How to get Listings in Real Estate
Listings. Most agents want as many listings as possible. After-all, listings naturally attract serious buyers. So establishing yourself as a listing agent in a market OR at least having a steady stream of listings, puts your business in a strong position. So if you are a real estate agent looking to grow your listings, we’ve got the inside scoop on the best listing strategies. And no, we’re not talking about blanketing your neighborhood’s street lights and lampposts with “We buy houses for cash” tear-off flyers. We’re talking about good old-fashioned relationship building and outreach efforts. Here’s a quick table of contents if you’re looking for a specific topic:
- Farming a Local Area
- Engaging with the Local Community
- Sphere of Influence
- Referrals and Networks
- Partner Referrals
- Social Media
- Cold Calling and Expired Listings
- Past Clients
So, if you’re ready to learn how to get more listings in real estate through relationship-building and proactive outreach, keep reading! We’ve got the tips and tricks you need to take your business to the next level. Let’s dive in!
Farming a Local Area
Farming is a popular marketing tactic in the world of real estate, and for good reason. It involves focusing your marketing and prospecting efforts on a specific area/neighborhood, which allows you to establish yourself as the go-to agent for that particular local market.
Once you’ve chosen your target market, it’s important to approach your marketing and prospecting efforts with a strategic mindset. You’ll want to consistently send direct mail, email, or social media campaigns to the area or demographic you’re farming, and you might even consider hosting events or sponsoring local organizations or teams to help establish a presence in the community. The goal is to build recognition and trust among the people in your target market, so that they think of you first when it comes time to buy or sell a home.
But don’t think this can be done overnight. It takes time and requires a sizable budget. But the benefit of being the first agent that comes to mind for a bunch of property owners within a specific area is massive. It means that, if sellers are interviewing agents, you’ll have a shot to win their business.
So what exactly does farming involve? Short answer is LOTS of print marketing. Post cards, door hangers, and flyers with valuable and/or noteworthy real estate market info that home owners won’t just throw away as junk mail. Content with recent sales activity and property value intel (CMAs) and other market insights are usually interesting for home owners especially since most of them will have the majority of their net worth tied up in their home.
But don’t forget the little gifts (aka tchotchkes or trinkets). While their effectiveness is a bit questionable, many agents’ neighborhood farming strategy involves sending branded keychains, pens & notepads and other inexpensive items so residents don’t forget them if/when it’s the time to consider selling.
But to become memorable within a community this needs to be done regularly and for a long period of time. So you can see this isn’t cheap OR easy. Many agents spend thousands/month executing farming tactics like this…and they can take years to produce real value.
If you’re considering which is the right area to farm, there are a few key factors to consider. First, you want to choose an area or demographic that aligns with your expertise and interests. For example, if you specialize in luxury homes, you might want to focus your farming efforts on an affluent neighborhood. If you’ve worked with a lot of veterans, pick neighborhoods near bases. Similar thinking applies if you’ve embedded yourself in a specific business community like doctors/nurses, university employees, factory/plant workers that belong to a union etc.
Overall, farming can be a highly effective way to boost your listings and sales in real estate. It takes time and effort to establish yourself in a specific area or demographic, but the payoff can be significant. This is why maintaining a farm within a local area is usually part of most successful listing strategies.
Engaging with the Local Community
Similar to marketing to a farm engaging with the local community is a surefire way to build your reputation as a local expert which means new listings.
Attending events and meeting people face-to-face, is a great way to establish relationships within a local market that can lead to new business. It sounds old school, but having business cards or other promotional materials on hand is a good tactic to enhance how memorable you are.
Some ideas to really become the go-to agent that is top of mind for prospective sellers within a community:
- Sponsorship and participation in local organizations: banners at the school or little leagues, joining the chamber of commerce, getting involved with churches, hospitals and local recreation
- Hosting events: holiday get-togethers like backyard BBQs, happy hours, charity activities, and even more practical ideas like shredding events
- Showing face: appearing at local events (fundraisers, farmers markets, etc) and even door knocking
Also try and ignore any social anxiety. Striking up conversations with strangers is a key part of making this tactic work. Sure, it’s easy to hide behind a social media account, but putting yourself out there is what real-world prospecting is all about…and it’s why in-person interactions build relationships much faster than “liking” someone’s Instagram post.
Another more guerilla marketing approach is to wear clothing or accessories that promote your real estate business while out and about in the community. This could be something as simple as a custom t-shirt or hat. By putting your brand out there in a non-intrusive way, you’ll gradually raise awareness for your biz. It won’t be the single factor in being top of mind for anyone thinking of listing their property…but it helps!
In summary, engaging with the local community is a listing strategy that builds your reputation and therefore attracts more listing prospects. Whether you’re attending or hosting local events, getting out there and meeting people in your target markets is key to being a listing agent. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start building those relationships!
Sphere of Influence (SOI)
When it comes to listing prospecting in real estate, your Sphere of Influence (SOI) is a unique advantage that needs to be worked for all it’s worth. We’ve got a whole deep dive on what/why/how to engage your SOI in real estate here…but here’s how it impacts how you can get more listings in real estate.
This group includes your friends, family, past clients, acquaintances, and anyone else in your network who could potentially refer business your way. And when we say network, you better believe social media networks count. Ever hear how top listing agents get over 50% of their leads from past clients and referrals? This is their SOI in action. So tap into your pre-existing, trusted network to generate listing leads. These leads come with a built in trust element so you’ve got a serious shot at closing them.
Here are some tips to make the most of your Sphere of Influence:
- Stay in touch: That means regularly reaching out to your contacts, whether that’s through social media, phone calls, emails, or even a drop-by “I was in the area and wanted to say ‘Hi!'”. Share updates about your business, offer helpful advice or insights, and make yourself available for any questions or concerns they may have. Make sure to remember important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, or when they bought their last home with you. Gifting and cards is a great personal touch, when appropriate.
- Offer value: You don’t want to come across as salesy or pushy, so instead, focus on providing truly helpful information or resources. This could include home value evaluations (CMAs), local housing market insights, and tips for sellers (even home maintenance tips), or interesting articles related to real estate. By offering value to your network, you’ll stay top of mind and increase trust over time.
- Client appreciation events: Organizing events for past clients was a frequently recommended tactic. This could be a party, a BBQ, or even smaller get-togethers. This gives the realtor an opportunity to reconnect with past clients in a relaxed, social setting. Many more Client Appreciation Event ideas here.
- Client Club or Membership: Some realtors take client appreciation to the next level by starting a club or membership group for their past clients, where they give away prizes for things like engagement and referrals.
Lastly when it comes to your sphere of influence, know when and how to ask for the business. It ain’t all fun and games right? Your SOI should be producing some business value if you’re going to continue to invest in it. So between the BBQs and the prize giveaways, pick a good time to to ask them if they’re planning to sell soon or if they are curious what their property is worth OR if they have friends or relatives that are thinking of selling (much more on referrals below).
Referrals and Networks
Referrals are undoubtedly some of the best leads for potential listings because referrals leverage your existing relationships with past clients, colleagues, friends and family. Here are a few excellent sources for referrals:
- Sphere of Influence: As we covered above, your SOI already knows and trusts you, so they’re more likely to recommend you to their own networks. Just make it clear that you’re actively seeking new listing clients and that you’d appreciate any referrals they could provide.
- Out of state agents: Partnering with agents in different regions can help you build a referral pipeline that extends far beyond your local market while allowing you to provide out-of-town clients with trusted recommendations.
- Lender partners: Since they work with individuals to secure financing for their home purchase, they may come across clients who are also looking to sell their current home. By building a relationship with a lender partner, you could receive referrals for clients who are looking to sell their home before purchasing a new one.
- Financial planners: They work closely with clients to manage their finances, they may come across individuals who are considering buying or selling a home. By building a relationship with a financial planner, you could receive referrals that you may not have otherwise had access to.
- Divorce attorneys: Granted it’s not an ideal scenario but divorce attorneys are often in contact with individuals who need to sell their home quickly. By building these relationships, you could become their go-to real estate agent for their clients.
And to make the most of your referral possibilities when it comes to getting more listings, here are a few tips:
- Maintain a solid track record: one of the reasons people don’t refer businesses is when they’re not sure that the business is reliable…and no one wants to risk a botched referral. So consistently delivering outstanding service to your clients is key to winning future referral business.
- Stay organized and proactive in your outreach efforts. This is where having tools like a CRM (we’ve got Real Estate CRM suggestions here) is important to keep track of all your contacts and maintain regular communication.
- Business Network International (BNI) or Chamber of Commerce groups are built on referrals so tapping into these are a great idea. Just be prepared to carve out a chunk of your mornings to meet with the group!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals
We’ve got an entire deep dive on real estate referrals here too…and below we’ll get into other ways to stay connected with your referral network so when it’s time to ask for a referral you don’t get a response like “where the heck have you been?!” …or even worse “oh you’re still doing real estate?”.
Admittedly, social media is an all-to-common theme within every real estate marketing tactic…but hear us out. Simply posting stuff to stay top of mind isn’t enough to get listings. It’s too competitive out there. Here are some specific social media content ideas that are a natural fit within most listings strategies:
- market reports
- recent sales activity
- tour active properties (with the listing agents permission)
- break down past sales (yours or your teams)
- local market news
- tips to maximize a home’s value: remodel ideas and maintenance tips
And there’s lots of room to get creative. Just keep posting content that appeals to owners that may, one day, sell. And when you do get a listing, make SURE to post all about it on social media at every stage of the sales cycle so would-be sellers see you doing your thing.
By using social media platforms to showcase your expertise, you’ll build trust with potential sellers and generate more listing prospects.
Cold Calling and Expired Listings
Sometimes it’s necessary to take more direct action to get more listings. Cold calling has negative connotations but some agents have had great success with these approaches, especially when other, more enjoyable, methods aren’t producing the results they’re looking for.
One approach is to call expired listings – these are properties that haven’t been sold by the end of the agreed-upon period between a seller and a listing agent. There are a bunch of benefits to expired listings but these are well known so sellers are usually inundated with calls from agents…so practiced scripting and handling/overcoming rejection are critical for success. The general strategy on a cold call with an expired seller, is to show them what went wrong the first time around and how you can fix the issue (usually price, staging, or marketing).
Another tactic is to cold call owners (including absentee owners) with a property in an area where a noteworthy sale occurred and see if they’d be interested in a conversation about the value of their property. A riff on this approach is to mention that you have buyers that were interested in the property that just sold and now they’re interested in the owner’s property.
Make sure to approach these calls with a friendly but professional demeanor, and focus on finding out what their needs are and how you can help them. And remember that in any cold calling scenario it’s a numbers game. Persistence, consistency, and a high threshold for pain are key…especially since the vast majority of calls will not have positive outcomes. But don’t let frustration from previous calls into your current call because you want to be on your game in case you get a receptive prospect. Always be prepared to showcase your expertise and offer helpful information. With the right approach and a little bit of patience, cold calling can be a powerful way to get more listings and grow your business.
Sure, you could spend a fortune on paid advertising or fancy marketing materials, but many top agents know that building and maintaining relationships is key to success in the real estate game. Whether it’s with past clients, colleagues, friends, or even people you meet online, your network is your biggest asset when it comes to getting more listings.
Sure we’ve kind of covered past clients within the Sphere of Influence section above, but the fact is that many agents drop the ball when it comes to their past clients.
NAR regularly releases surveys on the percent of sellers that’d use their agent again and it’s always over 75% but then they survey how many sellers worked with the same agent as before and it’s usually less than 25%. So what does that mean? It means that more than 50% of these clients had agents that dropped the ball when it comes to staying in touch! Don’t let that be you. Throw that Client Appreciation Event, make that check-in call, or even send that birthday text. Anything to make you the first person they think of if/when the idea of selling their home comes up!
Hopefully this helps you get more listings and add some new skills to your Real Estate marketing toolbox. Remember you don’t need to master all of these approaches. You just need 1-2 really working for you to get more listings in your real estate market.