By Jesse Loader
Door hangers, mailers, bus benches, billboards…these are all tactics that have been taught in sales and more specifically real estate sales for what seems like forever. For good reason, though…it works! Creating a presence in a specific area (farming) can be an important tool in any sales rep’s arsenal of lead generation techniques, and if done consistently over a long period of time, can produce results.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t another way though.
When I made the transition from being on a team to venturing out on my own, I realized I had no idea how to generate business. I relied too much on my team leader for leads, which made me a lazy agent. I was lucky that along the way I naturally kept in touch with some of my past clients, not systematically like I do now, but simply because I liked them.
This was leading to a few referrals and I had several friends who happened to be buying/selling, so it was going great. I was making money and seemingly had this whole real estate thing figured out. That was until I started to realize that the way I was generating business was not sustainable long-term. What if none of my friends bought a house next year? This is where social media comes into the picture.
I was on Facebook and I even created a business page back in 2011, but I didn’t do much with it. If I’m being honest, I started posting only to stroke my own ego about how awesome I must be since I was so busy selling houses. Along the way, however, I noticed that the public’s perception of me changed, or at the very least became noticeable. Again, this was great for the ego…but it also gave me credibility (perceived or not, it didn’t matter) among my greater sphere of influence and people started coming out of the woodwork who I hadn’t spoken to in more than 10 years. What started out as something I simply felt like I should be doing, quickly turned into something that was generating me numerous transactions.
I could see the massive potential with this whole social media “thing”, so I began to get serious about it. I learned everything I could at the time about Facebook advertising. I learned about landing pages and opt-in pages and I got a serious CRM with intense follow-up campaigns.
I started posting weekly market reports in community pages. I posted real estate tips in real estate pages. I interacted with as many people as I could in my community (not real estate related but about anything). I did giveaways. I private messaged hundreds of people. I ran paid ads for every single one of my listings, price reductions and sales. I also ran a few general ads about me or my team that generated plenty of leads.
The underlying message in these ads was that I knew what I was doing when it came to real estate, I was busy and people trusted me with one of their largest decisions. Whether the ad I was running helped sell the house or not (turns out that works too), I was that digital bus bench they saw on the way home every day.
Today my social media strategy is very similar to what it was in 2013 but is more systematic and thought-out. I view Facebook as three lead generation streams:
- Paid ads
- Group postings
- Community interaction
Instagram and YouTube are now large areas of focus and have started to produce results.
I have never sent mail to a specified area (okay once…in three months I had sold nine out of 12 houses in a neighbourhood and I thought everyone who lived there ought to know…zero phone calls). I only recently purchased a billboard, more as a favour to a friend of mine who owns a magnet signs franchise, and I happened to have a commercial listing and the sign looked great in front of it.
I have never purchased a bus bench, I have never created door hangers and delivered them to a neighbourhood and I have never sent a physical market report to anyone other than my past clients.
This is not to criticize anyone who uses these traditional methods, or claim that my way is better. I don’t know because I’ve never really tried it any other way. This is simply me trying to share some strategies that leverage technology to help grow your business. This year my team will close nearly 200 transactions with 70 to 80 coming from yours truly. Approximately half will be generated through Facebook.