The key to it all?
To get the best real estate leads – to say, the really motivated sellers – assume the role of seller yourself.
To help you get there, I’ll point out an obvious dynamic between seller lead and listing agent: They both want to sell the same thing. But agents are too quick to think 'customer acquisition' before 'customers' themselves, and miss out on marketing themselves more meaningfully.
Real estate marketing is a big topic, after all. So to (really) understand the best real estate leads, let’s make it into 5 smaller ones! These topics will include negotiation experience and local market expertise to harder-to-navigate areas like trust.
What matters #5: Brand
I’ll hazard a guess you thought this would rank higher on the list than it has.
Brand is (always) important. But in real estate, a seller lead’s first point of contact is likely a lone agent. The impression made, to say, is one of personal effect rather than an agency.
Let’s look at a common Google scenario where seller searches ‘selling my home’.
After scrolling past how-to articles, the best real estate leads quickly spot and select a page-one popular seller marketplace. Options of partnered marketplace agents will be shown to the seller after confirming a few property details and that’s where seller meets brand. This is the moment.
With everyone’s agency branding front and centre, whose draws the best real estate leads in?
Easy. People as a rule trust people, not businesses (or brands!). People are what we readily connect with over a logo, slogan, or elegant colour scheme. The winner will be the agent and agency who meet your gaze with an avatar or personal imaging.
And why? Because people, remember? Let’s look at a quick example:
Above, you’ll see personalised chat from RE/MAX on Oikotie – a popular Finnish real estate listing page. Among thousands of listings, RE/MAX stands out with Serviceform’s stylish portal chat, providing real-time property and agent information to help the best real estate leads book a house tour.
Action point: Agents are in a unique position to brand themselves in combination with the agency they’re a part of, so a great avatar and personalised chat experience make for worthwhile investments. See Serviceform portal chats in action (scroll down, click any property, and view our chatbot) to help your brand stand out in busy real estate marketplaces.
Brand factors into a seller lead’s decision to go with an agent – it’s true, but it’s just one hill in a much larger landscape of how individually that decision is made. The best real estate leads are a hypercritical or choosy group, to be sure.
What matters #4: Offer review and negotiation experience
Home sellers looking for the most return on their property often first think going it alone without a listing agent is best. Until they actually start doing their homework.
A seller’s first step when deciding to sell a property is likely to google how exactly one does it. When most realise navigating the home-selling process isn’t so easy, their next search will be on getting a professional – cost and cons alike – and this is wise of them, frankly.
Get ahead of that by marketing yourself right. This means the usual milestones of appearing in top search results and standing out on property listing pages – but also boldly communicating your experience reviewing offers and successfully negotiating.
Why? The answer may rhyme with ‘honey’ but is much sweeter.
Adopting the perspective of the home seller, they’ve found you because you can do something they can’t. And that’s (potentially) secure higher offers than braving the offer process alone. We’re talking money, of course. 💰
Adding to this, something the best real estate leads often learn from family and friends (who’ve sold their own properties) is not to miss out on one of the most exciting aspects of selling a property: the bidding war.
Going with a listing agent maximises bidding war potential and that means a potentially higher selling price (as well as higher commission).
Action point: In your searchable professional background, LinkedIn page, and overall marketing, verbalise your winning experience in offer review and negotiation. Maximised bidding war potential is a proven driver of why home sellers change their minds and decide to go with an agent sale versus FSBO.
Underestimating seller awareness is a common oversight of today’s real estate agents. Today’s best real estate leads know the pros of going with an agent who would represent them in the property sale. In your real estate marketing, it’s any cons (think realtor fees) you need to counterbalance with what you bring to the table – like being able to sell within an ideal time frame or closing at a more competitive price than what seller leads could fetch in an FSBO sale (or for sale by owner).
What matters #3: Local market expertise
I’ll say this again: Market yourself accordingly. Keep your presentation (to include avatar!) and language local. If you’re in a rural or agricultural commercial market, a big-timey, metropolitan vibe just won’t click with your target audience.
Think of it like this: The perspective agencies and listing agents need to adopt is one of access.
The best real estate leads are coming to you because you have market access they don’t. Clever Real Estate recently reminded the real estate world that on average, FSBO homes (or, for sale by owner) sell for almost 30% less than when sold with an agent.
While not wholly unaware after a week of zillowing, the best real estate leads don’t really know the latest competitive pricing trends in this neighbourhood versus that, and nor have any big picture of how it all works. You do. In fact, it’s your job to know that – right alongside marketing yourself.
Action point: ‘Market access’ is your key marketing angle. There’s your seller’s story – and then there’s your story. Your story should establish yourself and explain how, why, and since when you have access to or timely knowledge of and insights into the current market. Where applicable, communicate your being a lifelong local or years-long resident of the respective area yourself.
Local market expertise is like knowing where all the clubhouses are, but local marketing expertise requires you let everyone (tactfully) know that fact. A localised approach is how you turbocharge the trust of the best real estate leads.
What matters #2: Trust
Whether we’re talking love, peacetime between nations or, yeah, even real estate, trust is queenly.
In a property sale, standing between you and seller trust are really only a few messages – and an undodgeable punch of preconception. So make this engagement count.
If a seller lead doesn’t get a good feeling after these initial messages, it’s unlikely they’ll be comfortable going with you for a sale that’s agent-handled, especially if they’re still on the FSBO home fence. You might be selling commercial laboratory space at some point, but this isn’t rocket science. 🚀💡
An equally fair question to building trust is how not to lose it. Both are good things to be asking yourself right now. One quick point on this.
Listen up, literally. Being a listener is very important at this point in the agent-seller relationship. And the best real estate leads will be critical of this.
Action point: By listening to any seller lead, you’re going to discover natural ways to connect with them. What’s their story? What property are they selling? And why are they selling it?
Ask questions early in any client engagement. Be more than just conversational in your first impression. Be compassionate. By getting to know your seller, you’ll also be letting them get to know you. Trust is often said to be a two-way street but it’s just as much a circle – or if you’ll pardon the pun, a cul-de-sac.
Empathise with why home sellers are selling, and under what criteria they want that sale to be made. If a seller lead has unrealistic expectations, that’s absolutely fine; in fact, let them know that. But always be listening to what and how each home seller responds.
A natural extension to listening is to keep in touch with past clients: Buyers from six months ago can just as easily make for tomorrow's best real estate leads.
One of the oldest ways to build trust is to show you’re the same friendly person and good listener after the interaction (or transaction!) as you were before. More tips like this are actually available in Serviceform’s 2023 ebook, now accessible in blog form and all about finding the best real estate leads!
What matters #1: Presence
Presence in the digital age is king.
No need to wax poetic here: If the best real estate leads don’t see you, they can’t consider you. Real simple stuff.
Get your name and services out there. Keep revisiting then improving your website content and listing page game until you’re ranking well in search results.
I don’t see many people put it this way so I will: Remember that being ‘online’ isn’t the same as being ‘active online’.
Always be creating opportunities to talk, then remember to listen. If you’re not fast enough online to answer the best real estate leads, you’ve probably already lost them to another more communicative, active agent.
Tools can help. Like chatbots.
Chatbots have seen increased popularity in recent years for good reason: They redefine business hours at a tireless 24/7 pace. With chatbots and whether during or after the workday, you can be there, even when you’re not.
Action point: If your first impression for clients is one of how accessible or reachable you are, then you’re off to a good start! And chatbots are proving a force in real estate in doing exactly that. They’re also inexpensive and easy to brand and customise. Get yours by booking a free consultation.
Smart chatbots like ones designed by Serviceform are even uniquely capable of direct agent routing, which means the best real estate leads are connected in real time to an agent. At that point, a simple hello has already started a relationship with the seller. Be present, and active, remember?
In real estate marketing, an agent who doesn’t promptly respond to the best real estate leads likely just lost a client. Because these motivated home sellers are already elsewhere seeing if another agent is actually there to take their FSBO home off their hands. Chatbots help you be the quicker draw, to reference America’s Wild West.
Wrapping up landing the best real estate leads
Here I’ve broken down the 5 most important things that matter to the best real estate leads when selling their properties. With some action tips on how marketing yourself works for each along the way.
If you’re surprised by Presence (#1) outranking Trust (#2), don’t be. The thinking here is in business, it’s all numbers at the end of the day. Trust is simply a steep e-hill to climb when not responding fast enough in real time to the best real estate leads – and even steeper a hill if your competition is more searchable and present than you are.
Rounding out our countdown, I’ve discussed the lesser importance of Brand (#5), where zillowing real estate seller leads find greater value in Local market expertise (#3) as well as Offer review and negotiation experience (#4).
Remember, that to win over home or otherwise FSBO sellers, you first have to think like a seller yourself!