While referrals remain the most popular lead generator, agents say social media is fertile ground and gaining popularity as a method for getting new clients.
In 2020, a vast majority (83%) of real estate licensees said they grew their business via referrals, according to The Close 2021 Agent Survey. Nearly half of the 290 respondents said they connected with a new client via “posting on social media,” and 83% said they’re planning to improve their social media presence in 2021.
Social media sites as lead generators have changed the way real estate agents do business. Online platforms connect agents with other licensees, clients, customers, contractors and necessary industry professionals. They offer cost-effective reach, targeted advertising, brand reinforcement, customer relation management, instant engagement and have become such effective lead generators that some businesses choose to purchase social media marketing management software. Given the increasing popularity, brokerages and real estate coaches should make sure their agents have the skills to thrive in the social media sphere, but more traditional lead generator methods of remain widely used.
Other methods for securing new clients (as reported for this survey) include:
- Online advertising (33%)
- Buying leads (26%)
- Print advertising (18%)
- Cold calling (16%)
Agent Focus in 2021
In addition to focusing on improved social media presence in 2021, a large chunk of agent survey respondents reported they’ll focus on their customer relations management (CRM) and email campaigns.
Referrals come from customers, so organizing and tracking your customers is key to increasing a client base. An effective CRM system allows agents to register contacts and leads, tailor customer interactions and evaluate data for future campaigns. Email campaigns are a tried-and-true method of building customer relationships and getting action-oriented, measurable results, which is likely why more than 66% of agents said they’ll improve these lead generator methods in 2021.
Other business growth opportunities agents said they’ll focus on in 2021 include:
- Branding efforts (56%)
- SEO/website optimisation (45%)
- Direct mail (43%)
Other 2021 Survey Highlights
Survey respondents weighed in on some of the other effects the pandemic had on the real estate market. While 65% of agents believe continued telecommute options will positively impact the market, 58% think the market will suffer if interest rates rise.
The vaccine’s introduction should improve the market, according to 46% of respondents, with 30% believing the COVID-19 vaccine will have no effect.
The pandemic affected buyer outlook, causing 67% of agents to say that “buyers felt more desperate” in 2020 than they did in 2019. Sellers, on the other hand, seemed more confident in 2020.
Here are a few other questions The Close survey posed and their results:
What features are buyers most likely to sacrifice?
- Homes that need repairs (48%)
- Space/spacious layout (19%)
- Noise pollution (13%)
- Neighborhood with a high crime rate (10%)
- Being near a flood zone (10%)
What (pandemic-related) home features will be important to buyers in 2021?
- Proximity to nature (64%)
- Proximity to good food and delivery options (57.5%)
- Proximity to a major city (51%)
What is the most common misconception about being an agent during the pandemic?
- The market is not good/slow/negatively impacted/not working (33%)
- Agents aren’t valued/deals are easy/success is easy (23%)
- Other (21%)
- Not being careful about COVID/safety issues (6%)
- That everyone is thriving (5%)
- Agents only care about commissions/sales (4%)