Prospecting for real estate leads is an ongoing task. Lead generation is a necessary evil, ensuring that you thrive (not just survive) in a competitive industry. Therefore, having a good client management system in place is essential to be able to categorize your leads and follow up on them. Converting your leads to sales is what it is all about.
So where do leads come from? From several sources, including but not limited to:
Referrals from past or present clients, family members, business associates, other agents and vendors
Newspapers, magazines and/or Internet ads
Your business cards
Mailers and other marketing pieces
Networking at social events
Wherever you go, you should be thinking about generating leads. Pass your business cards out as much as you can when the timing is appropriate. Advertise in the newspaper and on the Internet. Your website is also a great place to capture leads by back linking articles, blogs and information that you post to get buyers or sellers to click on your site. Make sure your website is user friendly and update information constantly.
Past and present clients are also great sources of leads. If you do a good job, you will surely get referrals. When you send out marketing pieces, try and make them unique and full of information that will interest your target audience so that when they are ready to buy or sell real estate, they will think of you first instead of your competition. Social networking is a terrific place to mix business and fun. Exchange business cards. Let people know you are in real estate. Networking with other agents in different areas than where you farm and work, as well as vendors with which you do business, is another good source of leads. By referring your vendors business, they will do the same for you.
Be sure to screen your leads!
When you make contact with a buyer lead, you need to find out his or her motivation and time schedule. How soon does he or she need to buy, what is the price range, as well as other criteria such as neighborhood, home’s features and amenities, are all critical aspects that you must understand right off the bat.
Then you can categorize your lead into hot leads, warm leads and cold leads. Hot leads are those that are ready to buy now or in the next month or two. Warm leads are those that are ready to buy in three-to-six months and cold leads are those that are ready to buy in a year or more. By screening your leads, you will avoid wasting your time and theirs.
When a seller lead or for sale by owner lead contacts you, it is important to find out their motivation for selling, time table and whether they need to buy another property. Even if they are moving out of the area, you should offer to obtain a referral agent for them in the area they are relocating to. This way, you are helping them out, and you can obtain a referral fee if they buy from the agent you refer them to. By determining the seller’s motivation to sell, you will know whether they are a hot, warm or cold lead.
And once you categorize, RESPOND!
All leads should be responded to quickly; in fact, within 24 hours of contact.
Either you or your assistant should return calls/emails promptly. Service is the most important aspect of your business and for keeping leads. By being responsive to your lead’s questions or needs, he or she will want to work with you. Even if you think the request is insignificant, making a customer happy should be number one priority.
Once you get into the habit of prospecting, it will become second nature. As you see your business grow, you will reap the rewards of your hard work and effort. The thing about prospecting, however, is it is ongoing.
Never stop prospecting because if you do, you may find yourself out of business.
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