Five lead generation activities real estate agents can be doing right now to help their business survive the Coronavirus.
Now is the time for Realtors to work on a lead generation plan for operating their business during the Covid-19 crisis. That’s right, I said a lead generation plan.
This is a business generation plan with the intent of growing your business during a very confusing time. Depending on where you live in the United States, whether you are complying with a stay-at-home order, or whether your state has determined your job as a realtor to be essential or non-essential, it’s very difficult. And it has been changing and shifting a lot, depending on where you live.
Yes, you can still generate business during COVID-19.
No matter where you are, you should continue to have a business generation mindset. I want you to realize that applies to all of you. I mean it. It does not matter which political party you are affiliated with, and there’s no social appropriateness here. Just because we’re trying to generate business does not mean in any way that we are disregarding public safety.
We are talking about generating business right now. In real estate, the activities that we do right now rarely result in business right now. The activities we do right now typically generate business down the road. This is much like how we worry about having a slow winter where we don’t do much business. It is the activities we do back in August, September, and October that create business that will close later on, during the winter.
You may have to stay at home right now. You may be limited on the ability to show property right now. This does not mean that Realtors should completely refrain from doing any lead generation activities during this crisis, or else you risk having a gap in production in the future. Without lead generation activities now there will be a gap in income down the road.
This crisis may be a long “winter” for Realtors.
A lot of Realtors just came out of a winter that was low on production. Some agents stopped their business generation activities during that time, hoping that the spring market would pick up and save them. The reality that many Realtors are facing now is that spring is not going to bring in more business. There is a possibility of very low income moving deep into spring and possibly into summer.
Realtors: the Coronavirus crisis is not a break for your business.
Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and realize it’s not a good time to look for household tasks to do. If you’re a real estate agent, now is not a good time to do the gardening that you’ve been wanting to do, or paint your baseboards, or things like that.
Yes, we can have some degree of work-life balance right now, but we cannot completely omit trying to do some sort of business generation activity, or we run the risk of walking ourselves right out of the business. Work-life balance must have some “work” in it. And you can’t get away with just servicing your existing business right now.
Can you imagine if you were another business out there in the world and all you did was focus on customer service, and there was no marketing and sales department? That business would go away pretty quickly. You can’t just expect business to come to you.
Certainly in times like the Coronavirus pandemic that we are in, real estate agents are going to have to be doing a lot of things to get visible, to make contact, and to help our communities. These lead generation activities will help Realtors prepare so that either now or down the road when this crisis is over, business comes to us, helping us make up for a lot of this downtime.
Real estate agents must work HARDER during a recession.
This turn in the economy is not a good turn. We are looking at some degree of recession. The way you get your business through a recession is by rolling up your sleeves and working. I’m a big fan of work-life balance, and I believe in vacations, and really balancing your lifestyle with your work. But I will tell you, at times like this, it is time to work. There’s no doubt. Yes – we want to spend time with family, I don’t think you can help spending time with family if you’re forced to stay at home. But we must carve out time for work.
We need to do the activities that will build a pipeline of business for when we get back to work later. Realtors must have a lead generation plan during the Coronavirus crisis. It is still possible to work and do business right now. We can do virtual buyer consultations, virtual listing consultations, we can schedule virtual showings, etc. You, as an agent, can show property without ever leaving your house. The seller doesn’t leave their house. The buyer doesn’t leave their house. It is possible to do work and be fully compliant as a “non-essential” agent in a stay-at-home mandated state.
Will the change cause you to grow, or cause you to fall behind?
Our industry is changing right now. A lot of things are never going to go back to the way they were. A lot of that change is around technology. I know we all like to say that we’re “big on technology.” I’ll tell you right now: the real estate industry is being forced to change as a result of this virus, and quite frankly, these changes have been long overdue.
So if you think you can’t do business, and that’s your excuse for sitting back and not doing any activity whatsoever, you need to understand that you are rolling the dice on your career. A lot of Realtors are going to move ahead of you right now, and they’re going to find a way around it. They are going to innovate, and use technology, and find a way to generate business that’s safe during COVID-19.
Generating real estate business right now can be helpful, not hurtful.
You may find a lot of people that get in the other camp and say, “Well, that’s just not socially appropriate right now.” If it’s safe and in compliance with all laws, and it still generates business and helps keep our economy moving, I think it’s more than just appropriate, I think it’s heroic.
The agents that make the choice to keep working in a safe and compliant way will come out of this crisis and advance their position when all is said and done. It’s not too late for you, as a realtor, to do that and change your mindset around lead generation during the Covid-19 crisis.
So, what should this lead generation plan look like? It’s really simple. I’ve broken it into five parts to help you see all of the things you can be doing right now for your lead generation.
Activity one: Engage your SOI
First and foremost, this is all done by sphere of influence. Eighty percent of people are picking their Realtor and buying a house based on a Realtor they know, or a Realtor of someone they know. So it’s by referral. The remaining twenty percent are FSBOs (For Sale By Owner), Expireds, door-knocking or circle prospecting, your internet lead generation… those are all fighting for that very small percentage of the pie.
The SOI work that you are doing right now is not going after immediate business. You need to make your SOI activities all about staying in touch, building rapport, coming from contribution, adding value. Keep that mindset. You want to gain mind share with your clients by staying in front of them, and always adding value. This is so that when they do want to buy or sell, they choose you.
There is a lot of information to share with your SOI right now.
It has never been easier to add value, because we need to be sharing a lot of information right now. You can provide your SOI with a list of all the restaurants that are open for delivery or take out, or a list of all the grocery stores with special hours for senior citizens. You can do giveaways and contests for people that support local businesses, or you can buy gift cards from local business and give those away, or raffle off prizes for people that nominate different local businesses. Virtual client events like a Virtual Easter Egg Hunt provide a fun alternative to traditional events. All these things we can do to add value and entertain people at the same time. We want to help occupy people while helping our community.
You’ll notice a lot of that SOI outreach is happening on social media. Everyone is on social media right now, more than ever. The increase in numbers of people that are active on social media right now is going to force those real estate agents who are uncomfortable on social media to adapt.
Come from contribution; help your community, and generate leads at the same time!
As we work our SOI through social media, we can make a lot of contact and provide a lot of valuable content. This is also lead generation by coming from contribution; as a Realtor, you are helping your community get through this crisis. Help them, be genuine, and they will remember you down the road.
One of the things we teach at Icenhower Coaching and Consulting to all of our coaching clients is that the primary foundation of their business is to work their sphere of influence. We represent the vast majority of the top producing solo agents and teams in North America, and a large number of high producing brokerages as well. We coach these real estate professionals to stay in front of their SOI 40 times a year, whether it’s email, social media, mailers, phone calls, or face-to-face contact. Obviously doing anything in person is tough or impossible to do right now, but we can omit that facet and still do all the rest.
Stick to your contact plan and get excellent results.
There are quite a few different communication channels that we can use to stay in front of our SOI forty times a year. By diversifying those types of contacts, we know that we’ll get a seven-to-one return back. This means for every seven people in your sphere of influence database, we can expect to receive one side of business – either a listing or a buyer side. For example if you have 300 people in your sphere of influence database and you have been contacting them 40 times a year, we divide 300 by seven and get 43 and change. That’s 43 transactions a year by sticking to this contact plan.
That may be surprising to you, and you may not believe it. You probably don’t know someone who’s systematically and consistently contacted their SOI 40 times a year. This is what we teach, in fact we’ve never seen it not work, but we have seen many agents not be able to do it right.
Activity two: Embrace social media
We need to set ourselves up so that we will consistently do these 40 touches a year, and one of the easiest ways to make one of those contacts is social media. It’s much more effective when you’re engaging with people in social media than through an email or a mailer. It may not rise to the level of a phone call or a verbal conversation, but it is preferred by a lot of people, and it’s highly effective.
You need to learn how to do Facebook Live. This will help you make some of those contacts we just talked about. Learn how to post videos. Learning how to create images on graphic design platforms like Canva, a very user-friendly tool. These tools will help us post things that come from contribution and add value, because images do get a lot of interactions.
You also need to start interacting with other people’s posts a lot more consistently by using our 10-10-5 method. That’s 10 likes, 10 comments, and 5 posts shares or direct messages with people on your “friends” list. These are members of your own sphere of influence. If you’re interacting consistently, this activity should only take you about 15 minutes a day.
Activity three: Learn how to use video
You need to learn how to use video for your real estate business. Learn how to take good videos on your phone. Learn how to capture high quality videos with your webcam. Learning how to do it yourself is key. Of course, professional photographers and videographers do a great job and can make it more “fancy,” but right now it’s probably going to be tough to work with a videographer, since a lot of people are staying at home.
Plus, working with a professional videographer for all your videos is going to be much more expensive. Even if you use a videographer to help you with some of your video production, it is too cost-prohibitive and too slow to use a videographer for all of your videos. You need to be able to pump out relevant content at the drop of a hat.
Capturing and publishing your own video has never been easier, with the amazing cameras that we have on all of our phones today. A high-definition webcam like the ones we use at ICC is about $100. You don’t need to do a lot of video editing to your videos, either. If you to learn how to do some basic editing, at least learn how to trim the ends of the video, and maybe put a graphic or two within your video. It’s really easy to do and right now you’re “trapped” at home, so there has never been a better time than now to learn these things and get comfortable with video.
Activity four: Become adept at video conferencing
You must learn how to use a video conference. Whether you’re using Zoom or Google Hangouts, Uber Conference, or any other video conferencing software, you need to be able to do listing and buyer consultations, virtual showings, etc., all over video. These virtual meetings are here to stay, regardless of when this Coronavirus crisis is over. A lot of people will prefer a buyer consultation via video conference versus driving to your office, so I’m pretty sure that one’s going to stick.
If you run a team or a brokerage, you will need to do video meetings with your team on a regular basis. If we met in person before the Coronavirus crisis, we’re going to start meeting much more frequently now via video conference. By using video conferencing with our team, we will become more accustomed to it and it will help us “practice” for when we use it with our clients.
Activity five: Create a CRM action plan
Systematizing your SOI database plan or your lead follow-up plan is another activity that you can be doing right now. After you generate a lead, how do you stay on top of them and nurture them over time? How do you build your inventory pipeline? You know you have buyer leads or listing leads that are coming down the road, and you want to make sure you know what you should be doing to stay in front of them. Let’s get those action plans together in our customer relationship manager, or CRM.
If you don’t have a CRM, that would be a good thing to get right now. Once you have a CRM, get your sphere of influence into it. That way you have all the contact information for the people you know in one place. Your sphere of influence includes anyone that you’re friends with on Facebook, anyone you have in your phone, etc. Then, set up your SOI database contact plan in your CRM. Set your lead follow-up plans. Realtors, this is what lead generation looks like during the crisis.
There are some really great action plans that we coach our clients on here at Icenhower Coaching and Consulting, and this is something we help our clients with every day. We work with farming follow-up plans, expired listing follow-up plans, FSBO listing follow-up plans, the list goes on. If you’re going to focus on lead generation at a high level, it’s too much for realtors to do without action plans and follow up plans in place, especially during the crisis. Keeping your head and just doing it when you feel like it, or attempting to keep your calendar organized, will find you overwhelmed very quickly. You must set it up in a CRM. Now is the time.
Use this time to your advantage.
This is a very rough time in history, and I’ll tell you right now, the best thing we can do as real estate agents is try to find the silver lining. By following these lead generation activities, Realtors can weather the storm and make it through this crisis. We must force ourselves to get into the uncomfortable spaces that we have been avoiding. We’re finally doing some of this stuff that we’ve always known we needed to do to get our business to the next level.
To do this, you need to control your mindset. You have got to stop this whole “well I’m just going to catch up on all the Netflix I’ve been wanting to watch” and “I’m just going to work out more.” Or whatever that thing you fall back on to fill up your time. You can do these things, sure, but it is time to have a routine, and these five activities I’ve mentioned should be a part of that routine.
At least a couple hours each Saturday needs to be dedicated to business generation, and you must have a plan to go with it. I just fed you a bunch of activities you can do that will enhance your career, and these things will help you with your business income this year, and long into the future as well. We have to stay productive. This is something we’re working with all of our coaching clients. It’s very important to stay disciplined.
Get to work!
The five activities I mentioned in this blog will provide you with more than enough to do while we are stuck at home. You won’t run out of things to do. This is a ton of work, right here. And this is a game-changer that will turn your career around if you can work hard to get it done right now. You will be a very different business coming out of the Coronavirus crisis, and you will be better for it.
In addition to these five tasks, you can join in on our daily discussion via our Facebook group, Real Estate Agent Round Table. We are posting relevant content and helpful resources you can use while performing your five activities for lead generation. No matter what, keep your mindset positive and stay focused. Keep a routine, and keep pushing forward.