Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company’s booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company’s sales team.
The strategies used to generate these contacts are put in place by your business to ensure that your leads are quality and worth nurturing for the future. Lead generation is all about building trust with your audience and educating them about your industry and offerings along the way.
1. Create relationships, not transactions
Remember that every lead is another person, just like you, so treat them just as you would want to be treated. It’s not only the right thing to do but also good for your business. That’s because every lead can become a valuable connection to entirely new networks of potential buyers. A recommendation from a current client to one of his or her friends carries a huge amount of weight. And don’t forget that buyers eventually become sellers.
These are just a couple of the reasons why it’s essential to develop ongoing, mutually-beneficial relationships with all of your clients and leads.
2. Follow up
Keep in touch. If you’re not in the forefront of a buyer’s mind, you’re missing out on potential opportunities. So set a schedule for catching up with clients on a monthly basis, with an email, a call or text, or even post a letter for a more professional touch. This kind of personal attention means you’re well positioned when the time comes for your client’s friends and family to get into the market.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool, like Domain’s My Desktop, can hold all your customer details and keep a record of your interactions, as well as help manage listings and sales. Using a web-based system like this means that it can be consulted and updated even when you’re on the run.
3. Ask for referrals
Don’t be afraid to approach your contacts and ask if they know anyone who is looking to buy. In this age of sprawling social networks, even if close friends and family aren’t active in the market, most people have an array of casual contacts that might be curious.
If your contacts are kind enough to pass you on to their network, don’t forget to show your appreciation. Thank them, maybe even offer an appropriate gift, and again, keep in touch. No one wants a fair weather agent.
4. Use social media to build your online reputation
Lead generation is all about putting yourself in front of potential buyers, so be where they are: on social media. Almost everyone will research agents first, and social media accounts that are active, useful and diverse are sure to instill confidence in buyers.
To maximize your time selling houses and minimize your time posting on twitter and Facebook, make use of online social media automation tools. In a short time, you can collect a handful of listings, information, and links to interesting articles and schedule them to be posted throughout the day or week.
It’s also worth soliciting positive reviews from current clients to post online. And in the unlikely event that a buyer’s research might turn up unsavoury results attached to you or your agency’s name, online reputation management companies can help fine-tune search results to ensure you’re presented in the most positive light.
By the way, you can set up your agent profile on Domain here and get tips on how to get off on the right foot in social here.
5. Utilize advertising
Personal recommendations are great and social media profiles are handy, but how will the most potential leads hear about you in the first place? Through advertising. Advertising will create a presence that just can’t be achieved from going person-to-person. Use digital, print and any other channel where you can be seen.
Premium online listings like Domain’s Premium Plus, for example, can heighten your profile exponentially, with 13 more inquiries and 6 time the views of regular listings.
6. Attend networking events
Some agents might question the value of hanging out with a bunch of other agents when there are buyers to be found. But leads come from everywhere and a network is a network. You might meet your next mentor or mentee. You might pick up a valuable tip over your third champagne. Or you might just find inspiration from agents experiencing the same joys and hardship as you are.
In Australia, the annual AREC and ARPM conferences offer a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas, learn new skills, take the temperature of the industry, and discover insights from a formidable list of speakers.
Make the connection
Generating a steady stream of leads isn’t easy, but with a little work, it’s definitely possible. If you nurture your relationships, present well on social, hit all potential buyers with advertising, contribute to the community, and follow the other tips outlined above, the leads will come.