In the real estate industry, both organization and follow up are crucial to success. Whether you are a solo agent managing multiple deals or an agent/broker who is part of a large team, often one of the biggest challenges is having real estate customers slip through the cracks and thousands of commission dollars are lost as a result.
The majority of successful real estate industry professionals have talent and skills in the area of personal interaction and human connection. When a reputable and experienced agent connects one-on-one with their client, the relationship is solidified.
How to get clients in real estate
Many agents and brokers are aware that at any given time, there are massive amounts of leads that often aren’t being maximized on. For example, some real estate customers called in on a listing sign, came through some web lead generation tool, or even referral potential from past clients or repeat buyers/sellers and never get a follow-up.
The problem is, it’s nearly impossible for agents to consistently and accurately follow up with every potential sale or listing in a timely manner. Agents have an ever-growing sphere of influence and are consistently adding to their past client database.
They have the hugely daunting task of separating the really interested internet leads or phone calls from those who are just curious about the price of the neighbor’s house or trying to plan for a future home purchase in 2025.
For most agents, the biggest gap lies within the prospects who inquire and don’t get a quick follow up, so they go back to their laptops and phones and they call another agent, on another listing, or cruise through the MLS on another site.
Real estate marketing automation
Enter automation. With marketing automation software (such as Infusionsoft by Keap), every lead gets funneled to an appropriate follow-up sequence, which also contains reminders for the agent to attempt contact with the lead.
Real estate requires a huge amount of negotiation, face time with clients and co-op agents, title representatives, home inspectors, and more. The entire transaction process is relational in nature and labor intensive.
Through the applied use of automated technology, a busy agent can be in several places at once. Marketing automation software can deliver educational emails, reminders, and text messages to interested leads while the agent is attending a closing or showing a home.
Many agents have mastered or at least incorporated the use of social media in order to get leads. Showing homeowners holding the keys to their new home on Instagram, using Facebook Live to give their Facebook friends a quick tour of their latest listing, or run a contest to give away some movie tickets or a fruit basket.
These strategies are innate to those who operate best on the interpersonal communication level. But what happens next? How do you increase your number of transactions?
The answer is a proper use of automation.
Real estate automation software
When a lead hits your IDX site, social media, or web lead generation site, you should have that person’s information within seconds. Never allow more than two searches before a lead capture form requires at least a name and email to continue. If possible, get the phone number so you can initiate SMS or a phone call follow up as well.
Once you have the contact information, your marketing automation software can send a friendly introduction email to the clients so that client and agent connection can begin sooner rather than later. Ensure the agent’s contact information, logo, and team or business info is clearly displayed, and send a call-to-action either in the first email response or the second.
The real estate prospect should remain in an automated nurture campaign of some kind until the agent has had a chance to place that client in a “bucket,” which should determine what kind of long-term follow up is needed if any. The prospect may be is a prequalified buyer who is currently looking for an agent and has a down payment ready to go -- but you’ll never know without rapid follow up.
Segment your real estate customers
Audience segmentation is also very important. A solid CRM software allows the agent to tag these customers by their category so that they automatically receive emails relevant to their status.
For example, even if a client comes through as a buyer lead, it is possible they also have a home to sell. Some buyer leads are looking to buy a home in the short term, and some are six to 12 months from purchase. It’s important to stay in front of those leads because they may need credit repair services, loan approval or referral, and market updates during that time period.
The same can be said of sellers; some are ready to list their homes ASAP, and some sellers have a specific listing date in mind. Many areas are saturated with agents and competition for clients is tough. If an agent has multiple clients who are several months out from transaction, it’s critical that those clients are placed in a time-frame based, relevant nurture drip in order to maintain that agent and client connection.
It’s also really imperative to consider content within these nurture efforts. Sending one email each month to say, “Hey, I know you’re not ready to buy yet, but I’m here if you have any questions” is something that will get boring and uninteresting to a client.
Instead, send them something useful like a newsletter with a market snapshot or photos of a monthly featured client who has achieved the goal that your prospect is waiting to accomplish. Send them an overview of what they can expect in the buying or selling process, or tips that they can utilize to prepare themselves ahead of time.
Get ahead of the client and initiate targeted follow up in order to use automation to close the gap on lost leads. If a knowledgeable and experienced agent has the power of automation technology behind them, they hold the formula for success in the industry.
How to Get Real Estate Referrals
Realtors have always relied heavily on referrals from past clients, but even more now than ever before, real estate referrals are the way to get new customers. Many realtors have found that the majority of their sales during the recession have come from people who passed their name on to friends and family.
Here are a few reasons why getting real estate referrals from past clients is a top priority:
They cost less
Although there is some cost to keeping in contact with past clients, it can be hundreds—or thousands—of dollars less than an advertising campaign. "To run a single full-page ad in a local paper can run $700 in a single week, whereas a mailer to 200 past clients and fellow agents runs about $100," Bryan Robertson, a broker associate and realtor with Sereno Group Real Estate, says. "The cost of an online network, which also generates referral leads, is even less expensive."
Increase in distressed properties
Since the agent learns details of the personal lives of such sellers, the sellers of distressed properties are much more likely to go with a realtor recommendation from a friend or family member.
Referrals are more likely to become clients
Agents find that people who are referred by friends or family often have a higher likelihood of becoming clients than those who found their name online or in an ad. Each time your phone rings and the person on the other end is someone who heard about you from a past client, you are one step closer to another sale or listing without any additional time or advertising money spent.
Dominate the Real Estate Industry with Automation
An agent should make a concerted effort to personally contact every lead that comes their way, whether they have the time to call themselves or need to hire an inside sales agent to call through leads for them.
Either way, if the leads are in a database, segmented, and in some sort of nurture sequence before a phone connection is attempted, there is a much higher chance of conversion of that lead. Relationships and referrals are essential to success in the Real Estate business.