If you’re frustrated by too-few clients and a sluggish market, writes Jimmy Burgess, it’s time to get back to basics with these tried and true lead-gen strategies.

Frustrated with the number of houses you’re selling? You’re not alone. Many agents find themselves in this situation due to the current market environment, but the good news is there are tried and true ways to regain momentum. Let’s break down the steps and strategies needed to get excited about your business again.

Step 1: Pick up the phone

The number one way to generate momentum is to increase the number of real estate-related conversations you are having daily. We all know this, but most people need to be reminded what to do rather than taught. This is your reminder.

It isn’t only about picking up the phone though; being purposeful with who you call and what you say is often the difference between success and failure. Most training focuses on what to say once you have someone on the phone.

Utilizing the F.O.R.D. method, which is an acronym for discussing family, occupation, recreation and dreams, is effective and widely understood. This method allows you to connect on a personal level, building trust and rapport. When you understand your clients’ needs and aspirations, you can better serve them, leading to more successful transactions.

Who should you call to increase your effectiveness? Since this was a common question agents asked me, I created the C.H.E.V.Y. acronym for who to call to go along with the F.O.R.D method once you get them on the phone. This method shares a progression you can follow when choosing who to call.

The C.H.E.V.Y. method for who to call

C: Clear opportunities

Always start with the clear opportunities right in front of you. Who is it that told you they would buy if they could just find the right place? Who told you they would be selling in the next 12 months? Do you have an investor who will buy if you find the right type of investment for them?

Pick the low-hanging fruit first.

H: Have done business with you before

The next group to call is the people who have done business with you before. These are the people who already know, like and trust you. Check-in calls keep you top of mind for repeat business and referrals.

E: Event areas

Whether you have a new listing, just sold a home, or you’re hosting an open house, calling the neighbors to provide them with the details of the event is an effective way to add value to homeowners and uncover opportunities.

V: Vocal supporters

Vocal supporters, or those people who love you in your sphere of influence, are a reliable source for referrals. Calling them and utilizing the F.O.R.D. method to deepen your relationship with them will lead to more referrals.

Y: Your database

Calling the people in your database who are already receiving your newsletter and property information is a great source for finding opportunities. If you have a group of people in your database with whom you’ve not spoken in a while and who receive property emails from you, re-engaging with them can be fruitful. This is an effective script for calling them:

I know you’ve been receiving emails from me with property details. I want to make sure I am not overwhelming you with emails but also make sure I am providing you with information you really want or need. Should I make any adjustments to the frequency of emails or types of properties the automated system is sending you?

This question will provide a quick read on where they are in the process of buying or selling.

Step 2: Focus on people with immediate needs

The buyers/sellers of real estate can be broken into two categories: Those who must buy or sell and those who choose to buy or sell. During prosperous economic times, the number of transactions increases due to an increase in the confidence consumers have economically.

When uncertainty (economically) arrives, the “want to” people, in large part, are removed from the market and the must-buy/sell people are the transactions that remain. Focus on the must-buy/sell prospects and you will increase your momentum. So, who are the must, or at least most likely, people to buy and sell in any market environment?

I’ve heard these life events described as the D’s of real estate motivation. These include diamonds (a wedding), displacement (job transfer), downsizing (empty nesters), divorce, debt, death and disability. These are the life events that will result in someone needing the assistance of a professional agent, no matter what the current economic conditions might be.

Focusing on becoming the expert at meeting the needs of one or more of the groups of people in these situations is an intuitive way to serve at a high level and to build a business that has longevity.

Step 3: Focus on out-of-town owners

Out-of-town property owners are a solid source of potential clients in any economic environment. The properties are usually investment properties, second homes, or vacant land that may have been inherited or purchased with an intention to build on that never came to fruition.

These properties typically have less emotion attached to them. Selling them will usually not disrupt a family’s life the way selling a primary residence does. Also, people often look for ways to increase their cash during times of economic uncertainty; this increases the potential for finding property owners who are willing to sell right now.

But how do you find these out-of-town-owned properties? The properties and owner details can be found by researching your local tax rolls. Title or escrow companies might be able to provide a list, or you can hire someone from a website like Fiverr to compile the list for you.

The script for calling these owners is straightforward:

This is [Agent Name] with [Agent’s Company] in [Your City]. I noticed you own the home located at [Address]. Our market continues to see high demand for properties like yours. I was curious what your plans are for the property and if you would consider selling it.

The opportunity to do business with out-of-town owners is often overlooked. By focusing on adding value to this group, you will increase your likelihood of success.

Step 4: Focus on referrals from agents leaving the business

As the number of transactions has slowed, we are seeing more and more agents leaving the business. Many of these agents built relationships with prospects who will do business with someone in the future. The question is, who will these prospects work with now that the agent they were working with has left the business? Why not you?

Most of the agents leaving real estate would love to refer these prospects to someone they believe will provide professional service and reflect well on them for making the introduction. One way to enhance the likelihood that they refer them to you is to find a referral company where they can park their license with low to no fees, so you can pay them a referral fee.

Assuring agents who are leaving the business that you will take good care of their prospects, along with providing a way for them to receive a referral fee, will lead to more transactions in 2024.

Step 5: Be where the people are

Being in an office that buzzes with activity is energizing and enhances an agent’s ability to stay connected with what other agents are seeing in the market, but prospects rarely walk into offices anymore. If your goal is to increase transactions by meeting more prospects, you must get out of the office and spend time where the prospects are.

Host an open house where potential buyers and sellers will literally walk through the door looking for something to buy or show up to compare the open house to their home because they are considering selling. Open houses are the place buyers and sellers are drawn to in today’s market. Position yourself to capitalize on this fact by hosting more open houses.

Get involved with local events in your area. Volunteer for causes you’re passionate about. Join a local service organization or club. These activities not only help you network but they also position you as a trusted and engaged member of the community.

By following these steps, you can transform your real estate career from one of frustration to one of success. Remember, the key is to be proactive, adapt to changes, and continuously seek ways to improve your skills and strategies. Take massive action and you will get massive results.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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