Home > Marketing > What is the best way to get real estate customers?

What is the best way to get real estate customers?

I don't want to reinvent the wheel so what are the best cheap ways to get customers for real estate? I know that sounds bad but I don't have a lot of money right now for advertising.

A lot of the people in my office say to knock on doors, call on the phone, and send mail. There has got to be an easier way right?

The big dog in the office says he gets his leads from referrals and the internet but I don't have either.

If you were in my shoes what would you suggest?

Thanks,
Val - by realtor
IMO, the bottom line is "exposure". You want to consistently expose your offer to those people who want or will be wanting your service. You may find some benefit from statistics about real estate customers like those published at Realtor.com.

How you do that will depend on the resources available to you. For instance; no friends, no money, no phone = door knocking. Does that make sense? - by Agent Smith
That pretty much says it all. Great post Agent Smith.

Val, if it was me, I would start to build a Network immediately. My experience shows that this is a referral business. There are a few discussions on this forum about referrals and networking. If you get the chance read the book called "Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg. - by AZBroker
It is a good idea to get a lot of referrals and a lot of exposure. However, most real estate agents accomplish that after they become successful.

If you devote most of your time and energy doing those two things you might be able to start earning enough commissions to cover your living and business expenses by the end of your first year to 18 months. Then, you can start to pay down your debts.

However, if you have no money then you probably cannot afford to hang on long enough to learn how accomplish that.

Another alternative is to learn how to prospect and sell, and focus on Expired Listings and FSBOs. That could reduce your break-even point to about six months. However, if you have no money you probably cannot afford to pay for sales training, either.

Real Estate sales has one of the highest failure rates of all industries. Tied for that honor is Financial Services sales. The primary reason is that those industries have a long history of not being able to train people how to prospect and sell.

Most of the really successful Realtors bought their sales skill or acquired it before they got into Real Estate. - by JacquesWerth
Hello everyone,

My head is swimming.

Ok, how about if I make referrals my main focus and prospecting Expired Listings and FSBOs second? When you say prospecting that means telemarketing right?

Do you think a website is a good idea for someone just starting out?

Will networking, prospecting and a website be enough or should I start advertising once I make some money? Where is the best place to advertise?

Thanks,
Val - by realtor
P.S. I know people in my office can answer my questions but I'd like to get feedback from as many people as possible. - by realtor
Val,

If you have a lot of time on your hands then do what ever you can to get business. Call on expireds, FSBO's, hold open houses, knock on doors and pass out as many business cards as you can.

I don't think a website at this point is the best use of your time or money. - by jwk8199
I did make some calls today to FSBOs and I like the Open House idea. Thanks.

Maybe give it a few months before going with a website or no website at all? - by realtor
Ok, how about if I make referrals my main focus and prospecting Expired Listings and FSBOs second? When you say prospecting that means telemarketing right?
Invest the time and resources into Networking. Your real estate career will thank you for it.

Cold calling has always been a great way to go out and round up business but is a poor strategy for long term success.

Will networking, prospecting and a website be enough or should I start advertising once I make some money? Where is the best place to advertise?
Forget about "Advertising". Work on the first three and the rest will take care of itself. - by Agent Smith
I agree with Agent Smith. Networking & referrals are the best long term strategies. However, you will be out of the business before those pay off for you. Like it or not, I think you will have to do some form of direct marketing so you can eat for the first year or so.

Also, make sure you know how to network before you show up to an event. Don't be that guy handing out cards left and right trying to talk about what you do all night and looking for a sale. Focus on everyone else and how you can help them. Listen and ask questions. Know what to say when someone asks "What do you do?". The answer is not "I'm a realtor". - by Derek
I agree with Agent Smith. Networking & referrals are the best long term strategies. However, you will be out of the business before those pay off for you.
I've seen that viewpoint before but I don't subscribe to it.

When I mention "Networking" by the way I'm not talking about "Networking Events" or such. I'm talking about building a "Network" of mutually supportive and trusting relationships. There is a book called, "Power Networking" by Donna Fisher & Sandy Vilas. Their book covers this quite well. :wi - by Agent Smith
Agent Smith,

How long does it take to cultivate one of these networks of supportive and trusting relationships? How do you get started? - by Derek
That depends? How big of Network are you building? How much time are you investing? How good of a job are you doing? etc., etc.,

I've met people one day who sent me a referral the next. It happens... more than some might think. :wi - by Agent Smith
The easiest and best referrals come from your existing clients. Therefore, the most difficult and least productive time to get referrals is when you are new in the business and have very few clients.

When we talk about “prospecting” with Realtors, we primarily mean high probability telephone prospecting to Expireds and FSBOs. That is very different from “telemarketing,” which generally equates to “cold calling,” an onerous activity.

Telephone prospecting, done well, can be highly effective and enjoyable.

Developing a productive website is expensive and time consuming.

The most successful Realtors that we know do not do much advertising. Most of the advertising that they do is in the form of postcards directed to:

1. Their existing client base; and

2. The few neighborhoods that they are “farming.”

Networking is one of the least productive marketing activities. The exception is people who have a natural talent, marked by a compulsion, to do it. - by JacquesWerth
The easiest and best referrals come from your existing clients. Therefore, the most difficult and least productive time to get referrals is when you are new in the business and have very few clients.
It's true, the easiest and best referrals do come from existing clients. However those are not the only sources. The more people (This includes friends, family, neighbors, vendors, etc.) on your side that know what you do (exposure) the more referrals you will receive.

Telephone prospecting, done well, can be highly effective and enjoyable.
I'm currently not grasping how an agent would consider calling hundreds of prospects each day, with a small conversion rate, as being "effective" and "enjoyable". I am open to different viewpoints. What makes this effective and enjoyable?

Developing a productive website is expensive and time consuming.
I'm not sure this is the case any more. I think you can get a Point2 Agent site for about $40 month including the hosting.

Networking is one of the least productive marketing activities.
In your opinion, what makes Networking one of the least productive marketing activities and what do you consider to be one the most effective marketing activities? - by Agent Smith
As a middle-aged 1-yr rookie in realty with lots of corporate industrial purchasing experience, the farming has been the least productive for me in my first year. Working my network has accounted for 50% of the few transactions I did. The other 50% came from working leads off of other agents signs.

I also have a website, very inexpensive. It may not win any website awards, but, after 8 months, I'm getting hits and leads.

I tried the door-to-door, FSBOs, calling - and quickly learned I don't like the "cold" calling. I'll admit I may need to change my attitude a little (switching from purchasing to sales), but its much more enjoyable chatting with people and adding them to my network. Yes, leads are starting to come from that effort. - by WayneR
In your opinion, what makes Networking one of the least productive marketing activities and what do you consider to be one the most effective marketing activities?
Most salespeople don't know how to Network. They think of it as schmoozing and telling people what they do. Effective networking is similar to telephone prospecting, but with a smile and a business card. However, it is not efficient in terms of the number of contacts you can make per hour and the length of time you waste on low probability prospects.

Door-to-door prospecting is very inefficient for the same reasons.

If you equate all "telephone prospecting" with "cold calling," then it will be an onerous activity, which is not very productive. OTOH, if you learn how to continuously work the same prospecting list, then only the first call is cold. That can be an enjoyable and profitable activity when used with Expireds and FSBOs, but not for farming.

Telelphone Prospecting for Real Estate is most effective with lists of Expireds and FSBOs. Five specifically worded prospecting offers are required for each of those markets. They need to be called twice a week while rotating the offers.

Post Card mailers can be economical and effective for cultivating a "farm." But, they take a long time to bear fruit. - by JacquesWerth
I was thinking about all of this today and came up with a question. If all of my satisfied clients are moving away then how are they going to be good source of referrals? - by realtor
Is this the same for manufactured homes in rental parks? Our homes aren't in a MLS so I don't know how to get Expireds and we usually don't have more than 100 FSBOs at a time. - by Thomas
Thomas, I can't see why this wouldn't apply to your situation. - by SalesGuy
Since I can remember agents have been working fsbos and expireds with success. I don't have a magic formula for "working" this target group but Jacques idea sounds good. - by Houston
Is this the same for manufactured homes in rental parks? Our homes aren't in a MLS so I don't know how to get Expireds and we usually don't have more than 100 FSBOs at a time.
I don't have a good solution to your sales problem.

We only have one sales training client that sells manufactured homes. They do a lot of advertising and they get a lot of Internet leads and phone inquiries. Those inquiries provide them with a good prospect list.

We simply teach them how to work their prospect list in order to maximize their sales contacts; and to close a high percentage of the prospects that they meet with. - by JacquesWerth
Is this the same for manufactured homes in rental parks? Our homes aren't in a MLS so I don't know how to get Expireds and we usually don't have more than 100 FSBOs at a time.
My grandmother lived in a mobile home park in California. In her park there was a park manager. You could always prospect the park managers too. Just an idea. - by Liberty
My grandmother lived in a mobile home park in California. In her park there was a park manager. You could always prospect the park managers too. Just an idea.
I do ask park managers for referrals but not as consistently as I should. - by Thomas
Most salespeople don't know how to Network. They think of it as schmoozing and telling people what they do.
I can agree with that. :wi - by Agent Smith
I do ask park managers for referrals but not as consistently as I should.
You might write down a list of all the people who routinely come into contact with a large number of your target clients and prospect "them". The Park Manager was a good example. More examples could include Appraisers, Lenders, Service Companies, Insurance Agents, etc. :wi - by Jolly Roger
You might write down a list of all the people who routinely come into contact with a large number of your target clients and prospect "them". The Park Manager was a good example. More examples could include Appraisers, Lenders, Service Companies, Insurance Agents, etc. :wi
I like the idea of working from the top down. I guess I'll have to come up with something of value to offer. :un - by Thomas
The vast majority of people that get Real Estate Licenses fail to make a living in the industry.

Most highly successful Realtors utilize marketing and sales methods that are customized for the Real Estate Industry. Many of them first developed basic marketing and sales skills in another industry. Others learned by participating in good training programs.

It is seldom that a successful agent learned their skills on-the-job. Unless you emulate what the most successful agents are doing, you will probably be emulating what failing agents are doing.

"Great New Ideas," typically take a lot of time and effort to perform and seldom produce more than a fraction of the results that you need.

Most new real estate agents try many "great new ideas" in the hope of getting business - as long as there is no cost to them except there time. Since it is very rare that any of those schemes produce enough business to sustain them, they eventually run out of time. By then, they are a lot worse off than when they started. At some point, they may even come to the realization that time poorly spent is not worth very much.

Top salespeople make crazy money because they have acquired the skills necessary to produce sales consistently at very at high levels.

- by JacquesWerth
Most highly successful Realtors utilize marketing and sales methods that are customized for the Real Estate Industry.
Which marketing and sales methods are those?

I just finished reading your book Mr. Werth and thought it was really good. :thu

I see the value in only finding and working with the "High Probability" prospects.

I am still trying to get a handle on the "Conditions of Satisfaction" language. If I am working with a manufactured home seller who says she wants to use a broker service like ours how would I ask her what her "conditions of satisfaction" are? Would I say something like, "What do you expect from a broker service?" - by Thomas
Which marketing and sales methods are those?

I just finished reading your book Mr. Werth and thought it was really good. :thu
I see the value in only finding and working with the "High Probability" prospects.

I am still trying to get a handle on the "Conditions of Satisfaction" language. If I am working with a manufactured home seller who says she wants to use a broker service like ours how would I ask her what her "conditions of satisfaction" are? Would I say something like, "What do you expect from a broker service?"
At that point, you say, "Now we will discuss what we do and whether we can meet your conditions of satisfaction. If we can, what will you do?"

If the prospect says that they will buy if you can meet her conditions of satisfaction (CoS), then you take out your list of CoSs and you read them off. A CoS consists of a Feature, the Benefits of that feature, the Detriments of that feature, and a request for a Commitment. After you have received commitments on all of your CoSs, ask whether there is anything else that is important to her. If not, the prospect will create the close for you.

You should be able to present at least two CoSs per minute. So, if your product or services has 16 features, it will take you about 8 minutes to cover all of them. - by JacquesWerth
At that point, you say, "Now we will discuss what we do and whether we can meet your conditions of satisfaction. If we can, what will you do?"

If the prospect says that they will buy if you can meet her conditions of satisfaction (CoS), then you take out your list of CoSs and you read them off. A CoS consists of a Feature, the Benefits of that feature, the Detriments of that feature, and a request for a Commitment. After you have received commitments on all of your CoSs, ask whether there is anything else that is important to her. If not, the prospect will create the close for you.

You should be able to present at least two CoSs per minute. So, if your product or services has 16 features, it will take you about 8 minutes to cover all of them.
Thank you for the help. That cleared that up for me.

Do a lot of people ask what you mean by "conditions of satisfaction"?

What other marketing and sales methods did you find the top real estate agents were using?

Thank you again for all of your help. I WILL put it to good use. :co - by Thomas
Do a lot of people ask what you mean by "conditions of satisfaction"?
A lot of salespeople ask, "Do a lot of people ask what you mean by "conditions of satisfaction? "

Prospects hardly ever ask. - by JacquesWerth
Prospects hardly ever ask.
Good to know. I'm working on those five offers right now. Easier said than done. - by Thomas
At that point, you say, "Now we will discuss what we do and whether we can meet your conditions of satisfaction. If we can, what will you do?"

If the prospect says that they will buy if you can meet her conditions of satisfaction (CoS), then you take out your list of CoSs and you read them off. A CoS consists of a Feature, the Benefits of that feature, the Detriments of that feature, and a request for a Commitment. After you have received commitments on all of your CoSs, ask whether there is anything else that is important to her. If not, the prospect will create the close for you.

You should be able to present at least two CoSs per minute. So, if your product or services has 16 features, it will take you about 8 minutes to cover all of them.
What would an example be of requesting a commitment?

How will the prospect create the close? If they don't should I go ahead and ask? - by realtor
What would an example be of requesting a commitment?

How will the prospect create the close? If they don't should I go ahead and ask?
Here is an example of a commitment request.

CoS: "I market my clients' properties through my relationships with the top real estate agents in our area. They will bring their highly qualified buyers to see your house,and I will help them close the sale. I don't advertise to the general public because it seldom gets a home sold, but it does waste a lot of time and money. Is that acceptable to you?"

After you have received commitments on all of your CoSs, ask whether there is anything else that is important to the prospects. If not, you ask, "What do you want to do?" In most cases the prospects will create the close for you. - by JacquesWerth
Here is an example of a commitment request.

CoS: "I market my clients' properties through my relationships with the top real estate agents in our area. They will bring their highly qualified buyers to see your house,and I will help them close the sale. I don't advertise to the general public because it seldom gets a home sold, but it does waste a lot of time and money. Is that acceptable to you?"

After you have received commitments on all of your CoSs, ask whether there is anything else that is important to the prospects. If not, you ask, "What do you want to do?" In most cases the prospects will create the close for you.
I think I'm getting the hang of this. ;bg Thank you for answering my questions. - by realtor
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