How do you get leads in todays Real Estate Market?
It is getting harder for Real Estate Agents and Brokers to find Qualified Buyers and Sellers. With the housing market declining over the past few years, less people qualifying for loans and unemployment still high. Finding a solid lead is like looking for a needle in the haystack.
Does that mean it’s time to leave the industry? It depends why you entered Real Estate to begin with. If you became a Realtor to take control of your time and earning potential, then you should remain an active Realtor. Obviously this means you need to look at your game plan. Assess what has worked and what hasn’t. Look at your overall budget for your business. You will find that if you analyze your habits, spending and routines, there are a lot of places for you to optimize. Let’s look at a few things to review.
This is a big topic. There never seems to be enough time in a day. Also, everyone has a different Reality. Some Agents are married with kids and others are young, single and have no one to share their time with. So there is no one size fits all.
The fundamentals for a Real Estate Agents management of time is to set up routines. Old habits dye hard but if you find that you are constantly distracted then you need to systematically find a way to eliminate, minimize or work around those distractions. If you always wait for the perfect time to do something, nothing will ever get done.
- TV – Cut down on the hours you spend watching TV
- Social Media – This is tough because the lines are blurred here. Social media is good for networking and promoting your business but it tends to consume more of our time than it should.
- Email – This also is a tough one. You feel you need to watch each email come in and respond immediately. Customer service is important but you should schedule time in the morning, afternoon and evening to review emails. That way you can focus on working.
- Home Office – Most Realtors work from home. Which is great because it cuts down on commuting. But you should treat your home office like a Professional Office Setting. Which means don’t watch your favorite TV Show when you should be servicing your clients. Also you should be prepared to head out on a moments notice. Which means be fully dressed and ready to go.
- Brokers Office – Some agents find it to hard to work from home, so they will work out of the Brokers Office. This is ideal because it automatically eliminates some of the above distractions but it introduces others. Don’t get caught up in the office gossip and if possible see if you can actually have access to a private or semi private office. Privacy helps.
Quick Tip: Instead of trying to change everything over night, you should keep your current routine and log your daily routine for a week or two. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much time gets wasted until you actually see it on paper.
Budgeting is not easy. As a Realtor you have to really stay on top of where your money goes. You need to budget for your life. Mortgage, Food, Clothes etc. You need to budget for getting new business. You need to budget for marketing your current listings. Don’t forget Taxes, you should set aside 30% of each commission check for Uncle Sam and do your quarterly taxes so you don’t get hit with an end of year penalty. Hire a good CPA.
Your Life Budget:
We live in a high spending society. Credit cards allow us to spend more than we can afford. Financial Discipline is not easy. Cut back on what you truly don’t need. Analyze your spending habits and focus on the essentials.
Your Business Budget:
This is probably where you will find yourself either spending way more than you have too or not spending your money wisely. How do Realtors spend money? Let’s look at where most agents spend money.
- Business cards – This is a must.
- Yard Signs – This is a must.
- Office/MLS Dues – This is a must.
- Third Party Lead Generation sources aka Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Homes.com etc – This is where Agents can go broke and see marginal returns. This is a maybe and only after the basics have been funded first.
- Website IDX & SEO – This is a must but agents tend to skimp in this area.
- Direct Mail – This is a tough one. Unless you have a solid list of fresh names and address’s, this can get expensive. You can also go with the Post Office Every door Campaign which is massive area farming.
Let’s talk about Third party Lead Generation Sources for a moment. Why do I consider this a poor primary investment? First, you are only renting your leads and you tend to spend top dollar. Some of these lead generation sources can cost around $100 per month minimum. And if you join all the major sites, then you can easily find yourself spending a small fortune. Also, these third party sites are constantly changing their features and end up marginalizing your investment by diluting your exposure or charging you higher prices for additional exposure.
Where should you focus your marketing dollars?
Your own Website and I don’t mean a subdomain of your brokers website. You shouldn’t wait for an algorithm to send you a lead. Plus if you nurture your website by ensuring it becomes a true local resource you will generate leads that convert at a higher rate.
- Buy a good Domain Name – It should be short, local and memorable. Cost: $12 per year.
- Managed Hosting Account – Unless you understand Server Administration then you should spend a few extra dollars on Managed Hosting. Cost: $20 per month.
- Professionally Designed Website – If you want to compete against the big boys then you should have a good looking easy to use website. Remember your target audience. Cost: $500 to $2,500. But Worth it.
- IDX Integration – This is key for a lot of reasons. Buyers like to browse online. If you only have a few listings then you’re not offering much. If you can showcase thousands of listings then buyers will spend a lot of time on your website and might find something they like.
- Blog Weekly – If you want to be found online and market yourself on Social Media then you need something to promote. Talk Real Estate first but also mix in some good local information like special events or even do a neighborhood review.
Here are some great Themes for a WordPress Website:
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to take control of your real estate business. As a realtor myself I understand what it means to walk our path daily. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.