There’s a common theme in advice for getting real estate leads: use your network.
However, when you’re just starting out, your network may not include anyone who’s looking to buy or sell their house. Or maybe you don’t want to go around hitting up all your friends for business.
In this case, you may have to use some salesmanship to generate leads and get your first clients. This will form the basis of a larger, more productive network.
During this early stage, it’s likely that you’ll need to do some outbound marketing. A more common term for outbound marketing is “cold outreach.”
Cold outreach is the toughest type of salesmanship, no matter what communication channel you use. Cold calling, cold emailing, cold sales visits. All of them are hard.
Talking to complete strangers is nerve wracking.
So the first step is working up the courage to do cold outreach at all.
Once the butterflies calm down, the next step is to increase your chances of success.
To do that, you’ll need to get warmer leads.
Corporate sales teams rarely get leads that are completely cold. Research teams gather tons of data about every lead before it gets passed to the sales team for outreach.
As a real estate agent, you’re usually in charge of both sales and research. One huge mistake people make is neglecting the research phase of the outbound sales process.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to get good information for cold outreach. Especially for real estate agents.
Here’s how to get the information that will warm up your leads and give your cold outreach the greatest chance of success.
Tools for Researching Your Real Estate Leads
Real estate agents need personal, address, and geoeconomic data to create quality leads.
Having a complete portfolio of information—including name, address, email address, phone number, employment, and so on—makes it much easier to evaluate a lead’s potential.
It also takes some of the dread out of starting that first conversation.
There’s a large suite of real estate tools designed to help real estate agents get economic information about neighborhoods and cities.
However, there are fewer tools for getting personal information so that you have an idea of who you’re contacting when you do cold outreach.
There are even fewer good information finding tools.
So what information can you get, and how do you use it to get better real estate leads?
Home Sales Stats
The best leads are the ones who stand to benefit the most from selling their house. So targeting the right areas is key.
The MLS database offers a lot of information about average and projected home values.
However, it also helps to know how often people in a certain area sell their homes. That can indicate a neighborhood with good equity to capitalize on.
The MLS database is rather inefficient for getting this sort of data. A good home sales statistics tool will gather the information you need much more efficiently, and save you a lot of time.
A good tool like this gathers information from the county recorder’s office. So the results are usually accurate.
You can also look at the sales trends for the last year to identify areas with potential that haven’t started selling yet.
Reverse Address Lookup
Getting addresses from the various real estate databases is fairly straightforward.
But it helps to know who’s living at the residence before you make a call or visit. That way you’ll at least have a name to start with.
Fortunately, there are tools designed specifically to get all the information associated with an address.
Doing a reverse address lookup for each address you want to target will give you the name, phone number, and email address connected to the physical address.
This opens up a lot of communication channels for cold outreach.
If you’re a trooper and have pulled a large list of addresses from your real estate software, you can use batch processing to speed things up.
Be aware that a reverse address lookup isn’t bulletproof. False positives are possible.
This is especially true for apartments or houses that have been divided into multiple units.
However, for single family residences, the success rate is much higher.
Reverse Phone Lookup
Reverse phone lookup tools are good to use in conjunction with in-person networking events.
It can be uncomfortable to ask people for their address when you meet them, especially for realtors. People feel the sales pitch coming and run away.
It’s much easier to just gather phone numbers, then use a reverse phone lookup tool to complete the information so you can follow up with a mailed information package or email.
Here’s a tip: if you plan to send physical materials or marketing emails, be sure to give a follow up phone call before sending anything more substantial.
A package or email out of the blue can be a bit jarring. It’s less surprising if the prospect has had more than one conversation with you.
These days, a lot of people will give you their cell phone number when you exchange information in person.
However, some people still give their landline. Maybe they don’t want to be bothered on their cell phone. Or maybe they don’t have a cell phone.
Additionally, if you get phone numbers using a reverse address lookup, you may not know whether it’s a cell phone or landline, depending on the reverse address lookup tool you use.
Either way, you can’t send text messages to a landline.
Why does this matter?
Text messaging is quickly becoming an acceptable mode of communication, even for business.
Some industries find that cold outreach texts actually get much higher response rates than cold phone calls. A text message is also an excellent follow-up to a face-to-face conversation.
This is especially true with young people.
Using a phone validator saves you a lot of time and spares you the inconvenience of sending text messages to landlines.
Reverse Email Lookup
Email marketing is incredibly effective across all industries.
But gathering emails is its own beast.
Typically, people tend to be hesitant to give out their email on the internet. However, they tend to be looser with their email in person.
Whichever method you use to get email addresses, validating email addresses is the first step.
People often give fake email addresses or make mistakes when entering their email address online. Validating the email addresses on your list spares you the annoyance of bounced emails. It also preserves your domain and IP reputation.
Then, for realtors, there’s an additional step.
At minimum, you’ll want the address associated with the email. But more information is better.
The good news is that a reverse email lookup tool will give you most of the associated information.
This information makes your life much easier if you use email for cold outreach or follow-up.
Just like the other tools, you can use batch processing to check large databases of emails.
For most leads, you most likely won’t need to use all of these tools. One, maybe two, will usually do the trick.
Having a complete profile for each person makes cold outreach a bit less nerve wracking and helps you craft a proposition that’s right for each person.
Tips for Contacting Warm Leads
Now that you’ve got a collection of leads with complete profiles, it’s time to start making connections.
But before you get after it, take a moment to realize that you have a lot more information about each person than they gave you.
It’s very easy to come off a little bit creepy if you sound like you know too much from the start.
Take these things into consideration before you start your cold outreach:
- Use your complete profiles to evaluate how likely it is that the person is interested in selling their home or buying.
You can check for other homes in the area that are owned by the same person or if they’ve completed any sales recently.
Your outreach will be more relevant if you’re contacting someone who’s actually interested in doing real estate business.
- Use the information you’ve gathered to personalize your messaging, but only let on that you know basic information like their first and last name.
People are used to marketing that’s personalized with their first name. Some mailings even mention their phone number.
But it’s best to avoid mentioning their employment or how long they’ve lived in their house unless they’ve told you.
Remember that some information is best used behind the scenes.
- If you can, meet people in person first.
Even if they didn’t give you their email or phone number, they’ll be far less suspicious about a phone call or email if they’ve seen your face.
Chances are they’ll just assume they gave you their contact information when they talked to you.
Mention that you’re following up with the conversation you had before when you follow-up.
This helps them make the assumption that they gave you their contact information then. It’s also an easy ice breaker.
In the end, real estate has one thing in common with most other industries: it’s about building relationships.
Getting better leads helps you build relationships faster. It’ll also help you tame the cold outreach dragon and start building a network that will do work for you in the long run.
How do you prepare for cold outreach?
Check out these information gathering tools.
Then leave a comment and let us know how you get quality real estate leads!
You may not realize it, but you probably verify email addresses every day. Whenever you get an email address and send an email to it, you’ve verified that email address.
This works just fine when we get an email address from a friend or get one from a company website.
But if you purchase an email list, or scrape emails from the web, verifying those email addresses may not be so simple. However, if you’ve collected emails in bulk, verifying them before you use them is even more important.
If you’re sending sensitive information, or running email marketing campaigns, having invalid email addresses can be bad news.
Also, almost 10% of email addresses entered on forms are invalid. This comes from typos, invalid syntax (like a missing “@” sign), or people entering fake emails to get to gated content without giving up their inbox.
So it’s best to check email addresses before you use them.
Unfortunately, email addresses are slippery things since they’re so easy to create. The fact that there’s a nearly infinite number of possible email addresses makes this even worse. People often have multiple email addresses. Scammers can have thousands.
Fortunately, there are a few methods businesses and individuals can use to verify email addresses.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is Email Address Verification?
First, it’s important to understand what you’re doing when you verify email addresses.
Verifying an email address is simply making sure that the email address exists and can receive emails. But verifying an email address doesn’t tell you who owns that email. You’ll need to do a reverse email lookup to discover that information. We’ll cover reverse email lookups later on in this post.
You should verify email addresses before you use them for anything. Doing a reverse email lookup on an invalid email is a waste of time. Sending marketing emails to invalid emails can hurt your email deliverability.
In short, sending emails to unverified email addresses isn’t worth it.
How to Verify Email Addresses
Since it’s important, it’s worth it to know how to do it. This is true even if you end up just using an email verification service.
But doing it yourself is can be pretty easy, depending on how many email addresses you need to verify and how vital it is that you’re discreet.
Let’s dig into checking email addresses yourself!
Send an Email to The Email Address
The first way to verify email addresses is the simplest. In fact, you’ve probably done this already:
Just send an email to the email address you’re verifying.
If the email address doesn’t exist, the email domain will send an automated email telling you as much. Some techies call this a “bounce email.”
Notice that the bounce message says that the email can’t be found or that it’s unable to receive messages. So it’s possible that the email does exist, but the inbox is full or the account is disabled. Either way, sending more emails to an email address like this won’t work.
If the address is valid, you simply won’t get an automated bounce email.
A few things to consider if you’re using this method of email verification:
- It’s best not to use your business or professional email if you’re verifying a lot of emails this way. Sending a bunch of emails to invalid addresses could get your email blacklisted.
- If being inconspicuous is important, this method probably isn’t for you. If you do hit a valid email address, the person who owns that address will see your email. You can create a dummy email account for checking email addresses. However, there are better options for verifying email addresses without being noticed.
- Occasionally, email domains will have an email catch all. This means that they don’t return bounce emails for invalid email addresses. This is very rare. But it can give false positives if you’re checking emails with test messages.
There are other methods, if you’d rather not check email addresses this way. Some are more technical than others.
Ping the Email Address to Verify It
This method of verifying email addresses is a bit more technical and time intensive. But the email owner won’t know you did it.
So this technique can work well for people who only need to check a few addresses and also need confidentiality.
Here, all you need to do is check the mail exchange (MX) records of the email domain.
To check the MX records, type this command into the command prompt or Mac OS terminal:
nslookup -type=mx [domain name]
Replace [domain name] with whichever domain the email is located on. If you’re checking email@example.com, the command would look like this:
nslookup -type= searchbug.com
This command will probably return a few results. There may be more. There may be fewer. But your results should look something like this:
From here, choose one of the servers listed in the MX records. Usually, one without an “ALT” tag is best.
Now, use these four commands to connect to the server and simulate sending an email:
telnet [server] 25
mail from: [dummy email]
rcpt to : [email you want to verify]
So, for my mock Searchbug address, the commands would look like this:
telnet ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.com 25
mail from: firstname.lastname@example.org
rcpt to: email@example.com
If the email address exists, you’ll get a response like, “OK.” If the email is invalid, the server will return a 550 error like:
“The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.”
“The email account that you tried to reach is disabled.”
That’s it. This is a good way to verify an email address without alerting whoever owns the email.
However, it’s best not to use this method for mass email verification. Doing this too much can get your IP address blacklisted. That means that email domains might stop accepting emails from your IP address.
If you have a lot of email addresses to verify, or if you’re not comfortable messing with the terminal or command prompt, it may be best to try a different method.
Use an Email Verification Tool
Email verification tools are often free. They also work without exposing you to the email address owner.
Email verification tools are also accurate. False positives are possible, especially with popular email domains like Yahoo!. However, these are uncommon. As you can see, Searchbug easily spotted my mock email address.
This is the fastest method. Most tools only allow validation of one email address at a time. Email validation services are subject to the same IP blacklisting rules as you are. So they try not to get their IP addresses blacklisted either.
However, it only takes a few seconds to validate an email address this way. That’s far faster than sending emails or pinging email servers.
But, if you have just a bit of information related to an email address, you can use batch processing to get valid emails.
Use Batch Append to Verify Email Addresses
If you have a lot of emails to verify, and have one other piece of information for each email address, you can use batch processing to validate email addresses.
You can use these pieces of information to validate email addresses in bulk:
- Phone number
Here’s how to do it:
Build a TXT, CSV, or Excel file with just the information other than the email addresses. For example, a list of names and addresses would be perfect.
Upload your bulk file to a batch processing service, and request that they append emails. This will give you a list of emails that have been matched to the names and addresses. You can double check these emails against your original list of emails.
This isn’t perfect validation. However, this cross checks the emails against two sources. Then you can use a true email validator to check the emails that don’t match.
This is a great way to verify email addresses in bulk. It’s especially effective for businesses that are just trying to minimize the number of emails they send to invalid email addresses.
But there’s one more way to check an email address.
Use Reverse Email Lookup
This isn’t quite the same as true email address validation. This won’t tell you if the email address exists or not. But it’s useful if you want to find out who an email address belongs to.
This is a kind of “soft validation” because most invalid emails aren’t assigned to anyone. It’s also handy if you have an email that you suspect may belong to someone, but need to make sure before you fire off any email messages.
In this case, you’d just take the email addresses, and use them to get names and addresses. That will tell you who owns the email addresses you have. This checks the email addresses you already have against a secondary source so you can be reasonably sure you know who’s on the other end of the email wire.
This method can also be used with batch append services. So you can use it if you have huge lists of emails to match with names.
So, to sum up, there are a handful of ways to validate email addresses. Sending emails or pinging email servers can work if you need to be sure an email exists.
Batch append and reverse email address lookup can serve as soft email validation. They can tell you if the email has a name and other personal information attached to it, which usually signals that the email address is valid. These methods can be especially effective when they’re paired with true email validation to clean up inconsistencies.
I have an older sister that sends me email periodically. I have to dig through 700+ pieces of junk mail to find it, though, and I hate doing that. There are times I’ll go a week without replying to her because digging through the junk is too much for me.
Thankfully, I recently learned that I could’ve avoided all that frustration by using filters and a safe senders list. I’m so glad I finally found this out. Even though I work with computers daily, I never noticed those settings. How did that happen? Read more
An astonishing 215.3 billion emails are sent per day . If you’re like most companies, you probably want taking advantage of email marketing or use email to create a Facebook custom audience for sponsored posts. Searchbug’s Email Batch Append service has certainly gained popularity for these marketing tactics.