you need to have a thick skin to handle rejection after rejection. Then, once you get your foot in the door, you’re going to need a rock-solid listing presentation if you want even a slight chance of getting the listing.
Even for experienced agents with a few dozen sales under their belt, getting seller leads can be an uphill battle. Getting good seller leads is even more difficult.
In order to make your transition from buyer’s agent to listing agent a little bit smoother, we put together a list of 12 foolproof ways to get real estate seller leads in 2020. We also worked with our friends at global luxury brokerage Douglas Elliman to get more tips on becoming a listing agent.
Here are 12 ways to get more real estate seller leads:
1. Be the Local Expert in Targeted Social Media Communities of Verified Homeowners
If you’re having trouble generating seller leads through social media, you’re not alone. Here’s advice from top producers’ favorite real estate coach, Sean Moudry:
“One of the first things I tell new coaching clients is that if they want to get more listings, they need to stop selling and start helping on social media. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not.
There’s a big problem no one talks about: Finding verified homeowners who need your help when they need it is nearly impossible on social media today. There’s just too many random people. Too much noise.
That’s why Nextdoor is the perfect place to find verified homeowners who need your help, when they need it. 100% of the people on Nextdoor are verified residents of your ZIP code, and a whopping 75% of them are verified homeowners.
So stop wasting time selling on social media and start helping verified local homeowners answer their real estate questions when they need your help. Click below to see if yours is still available to start getting more seller leads today.”
2. Join a Team With Well-known Listing Agents
If you work in or near a reasonably sized city, chances are there are a handful of listing agents who are literally making millions doing exactly what you do. Helping people buy and sell houses.
So what keeps you from joining them and retiring at 50 to a Tahitian island? Not as much as you might think. First and foremost, there is a 100% chance they have more experience than you do. Other than that, they have a circle of wealthy or influential clients who continually feed them great leads before any other agents have the chance to snap them up.
While you can’t rush experience, you can give yourself a huge head start by avoiding the expensive trial and error every agent faces and get introduced to an inner circle of wealthy buyers and sellers you would never meet on your own.
In order to get there this century, joining an established team with superstar listing agents is one great way to do it. Sure, you might be working buyers for a while, but if you hang in, you’ll learn invaluable secrets from the best of the best in your farm area.
So what are you waiting for? Check out who’s #1 in your city on the Real Trends ranking and reach out.
Since generating top-of-the-funnel seller leads will more than double your chances of snagging a listing, the earlier you can get seller leads into your customer relationship management (CRM) software, the better. That’s an unavoidable fact of lead generation.
In 2020, the best way to generate top-of-the-funnel seller leads online is to drive traffic to home valuation landing pages. Of course, the learning curve here can be steep. Getting low cost-per-click from social media ads and designing landing pages from scratch requires tech skills and a lot of trial and error.
Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to keep up with Facebook’s byzantine ad manager, you can sign up for BoldLeads and get exclusive top-of-funnel seller leads without the headaches.
Done-for-You Seller Lead Generation
BoldLeads even offers done-for-you seller lead generation that lets you just sit back and collect seller leads. No, really. They’ll handle everything from creating, running, and continuously optimizing social ads to helping nurture your seller leads.
Fully Integrated CRM, IDX Website & BoldLeads
If you want an even more sophisticated seller lead generation system, BoldLeads is now fully integrated into Propertybase, an industry-leading CRM, IDX website, and lead generation system.
To learn more about getting exclusive seller leads, visit the BoldLeads website or check out our in-depth review of Propertybase here if you want a more robust lead generation and marketing platform.
4. Work Your Sphere to Find Seller Leads in Your Own CRM
Your personal sphere of influence is the richest seller lead resource a real estate agent has. It pays to spend some time here, because 63% of all sellers find their agent through their sphere.
Since you’ve already got some sort of relationship with these people, you can skip the cold outreach tactics and start straight in on strengthening your existing relationship and nudging people toward becoming clients.
Set up regular communication plans with everyone you know, even if it is just once a year, to remind them of your services, your value, and your availability. Sellers want to work with someone they know; it should be you!
Miltiadis Kastanis, Director of Luxury Sales, Miami Beach for Douglas Elliman, gets most of his seller leads from his network:
“My seller leads come from my network, from being on the scene, and from always being at the most happening events. My tips and tricks to keeping them as a full-time client is by being at their call even when it’s not related to real estate. I go to their personal events, support their causes, invite them to dinner parties, and so on. I become a part of their daily life and offer a superior level of service to make sure they don’t think of anyone else for their referrals or their personal real estate needs. I come from a hospitality background, so it’s really simple for me.”
If you want to work your sphere effectively without going crazy, automation is key. There’s just too much information to remember! Worse, if you don’t hit the right contact with the right message at the right time, you’re leaving seller leads on the table. Period.
Smart agents automate their outreach with a CRM like LionDesk. Instead of making complicated spreadsheets, you can set LionDesk to automatically send out drip emails or texts, and schedule monthly calls.
LionDesk even has artificial intelligence (AI)-powered lead assist technology that can automatically nurture seller leads for you 24/7. You can also set up drip campaigns, text messaging, and even direct mail. Best of all, LionDesk starts at just $25 per month. Without a doubt, it’s the best value real estate CRM on the market today.
Dina Goldentayer, a Douglas Elliman agent in Miami, developed a clear action plan that she uses to determine the right time to reach out to the right lead:
“Ultimately, I have the greatest success with sellers who have a need to sell. And even those sometimes take months to make a decision of when to list and whom to hire. I have a clear action plan of how often I ‘touch’ the seller to make sure I stay in their forefront. That can include a text once a week, a call every two weeks with a market update, a meeting for coffee once a month, a mailer to their home, and so on. When they’re ready, I know I won’t be forgotten.”
6. Help Distressed Homeowners
No matter how good the market is, there are always homeowners who fall behind on payments. In some cases, they are able to recover from their situation by getting caught up on payments or negotiating a loan modification, but in most cases, they will have to sell the home to avoid foreclosure. That’s why working distressed properties can be a great way to get listings in any market. Learn more about how to find and work with distressed homeowners in our course, “Survive and Thrive,” in The Close Pro.
7. Convert Rental Leads
While traditionally a seller lead generation strategy only really works in big cities, converting rental leads has become a viable strategy for agents all over the country. Once you look at demographic shifts, it’s easy to see why. First, more people are renting now than ever before, and second, developers are building more and more high-end rentals outside of larger cities.
Here’s Douglas Elliman Manhattan agent Adrian Radomski on just how lucrative converting rental leads can be:
“Treat every rental showing as if it were a large sale—you never know who you’re showing to. I’ve converted a $9,000 rental showing into a $4.2 million sale. That person then referred me to another family member, whose apartment we sold for $1.3 million.”
More than 100 miles outside of Manhattan, Martha Gunderson, an Elliman agent in the Hamptons, agrees:
“I would say that rentals are a good lead for potential sales. Provide information to the homeowner regarding the true value of their house in the current market and advise them how to get the most for their home.”
8. Get Over Your Fear of Cold Calling Expireds & FSBO
While many people tend to avoid phone calls as if they were actually allergic to them, the fact remains that the personal connection made on the phone is equal to 10 postcards or emails. It’s simple really—human beings are conditioned to both remember and have a reaction to interpersonal communication.
The opposite is true for pretty much all other mediums. Emails are almost designed to be ignored, as are ads on social media and social media posts themselves. Ditto for pretty much any content you create and post online. There’s just too many distractions that compete for their attention.
Text messages and direct messages (DMs) on social media do a little bit better, but they still can’t hold a candle to a phone call.
So when you’re planning out your lead generation and nurturing campaigns to get and convert seller leads, make sure you plan in regular phone calls. That means setting aside a few hours each day to cold call, as well as regularly picking up the phone and calling former clients.
Jennifer Alese, Ryan Serhant’s head of new development, didn’t mince words when we asked her how important calling leads was to getting listings:
“Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and TALK. This is so important and goes such a long way. It’s a work day? Text them! At the end of the day, we are all in the same world and evolving with technology. Not everyone checks emails, answers calls, or listens to voicemail.”
Mia Vissichelli, an agent with Douglas Elliman Long Island, swears by cold calling expired listings to generate seller leads:
“Definitely tackle expired listings! It’s a free source of warm leads and it doesn’t cost anything to pick up the phone or knock on their door and introduce yourself. It’s a great way to get listings, learn your market, and get your name out there as a trusted resource. I also love that working with expired listings tests your problem-solving skills, since you have to market the home in a fresh, new way that wasn’t already done by the previous listing agent.”
Dan Burz, a Douglas Elliman agent in Manhattan, agrees:
“I’ve generated a $650,000 listing in New Jersey from FSBO, which led me to a $14 million new development site in Flushing, and I am now the full-time agent taking care of the units. From expired, I’ve got two units at 540 West 49th Street, and I’m the seller’s exclusive agent for everything related to those units (rental and sales). The owners are law professors at Virginia University. In both, I was consistent and didn’t give up until I got their trust.”
Pro tip: If you want to start taking cold calling seriously, you’re going to need a great source of leads and an auto-dialer to go with them. We recommend REDX. Check out our in-depth review of REDX here to learn more.
9. Create Postcard Campaigns for Your Sphere & Farm
Who doesn’t love getting something personal in their otherwise dreary pile of bills and coupons? I know I do. Well, chances are your former clients and the rest of your sphere do too. Why not incorporate postcards into your nurturing campaigns and give them what they want?
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Just send out heartfelt messages wishing them a happy birthday, a Merry Christmas, or a postcard with a pretty picture just to say hello. After all, you never know when that postcard is going to end up on their refrigerator and stay there for months or even years.
Think about it: They have friends over relaxing in the kitchen and one of them spots your postcard on the fridge and asks about it. What will your former client say? If they liked you, why wouldn’t they recommend you? Congratulations. You might have just picked up a seller lead for 50 cents.
10. Become the Digital Mayor of Your Farm Area
One underappreciated way to get real estate seller leads is to become the digital mayor of your farm area. One great way to do it is to develop relationships with local influencers who will then become evangelists for your business.
No, we’re not suggesting you go out for drinks with the local equivalent of Kim Kardashian! Instead, you should work to develop relationships to local business owners. Why local business owners? Simple. They know everyone and new people moving to your farm want to know them.
You can always go out and talk to and interview local business owners for your blog or social media to build tons of local content for your leads. Or, you can use the system that Parkbench already designed to help automate the process and give you a five-year head start.
Brian Babst, a Douglas Elliman agent in Manhattan, knows the value of his personal recommendations for his prospective clients:
“For everyone I come in contact with, I position myself constantly as a helpful resource, and not as focused on the immediate listing. If they are confident I know the most cost-effective painter, easiest place for window treatments, or best slice in the neighborhood, I know I’m going to be on their list when it’s time to sell. Especially in a time when there is a ‘Concierge’ or an Angie’s List-style referral source for everything, people want to trust a ‘Brian’s List’ that’s ACTUALLY handpicked and tested. Money and time matters—if you can prove you’re a helpful resource, the sellers will remember.”
Mollie Grossman, a Douglas Elliman on Long Island, finds personal connections net her the most seller leads:
“Networking in your farm area is so important. Only shop in stores locally. Eat in restaurants locally.”
11. Work Open Houses
Although many agents tend to ignore them, open houses can be an excellent place to find seller leads. Yes, you’ll get the inevitable parade of tire kickers and curious neighbors, but you’ll also get serious sellers checking out the competition to see what their home might sell for. This makes perfect sense as every buyer thinks they’re going to be a real estate expert these days, and what better way to become an expert than checking out listings in person?
Open houses can be an especially fertile source for seller leads in more affluent neighborhoods, as most residents never even see their neighbors’ driveway—let alone their living rooms.
Barbara Leogrande, an Associate Broker with Douglas Elliman Long Island, sees open houses as a perfect excuse to meet potential clients face to face instead of online:
“For me, open houses are hands-down the best way to generate seller leads. I typically do two to three every weekend, and find that it’s not only buyers who attend, but also homeowners scoping out the competition and subconsciously interviewing the agents they meet. Nothing beats a face-to-face personal experience and making a great first impression. When they call me to list, they say ‘Do you remember me? We met at your open house!’”
12. Work With Real Estate Investors & House Flippers
If you’re working in a reasonably sized city, chances are there are dozens of investors and house flippers buying, renovating, and selling houses every day. What most people don’t realize is that investors weren’t born yesterday. They know that their best chance to get top dollar for their listing is to hire a listing agent to aggressively market the property.
Why shouldn’t that listing agent be you? If you have local expertise, marketing chops, and enough experience to get them great prices, then you can set yourself up with a steady supply of listings to close every month.
Want to learn what investors are looking for in an agent? Check out our in-depth guide written by—you guessed it—an experienced real estate investor who regularly hires agents like you.
Bonus Tip: Publish Authoritative Content That Educates Sellers on Social Media
Since we live in what seems like the golden age of do-it-yourself (DIY) culture, people are heading online to research pretty much every decision they make. Want to buy a rice cooker? Well, there’s entire Reddit threads and Facebook Groups dedicated to rice cookers. There’s also dozens of long-form articles rating every possible detail of the most popular cookers.
If people are going that deep to choose a $99 appliance that cooks rice, then you can be sure people are doing some heavy-duty research on best practices for selling their home. This is a great opportunity to show off your expertise and get your phone to ring.
Since they’re going to read articles on curb appeal, showings, pricing, and a million other aspects of selling a home, why shouldn’t they read your articles? The trick is to write easy-to-follow, informative articles on the selling process and then post them on social media.
LinkedIn is a great place to post them as Facebook tends to be a bit oversaturated with agents. If you do post your informative articles on Facebook, spending $10 or so every few days to boost them can pay off massively. All you need is one person to read your article and pick up the phone.