By Elias Magers | 06.15.20 8:00 PM
Your first real estate client is a BIG deal. As a new real estate agent, your first client ignites your entire career and gives you the confidence to propel you forward. It is the motivator that tells you “yeah, I CAN do this.” The reason why your first real estate client is a big deal is because they are a precursor for what is to come in your career.
Most new agents have the same realization at the start of their career. They realize they don’t know how or even where to start to get their first real estate client. If you have been an agent for several months and still have not gotten a client, don’t panic. It is normal for most new real estate agents to go long periods of time at the start of their careers without a client. That’s why the first year is the hardest.
The Fundamentals of Finding Your First Real Estate Client
There’s good news. You can practice the fundamental methods of getting your first real estate client. These methods are not flashy or revolutionary. They are the fundamentals that, when put into practice, are proven actions you can do right now to get your first real estate client.
Prospecting is a necessary part to growing your business–especially when you are a new real estate agent. At first, these methods are hard. They put you, the new agent, into a vulnerable position because you will experience failure through rejection.
Coping with rejection is hard. Moreover, the fear of rejection keeps us from action. But, overcoming this fear is paramount to building a successful career.
So, let’s get started. Here are the top 5 most effective ways you can get your first real estate client:
Watch now: The best methods of finding your first real estate client.
#1 Door Knocking
Prospecting does not get more fundamental than this. Door knocking is the oldest prospecting method in the book. Every real estate agent has been told, at some point in their career, to practice door knocking. Door knocking involves knocking on homeowners’ doors to see if they would like to sell their home or buy a new home.
Door knocking is a common prospecting method because it is an effective way to find new leads in a targeted neighborhood.
Surprisingly, most new real estate agents door knock ineffectively because they miss one important ingredient. They should always bring value. When you give value, the interaction becomes worthwhile even when they are not interested in your service. Contrastingly, if you do not offer value, the homeowner will not have gained anything from the interaction if they are not interested in your service.
How to Give Value to Leads to Get Your First Real Estate Client
Value can be anything that will benefit the homeowner’s well-being. One effective gift you can provide is the gift of knowledge. You can show homeowners what their home is worth. This might not convince anyone to make the decision to list their home in the moment. However, this knowledge can incentivize them to list in the future.
At the very least, the lead will now have a document that tells them how much money they can earn. Therefore, they will contact you when they are ready to list.
Oftentimes, homeowners are surprised to see how much money they can make from selling their home. They might be in the midst of thinking about upgrading houses or downsizing to a smaller house. That is why giving them the gift of knowledge can inspire them to take action.
#2 Cold Calling
Cold calling is like door knocking but done over the phone. It involves contacting leads, often without a rapport (hence the term “cold”). The goal is to see if they would like to sell their home or buy a new home. Cold calling can be done from your home, office, or your favorite coffee shop.
Your First Real Estate Client is a Numbers Game
Just like door knocking, cold calling is quantity driven. The more people you call, the more likely you will find a prospective first real estate client. Cold calling is a common method to discover clients from a list of leads. The reason why this is common, just like door knocking, is because it is an effective method to find interested home buyers and home sellers.
Similar to door knocking, the chances of building a rapport increases when you give value. Value piques the interest of the lead. You contact leads cold and without warning. Therefore, you should give value to warm up to the conversation. You giving the contact value–in the form of a gift–is a great way to incentivize them to list. This value being the gift of knowledge.
The contact will know how much their house is worth and how much money they can make, therefore incentivizing to sell their home. The contact might not sell their home right away, but they will have your contact information when they are ready. However, you might get lucky. You could contact someone who is already thinking of selling their home and this gift is the extra encouragement for them to sell their home or buy a new one.
#3 Sphere of Influence
Your sphere of influence is another fundamental method of finding your first real estate client. Most agents recognize this term because your sphere of influence has a high success rate. So, what is the sphere of influence and how does it work?
The sphere of influence is your immediate network of people when you enter your new real estate career. You might think “I don’t have a network–I’m new!” This is a common fallacy. Everyone has a sphere of influence, but not everyone knows what it looks like.
Who is in Your Sphere of Influence?
Your sphere of influence consists of family members, friends, people in your volunteer group, people who you are acquaintances with, etc. Every person you know can be in your sphere of influence. Therefore, you already have an advantage to work with them when they need a real estate professional’s opinion or help.
When someone in your sphere of influence needs help selling their home or they are looking to buy a new home, you have a warm connection to them. This connection increases their likelihood of hiring you.
Here is an example of using your sphere of influence. You contact acquaintances, friends, and family members to tell them that you are a real estate agent working at the local brokerage. When an acquaintance hears your career update, they inform you that they want to sell their house and buy a new one. You offer your services and they sign with you.
This is just one example of how the sphere of influence can work in your favor. You never know what people in your sphere of influence need until you put yourself out there. When you do, you may find that some people in your sphere are interested in listing or buying a home.
Why Would Your First Real Estate Agent Choose You?
In an interview with Richard Schulman, Keller Williams Santa Monica real estate agent and top producing KW agent in the country, he explained “as humans, it’s our natural instinct to work with someone we trust.” He continued to explain, top producing agents will always lose business to their client’s friend, no matter their qualifications. The people in your network will have more trust with you than someone they don’t know. Therefore, you can use this advantage to bridge a connection with them.
That’s what makes the sphere of influence such a powerful way to prospect for new leads.
#4 Digital Presence
Creating a digital presence helps agents find their first real estate client passively. A digital presence creates familiarity and a sense of connection through content distributed on social media. Such social media channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and their own personal website.
Some agents discredit the importance of having a strong digital presence. They think a better investment of your time is to interfacing with leads face-to-face. Interfacing examples include door knocking or cold calling. Interfacing with leads is always effective. However, they overlook the power of social media ads and creating a digital connection.
Social Media Advertising
Using social media advertising is a smart way to advertise to home buyers and home sellers. This is the digital equivalent of seeing an ad of a local real estate agent’s service in the newspaper. A social media ad can target leads based on qualifiers (age, geography, interest, etc.) to help you find the perfect client.
Let’s analyze what this looks like with Facebook. Facebook is a commonly used social media platform by people of all ages. When someone in your targeted geographic location scrolls through their social feed, they will see a promoted ad of your services.
Informing the user that you can help them sell their home or find a new home to purchase. Coincidentally this has been on their mind. Because of their need, they can click on the ad and have their contact information forwarded to you. This creates a warm lead that you can contact in the future.
Therein lies the power of social media advertising that people overlook. Taking time to focus on developing a strong funnel system for warm leads increases your lead to client conversion rate.
A digital presence is a creative approach to booking more clientele. The result of creating a digital presence is brand recognition and credibility in your sector. At the core of creating a digital presence, real estate agents are simply building a personal connection with their sphere of influence.
You can maintain your sphere of influence by interacting with people on social media. The simple idea behind this is an earnest one. Social media makes communication easy. When your goal is to make new friends and be a good friend, retaining clients no longer becomes a concern. People will naturally work with you when they need an agent.
Building Your Brand
You can take social media a step further by building a brand around your name. This is an effective way of letting your sphere of influence know about your career, achievement, and progress without contacting them one at a time.
Additionally, this will remind people in your sphere of influence that you are a real estate agent doing great things with your career. When they need an agent, they will think of you because they will associate anything real estate related with you.
Let’s discuss the power of content marketing. The reason why YouTube and real estate agent celebrities are closely connected is because celebrities know the influence of creating content. Creating content increase your reach and influence to people who are outside of your sphere of influence. When the content created is high quality, people will share it. This is how your reach and influence grows.
Let’s see an example of this in the real world. Ryan Serhant is a popular name among real estate agents because he’s a known celebrity. Part of his following includes people inside and outside of the real estate industry. There are thousands of people who know this specific real estate agent because of the content he creates.
More Reach More Leads
The reason why so many people know about Ryan Serhant is because he has created copious amounts of content. He has done this with videos, television interviews, broadcast shows, social media posts, tweets, instagram posts, and more. He has attracted more people to his brand and style, which is evident in everything he creates. Therefore, he has created a reputation, also known as a brand name.
So, how does this translate to finding new leads? Content marketing will help you build an audience of people. A few of these people will seek out your services. This is passive lead generation. People who see your content will seek you out because they are in need of a real estate agent. They saw your content and turned to you for professional help. Again, when they think of real estate, they will think of you.
Although attaining celebrity status is unlikely, you can build local recognition through content marketing.
#5 Website and Online Directories
Agents can use lead generating websites and online directories to passively find their first real estate client. The great part about using websites and directories to market your services is that it does not require extraneous attention. Lead capturing websites and online directories passively give you leads. In other words, they exist as a funnel to your website or lead capture.
Lead Generating Websites
Lead generating websites can exist in many forms. Websites such as Trulia, Redfin, and BoldLeads let you set up your presence online with little effort. Each offer a different advantage for agents. These websites are widely accepted as a method of lead generation because digital prospecting is a necessity for agents.
Online directories are a passive way to find leads online. Directories such as Google My Business or Yelp serve as a review aggregator. In other words, people review your business. The more high quality review, the easier you are to find online and the more likely people will work with you. Although using online directories effectively will be hard when finding your first real estate client, they serve as a powerful tool to grow your business over time. You should encourage clients and to review you online after working with you. The earlier you start, the greater the growth.
The Future of Prospecting
Now, more than ever, people are turning to the internet and social media to find services. A lack of digital presence or lead generation is neglecting a fundamental of finding your first real estate client.
Feeling Discouraged Before Finding Your First Real Estate Client
At first, prospecting may seem daunting because it has such a low success rate. The great part about prospecting is you will not run out of leads. Therefore, the low success rate translates to a few clients over a large pool lead.
The hardest part of prospecting is not the act of prospecting. It is more subtle. The hardest part of prospecting is surmounting self-doubt. Most new real estate agents experience self-doubt when they encounter constant rejection. This feeling festers and manifests into phrases like, “this won’t work…” or “why don’t I try another career” or even “I’ll never find a client.”
Overcoming Self-Doubt to Find Your First Real Estate Client
To ward off these negative thoughts, new real estate agents should develop a sense of awareness. This is to identify hurtful thoughts that could sew doubt. You will prevent thought spirals from festering when you reinforce your attitude with healthy self talk. This prevents the creation of mental barriers that hold you back from success.
Also, always remember one simple thing: you have to keep prospecting to find your first real estate client. The good news, if you keep doing it, you will find them. Every rejection gets you closer to the one client that will work with you.
Finding that first real estate client is hard and daunting. But, there are plenty of resources and practices available to you. Countless real estate agents have used resources in the past to help them in their career. Oftentimes, people will think becoming a real estate agent is all about helping clients buy and sell property. But, the real goal of the job is prospecting and finding leads. That’s the core of your business.
Applying these fundamental tools and laying the groundwork to help people find you online are the structures you need to create the career you want. As long as you continue putting one foot in front of the other, you will find success in this job.