When you work in real estate, there are times when you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. With a good marketing strategy and some clever advertising you can get work by just sitting back and waiting for it to come to you, but this isn’t always going to pay the bills. In instances like these, you’ve got to go out and round up some leads.
The idea of finding leads the old fashioned way can be very intimidating. Blurring the line between your personal and professional lives in this way can be a slippery slope, and you definitely don’t want to become known as the person who is constantly networking. But don’t worry; there are ways to gather leads without falling prey to this stereotype!
Generally speaking, networking doesn’t have to be a negative thing. There’s a way to do it without annoying or irritating those you come into contact with and gaining a reputation as a relentless professional. In this article, we’re going to be giving you some great places to start gathering leads in a nonthreatening, low-key way. Let’s get started!
Before we get down to brass tacks, we’ve got to make one thing clear: none of these ideas will be of use to you if you don't know how to work with people. Networking is about creating and nurturing personal connections, and working to the shared benefit of all parties involved. In this game, “always be closing” does not apply.
With networking, it’s all about finding a balance between confidently pursuing your goals and being conscientious of the personal space, boundaries and comfort of the people you’re networking with. If your approach is too bold, people will feel like you’re trying to sell them something; if it’s too subtle, you won’t get any useful information.
It takes time and practice to get this balance right, but with time just about anyone can master these skills. It’s all in the way you approach your goal. If you think in terms of sales and profit margins, you’re going to come across as jaded and insincere. If you look at networking as a way to help people, you’re much more likely to achieve success. With that said, let’s take a look at some creative ways to get leads as a real estate agent!
The best place to start with networking is your inner circle of friends and family. You aren’t necessarily trying to sell real estate when working with family and friends; instead, you’re going to be establishing yourself as the best option for anyone who wants to buy or sell real estate. But what does this look like in practice?
In simple terms, this will mostly take the form of subtle hints that you’re ready and raring to go, there to offer your real estate agent skills to anyone who needs them. Listen to conversations, perhaps gently steering them towards real estate, and listen for any indications that the person or people you’re talking to is interested in buying real estate, or knows someone who is.
Once the conversation has reached this point, you can sincerely and genuinely offer your services. “Oh, you’re thinking of buying a new home? I can help with that!” If you want a good reputation, consider making special concessions for the person you’re working with. People often joke about “the friends and family discount”; why not use it to your advantage?
While working at a reduced commission or increased workload may seem difficult to justify in the short term, it will help you build a reputation as an honest, fair and helpful real estate professional. When someone gets a good deal, they’re going to want to tell all their friends; think of this as free marketing and exposure! Go the extra mile, be helpful, and people will inevitably take note.
Once your circle of friends and family know that you work in real estate and can help with any real estate needs they might have, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Look for opportunities to help your community while also filling your rolodex with people who might be interested in contracting your services.
There are numerous options you can explore to achieve this goal. For starters, you could volunteer at a community outreach center or other similar community hub. You’ll help your community in a meaningful way, you’ll create a good reputation for yourself, and you’ll gain new contacts who will take your generosity into account when considering you to help them with their real estate needs. It’s a win-win-win!
There are other social settings in which you can expand your circle of influence too. If you have a dog, take it for a walk in the park and don’t hesitate to strike up a friendly conversation with your fellow pet owners. Keep it casual, and end the interaction by telling them that you are a real estate agent and you’d be happy to help them out if they ever need someone with your skill set. Just be sure to bring your business cards!
Once you get comfortable with this strategy, any social setting can become an opportunity to gain potential clients. Do you workout? Approach a person or two at the gym. Are you in any post-graduate classes or courses? Talk to your classmates. In addition to helping you grow your real estate career, you’ll also make new friends and gain social skills. There’s really no downside to it!
This one is going to seem a bit obvious to any experienced real estate agents, but it’s no less of an effective tool to gather leads than any of the other entries on this list. What are we talking about, you ask? The answer is networking while you’re on the clock! There are plenty of opportunities to gain leads while you’re working; you just need to approach situations with this goal in mind. You can even build a real estate team to help out!
Take real estate conventions for example. These are an excellent place to strike up conversations with people who are either in the same field as you or looking to start working in the same field as you. Regardless which of these is the case, you’ll have an easier time talking to people about real estate in this setting.
Another great place to network is at open houses, both those you’re hosting and open houses of other real estate agents. People who are checking out an open house may not be dead set on buying that specific home, but are likely interested in real estate; use this to your advantage and get their contact information!
There are other work-related contexts in which you can ply your trade, far more than we can list here. It’s up to you to approach every situation with one goal in mind: finding leads. This will allow you to provide your services to a quickly growing client base, and help you gain invaluable word-of-mouth referrals.
Have you ever been in a situation where a newly made acquaintance just would not stop talking? While they drone on about everything and nothing, you do your best to drop gentle hints that your patience is wearing thin, but they’re too focused on what they’re saying to notice. At last, when you can’t take it any longer, you tersely make an excuse to exit, and walk away thinking about ways to never speak to that person again.
If you want to network successfully, don’t be that person. Once you gain the confidence to approach strangers, you might think that you’ve achieved optimal networking effectiveness; if your conversation skills aren’t up to snuff, you haven’t. In simple terms, if you aren’t an interesting, engaging conversation partner, people aren’t going to want to have conversations with you.
In order to avoid this being the case with you, workshop your conversation skills. It might seem a bit over the top, but having a few ready conversation starters that are fun, light and intriguing can make all the difference in terms of a first impression. The goal here is to leave a positive impression that will encourage second interactions.
Lastly, don’t talk about real estate any more than you have to. You aren’t trying to sell anything, you’re just trying to make friends. If you approach the conversation as a business opportunity, people will pick up on this and use any excuse to exit as soon as possible. A simple word or two at the conversation’s close is more than enough to get your message across, so don’t overdo it.
When networking as a real estate agent, it’s important to remember that meeting new people is only half the battle. Once you get comfortable approaching strangers, it’ll become second nature to organically work your occupation into casual conversations, but without follow-up these contacts will soon lose touch and be lost to time.
In order to avoid this, try to keep in touch with the people you meet. Don’t do it as a business-person trying to hedge their bets; do it as a friend maintaining a friendship. It’s ok to offhandedly mention your work when the conversation touches on the topic, but don’t dominate every interaction with talk of real estate. Conversations between friends rarely dwell on work for too long, so undue work talk can make you seem cold and insincere.
Try to stay up to date with your contacts by communicating regularly and spending time with them when possible. A simple invitation to lunch or a coffee will take up little more than an hour or two of your time, but it conveys a clear and unmistakable message: I care about you, and I value you as a person. It’s a small investment, but it will do wonders for your reputation.
Another thing that will help you convey sincerity in both your personal and professional lives is attentiveness. When we care about people, we remember small details about them. Listen intently during conversations, and mentally take note when they mention things that are meaningful to them. If your memory isn’t sharp enough to keep these details straight, jot down a quick note on your phone or notepad. It will do wonders for your friendship!
For less experienced real estate agents, networking can seem like a towering, insurmountable obstacle. If you aren’t naturally extroverted, the idea of approaching strangers and plying your trade can be more intimidating than just about anything else. Nevertheless, if you stick with it and keep your nerve, you’ll improve your social skills and present yourself as an option for anyone trying to find a real estate agent. You’ll improve as a person and a professional!
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