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When it comes to real estate, nothing happens until you generate a lead. This can be particularly challenging for new agents who don’t know what to do as well as for experienced agents who are no longer using the basics they learned when they first started in the business. 

As an agent, your No. 1 goal when you prospect is to generate a face-to-face appointment where you can sign a listing agreement or have a buyer agree to work with you exclusively. Spending as much time as possible engaging in face-to-face lead generation activities will help maximize the number of leads you get.

The challenge is most agents are unwilling to engage in face-to-face prospecting techniques such as door-knocking, cold-calling and contacting owners of expired and for-sale-by-owners (FSBO) listings.

Others are uncomfortable asking their friends and family about doing business with them. If you’re not out there interacting with the public on a face-to-face basis, chances are you’ve become a “secret agent.” There is a simple solution, however, that will get potential clients to approach you. 

An inexpensive, old-school strategy that still works like a charm 

I began my real estate career over 35 years ago at Century 21. When I signed the independent contractor agreement, the broker ordered my name badge and business cards and sent me to the Century 21 store to pick out my gold jacket and other apparel. 

During our new agent sales training, we were told to wear our name badge and gold jacket everywhere. This simple approach really worked. Strangers often approached me to ask, “How’s the market?” or “What are the prices of homes in this area?” The beauty of this approach is that it still works today — people always want to know the value of their home. 

8 ways to get strangers to ask you about real estate

While most people today would balk at wearing a gold jacket everywhere, there are a variety of fun and engaging ways to get others to ask, “Are you in real estate?”

The beauty of this approach is that when someone asks you that question, they’re probably considering buying or selling a home. 

1. Wear your name badge whenever you’re out in public

Whether you’re going to the grocery store, a soccer game, a PTA meeting or any other event where you interact with strangers, wear your name badge. On average, U.S. homeowners currently sell their homes every 10 years. This means that one out of every 10 homeowners you meet could be transacting in the next 12 months. 

The NAR 2020 Profile of Buyers and Sellers also shows 77 percent of the sellers interview only one agent before they list their home — hence the importance of being face to face with as many people as possible. If you’re the agent who gets that first listing appointment, you have a 75 percent chance of obtaining the listing. 

2. In addition to your name badge, wear brokerage-branded real estate apparel

Most large companies have branded apparel including T-shirts, baseball caps, jackets, polo shirts, etc. If you’re running a team or want to promote your personal brand, there are numerous online companies that will put your customized branding on any clothing or broker swag you select.

Again, your goal is to have strangers notice your name badge or logo wear and ask about the market or how much their house is worth. 

3. Wear something that makes them laugh

Sophia Hernandez “pinned” over 40 different fun real estate T-shirts on Pinterest, many of which are quite funny. My personal favorite is: “Closing Deals in High Heels.” 

4. Combine your status as a Realtor with a fun holiday theme

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, Amazon had over five pages of T-shirts based on “Nacho your average Realtor” as well as “Let’s taco about real estate.” There’s an equally fun and diverse selection for other holidays as well. 

5. Make the best of COVID-19 when you’re out in public

The AllThingsRealEstateStore offers a face mask that asks the question, “Wanna buy a house?” 

6. Doggie marketing 

For decades, agents have used walking their dog as a way of meeting people who live in their neighborhood. Taking your dog to a pet-friendly hangout is also a great way to meet other people. 

For example, if you’re going out for coffee, sit down and enjoy it with your dog at your side. Wear a name badge or cap with your company’s name on it. A friendly dog makes you more approachable and people can immediately see that you are in real estate.

Be prepared to answer the question, “How’s the market” as well as “What’s your dog’s name?” AllThingsRealEstate is a great resource for doggie-related real estate wear. My personal favorites are this one and this punny bandana.  

7. Branded cups, mugs, totes, etc. 

In addition to their branded clothing and pet apparel, AllThingsRealEstate offers a wide variety of Realtor swag. For example, if you exercise, attend concerts or sporting events and usually have a tumbler for your water or other beverage of choice, why not brand it with a funny real estate saying that people will notice? 

The website also has a product called “testimonial props” that make it easy for clients to give you a testimonial. It also offers a variety of signs, a “germ-free” collection, plus bottle tags and candy cartons for open house. 

8. Wear your name badge with apparel branded with a cause you care about 

One of the easiest ways to meet strangers face to face is to volunteer for a cause that you’re passionate about. For example, wear your badge or other Realtor gear in conjunction with a T-shirt that supports raising money for Alzheimer’s disease or breast cancer. 

Pro tip: Know how to respond when someone asks you, ‘How’s the market?’

This is where knowing the inventory is critical. Ask about the area and the price range they are interested in, and then give them a range of prices for entry-level homes; a typical three-bedroom, two-bath home; plus condo prices as well.

If they want to know what their home is worth, you can do a quick estimate on the spot using HomeSnap or realtor.com. 

Here’s the bottom line: Your primary goal is to schedule a face-to-face appointment. Using this proven technique is a simple, inexpensive way to get strangers to engage with you and open the door to doing business with them. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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