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What lead generation strategies should be your go-to choices for maximum lead conversion in 2023? Here are my top 10 choices from my columns in 2022.
As we put 2022 behind us and confront the challenges of another mortgage interest rate increase coupled with fewer sales and lower prices, marketing fundamentals will be more important than ever in 2023. Here are 10 proven ways to make sure that you’re generating and converting as many leads as possible in 2023.
1. Make face-to-face lead-generation activities your highest priority
In the 2022 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 80 percent of the sellers and 67 percent of the buyers only interviewed ONE agent that they hired.
Lead Conversion Step No. 1: Regardless of whether it’s a referral, an internet lead, phone call, or web inquiry, the first agent that meets in person with a seller gets the listing 80% of the time.
In terms of buyers, two-thirds work with the first agent they interview. Consequently, make sure you’re the first agent they interview in person in 2023!
2. Stop throwing away buyer leads
How many incoming buyer leads did you ignore in 2022? According to the latest NAR Profile, a whopping 58 percent of all buyers we’re living in a home they owned prior to when they transacted.
Lead Conversion Step No. 2: For every buyer lead you receive, immediately follow up to see if they are also a seller and schedule a face-to-face appointment.
Fifty-eight percent of the time, you will have the opportunity to list their current home and sell them a replacement property. For repeat buyers, that number is 77 percent!
3. Referrals: Still the primary source of business
According to this year’s NAR Profile, 41 percent of all transactions resulted from a referral (36 percent were referred to their agent by a friend, neighbor, or relative and the other five percent were referred by another real estate agent.)
Lead Conversion Step No. 3: Devote at least 36% of your 2023 marketing budget to developing referral business from your sphere.
Some ideas include:
- Instead of farming or shotgun marketing techniques to strangers, use your print and digital marketing budget to stay in regular contact with your sphere and past client list.
- Conduct regular client appreciation events. Food trucks and ice cream socials are always popular and relatively inexpensive as well.
- Hold a first-time buyer seminar and ask your sphere and/or past clients to invite a friend.
- Hold a seller seminar for those who may have to transact in today’s market. For those having financial difficulties, be sure to discuss why it may be smart to sell now before home values (and their equity) decline even more.
4. Prospect 55+ homeowners
Two of the most surprising statistics from this year’s Profile are the median ages of buyers and sellers. As the chart below indicates, the median age of first-time buyers jumped from a consistent number between 30-33 years of age to a new high of 36.
What’s even more surprising is that 65 percent of all sellers were age 55 or older as indicated in the following chart:
Lead Conversion Step No. 4: Devote a major part of your listing budget marketing to 55+ homeowners
Seniors are often forced to move due to financial issues, the loss of a spouse, mobility issues, inability to maintain a large home, or to live independently. Steps to take include:
- Customize your print and digital advertising for these groups to show people who represent this demographic.
- Familiarize yourself with the 55+ independent living communities in your area. Many of these communities are eager to provide events that include holiday parties, speakers, local artists, and musicians. Consider sponsoring these to remain front and center so when someone decides to list their home or condominium unit, they will contact you.
- Educate yourself about “right-sizing” and avoid using the term “down-sizing.”
5. Generate listings for free from your own database with Likely.AI
Likely.AI is currently offering agents a FREE Database Refresh Report that allows them to identify the contacts in their database who are most likely to transact in the next 90 to 180 days.
The Database Refresh Report provides:
- The percentage of contacts in your database that have valid contact information.
- The percentage of your contacts that either listed or sold their property during the last nine months.
- The percentage predicted to transact during the next 90 to 180 days along with who those contacts actually are.
Lead Conversion Step No. 5: Test drive the Likely.Ai database refresh
U.S. homeowners currently move on average about once every 10 years. If you have 2,500 valid contacts in your database, that means about 250 will move in the next year. Likely.Ai identifies who that 10 percent is most likely to be. If their prediction is correct at 30 percent level, that’s 75 potential listings waiting for you in your current contact database.
6. Help buyers obtain an average of $13,000 in Down Payment Assistance (DPA)
DownPaymentResource.com (DPR) and Zillow have partnered to post down payment assistance programs available for all active listings on Zillow. In 2022, Zillow reported that over one million home shoppers queried the DPR database about obtaining down payment assistance. This is a tremendous resource for buyers who are struggling to come up with a down payment.
Lead Conversion Step No. 6: Always check Zillow to see if DPA is available for the properties you show
To locate this information, search the property address on Zillow. Directly below “Request a tour” click on the arrow on the far right of the line that begins with the word “Overview.”
That brings up the following box where you can click on down payment assistance.
For the condominium property I searched in Austin, there were 11 programs available with up to $24,995 in potential down payment assistance. In a slowing market, buyers are the name of the game. If DPA is available, have your owners fill out “Enter your information” to identify any DPA programs for which they may be eligible.
7. Eliminate the blackout zone in your marketing
Did you know that there are 160 Googles around the world and that 75 percent of real estate searches are in languages other than English? If you think this doesn’t apply to your market, think again: in Los Angeles, 72 percent of the population consumes TV and internet in languages other than English.
Lead Conversion Step No. 7: How to reach the missing 75%
Immobel, the company that powers real estate search sites in 19 different languages for many of the Anywhere brands plus numerous MLSs, has launched a new service called XOMIO. XOMIO provides you with 19 different websites in 19 different languages, plus 19 different pages on Googles foreign language search sites such as Google.fr (Google France), Google.jp (Japan), and Google.mx (Mexico.)
If your MLS already provides Immobel with an IDX listing feed, the base price is $159.00 per month. If your MLS does not provide them with IDX, then there’s an additional pass-through fee to add IDX listing feed to your sites.
Using XOMIO is a huge opportunity to tap into a market that virtually no one else is serving. Even more importantly, it’s a tremendous tool for converting your listing appointments into signed listings.
8. Make your visual marketing count in 2023
Whether you’re marketing digitally, in print, or on the social media, professional photography is a must in 2023 if you want to stay competitive.
Lead Conversion Step No. 8: Use these 4 tips from HomeJab to convert more leads from your visual marketing
- In terms of the types of virtual tours that agents preferred most, 21 percent preferred 3D/360 tours, 35 percent preferred video walk-throughs, and 31 percent liked both types equally.
- Top agents post copious numbers of listing photos. HomeJab’s statistics show 51 percent post at least 30 photos, 19 percent post at least 40, five percent post at least 50, and another 5 percent post over 50.
- In terms of popularity, virtual staging just surpassed traditional staging by a small margin. Reasons include that virtual staging can be done quickly, you can select whatever furniture you want, and it’s much less expensive than renting furniture.
- Twilight photos produce three times more engagement than regular photos.
9. Prospect pre-foreclosure clients to help them sell and save their credit
According to Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of Attom Data, on average approximately one percent of 55 million mortgages in the U.S. (550,000) are normally in foreclosure. Of these, 87 percent have positive equity in the homes.
Lead Conversion Step No. 9: Prospect pre-foreclosure clients to help them sell and save their credit
Two excellent resources for locating pre-foreclosure clients are Foreclosure.com and RealtyTrac.com. Both these companies offer subscription services that allow you to set the parameters for the types of property you would like them to locate for your clients. My recommendation is to use RealtyTrac due to their long history of being the leading data source for distressed and foreclosed properties.
If you don’t want to subscribe to a service, you can contact REISource.com and search for properties that have “Notices of Default.”
10. Home equity sharing companies
Did you know that home equity sharing companies allow homeowners to access a portion of their equity in exchange for a portion of their future equity? According to Lendedu, the homeowner receives a lump sum payment that can be used however they would like without taking on any additional debt or monthly payments. In return, the investing company gets a percentage of the future value of their home:
Since it’s not a form of debt, the eligibility requirements are more lenient than with a traditional lender, making this an option for homeowners that are self-employed, have poor credit, or can’t afford additional monthly payments.
If the home depreciates in value after five years, the Home Equity Sharing company also shares the depreciation.
Lead Conversion Step No. 10: Here are the Lendedu.com top 5 picks for companies offering home equity sharing:
- Best overall: Unison
- Best for buy-out flexibility: Unlock
- Best for poor credit: Hometap
- Best homeowner protection program: Noah
- Best for long terms with poor credit: Point
Matching your prospecting strategies to where there is the greatest amount of business is the best strategy for achieving success in real estate market. Remember, once you generate a lead, the most important thing you can do to convert that lead into signed business is to schedule a face-to-face appointment.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 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.