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!