Here’s how to beat iBuyers at their own game, where to find transactions, how to leverage short-form videos and more nifty strategies all agents need to shift their attention to right now.

Are storm clouds on the horizon for Zillow? Do you want a proven strategy for defeating iBuyers? Would you like to generate and convert more listing leads?

Last week’s Inman Connect Now was packed with valuable tips to help you become profitable now. Here are some noteworthy takeaways — plus a few pro tips to take your strategies a step further. 

1. Is it time to stop paying for internet leads?

One of the hottest stories this fall has been Zillow’s decision to launch a brokerage. Mark Johnson, CEO of JP and Associates Realtors, shared a survey showing 73 percent of agents did not plan on advertising on Zillow in 2021. 

When Stephanie Anton and Matt Borland of The Corcoran Group polled Inman attendees during their breakout group, they also found 72 percent did not plan to market on Zillow in 2021. Could this spell trouble for Zillow’s revenue model?

Pro tip No. 1: If you’re still paying for internet leads, look at your ROI (how much you spent and how much you earned from internet leads). Now, compare this to your other lead generation sources.

Is there a different lead generation activity that’s more profitable? If so, divert your money there in 2021. Focus on what’s most profitable to you based on your strengths and your local market. 

2. How to beat iBuyers at their own game

Courtney Poulos, the broker-owner of ACME Real Estate, outlined a powerful marketing campaign to help you take business away from the big iBuyer companies. Begin the process by creating a marketing campaign to reach “unrepresented buyers.” 

Pro tip No. 2: No matter what type of marketing you’re doing, actively search for potential iBuyers using the following simple marketing campaign. Say: Are you an unrepresented buyer? If so, contact me to if you need help with:  

  • Qualifying for a loan.
  • Obtaining down payment assistance, even if you currently own a home. 
  • Purchasing a home through a rent-to-own program 
  • Swapping your present home for a new one without having to list your current home. 

Here are the resources you will need: 

  • For down payment assistance, visit (DPR). Last year, the average amount of down payment assistance from DPR was $13,000. Moreover, 84 percent of the houses in the U.S. are eligible. (Learn more about this program here.)
  • For renters who need a rent-to-own program, determine if a rent-to-own program is available in your area. 
  • For sellers who need a contingent sale, check out Knock’s Home Swap program. HomeLight also has a similar program for those who need a contingent sale. 

Poulos’s innovative approach allows you to provide buyers multiple options individual iBuyer companies cannot do. This is a win-win for you and your clients, whether they’re first-time buyers or sellers moving into their next home. 

3. Where to look to find transactions right now

Begin by asking the question, “Would any of these programs be helpful to my past clients or sphere of influence?” For example, did any of your past buyers lose out on a multiple offer because they needed a contingent sale? If so, Knock and HomeLight could get them off the fence and into a new home. 

Pro tip No. 3: Here’s an easy prospecting script. As an agent, say:

Who do you know who is looking to buy or sell a property now? (Or who might be interested in any of the three programs above?) 

Next, pause and wait until they answer. The pause is critical because it gives them the space to consider who they know who might benefit from these programs

4. Where to search for profits right now

The three primary areas where you can fill in “profitability” gaps include your budget, your calendar and knowledge. 

Pro tip No. 4: Look for profit holes. In terms of your budget, are you paying for subscriptions you’re not using? Go through your credit card statements to identify what you no longer use, and eliminate it. 

In terms of your calendar, search for what Jeff Lobb calls “the 1 percent per day” gap, the 14- to 40-second gaps in your calendar throughout the day. Ideas on how to fill those slots include shooting a quick video, doing a Facebook post, or sending a handwritten note to two or three past clients. 

On the education front, Greg McDaniel suggests checking out MentorBox, a service that lets you digest top business books in as little as 15 minutes. They’re tagline is: “Read Like a CEO.” 

5. The old-fashioned phone call is back

Before COVID-19 struck, many young people preferred communicating via text or instant messaging. Today, telephone conversations are back in style as people crave live interaction with another human being.

Pro tip No. 5: Long and Foster’s Candy-Miles Crocker cited NAR research showing 76 percent of all past clients welcomed a phone call as a way to connect with them. If you have past clients you haven’t seen or spoken with for a long time, use this simple script to get back in contact:

Hi Susan. It’s been way too long since we last talked. I would love to treat you to a cup of coffee or tea if that works for you. Would Saturday morning or afternoon be better for you?  

At that meeting (whether it be virtual or not), be sure to ask Susan, “Who do you know who might be thinking about buying or selling a home in today’s market?”

6. Traditional open houses are back!

In the areas where COVID-19 lockdowns have been lifted, traditional open houses have been drawing tremendous traffic. 

Pro tip No. 6: Have the best of both worlds by holding both traditional and virtual open houses. Schedule your multiple virtual open houses after dinner on a weekday night, and make this a weekly feature of your marketing.

You can walk through the house ahead of time and do a replay, stream it live or have the sellers walk through the house using their phone while you narrate. 

7. The urban to suburban shift  

The shift from downtown urban life to the suburbs is continuing, creating a buyer’s market for condos in downtown metro areas and an inventory shortage in the suburbs.  

According Matt Borland of The Corcoran Group, there has been a 300-400 percent increase in the number of condos on the market in the major metropolitan areas during the last 90-120 days.

Movoto’s data on real estate search patterns shows buyers are still searching for the classic three-bedroom, two-bath home, a slightly larger lot size, and flex space for an office, gym, or place for the kids to attend online classes.  

Joe Schutt explained the impact of the lockdowns on college towns. Because many colleges are still conducting much of their curriculum online, parents are no longer purchasing condos for their kids in college towns. Moreover, those who have graduated are moving back home.

Pro tip No. 7: Prospect for boomerangers. Although no one can predict when the pandemic will end, many young people with good jobs are eager to have their own home rather than living at home. To locate good prospects, use REI Source from your title company to identify renters are who earning $100,000 per year or more. 

8. ‘Presenting is a contact sport’

Speaker and author Terri Sjodin explained why listing and buyer presentations are dead. For the last 20 years, Sjodin has been researching what salespeople say are their most common mistakes.

Here are the top three: 

  • They were informative, but not persuasive.
  • They winged it.
  • They failed to close the sale. 

The top five mistakes salespeople say other salespeople make are: 

  • Boring, boring, boring. 
  • Informative, but not persuasive.
  • Failed to close.
  • Missing allotted time.
  • Winging it. 

Additional findings from her study include: 

  • The average salesperson has made at least three of the 10 mistakes over the past six months.
  • Sixty percent of the salespeople reported they had little or no sales training.
  • The younger the salesperson was, the higher number of mistakes he or she made. 

Pro tip No. 8: If you haven’t taken a formal sales training course, do so. There are many top-ranked programs for real estate sales training that you can find simply through a Google search. 

9. Short-form videos are hot!

Did you know TikTok had over 1.9 billion views over the past year? Instagram has jumped into the market with Instagram Reels, too. These simple 15-second videos are easy to make. The trick is to pair them with a TikTok trending song and to post at least one or two times a day.  

Pro tip No. 9: Beat out the competition by shifting to short-form videos. Two people who are crushing it on TikTok are Alisa Glutz with “Color My Credit” and Aaron Grushow

10. Two unusual ways to build trust

Trust is paramount when potential clients are deciding who will represent them on their transaction. Mark Johnson explained that drone photography and annotating your virtual tours increases trust. (Matterport, for example, allows you to do annotations directly on the app.)

Pro tip No. 10: If you’re not using drone photography and annotating your virtual tours, now is the time to start. When you go on a listing appointment tell the seller, “Let me show you how we use drone photography and virtual tours to market your home.”

To kick it up a notch, use BoxBrownie to do virtual staging or to upgrade your photos for your home tour. In terms of what to do first, it makes no difference. The point is to find what works for you in today’s market and run with it.

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. If you’re ready to List & Sell Real Estate Like Crazy, learn more about how to do it If you’re a new agent who wants to successfully compete even against even the best agents, check out our online new agent sales training at 

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