As real estate agents, our personal network of clients and incoming referrals is the lifeblood to sustaining our business. It does not matter if you are a brand new agent, a part-time agent or an agent who has been in the business for decades; generating new client leads is one of the hardest parts of the job.
Below are four tips that I have picked up over the last 15 years in the industry on how to generate new client prospects and grow your network.
Start with your personal connections
Your friends and family are the perfect place to start. It is imperative that you speak with your closest connections on a regular basis to remind them of your skill set and service offerings. Be aware of casual conversations when someone mentions their interest in buying or selling a home, and follow up. Also, don’t be afraid to directly ask them if they are interested, or if they know of friends, who are looking to buy or sell.
On average, 75 percent of an agent’s business comes from their personal connections and referrals. Then, once you have made the transition to becoming a friend’s agent, that client is yours to lose. Eighty-four percent of sellers and 88 percent of buyers would use their agent again and/or recommend him/her to others.
Be available and responsive
We live in an instant-gratification culture, so being available and responsive is imperative when trying to secure a new client. If you wait more than one day to respond to an email, more often than not, the potential client will begin to look elsewhere for representation.
The WAV group did a study on the responsiveness of agents and discovered 48 percent of buyer inquires were not responded to. One of the leading problems in this industry is poor communication and long response times. If you can’t communicate in a timely manner, the consumer will find someone who can; however, if you can rectify the situation and decrease the amount of waiting a potential client has to do, you can significantly increase your chances of securing new business.
Meet face to face
In the ever-growing digital world we live in, it is too easy to stay hidden behind your computer screen or mobile device. Don’t underestimate the power of a face-to-face meeting. Consumers spend, on average, 10 weeks searching for a residence. They want an agent that is friendly, easy to work with and dedicated to helping them find a home.
Meeting face-to-face allows a potential client to really understand you as an agent, in addition to getting to know you as a person. You are able to showcase your personality and drive, and see if there is a personal connection between you and the homebuyer. Additionally, in getting to know them a little better, you’ll be able to make better recommendations, which will lead to a more satisfied customer.
Stay in touch
Hosting open houses is a great way to meet and mingle with warm client leads; however, if you don’t keep in touch with attendees, you’re significantly decreasing your chances of making new connections that could lead to new revenue streams. Ask all open-house attendees to sign in, leaving their contact information.
After the event, follow up with phone calls and/or emails to see if they are interested in your listing or if you can help them find another home that is better suited for their needs. Don’t end your communication there. Keep in touch throughout the year to maintain the relationship. You can send quick notes by mail, send friendly email check-ins, add them as a friend on Facebook or add them to your newsletter distribution. Staying in touch means that you are staying top-of-mind.
Rina Camhi is a 15-year veteran of the real estate industry. An agent, owner of a brokerage and owner of a property management firm, Rina has excelled at generating and fostering client relationships. She recently launched a two-part lead generation and on-demand home showing app in Houston, 10MinRealty, that connects interested buyers and local agents at the click of a button.