It’s no secret listings are a key driver behind any successful real estate business. But generating seller leads can be a lot more challenging than generating buyer leads. After all, active buyers are online searching for homes every day. Not so much for sellers.
If you’re determined to uplevel your business with a steady stream of listings this year, it’s time to elevate your lead gen strategy, starting with a multi-pronged approach for generating more seller leads.
Read on for a complete rundown on some of the best free and paid methods for generating more seller leads, plus practical insights for how to convert listings faster.
Free ways to generate listing leads
When it comes to increasing the number of seller leads in your database, the good news is most agents already have an untapped pool of free listing leads hiding in plain sight.
For many, it’s just a matter of getting intentional about making those connections — starting with your existing sphere of influence (SOI).
🔷 Leverage your SOI and past clients
For rainmaking teams, working your SOI isn’t just something you do when you find yourself with an extra hour of free time. It’s a strategic part of their listing leads strategy.
The trick here is to stay top of mind with your SOI and past clients using a combination of strategies in your SOI nurturing toolkit, for example:
- Email, phone, or text: Your sphere probably represents a variety of relationships—some more familiar than others. Choose the communication method that fits, whether it’s sharing a fun real estate meme, sending a newsletter with the latest market updates, or picking up the phone to ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
- Engage: Attending community events, volunteering at local charities, and actively participating in your favorite social media groups are all valuable ways to stay in front of your SOI and start conversations that can lead to listing referrals.
- Meet up: In-person meetings for coffee, lunch, or cocktails, are a great way to maintain relationships and let your network know you’re always available to help sellers out.
- Use email to nurture your relationships: Create an automated SOI email sequence with targeted touchpoints on your contact’s birthday, anniversary in their new home, and holiday cards. You can also reach out with market reports, community announcements, and more to help keep you top-of-mind.
“If you go through an experience with someone on the buy side, and now you’re selling your house, being able to leverage those original relationships keeps trust and helps to care for our clients in the best of ways.”
Emily Smith, COO, Wemert Realty Group
🔷 Make your open houses seller-friendly
You already know open houses are a natural magnet for buyers. But open houses also attract homeowners who are thinking about selling.
Many sellers visit open houses to get a peek at the competition, compare it to their own home, and learn about the market. With a few small adjustments to your current open house strategy, you can make it easy for potential listing prospects to find what they’re looking for.
Here are some simple ways to optimize your open houses to capture more listings:
- Invite the neighbors: Print door hangers or brochures and pass them around to all the neighbors. Better yet, do a little door knocking, introduce yourself, and extend a personal invitation.
- Set a goal: If it’s listings you’re after, make seller lead gen a clear goal at every open house. Andy Tse of the Tse Group in Saratoga, CA, makes it his goal to set “one rock-solid appointment” from each open house. Speaking on the TomFerry Show, he told his audience that when he meets a neighbor who expresses interest in selling their home, he offers to come by after the open house and give them an idea of what the home could sell for.
- Hold a neighbor open house: In the episode, Tom Ferry revealed one of his favorite strategies for listing lead gen in the same episode. Here’s how it works: A few hours before or after the scheduled open house, he’ll hold a ‘neighbor open house’ to create a specific time and place to meet potential sellers in the community.
🔷 Use blogging to position yourself as an authority on homeselling
Sellers are hungry for information that can help them get the best possible experience (and price) when selling their home. By consistently posting blogs that offer tips and advice specifically geared towards their needs, you’ll establish yourself as an authority sellers can trust.
Over time, the organic traffic you accrue from blogging about these topics will compound, helping you attract a steady stream of listing leads at no extra cost.
To start, list out all the questions you’ve fielded from sellers over the years. This list of seller FAQs can serve as your initial list of topics to address on the blog. Be sure to craft your content in a way that addresses the question head-on, with a call to action at the end for sellers to reach out if they have any questions on how to navigate the market.
Shannon Milligan is the owner of RVA Home Team in Richmond, VA and a firm believer in the power of blogging for real estate leads. She addresses topics like 4 Questions to Ask Before Selling a Home and a complete Home Seller’s Guide to give potential sellers a ton of value upfront by covering everything from determining a home’s value to the types of repairs commonly needed to command top dollar.
41% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family. 26% used the agent they previously worked with.
🔷 Help an FSBO seller out
Sooner or later, homeowners who decide to take a shot at selling their own homes may come to the realization that going it alone isn’t working as they’d planned. We don’t have specific data on how common this is, but according to a 2017 Zillow report, 36% of sellers tried to sell their homes on their own but only 11% actually sold without an agent.
When the ‘for sale’ sign has been in the yard for a few weeks with no real traction, these sellers start to understand that they simply don’t know what they don’t know. This is a great time to step in and provide guidance.
NAR suggests preparing an FSBO package that includes:
- Your resume
- Business card
- Important forms required for transacting a sale
- Tips for staging a home or hosting an open house
By giving FSBO sellers a glimpse into the amount of skill and experience it takes to sell a home, they may decide they’re ready to bring on some expert help and turn the listing over to you.
Only 11% of sellers actually sold without an agent.
🔷 Get to know the sellers behind expired listings
Sometimes listings expire because sellers change their minds. But just as often, a seller might take a home off the market for other reasons. Maybe they realize they’ve got more work to do to prep the home. Maybe they became discouraged by the initial price offered.
Whatever the case, contacting homeowners who’ve allowed their listings to expire and asking just the right questions can help get to the bottom of their issues and often encourage the seller to trust you with their business.
Real estate coach and founder of Smart Inside Sales Dale Archdekin sat down with Brian Curtis, a top coach at Club Wealth Real Estate Coaching and Consulting, in a recent Cash Call episode discussing the case of a homeowner who told an agent he wasn’t currently listing his property because he was doing some renovations.
In this example, the agent might have said: “I have a list of 73 buyers who are interested in a home like yours. Would it be ok if I marketed your home to them?”
With this approach, the agent offers something of value to the homeowner with no obligation (because they weren’t asking to list the property), while highlighting their competitive advantage.
“You are the business partner of every person you talk to. Instead of asking questions like, ‘Do you have an agent?’ ask the questions that point out what you can do for the homeowner.”
Dale Archdekin, founder of Smart Inside Sales
🔷 Expand your network of seller referral partners
We’re accustomed to thinking about sellers as people who want to sell their home. But there are also sellers whose circumstances require them to sell.
“In real estate, there’s almost always a major life event happening,” notes Deborah Beagle of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. “Our client might be going through downsizing, upsizing, divorce, getting married, having a baby, etc.”
Most agents know instinctively that handling these types of clients requires sensitivity, but the best of the best listing agents also know how important it is to be part of a community that actively helps sellers navigate life’s challenges.
By keeping an open line of communication with other professionals such as divorce, tax, and family law attorneys, accountants, wealth management professionals, and more, you’ll be the first to know if anyone needs urgent help getting their home sold. Here's how:
- Include these professionals in your SOI database.
- Create automated follow-up sequences specifically for them, such as announcements when you expand your team or win an award.
- Send occasional reminders that you’re available to offer their clients free home valuations.
- Invite your referral partners to office celebrations, annual meetups, or any other events your team takes part in.
With the right referral partners by your side, you can be part of a wider team of experts that helps sellers overcome some of their biggest obstacles when they need it most.
85% of sellers said their estate agent provided a broad range of services.
🔷 Adjust your social media strategies to target seller leads
Chances are, you’re already working hard at leveraging your social media.
The good news is, with a few simple tips you can easily adjust your current tactics to engage more sellers.
- Go beyond sharing your ‘just sold’ properties to offer tips and resources exclusively for sellers — for example, you could share a blog post on home staging tips or a link to top cleaning services in your area.
- Tell stories about how you and a client overcame market challenges to achieve the impossible.
- Repost existing reviews and testimonials from past listing clients.
With a little consistency, you’ll soon build a reputation as one of the leading agents in your area with exceptional listing skills.
🔷 Fully leverage the buy side
You already know buyers can be a great gateway to listings. But are you really taking advantage of every opportunity your buy-side transactions provide?
For example, say you have a buyer looking in a particular neighborhood and you show them a home that doesn’t work out for them. By sending a letter to the neighboring homeowners letting them know that you have an active buyer looking in their community, you can attract the interest of other sellers in the area and potentially win a future listing when the time is right.
Coach and founder of Jared James Enterprises has a great script for this one.
My name is (Agent Name) and I work with (Brokerage Name) and I just wanted to let you know that I showed your neighbor’s property over at (Address) the other day.
Unfortunately it wasn't a perfect match for them but as I'm sure you are not surprised, they absolutely loved the neighborhood!
What they are looking for is (describe just about every house in the neighborhood).
Can you do me a favor? If you or anyone you know is even considering selling, could you please let me know right away? I may be able to sell your house without it ever even hitting the market.”
You could also try sending pop-bys like candy on Valentine’s Day or seeds for planting in spring to your buyers with a quick note along the lines of, “Remembering how great it was to work with you. Please let me know if you’ve any friends or family planning to buy or sell. I’d love to meet them!”
And of course, never forget to ask for a referral when you send buyers your thank you note.
Optimize your advertising to increase seller leads
Now that we’ve covered the free and low-cost ideas for generating more seller leads, let’s take a closer look at some of the real estate marketing and advertising tactics that can help boost your listings.
🔷 Go beyond the free home valuation in your social media advertising
A free home valuation is an undeniably effective way to target sellers in your social media advertising.
As Barry Jenkins, owner of Friends in Real Estate in Virginia Beach, VA, puts it: “Whether or not you’re looking to sell, everyone cares what their home is worth, so seeing what your home is worth is a big deal.”
But keep in mind, sellers come in many shapes and sizes. Some might be exploring whether to refinance their home, rent it, or simply seeking information on the status of their mortgage before making the decision to sell. By broadening your social media ads to address these points as well as a home valuation, you may be able to increase your seller lead conversion rates.
21% of sellers wanted an agent's help in marketing their home to potential buyers.
🔷 Attract seller leads with Google Local Service Ads
Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) are especially useful for targeting sellers looking for a real estate agent because they highlight the agents rather than the listings. Plus, unlike other types of Pay-Per-Click advertising, Google only charges you when you receive an actual lead.
Keep in mind, testimonials are key when you use LSAs for targeting seller leads. The more the better.
🔷 Create a dedicated seller landing page
Real estate landing pages are ideal for capturing a seller’s contact information.
You can link your landing page to an ad, blog, or any other digital media — but you’ll need to offer something of value to entice sellers to sign up.
Think about offering a free home valuation, a guide to getting your home ready to sell, pros and cons of open houses, or any other content that speaks directly to a seller’s needs.
🔷 Run a postcard campaign
Tristan Ahumada, CEO of Lab Coat Agents and Team Leader at Tristan & Associates in Westlake Village, CA, sends a series of monthly postcards to his farm that are part newsletter, part tip sheet, part ‘best of’ listicle.
The effort cost about $40,000 per year and yielded 17 listings and a GCI of about $800,000.
Here’s how Tristan sets his sequence for the year:
September - Top Places To Eat/Local Market Stats
October - Things to do in Fall/Things I enjoy about the neighborhood
November - Thanksgiving Story/Local Market Stats
December - Who we are/Things to do in Winter
January - Best Local Parks/Top places for dessert
February - Local Market Stats/Quotes about making a better life
March - Things to do in Spring/Top 5 books you should read this year
April - Who we are/Top 5 places to visit in California
May - Local Market Stats/5 Simple steps to increase your home’s value
June - Things to do in Summer/Local Market Stats
July - Top places to eat locally/Things I enjoy about this neighborhood
August - Top places for dessert/Local Market Stats
When Tristan and his team send out their mailers, they also include a CallAction number. When someone calls the number, they’re able to capture their information and see where the inquiry came from. CallAction then sends the lead straight into Follow Up Boss.
From there, the prospect is tagged as a ‘Seller’ and is retargeted to via Ylopo Facebook and Instagram ads until they’re ready to engage.
How Follow Up Boss helps agents convert more listings
As with any real estate prospect, the only way to give real value to a seller lead is to keep a consistent focus on developing the relationship over time.
When a seller lead comes in through Google, PPC ads, or another source, and lands on Barry’s Homebot landing page, they’re prompted to sign up for a report that gives them:
- A home valuation comparable to what’s used by appraisers
- The net worth of the home based on the owner’s mortgage
- Potential mortgage savings based on nine different types of refinance loans
- An estimate for how much the seller can afford to spend on buying another home or renting out their home
- Sold listings and data on how many buyers are currently looking for a home like theirs (based on zip code)
“If somebody gets to our Homebot landing page, the conversion rate is 13%, which is bananas,” says Barry. “Landing pages for sellers don’t convert this much. But what we found is this exclusive integration with Homebot is meeting a need for the consumer.”
Whenever a lead engages with the Homebot experience, this activity is recorded in Follow Up Boss letting Barry and his agents know who has opened the report and exactly what they clicked on. From there, it’s easy to kick off a relevant conversation based on what the lead is looking for.
From there, agents can see all of the people that have engaged with the campaign. Barry then uses Smart Lists to segment leads by past clients, new leads, and any other relevant categories. After that, he creates an Action Plan to customize and automate the follow up in order to close more seller leads, faster.
When you’re ready to elevate your listings strategy, Follow Up Boss can help. Discover ways to create your own customized seller follow up strategies with a free 14-day trial.