How To Build Your Real Estate Prospect Database When Starting Out Green In A New Area

I got asked a question on Facebook yesterday by a Real Estate agent, which I thought was a GREAT question that a lot of agents ask and don’t have an answer for:

So, I thought I’d actually take my answer to Owen and turn it into a blog post, so that other agents can also benefit from it. So, here goes:

Hi Owen. Thanks for your question – and it’s a great question because almost every sales person I know – whether in real estate or not – wants to build and grow their database.

So, the typical way that real estate agents grow their profile in a new area is to door knock, cold call and/or send out letterbox flyers.

The problem with these options is that they are time consuming, not very effective and – let’s be honest – can be rather demoralizing for you if they don’t work quickly.

Step 1: Market Where Your Prospects Are

So, my recommendation is to start out by using Facebook ads.

By switching your time and budget to Facebook ads, you can target the local area that you’re working in without spending a large sum of money. Even $5 a day is a good place to start just to get known in your local suburb.

Most importantly, anybody in your local area with a smartphone and a Facebook account (probably the majority of adults) has a good chance of seeing your ads, as opposed to the challenges of getting to speak to them on the phone or via door knocking.

Lastly, running a simple Facebook ad campaign is not rocket science. Even those of you who have never used Facebook ads before could probably figure the basics out in an hour or two.

Of course that doesn’t mean to say that you’re going to become a world expert on Facebook ads in an hour vs someone who’s been using it for multiple years (like yours truly 😉 )

However just getting started is the best thing you could be doing, because doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Step 2: Lead With The Right Bait

Now when advertising with Facebook, you need to change your world view.

Instead of pitching a free appraisal, which is what the absolute majority of real estate agents do, you need to switch your mindset from pitching to advertising information that is of genuine value to high quality prospects for your service.

So if you are chasing new vendors – people that are considering selling their house – then I would lead with information that is of real value to them, rather than a straight-up pitch.

So think about it from a potential seller’s point of view.

What are they most interested in?

Obviously, they’re interested in being able to sell their house quickly, but more importantly, they are almost always interested in selling it for a great price.

Ask yourself this: How many potential vendors don’t care about the price you sell their house for?

None, right?

So in this scenario, what I’m offering for my clients is I’ve actually written a book on how to maximise the sale price of your house.

And, it’s essentially a 30 day action guide to staging your property to increase the sales price.

It talks about decluttering, repairing items around the home that could impede the sale, styling the home and outdoors areas to look attractive and so forth.

What I then do is customise the book with the agent’s name as the author, and put a photograph of them on the cover to add that extra element of name brand recognition.

Yes, this advice is the sort of thing you as an agent would normally tell your client anyway, but when you give them a book with your name on it as the author, it commands extra authority and helps make them take it and you more seriously.

We then advertise that book on Facebook, inviting people who are considering selling their house to claim their own copy.

So, ask yourself this: If you were a potential home seller scrolling through Facebook, and saw an ad related to selling your home, what would be more attractive to you?

An offer to get a free appraisal of your property value from a real estate SALES person (and we all know that prospects do NOT want to talk to a sales person until THEY are ready), or an offer to get a free book on how to increase the sale price of your home?

I can guarantee that in 99% of cases the latter option is going to appeal a lot more to prospective vendors than the former.

So, your Facebook ad leads with the offer of information about how to increase the sale price of your home. You can offer it as a free downloadable PDF version of the book or you can even offer to sell a physical copy of the book for say $5 or $10.

Now you might ask – why on earth would I want to sell the book instead of give it away for free?

Well, it’s simple really. Think about it. If someone is actually willing to take their credit card out and spend money buying the book – even if it is only $5 or $10 – do you think they’re a much lower or much higher quality prospect than someone who just wants a free PDF that they can download (and then probably unsubscribe from your email list)?

However that doesn’t mean you HAVE to sell your physical book – you could give it away for free if you were willing to wear the cost of generating a good quality lead – but it’s definitely something you might want to think about if you want to improve the quality of the leads that you generate.

Step 3: How To Turn A Suspect Into A Prospect

So the offer of the book – whether free or paid – is made in exchange for the prospect giving you their contact details.

Whether you’re just after a name and an email address for a downloadable pdf, or whether they need to provide their name, address and credit card details to buy the book, it still gives you the opportunity to capture their details.

And this is how you begin the creation of your database.

Step 4: Romancing Your Prospect

Now, once you’ve captured their contact details in exchange for the book, all the information they’ve provided means you can then move into sales mode and begin what I called the nurturing process.

The nurturing process is where you begin to develop a relationship with the prospect so that at some stage in the future they’re not only willing to speak to you about their interest in selling their property but also in having YOU come and provide an appraisal on its value.

And, if you’ve done everything right, at some stage they’ll sign on the dotted line to actually have you sell their home.

Obviously, some agents are going to be much better at the nurturing process than others.

It comes down to your sales skills and your people skills, and if you struggle in this area, it’s probably something you want to get some more training for.

Whether your agency principal can provide this training or whether you need to go out and purchase it yourself from a coach or trainer that specialises in that area is really up to you.

However the key thing to keep in mind is that the nurturing process is much like going on a first date.

You don’t turn up on a first date with someone who doesn’t know you and you don’t know them, and ask them to marry you on the spot.

Instead, you have to spend time getting to know each other.

That might involve catching up for coffee multiple times, going out to dinner or a movie, and generally spending time talking to each other to get to know what kind of person they are and for them to get to know what kind of person you are.

The bottom line is that the capture of the prospect’s contact details is only the very beginning of the journey.

When you’ve got their name and contact details in your database it’s then up to you to build the trust that they have for you and demonstrate to them that you are a great choice for them when they require a real estate agent.

Step 5: What Next?

The final step in this process is to keep doing this.

Don’t run your ad for a month and then stop!

You should be consistently repeating this process on a regular basis from now on.

Keep spending $5 a day (for example,) instead of wasting money on putting free appraisal flyers in people’s mailboxes (which end up in the bin anyway) in your area.

Obviously, not everybody is ready to sell their house or even thinking about it right here and now. It could be another 6 months until they’re actually in a position to consider it.

So if you stop running your ads after a couple weeks or a month, you’re going to miss out on capturing those people in the future.

In conclusion, the most important thing I can tell you about marketing is to lead with the answers to people’s most important questions about real estate.

Get away from pitching free appraisals all the time, like the vast majority of real estate agents do, and start offering to prove your expertise and your trustworthiness up front by supplying the answers to The Big Questions prospective clients have.

If you do this as a real estate agent in a new area, you will stand out from the crowd really quickly, and in time you will become a dominant player in your market.

OK, I hope that was helpful to you Owen? And thanks for your great question. If you are interested in looking at implementing this strategy, please get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to help you.

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