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Get Better Real Estate Leads - Blog via Searchbug.com
Oct
15

How to Get Better Real Estate Leads

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.

Use a free reverse address lookup tool if you haven't found anything on the web.

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.

Check free reverse phone lookup tools.

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.

Phone Validator

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.

Phone Validator

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.

Reverse Email Lookup

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!

 

May
24

Doing Your Own Car Buying Research

car buyingEveryone has experienced it at least once or twice in his or her adult lives’ the time when it comes to buy a car. Whether that car is new or used, the buying experience can be quite eventful. If you’re looking to do your own car buying research, there are a few things you must consider before making that first google search.

Searching for a car is certainly a lot of work. You need to check all parts of the car to be sure that everything is up to critical standards. You need to make sure that the car is fairly represented in both presentation and price. This means that you need to ensure that you are getting what you see. All too often, customers are misled simply by the physical presentation of the car, such as:

  • how it looks on the outside, i.e., color, style, etc.
  • how good the interior looks, i.e., leather, buttons, bells, seats.

When you’re dealing with car brokers (used or new car salesmen), you’re going to be dealing with individuals who have the best interest of the sale in mind, rather than your own best interest in mind. They’re more focused on making the sale, and getting as much money as they can out of the sale, so they’re likely not to be inclined to go into as many details as possible.

This is why you must always be ready to go into “investigator’s mode”.

This is not to imply that car salesmen are dishonest, by any means. They are simply business people, like any other, and that is how you must look at the business interaction. For you as a customer, this simply means that you must also be prepared to do your own homework to make sure that you’re getting the car that’s being represented to you, and that there aren’t any details that aren’t discussed, but ones that you may find very important. For instance:

  • Accident Details

Let’s say the used car was in an accident, but was successfully repaired with no signs of visible impact. The car salesman will most certainly disclose this to you and will likely assure you that you have no worries as far as that is concerned. But it’s also likely that in the future, the impact from the accident may affect other parts of the car in terms of its operation, which may cause you to spend even more money in getting it repaired later. If you know exactly what type of impact it was, and what parts of the car were affected, you can determine if you’re likely to expect other problems down the road. This is a personal decision, but having all of the details of the situation is going to best serve your interests.

  • Car Owners

car buyingJust how many owners has this car had? Why is that important to know? Well, every owner treats and handles their car differently, so this is subjective at best. What one person deems good care, another one may consider it marginal. Knowing how many owners there were helps you in deciding if it’s worth it to invest in a car that’s had three or four owners. You also have to determine why there have been so many owners. Does the car operate erratically? Why did the first owner sell it? What about the second and subsequent owners…why did they sell?

Getting all of the information you need in order to make an informed decision about purchasing your vehicle is important, so the best way to do that is to search and look for pertinent information. You can launch searches on just about everything, including auto information. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car will give you all of the information that you need to know about a its history. You can also launch searches about the car company selling the car(s), and make purchasing determinations based on the information that you receive.

Be as thorough and investigative as you can be about the vehicle, its past and the car company that is representing it. Ask questions, but also look for and read information that’s not readily available from the dealer. You’ll be more informed in the decision process, but more importantly you’ll be glad to have so much detailed information at your disposal.

Jan
15

Planning a Road Trip with Online Databases

Online databases can be a great help to anyone planning a road trip. You can use them to not only map out your driving route in detail, but also to locate the best bargains: the cheapest food, gas, lodging and entertainment.

Now, if you want the absolute lowest-priced accommodations possible – that is to say, free accommodations – look no further than Couchsurfing.com. This website, which began as a nonprofit operation in 2003 but has since gone the for-profit route, is a database in which members in over 170 countries offer their couches, for free, to weary travelers. On Couchsurifng.com you can also read biographies of each couch’s owner before asking to crash at someone’s place. Who knows? In the process of surfing couches you might end up making lifelong friends.

You might be concerned about missing some of the most colorful and exciting attractions as you’re driving along. But with MySights, a tool within RoadsideAmerica.com’s comprehensive database, you can search through a list of more than 5,000 of the most compelling landmarks, amusement parks, monuments and museums – trust us, some of these are truly strange – that the Unites States has to offer, and choose those that sound the most fun to you. This website will then take your choices and create a detailed map showing you how to get to each of them. (You can pick up to 30 different sites per map.)

 

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” – Buddha

 

If you’re as fascinated by the roads you drive on as the attractions you visit, try out the National Scenic Byways Program’s database at byways.org. It will provide you with directions, maps and descriptions of the United States’ “nationally designated scenic drives” – and there are 96 of them. So instead of traversing endless, bland interstates, you can cruise the Death Valley Scenic Byway, the Cherokee Hills Byway, and many more.

Maybe you’re more interested in events than landmarks, and maybe your main reason for traveling is to attend concerts, county fairs, book fairs, festivals, fiestas and the like. If so, a terrific database for you can be found at WhatsonWhen.com, a website operated by Frommer’s. At this site you’ll find daily listings and descriptions of major events worldwide. You can also search for upcoming events in categories such as “Kids & Family” and “Sports & Outdoors.” Or, if you know you’ll be in a certain city on a certain date, you can look that city up and discover practically every exciting happening scheduled for that day.

You might wish to take advantage of more traditional road trip-planning databases, too. One that’s been around since the invention of cars  – at least, it seems that way – is the American Automobile Association’s TripTik. TripTik provides travelers with highly detailed, accurate maps specifically tailored to their travel plans. Since 2007, TripTik has been free to everyone on the Internet; before 2007 it had been reserved for AAA’s members. And this program not only makes it simple to map out multi-destination trips, but when you use TripTik, all the lodging reservations you need to make are just a click away. Another old-school tool for traveling, one your grandparents may have used in its non-digital iteration, is the Rand McNally map. Now called TripMaker, Rand McNally’s online database debuted in 2005. It lets you instantly plan out a round-trip route, and it optimizes any route that includes four or more stops.

Gasoline calculators are a huge help in reducing trip expenses; you can easily search for them on any Internet search engine. On a website such as Gasbuddy.com, you simply enter the addresses of your starting point and destination, as well as the type of vehicle you drive, and the database will tell you the locations of the gas stations offering the cheapest gas en route.

The websites and databases listed above are just a few of the places available online to facilitate the planning and budgeting of a road trip. Many more such sites exist – sometimes it seems like there are as many road trip-related websites as there are places to visit on a road trip. Happy travels!

 

 

Dec
05

Eviction Searches

Evictions are certainly not a pleasant event to encounter, but for property owners, it’s simply a part of the business on a daily basis. When a tenant fails to pay his rent for space that he is using, it is up to the property owner to launch an eviction process to remove the tenant from the space so that other users can occupy it and so that the owner can gain some revenue from paying customers.

Eviction Searches

Property owners and apartment managers see a lot of tenants and also rent to a lot of tenants on a regular basis. They have to go through a lot of detailed records and information in order to approve potential tenants. Background checks, criminal checks and credit checks are generally a part of the system of information that is checked and verified before someone is approved for a lease arrangement.

Although eviction is certainly not pleasant, it is in some cases very necessary. It is also a lengthy, detailed process that, if not followed accurately, can become a long and tedious method. Property managers also like to have access to eviction databases so as to pre-determine candidates before to choosing to rent to them. If the applicant has a history of evictions or a pattern of paying their rental fees slowly, the manager may choose to not take a risk and rent to that applicant.

Property managers also do a job of checking tenants records that may have prior evictions or negative information on their rental records. For those property owners who must do massive or large-scaled searches, it is more advantageous and thorough for them to launch eviction searches that will give them more thorough and complete information overall.

By launching eviction searches, the owners can find out detailed information like;

  1. The date of an eviction, which can be as late as 30-60 days or as late at 12-36 months out.
  2. The amount or balance that the tenant owed, which can also include multiple property addresses or property that falls under multiple names with the same social security number or EIN number.
  3. The address where the eviction occurred, which can be a personal or business address.
  4. The name(s) that the eviction occurred under, which can also include multiple names, maiden names or hyphenated names.

This eviction information is usually gleaned from public records information, so launching a search will return accurate information back to them. Any information that is not gained through public records database may be gathered from personal or private sources, but will have detailed information about the tenant and his activities, so the information is still regarded as good.

Evictions searches are not only limited to personal rental property tenants but can also apply to business tenants as well. In cases where there are evictions of business clients, the public and private records databases are also accessed in order to find detailed information. Some business clients that have multiple locations may also have eviction records available or rental property information that relates to the searches.

To ensure that detailed information is gathered, it’s ideal to use search engines and search portals that specialize in gathering this type of detailed information. Services like this will go into specific details about the evictions and will generally only access resources where the information is verifiable and reliable. Also, search engine services will also allow cross searches, which will enable customers to check other related information as well. In the case of eviction searches, clients may also be able to access employment records or property addresses that are also associated with the evicted customers.