In the last year real estate professionals across the country have had to find new ways to adapt to their way of doing business.
School is online, businesses are remote & meetings happen via Zoom, and realtors are doing the same.
Technology has made it easier to go through a lot of the home-buying process virtually using tools like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live and more.
But that also means losing out on what was once a great lead source: open houses.
With grand open houses relegated to being a thing of the past due to Covid and with listing inventory being so low, I thought I would share 11 high impact strategies for keeping the leads flowing and creating new listing & buyer opportunities for your real estate business in 2021.
Let’s jump in …
1. Shoot a high quality video that tells a story highlighting your new listing, talks about he community, and/or features you as the local expert.
Buyers right now want to know 3 things:
- Should I buy a home right now?
- Is it safe to buy a home right now?
- How do I safely buy a home right now?
They want to be able to search and find answers to these questions online quickly and easily. And they want to see high quality photos, videos, and virtual tours of those homes online.
So in order to stand out, you need to step up your marketing and that starts with video.
These videos are great for marketing at the top of the funnel – in other words, run ads to promote your videos to a cold audience on Facebook and YouTube.
You can literally buy video views for pennies on the dollar reaching a cold audience and then you can create a custom audience of people that have watched at least 50% of your video.
Once you’ve warmed up an audience, you can retarget them with a video profile ad similar with a compelling video like this one from real estate agent Lynsie Gridley who sells in the community of Willow Glen:
2. Purchase phone numbers and emails for the neighborhood and make those circle prospecting calls.
You have to commit to calling X number of people from your database each and every single day and log that activity in your CRM (SOI, past clients, active and in-active leads).
If you don’t have a big SOI and past client database, don’t worry, you can use a system like RedX to call GeoLeads and Expireds.
For real estate professionals, prospecting is all about talking to as many people as you can.
A lot of agents trick themselves into thinking that if they just had the “right tool” or the “right system,” then everything will fall into place.
The truth is: tools are just a small part of a steady lead pipeline. The best client generation systems use a few simple tools but they get the most out of them. That’s the real difference.
Tom Toole’s team closed 289 transactions in the last 12 months. He says that while nobody else wants to call neighborhoods, his team is calling 250 homeowners a day. With the results they pulled in last year it’s pretty safe to say that they’re winning at the prospecting game.
3. Setup a text code sign rider for showing appointments via Calendly.
How do you find the highest intent buyers for all of the new listings you’re taking?
Stats show that 43% of buyers drive directly to a listing after finding a home online.
Having a yard sign with your company brand, name, and phone number is prime real estate advertising. But only if you’re properly taking advantage of it.
One way to take advantage of it is to setup a 24/7 open house using a $10 sign rider with a text-for-info number:
Using a service like CallAction and Calendly, you can now instantly book showing appointments to view the home around the clock while delivering the same experience that the major real estate portals are delivering and while generating the same high quality leads without paying $200+ per lead (or 35% referral fees).
4. Create a Facebook Lead ad to generate high-quality buyers leads and build your pipeline of future business.
Again, every listing is an opportunity to generate at least 1 – 3 additional transactions from that listing.
While you might not be able to host those BIG GRAND OPEN HOUSE events, you can still run Facebook ads to promote your virtual open house, announce your new listing, or price reduction.
Done right, you can generate a steady pipeline of future business. In fact, in 2020 we helped our agents generate a total of 7,881 leads running targeted Facebook Lead Ads:
Want to learn more about running Facebook Lead Ads, sign up for my on-demand webinar here.
5. Once a property is in escrow, in addition to doing your geo prospecting calls and reaching out by phone and email, consider running an automated postcard campaign to the farm area around the listing – especially targeting the potential next sellers in the neighborhood.
Look, it’s tough to get listings in any market. And especially in today’s market.
Seasoned real estate professionals know that there’s no silver bullet or magic formula to securing more listings. So instead on relying on simple “lead gen tactics,” they invest in a multi-channel content strategy that includes print.
Services like Agent Dominator will send “just sold” postcards around a home you just sold. As you work on converting your farm into your SOI, a great call-to-action to embed on your print flyers is to offer a free instant home valuation similar to the postcard below:
6. Put your clients into Homebot to stay in touch with them every month but don’t forget about them, instead, continue to follow up – remember, everyone in your database is a seller at a certain price.
You’ve probably heard me talk about Homebot enough already. If you haven’t, you can sign up for my free on-demand Homebot webinar here.
Homebot is easily the lowest cost, highest return tool that I’ve introduced to my agents in the last year.
For every 100 people that you upload into your database you can likely expect to generate at least 2 listing opportunities over the course of a year. Once you’ve got your database uploaded, here is a great email script to send to your database to generate even more CMA requests:
Then, the name of the game is just consistently growing that database of potential next sellers.
I was recently introduced to this concept of “research phase sellers.” Meaning someone’s always in a different phase of life and researching their next move.
… the 55+ and older group is researching whether now’s the right time to downsize.
… first-time buyers are researching whether now’s the right time to buy.
… investors are researching whether they should hold on to their investment and find another renter because the previous tenant lost their job due to Covid.
The question you should ask yourself is “how do I go from 50 – 100 research phase sellers who are thinking of moving?”
But remember, don’t just put them into Homebot and forget about them or forget to follow up and personally check up on them.
Like Josh Lewis said in my recent podcast episode, commit to calling through 2 letters of the alphabet every week. Here are some great scripts to use in those conversations …
7. Create case studies out of those scenarios where you helped someone sell and buy at the same time and share it with your database.
With inventory being so low, buyers are afraid to sell because they’re not sure if they can find a new home to move into.
Jessie does this well through some of the personalized text drip campaigns he’s built into CallAction. For example, here’s a sample text drip meant for your Homebot subscribers (sent through CallAction):
Step 1: Segment your database. What “research phase seller” are they: move up buyer, down-sizer, investor?
Step 2: Write up your case study preferably with a video testimonial showcasing how you helped these happy homeowners make a contingent sale (i.e. how you helped them find a home when there wasn’t any on the market and how you helped them sell their current home in a record X amount of days for X% higher than asking).
Step 3: Email your specific case study to the appropriate segment of your database with a call to action similar to the one in Jessie’s text drip:
Do you know anyone that may be in a similar situation that we can help with?
8. Seller seminars targeting seniors. But don’t call it a “seller seminar,” call it an Estate Planning Event.
I got this one from someone in Tom Ferry’s network (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name) and it was a great idea!
You can host a seller seminar targeting seniors, except you don’t want to call it a “seller seminar.” You’ll want to call it an Estate Planning Event.
The key is this: Don’t talk about “selling the house.” In other words, don’t have commission breath. They came to this event to start planning for the future and you’re there to assist them in moving their assets.
I know you want to help them downsize. They know you want to help them downsize, but you want to lead with value first.
Things you’ll need to kick-off a good event:
- An estate planning attorney,
- A title company to talk about a 1031 exchange,
- A reverse-mortgage expert (for seniors, if you put a large enough down payment, they can purchase a new home with a reverse-mortgage and never have payments for as long as they live in the home using a home-equity conversion mortgage)
- Talk to a home management professional that’s going to talk about downsizing (remember, you’re talking to someone who has lived in a home for 20+ years or more and this is a BIG move for them)
While it might not be a good idea to host these as a live event due to Covid you can definitely host those as a live webinar and then turn them into an evergreen webinar using a tool like Demio.
Just last week we hosted a Prop 19 Webinar: Key Things the New Tax Law Gives & Takes Away. It was easily a well attended webinar and we’re hosting a follow up webinar on February 9th to talk about how to reach out to seniors.
Remember what I said about creating a good multi-channel marketing strategy? In addition to running a webinar and emailing your attendees, you can send a direct mail piece, and then run branding an awareness ads that match the design of your direct mail piece (this will cost you pennies on the dollar):
9. “How has Covid and the least year of the pandemic changed the way you feel about your home?“
Josh Lewis said someone on our last podcast episode that really resonated:
If you feel like you haven’t done a good job of staying in front of your database and you don’t know how to reach out or what to say, here’s a simple and easy script to ease into the conversation:
Make it 80% personal and then find your opportunity to inject 20% business into the conversation (are you moving? Do you know someone that is?)
Why this question?
- It’s a great touch-point
- Once you’ve asked them this question you’ll be able to uncover pain points or areas of improvement (for example, if I found a home with dual masters would you be interested in selling and trading up?)
- What is the sales price that would encourage you to move out of your current property? If I could get you that sales price would you consider selling your home?
10. Create campaigns to reach first time home buyers.
Look, I get it. Everyone wants listings.
But if you’re just getting started, a great way to build a client base is by working with buyers. And those buyers will eventually convert into sellers. And if you make a goal to deliver such good customer service that each buyer you work with refers at least one client within the year, then the marketing takes care of itself.
If you don’t currently have listing inventory, here’s a great first-time buyer campaign that’ll help bring in a steady stream of buyer leads. And remember, on average about 10% of those buyers leads that you generate are going to be people who might need to sell in order to buy.
So again, to create a great multi-channel marketing strategy, here’s a great “your next move” campaign we’re running for one of our agents. It consists of:
- Direct mail pieces to a specific farm with a theme of “Helping You Find Your Next Move”
- Facebook ads targeting renters and homeowners in the area
- Renters to show them how they can own for the same they pay in rent
- Homeowners to help them trade in their investment and move-up while creating inventory for new buyers
- Geo-prospecting calls to homeowners in the area
Here’s a sample landing page we’re sending all of those acquired leads and traffic to: (note: this is just a sample mock-up)
11. Record YouTube Live’s to demonstrate your local market knowledge & expertise.
The best way to beat the portals and to outperform the competition is to know your market. I mean truly develop and demonstrate your local market expertise.
The portals will never be able to provide hyperlocal market expertise. And if you want to get picked for the next listing appointment you go on you need to walk the part, look the part, and every single piece of marketing collateral you leave behind needs to demonstrate that you know the market better than each and every single other agent who is interviewing for that one listing.
But rather than having these conversations one-to-one you can have them one-to-many and broadcast your knowledge and expertise by doing regular YouTube Live’s to talk about:
- Talk about forbearance and what it means
- The state of the local real estate market
- Where interest rates are holding and where they are headed
- Where property values are holding and where they are headed
- New developments in the community
- Changes to lending guidelines
… and so much more!
Jeb Smith grew his YouTube channel by 16,000 subscribers in ONE YEAR by publishing weekly real estate videos and hosting regular YouTube LIve’s with Josh Lewis to talk about the state of the real estate market and interest rates.
Anything else that you’ve tried that seems to be working?
Over to you … what are you doing to make up for the loss of open houses as a lead source?
Are you actively marketing to your past client database?
Are you actively building a pipeline of future business?
Are you actively marketing your listings to create new opportunities?
Which strategy from the ones listed above will you work on implementing in 2021?