By Drew Heasley
As agents, we’ve all been pitched everything from mailers to web leads—but free is better. Below are six of my favorite free (or next-to-free) ways to generate business.
1. Ask your family and friends. And then ask them again. This is pretty simple, and I hope you are exploring this at great lengths already. When I ask people if they know someone who may be interested in buying or selling, and they answer “no,” then I ask them to keep me in mind at the office, out around town, or with their family and friends. Past clients are great for getting business. If you are a newer agent, this doesn’t help much, but use it as motivation knowing that it gets a little easier each year in the business. And, if you take great care of your clients, they’ll refer you often.
2. Host an open house. If it’s your listing, that’s great. But if you’re new to the business and don’t have any listings, host one for an agent at your office. This is a great way to meet buyers. Study up on similar homes for sale in the area. I like to ask questions to get the conversation started. Some agents are very laid back, and some have success being more aggressive. This seems to vary by agent and regional social trends. Do what’s natural for you and what works in your area.
3. Go to meetups and networking events. These are free, easy, and usually pretty fun. Even if you are not a polished salesperson, the conversations start very easily and you can get a lot of contacts in a short time. If you can’t find an existing group, or if the only groups you can find are saturated with other agents, then start your own group. Meetup.com is a good place to start. My group usually meets at local restaurants that are more than welcoming of small to medium sized groups. From my experience, the real estate investing meetups seem to do the best. You can find people who want to invest and are looking for some direction on how to get started. One good connection from an investor can change your career. It’s worth the time and energy.
4. Connect with agents in other specialties or niche markets.
Some agents get a significant portion of their sales from referrals that come from other agents. A basic way to get more referrals is to go to conventions and network with other real estate professionals. If you are spending money going to conventions and seminars but you’re not networking, then you’re are missing a huge opportunity. Places to do this at a convention: hosted networking events, the hotel bar, between sessions, while waiting in line, really anywhere you see agents.
5. Good old fashion door-knocking. If you have some hustle and want to save money on farming, you could knock on doors in a neighborhood or area you want to build business. Consider offering a free home price evaluation and tips for maximizing resale value. If you have a new listing, you can door knock the neighbors to tell them. This could get you both a buyer and a seller.
6. Engage on social media. Facebook, for me, is the best. I recently wrote about it in my last YPN Lounge post. Many agents get business from Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat as well. Twitter is great because people use hashtags, which you can use to search. If you live in a big city, this will be more useful since there will me more people using localized hashtags. Try using services like IFTTT to scan Twitter and email you notifications when someone uses a certain keyword in a tweet. For example if someone tweets, “PA has been great but can’t wait to check out Austin #austin #moving #cyaPA” and you have an alert set up for the hashtag #Austin, you could get notified via email and reply with a tweet welcoming them to Austin and offering to show them around the area. Snapchat is free and it’s great for engaging with your sphere, but the real secret on that platform right now are the custom geofilters. Pinterest and Instagram are just natural fits for real estate due to their photo-centric nature.
I hope these tips on free ways to get business help you out. I think the key is to diversify the platforms you use and be consistent when using them. Let me know if I can help and good luck.
Drew Heasley is an agent with Keller Williams Exton/West Chester in Pennsylvania. Connect with him on Facebook: facebook.com/chestercountyrealtor, or through his website: searchchestercountyhomes.com.