Competition is fierce right now. There are too many agents for too few listings. Talk to any agents these days in any market and their number one priority is prospecting.
But listings are being won. Clients are being won over. So what exactly are these successful agents doing to consistently win business?
We reached out to top real estate associates from William Raveis Real Estate, serving luxury buyers and sellers from up and down the eastern seaboard, and collected their activities and best practices.
“Passion is the driving force behind our agents’ success,” said Chris Raveis, President of Residential Sales at William Raveis Real Estate. “They live and breathe real estate and make a point to weave prospecting into their daily routine. The results are tangible across all our markets.”
1. Relationships! Relationships! Relationships! Connect in meaningful, engaging, and creative ways.
For Melissa McNamara of Norwell, Massachusetts, staying top of mind starts with keeping her clients front and center at all times and continually finding unique ways to connect on a very personal level.
“A couple of years ago, I sent a monogrammed baby blanket to a daughter of a past client who just had their first baby. A few days later, I received a Facebook message from her, thanking me for the gift and asking for my help with their new home search! I successfully helped this growing family purchase their first home and now that family has referred me to many of their friends in the area who are looking for their first homes. From that one transaction, I’ve since had three additional successful transactions!”
It’s proof that when you provide good service, word spreads and your business grows. It’s not always custom gifts. Sometimes it’s casual conversation. Especially when agents like Steve Stratford from Lexington, MA can attribute real deals to everyday ‘chit chat.’ He noted that some real estate professionals hesitate to talk about real estate, for fear of alienating people. But the reverse is usually true: everyone loves to talk about it.
“I have always been comfortable meeting new people,” he said. “But even if you’re not, it’s very easy to bring up everyone’s favorite subject: real estate! I have gotten three listings in the past year from chats at the gym.”
Another agent has a special approach to introducing clients to her town. “I tour clients around our beach town on my golf cart to show them homes on the market and to share the coastal vibe,” Carla Kupiec of Rowayton, CT told us. “And I walk my dog three times a day and talk to ten people each time about what the market is doing.”
“Our associates are immersed in their communities,” Raveis noted. “We have long cultivated a strong culture of care internally, treating our associates as our number one customers. In turn, our agents exemplify that commitment with every contact they make and as they deepen these relationships over time, pursuing a Client for Life approach.”
2. Focus on a niche. Set yourself and your expertise apart from the competition.
If you are worried about how to stand out in a field of agents, the answer is simple: don’t focus on them. Focus on you. What makes you an expert? What do you offer clients they can’t get from anyone else?
Raveis stressed the importance of differentiation with a similarly customized approach to growth. “Every market is unique with its own opportunities and challenges,” he said. “Our organization is specifically designed to serve the needs of our associates. Our certified coaches and mentors help fine-tune each agent’s business, aligning their passions and strengths with their professional trajectory.”
For example, Geena Becker in Avon, CT created a video social series on social media about single, entrepreneurial women buying homes. It’s her personal story, too, and she is purposefully sharing it to encourage young millennial buyers to build generational wealth early with home ownership.
Stratford knows his differentiator is his willingness to do anything for his clients. “My team can handle both the little things and the big things. I post videos of me preparing houses for the market such as raking leaves, trimming bushes, repairing gutters. People seem to be blown away that the top agent in our office actually gets his hands dirty to prepare a house properly so it gets the maximum sale price! I wish I could say I draw the line at walking out on roofs three stories high to fix something, but I’d be lying.”
3. Showcase your value, backed by cutting-edge technology and insights
Once you have a firm grasp of your specific niche and an in-depth knowledge of your audience, you can focus your efforts—and time—strategically. For example, Scott Johnson from Boston, MA wanted to reach builders who were converting multi-family homes into condominiums.
“We are able to focus our prospecting efforts on just those buyers who have purchased multi-family properties in the last six to twelve months,” he said. “Particularly those who purchased using an LLC. All that data is available to us easily via our MLS or the registry of deeds website. We can even see which buyers are taking out construction loans. The real time, public availability of information about buyers and sellers gives us an amazing ability to hyperfocus our prospecting.”
“The most efficient agents are the ones who leverage tools to create a seamless experience,” said Raveis. “From communicating with clients to marketing a listing to managing the transaction, technology optimizes everything the agent does. That’s why we strive to deliver a tech stack of solutions that is innovative and results-oriented.”
Overall, stay top of mind in the most authentic ways you can
Whether your outreach happens on the street, at the gym, on social media, or in the mailbox, the most important thing is to do what fits your entrepreneurial style and delivers results. Don’t be afraid to pivot and change your approach based on the data.
Keith Evans of Danbury, CT combines old-school and new-school techniques. “I handwrite more than 400 letters a month to a highly targeted audience. I supplement these with postcards, email newsletters, targeted Facebook Ads and InMail on LinkedIn.”
When she isn’t walking her dog Kupiec is a believer in old school, boots on the ground methods. “My prospecting has always been to farm neighborhoods, send mailers, and follow up on expired listings. In this market where sellers will put their home on the market only if I find them their next house, I am actively knocking on doors, calling homeowners to offer them more money than what they paid three years ago.”
Finally, building brand recognition means being present in multiple channels, because repetition and consistency counts. “We recently got a purchaser AND their listing because they had seen us via multiple outlets,” said April Kaynor of New Canaan, CT. “We sponsor the New Canaan High School fundraiser every year, we run a Valentine’s Day ad in the local newspaper, and share daily posts and stories on Instagram and Facebook. Being top of mind across multiple platforms has exponentially boosted our business in the last couple of years.”
“The ripple effect is real. Our associates are out there, being valuable, being knowledgeable, and helping people. We take pride in supporting them to the best of our ability, and they, in turn, serve their community to the best of theirs.”
He added, “Of course, the most important part of prospecting is following up! Be uber proactive, use all your resources, and your business can only grow.”
Learn more about the William Raveis Real Estate family.