As a realtor I believe that my office is solely for working and not for social experiences. The most important responsibility as a real estate broker is to generate high-quality leads. There are many ways to do that including simple things such as calling 3 preferred clients every day or through email lists. Let us go through the ways that we at Gupta & Sen usually generate new leads.
From the Agency
Our agency generates dozens of leads every month through our referral, promotional campaigns and advertising networks apart from incoming calls from newspaper ads or walk-in business. We do believe that these leads are not primary but supplemental and do not form the main part of our lead generation process.
From Your Own Efforts
Agents employed with us are encouraged to generate new leads on their own. This is based on the belief that, “If you plant enough seeds, something will grow!” This concept is called farming. There are different types of successful farms and one can use more than one farming method at a time. Some examples of prospecting farms are given below.
Past Client Farm
The bulk of business comes from our past clients. Big companies and smart business people know that the very best place to get more referrals and business is from someone who is already doing business with them. Most business and individuals spend a large amount of money and effort in order to find good clients. But we believe that one should spend a similar amount of money and resources to retain the people who already like us and are more likely to send us referrals or use our services again. The best part of working with past clients is that the 5 parts of a successful sale is already understood and one can jump to the later stages right away.
The 5 goals to conducting a Successful Sale:
- Why they should buy or sell
- Why they should work with your company
- Why they should work with you
- Why they should accept a particular home or offer
- Why they should buy now
It is far easier to get business out of someone who already has had a positive experience working with you. Our marketing campaigns are geared towards retaining people the moment they become “past” clients. This program includes mailing them, calling them regularly as well as the occasional socializing.
The Sphere of Influence Farm
The next best farm for real estate agents is the sphere of influence farm. We have a grading system for our preferred past clients such as A, AA or AAA. The AAA clients are the ones who will most likely use our services again or send us referrals. This includes close friend & acquaintances and past clients as well as someone who is likely to buy a house soon due to changes in family size or work profile. ‘AA” ratings candidates usually include the set of people who might become good candidates for “AAA” ratings such as an investor who already owns a number of rental properties. And that leaves everyone else as “A” clients.
It goes without saying that the natural instinct is to put the greatest amount of effort and time into the AAA clients and the least efforts into the A group. But you will be surprised because the people designated as AAA might be disappointing and someone in the A group might send you more business than you anticipated! Life throws up such googlies many a time 🙂
Also it pays to assume that these people will not always be sending leads your way. Most people including ourselves are engrossed in the humdrum of our daily lives and most people don’t care or know how important their help is to you. Most people assume that we are already hugely successful and so they don’t need to get involved! Our goal through our marketing activities to these groups is always to get atleast 50 people who are highly committed to sending us referrals. Because once you reach that magic figure, you have enough business to last you a lifetime.
The Geographical Farm
Every agent should select a residential area in their city in which the goal should be to become a certifiable expert. There are hundreds of homes in a given farm. The agent must know all the sellers and have good relationships with all the new developers in that area. Brokers who use this concept must make it a point to be seen, known and heard in their chosen neighbourhood whatever area they may be in say Bandra West, Andheri West, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi or Cuffe Parade. Marketing yourself or your agency in your area is important. All new listings in the area must come to the immediate attention of the agent so that the agent can talk with authority about a certain apartment or upcoming project with the utmost of authority. I know an agent who have achieved phenomenal success with something as simple as flyers. Regular marketing of flyers with neighbourhood news or marketing information in targeted neighbourhoods can work wonders for top-of-mind recall. When he obtained a new listing this particular agent would send out thousands of well designed flyers especially around the vicinity of the apartments that were for sale. When the seller decided to lower the price, he sent out another round of flyers! But the commission from one deal more than covered his flyer expenses. Once the agent’s name was established, he was able to cut back on the frequency of the flyers and started enjoying a steady income from that geographical farm at a very nominal cost. He told me once that a certain gentleman got tired of seeing his marketing flyers all the time but had saved it for later use. One fine day when his wife and he decided to buy a house, they removed that old flyer and called him! He made that deal and made a few lakhs as commission!
Agents in the US are very creative with their geographical farming ideas. One guy I knew back in the US had school-going children and he used to farm the neighbourhood in which his family lived. Every summer he would sponsor a community-wide garage sale. About one week before the big event, he would distribute a newsletter in which he would list a couple of items offered for sale by every interested family. He would also advertise his 300 home garage sale in the local newspapers. On the day of the sale, he would set up welcome signs and makes sure that he is very visible. As a natural result, he was well known and highly appreciated throughout the community and everybody knew him well. And oh by the way he used to make a great living as a real estate agent too!
Note: Whenever a marketing technique like flyers or hoarding are employed, it pays to do something for atleast 10 consecutive weeks. People don’t contact you the first time they see your profile but ongoing effort can have a “stickiness” effect.
The 5 x 5 x 5 Farm
An effective real estate farming technique that I have often employed is called the “five by five by five” technique. Whenever we get a new listing, we create some promotional items of the listing and introduce ourselves to the immediate neighbourhood of the seller – be it a resale apartment or a new development. Visit five apartments complexes on one side and then five on the other side of the listing and finally five buildings on the opposite side. There is nothing mystical about the number 5 and the total number of apartment buildings contacted is not of any critical importance either. One could visit one building on one side, eleven on the other side and eight across the road. The whole idea is to ensure that people who already live in the neighbourhood have an option on the properties before anyone else. One can not only get leads of interested people but also references of friends and families of those who have been contacted. One always has a valid reason to approach homeowners in a neighbourhood because most of them have a natural curiosity about the homes that are for sale on their block. Approaching strangers is always so much easier if they are being intimated about homes for sale near where they stay.
This is all there is to lead generation. A lot of people are surprised that it is indeed easy to get pertinent leads in the real estate business this way. I would just like to leave you with a final quote, “If you don’t have any idea where your business is going to come from, then its not going to come from anywhere!”