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In today’s inventory-starved housing market, agents can scare up listings by tapping their sphere and using buyers as a lead magnet, according to panelists at Inman Connect Now Tuesday. A session called “Unique Ways to Generate Listings Now” tackled how agents can use old-school tactics in new-school ways to generate listing leads during the current supply crisis.
For agents working with buyers, panelist and agent Kaciana Champlin of RE/MAX Perrett Associates in Battle Creek, Michigan, suggested they send mailings to homeowners in the neighborhoods where their buyers are looking similar to a “Just Listed” card, but noting their buyer was one of a certain number of offers for a home and missed out.
“Say, ‘Hey look, we were one of 10 offers in this area. If you are interested in selling, here are our general price ranges. We have buyers ready to go, ready to look right now,’” she said.
“Sometimes that can lead to a sale for that buyer that you’re on both sides for and other times it may not be the right fit for that buyer, but it’s still gonna end up being a listing lead in the future. Whether they’re going to list right now or a year from now, you’re that name that they have connected to it.”
Fellow panelist Jimmy Burgess, chief growth officer at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, said he never asks homeowners whether they’re thinking about selling. Rather, he offers them resources and entices them with buyers.
“We’ll say … ‘Listen, I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but the house three doors down from yours came on the market two days ago. There were over 10 offers. I unfortunately was working with some folks that missed out on that house. They would possibly be willing to pay a premium because they just really want to be in your neighborhood. I’m just doing everything I can to help these folks find the perfect place in your neighborhood. Have you heard of any of your neighbors that might be considering selling? I’m just trying to do everything I can to help these folks,’” he said.
That does two things: First, if they’re thinking about selling they’ll tell you, and second, they’ll see you hustling and remember that, according to Burgess. He then follows up with a handwritten card thanking them for taking the time and asking them to keep in touch and keep him in mind if they hear of someone wanting to sell in the future. He’ll also ask if they want market updates for their neighborhood via email and if they do, put them in a drip campaign.
Agents should make sure they’re offering value and and following up with a personal touch, according to Champlin.
“Every real estate mogul can tell you that cards are a huge deal,” she said.
Panel moderator Katie Day, an agent on the MOVEMETOTX Team at Coldwell Banker Realty in Houston, said agents who have listings should also leverage them to attract more by “pulling out all the stops” on marketing, doing videos, social media posts and “Just Listed” and “Just Sold” postcards.
“[Get] your name out there with that listing as much as possible because when one home sells, others are going to,” she said. “Others are going to [list] on that street, in that subdivision because they’re going to say, ‘Holy moly, this person just made X dollars on their sale. We should put ours for sale because we know our house is nicer.’”
A listing is an opportunity to communicate three times with neighboring homeowners, according to Burgess. The first, whether it’s through individual calls or a group email, lets them know that a house in their neighborhood is about to go on the market and you’d love to give them the opportunity to “choose” their next neighbor, so if they have any friends or family considering moving into that neighborhood, reach out for details. The second is when the listing goes pending.
“That’s just like, ‘Hey, just so you know, we had 10 offers in two days on this place. We’re just letting all the neighbors know because this price is probably going to move your value higher. If you’d like more details, just give us a call,’” Burgess said.
“And then it’s once it sells, then it’s the same thing. It’s just like, ‘Hey we just closed on this. Everything wasn’t public until now, but this has moved the price to here. If you’re curious how this affects your value, then please give us a shout. We’ll be glad to give you a free no obligation opinion on where your value is.’ Repetition builds your reputation. It’s that consistency of being with them through the process that’s going to lead them to keep you top of mind when that happens.”
For agents who have no listings, Champlin advised they reach out to their sphere of influence — “the people who know and love you” — because they will always be the core of their business.
“We talk about agents having strong repeat and referral business and that’s wonderful if you have a ton of repeat and referral business, but I treat my sphere the same way I treat my repeat and referral clients,” she said.
“If I see that you just had a baby and I can take an opportunity to drop off a stuffed animal and a card, I’m going to do that whether it’s a past client, I’m going to do it whether it’s friend, I’m gonna do it whether it’s somebody I play hockey with, I’m going to immediately take any chances I can,” she said.
“I want to go on walks with people. I want to be in front of them. It really is just about thinking, ‘Who would wish me well? Who would want me to do good?’ Touch base with those people. Print off a list of the people you know and just go through, write them notes, talk to them, call them.”
Burgess said that back in 2018, when he still sold homes, he offered people in his sphere unsolicited video comparative market analyses (CMAs) where he included sales statistics and comparables for their neighborhood and gave them a rough idea of their home value. He would then offer to give them an exact value if they give him a call and let him walk through their house. It would take him 30 minutes to create a 5-7 minute video using BombBomb and he did one a day for a total of 72 in the last quarter of 2018.
“Before I shifted in this position in May, I listed $11.1 million directly from those videos,” he said. After he stopped selling he still listed more than $5 million worth of property from those videos he had done a year and a half before.
“Set yourself apart by doing these video analyses,” he said. “Make it as personal as you can. That right there is the most important thing we’re trying to do right now because we’re seeing dramatic results right now through those video CMAs.”
Burgess suggested that agents set up a Facebook group for the neighborhood they’re working in and drop a monthly market update in there on what’s been selling in that neighborhood.
“Those are killing for us right now too,” he said.
Champlin said it was important for agents to establish themselves as experts in an area and to add value, by say, providing a Zoom update for the local Chamber of Commerce on real estate in the area.
“If they look at you as the expert, why would you want to hire anyone other than the expert when it’s time [to sell]?” she said.