Expert Tips on How to Get Clients in Real Estate
This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Clients are the lifeblood of a successful real estate career, and success hinges on using multiple prospecting techniques to generate leads and convert new clients. From volunteering in your community to leveraging technology, creating a real estate website, hosting events, and posting on social media, there are countless ways to get clients in real estate. We asked experts for their best tips on how to get clients in real estate to build a thriving real estate business.
Keep reading as 17 real estate and marketing experts offer tips for how to get clients in real estate:
Tap Your Sphere of Influence (SOI) for Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Your sphere of influence, or SOI, is one of your most valuable resources as a real estate professional. These are friends, family, colleagues, agents in different locations, community business peers—basically, anyone who knows and trusts you. Ultimately, you want all of these people to be brand ambassadors who sing your praises and speak to your hard work to generate real estate client referrals from your SOI.
Lyndsey Casagrande, Licensed Real Estate Agent, Compass
“The best way to get clients is through your personal network. Everyone knows someone who is moving! Nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth. Make it known on your social media or within your social circle that you’re an agent and business will come to you. It is very obvious in my friend circle who to come to for real estate advice. I have found homes for several of my friends and have gotten countless referrals from their friends, family, and colleagues. Helping your friends will always be worth it!”
Dan Spransy, Broker & Owner, Realty Executives Cooper Spransy
“When starting out, your friends and family will almost always be your most immediate source of business. Statistically, about 14% of the population moves each year. As an example, if you have around 100 to 200 contacts in your cellphone, that means 15 to 30 of them will move this year alone. If you focus on letting your contacts know that you’re in real estate, you’re likely to get that many more leads and successful outcomes. Just think—all those times making small talk while waiting to pick up your kids from after-school activities could pay off!”
While the people in your sphere of influence may already be sending referral business your way, there’s nothing wrong with incentivizing your SOI to send you referrals in order to get clients in real estate. This could be a bottle of wine, gift card, or home decor item with a handwritten note to thank them for sending you a client.
If you’re looking for more creative referral incentives or client gift ideas, check out our article about pop-by gift ideas from the pros or consider using a service like EvaBot. EvaBot will ask the gift recipient a series of questions to customize the perfect gift for them. You control the price point and you can even include a personally branded gift item and handwritten note. Check out their 14-day free trial to get started today.
Expand Your Network by Engaging With Your Community
Your sphere of influence is only so large, but you can keep expanding it through networking. Networking is a proven method to generate leads in order to get clients in real estate, and it can be done in a variety of ways.
Formal networking opportunities include things like events, conferences, volunteering, workshops, industry associations, or your Chamber of Commerce. However, they can also be everyday activities like going to the gym, interacting in Facebook groups or book clubs, or sitting in a restaurant and chatting with the person next to you. Regardless of the networking activity, the most important element is to introduce yourself and your real estate services to new people.
Jamie Klingman, Realtor & Owner, Boutique Realty Florida
“There is no better way to do it than by volunteering in your local community. This is a win-win, meaningful and organic way to generate clients in real estate. You get to do good for the community and meet people who get to know and trust you. These may be the same people who will also trust you with one of the biggest financial decisions they will make. It is a much more solid and secure source of referrals and one that is usually ongoing.”
Karen Stone, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
“Give seminars and workshops for buyers, renters, and sellers to meet potential clients from different organizations. For example, you can travel to schools and do seminars about renting. This can lead to a few deals each year and a chance for a long-term investment, as some renters tend to buy after their rent expires.”
The best way to prepare for networking is to create an elevator pitch, a 30- to 60-second persuasive speech that highlights you and your value as a successful real estate professional. It should speak to your audience and let them know your goals and the skills that contribute to you being a valuable real estate agent. Practice your speech at home so when you meet new people and they ask you “what do you do?” you’ll gain a new acquaintance and potentially a future client and client referrals by sharing your expertise.
Pro tip: When you collect business cards from other people during networking events, take a few seconds to write a couple of notes on the back of the card about your conversation, like their kids’ names, favorite restaurant, or where they went to school. When you follow up with them, you can reference these points to highlight your attention to detail and show a personal interest in getting to know them.
Use Real Estate Software to Identify Prospects & Automate Follow-up
It is a miracle that real estate agents could stay organized and connected with all of their clients before the advent of real estate software. Real estate software can be mobile apps or web-based systems and can be used for lead generation to get more clients in real estate as well as for transaction processing, email and social media marketing, appointment scheduling, organizing leads, communication, and so much more.
Although it is tempting to try to stay organized by yourself, taking the time and effort to learn about real estate software will save you time and make your business easier to manage in the long run. Invest in a client relationship management (CRM) system to keep constant communication with your clients. If you’re just starting out, your budget for software might be small, but there are free real estate CRMs you can use for lead generation and nurturing.
CRM systems like Pipedrive, HubSpot, and LionDesk can create automatic drip email campaigns with custom-made messages that will continuously reach out to your clients and encourage business. Pipedrive will also keep track of the transactions in your pipeline and has built-in e-signature and document tracking capabilities for optimum organization and efficiency.
Jess Pingrey, Sales Expert & Content Producer, Fit Small Business
“When you’re working with a large number of sellers and buyers, it’s essential to use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of your deals. CRMs make it easy to store client information and documents (such as contracts), plus you can set reminders to follow up with clients, take notes, and see all of your pending deals in a visual format in one place. Since real estate agents are constantly on the go, most CRMs offer a mobile app that allows you to manage your business from anywhere. Some platforms, such as Zoho CRM, even allow you to manage your social media posts right within the software. Many CRMs, such as HubSpot, offer a free plan and low-cost pricing tiers to meet a wide range of real estate agent budgets.”
In addition, many real estate software tools can be directly integrated into your CRM software to keep track of your leads, transactions, and overall goals and performance. For instance, Calendly integrates with Pipedrive, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, Copper, Freshsales, and more. This ensures that you’re optimizing your efforts to not only capture but also nurture as many quality leads as possible to produce a high return on investment (ROI).
Lauren Stangl, Realtor Associate, Sawyer Smith Residential
“Advertise yourself as a human before an agent by involving yourself in the community. Volunteer, walk around, meet and talk to your neighbors about anything but real estate so they get to know you. But also, supplement your business with Zillow Premier Agent. Although you are paying a fee for leads, you’re getting a buyer who is ready to purchase something ASAP. Last year, 13 of my sales were from picking up a Zillow call, and I’m currently under contract for a $2.5M home from Zillow (and the clients have become my friends).”
Using one of the best CRMs for real estate agents is just the start, and technology abounds for real estate agents. For example, scheduling tools like Calendly enable clients to schedule appointments, phone calls, and showings on your calendar, when you’re available, without the back and forth of phone tag or emailing. Or you can use a tool like Spacio to capture the contact information of open house visitors with a digital sign-in tool connected to your CRM.
Once a buyer or seller is under contract, as an agent you’ll have a broad range of deadlines and tasks to manage. To make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines and your client can sail smoothly through to closing, consider using one of our picks for the best real estate transaction management software platforms.
As you can see, the list of real estate software possibilities is virtually endless, but you can start with these 41 Best Real Estate Software & Tools for Top Agents in 2021.
Get Real Estate Clients by Becoming More Social-media Savvy
Similar to software, social media has become a necessary tool when it comes to how to get clients in real estate. Successful real estate agents use social media strategically to stay in touch with clients and build their brand image, as well as for advertising and marketing.
When people see your credentials and read about your professional expertise, the trust can begin to build before you even speak about their real estate needs. You will also be able to learn more about them, find common ground, see what’s important to them, and start the process of building a relationship that will continue (thanks to your social media connection) after your transaction is complete.
Marcel Wilson, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Keller Williams NYC
“I’ve been getting most of my clientele through social media tools, primarily my personal Instagram account. We all have our ‘business’ social media accounts, but I feel that it’s important that people connect with me on a personal level. It builds a sense of trust and allows prospective clients to see that I’m also a person, just like them.”
Social media is also helpful for prospecting. Before getting on a call with a potential client, take a moment to look at their profile on LinkedIn or Facebook, and connect with them. Keep in mind that your sphere of influence can also help out here, so make sure you are connected with them on social media as well. This helps keep your business top of mind when an opportunity to refer your services comes around.
Mike Jeneralczuk, Team Leader & Real Estate Agent, REAL New York
“I think the biggest mistake we make as agents is we focus only on obtaining direct clients, not indirectly through our social media footprint. It’s important to build a bigger tent—be present on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on with updates, notable listings, and recent transactions. A lot of clients will find you, instead of you finding them. Too often, people even in our own network forget we’re in the business.”
There are so many social networks available to get your content out there, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even TikTok and Snapchat. Whether you’re creating videos, posting pictures, or placing targeted ads, social media can be used to attract a target audience and gather leads at no upfront cost (except for the investment of your time).
Aaron Bowman, Realtor Team Lead, eXp Realty
“Use Facebook advertising to dial in your target market for either buyers or sellers. Facebook makes it easy and cost-effective. Make use of videos to discuss many topics along with places of interest in town. Also, post real estate and non-real estate-related content on your Facebook business page. Be consistent in posting content to build a following as this is an effective way to bring in new clients.”
Target All of Your Marketing Strategically
Trying to be all things to all clients doesn’t work. Since marketing and advertising involve the investment of a significant amount of time—and often money, it’s critical that all of your marketing is strategic in targeting your desired audience, starting with building a unique brand.
As a real estate professional, establishing your personal brand as part of your strategic marketing plan is essential to distinguish you from your many competitors in the industry. It tells clients who you are, the skills you possess, and the value you bring to the table when conducting a real estate transaction.
Sep Niakan, Owner & Broker, Blackbook Properties
“Agents usually focus on short-term lead generation, which tends to be a ‘one-and-done’ approach. Instead, if you focus on creating a name for yourself through branding yourself, a particular property type or neighborhood—think ‘niche branding’ or ‘niche farming’—you will yield ongoing leads from your cumulative efforts. For example, create a neighborhood-specific website, with neighborhood history, local events, key phone numbers, real estate stats, blogs sharing your experiences, and, but not necessarily, real estate listings. Send emails and mailers to people who live in and are interested in the neighborhood.”
Identifying a niche is equally important for you as you build your business. since this enables you to focus on targeting your desired audience in order to generate leads from buyers, sellers, and investors—the leads you want to attract based on your client personas and desired location. This will affect not only your lead generation strategy, but all of your marketing strategies, such as the copy you write, locations of interest, and the photos and videos you use to target certain audiences.
Ann Young, Blogger & Freelancer, FixThePhoto
“One of the main things you can do to increase your sales is to take a set of attractive property photos that will complement your real estate listing. You can hire a professional photographer or take the pictures yourself, but make sure you have a good DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera and a tripod. Also, consider online real estate photo editing services that will improve your photos and remove all unnecessary things in the background to make them look more enticing to your prospective clients.”
Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, Realtor & Broker, Claire Properties
“Real estate farming involves mapping a specific neighborhood or area, calculating the marketability of the farm zone. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average homeowner plans to move every 13 years, with younger, first-time homebuyers relocating slightly more frequently. From there, you can use data on the neighborhood and specific properties found in the Realtors Property Platform to start conversations with homeowners in the area. Marketing pieces, such as postcards, can be valuable, but our greatest reward comes from establishing relationships in neighborhoods, by meeting people on their sidewalks and in their living rooms.”
There are dozens of easy, low-cost real estate marketing ideas you can employ, but don’t forget, a tried-and-true way to reach clients is still through real estate mailers. Just like you can schedule emails to go out, you can schedule postcards, brochures, and flyers to be sent out to prospective clients through online platforms like ProspectsPLUS! or PostcardMania.
PostcardMania’s all-in-one system can design, print, and deliver your mailers with their in-house U.S. post office (USPS) mailing facility. If you want to bring the content in your mailers to social media as well, they can create matching ads on Facebook, Google, and Instagram. Check out their website for more information.
Build a Strong Online Presence
According to the National Association of Realtors, nine out of 10 homebuyers rely on the internet as their primary research source, which makes custom real estate websites a goldmine for real estate professionals. Setting up a robust real estate website that showcases your listings and expertise can generate potential leads that you can convert to clients.
Christopher Krogmeier, Broker & Owner, Lake Country Home Realty
“One of the most successful ways to get real estate clients is by building a website with an IDX (internet data exchange) feed and a boost from Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords). It has been a great way to meet new clients, and it also allows you to feature your listings. This type of website pulls listings directly from the MLS (multiple listing services) and displays them in a very search-friendly manner. You can track what people are looking at and suggest other similar properties. If you have a listing that meets a lead’s home search parameters, your website provides you the ability to push the listing to the lead.”
Not only is it beneficial to create a website, but including a real estate landing page will help you capture leads directly. For instance, if you are looking to target seller leads, your landing page might offer a free home valuation. Upon adding their contact information, the leads will receive a home valuation and you will be able to contact them and assist them with their listing.
Steve Novak, Founder & Buyer’s Agent, EZ Agents
“Digital media and online presence is the future of generating clients in real estate. The days of cold calling expired listings are over. Clients nowadays want to do their research and know who you are and what you have to offer before ever contacting you. A strong online presence—so clients can find you—combined with a robust explanation of the services you provide are what sets you apart, and client testimonials that prove your worth are all essential.”
Companies like Placester, Real Geeks, and BoldLeads can assist with the design and implementation of a real estate website with a landing page. Placester uses search engine optimization (SEO) to determine how to get the most page traffic and design elements that encourage audience engagement. This will ensure a flow of leads that will improve your client conversion rates.
Your website and landing pages aren’t the only online avenue for expanding your reach to get real estate clients. For example, if you are partnering with other professionals for client-attraction events, such as first-time homebuying seminars, you could offer to write a post for their blog or email newsletter.
Ask the other professional to feature your post on their website or email it to their clients and add it to your real estate landing pages. Not only can it help with lead generation, but the more you contribute, the more you’ll be positioned as an expert in your niche and location.
Bruce Ailion, Associate Broker & Attorney, RE/MAX Town & Country
“Engage in online public relations (PR) and have yourself quoted in various real estate blogs and websites as often as possible. When a prospective client sees your useful comments or contribution to a blog or article, there’s a big chance that this client will contact you.”
Hold Events That Leave a Lasting Impression
Open houses are the age-old real estate experience where the primary goal is to create buzz, generate interest (and maybe even competition), and sell the home you are listing quickly and for the best price possible. However, it’s important to remember that those are not your only goals during an open house. Since much of our interaction with potential clients is done via the internet, open houses are one of the few ways you can get face-to-face time with a potential client, which cannot be undervalued.
Make your open house an experience by providing food and drink, which will not only make people happy about free fare but also encourage people to stick around longer, giving you the chance to interact more. Keep in mind that buyers are not the only attendees at an open house. Many times a seller lead may be popping in to do an impromptu “interview” with the listing agent to see if they could assist with their sale.
Travis Boff, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Keller Williams
“Work as many open houses as you can. Put yourself in the ‘batter’s box’ so you’re always ready for an opportunity to meet people interested in buying or selling. Open houses are not only a great way to meet potential clients, but also a great way to network with others in the community. If you do a good job throughout a transaction, referrals will naturally happen.”
Open houses aren’t the only events where you can showcase your skills and knowledge. Homebuying and selling both have complex processes. Adding value by educating prospects first makes them more likely to choose your services.
Holding in-person or virtual events to discuss common pain points and explaining processes for various buyer or seller types (e.g., first-time buyers, empty nesters, investors, and so on) can generate leads among active and almost-active buyers and sellers. In addition, you can expand your potential audience and reach even more by holding events in conjunction with other industry professionals such as mortgage brokers, title agents, or even divorce attorneys and financial advisers.
Chad Peevy, Founder & CEO, Institute for Human Progress and Development
“Webinars are the open house of our time. They create incredible leverage for your business, allowing you to be on an appointment with a buyer or seller while your webinar is lead generating for you. Another benefit of webinars is that you can have multiple versions running at the same time. Using tools like EverWebinar, a recorded webinar can be created and consumed in multiple neighborhoods and client demographics.”
There are an endless number of potential strategies for how to get clients in real estate, but you must decide which avenues are going to be best for you and your real estate business. Although lead generation does not happen overnight, you will find that combining multiple prospecting techniques, like those listed above, and consistently practicing them will bring you clients and success in your real estate business.