Generating leads is a critical part of building a real estate investing business.
Without motivated seller leads, you can’t close deals… and without closing deals, you don’t have much of a real estate investing business.
So in this article, we’re going to give you 12 real estate investing lead generation ideas.
There’s something in here for everyone!
What is lead generation for real estate investors?
Lead generation for real estate investors refers to the process of finding motivated sellers and getting their contact information so that you can (hopefully) buy and sell their property for a profit.
This is not a one-and-done type of thing, but an ongoing process that requires constant diligence. The more high-quality leads your real estate investing business generates — every single month — the more deals you’ll be able to do.
Oh — and if you’re worried about generating so many leads that you don’t have time to answer the phone…
Advertising is one of the most common and effective ways for real estate investors to generate leads.
The most popular advertising methods for real estate investors are…
- Display advertising (radio, TV, billboards, etc)
- Direct mail
- Facebook ads
- Cold calling
- Door knocking
- Driving for dollars
Just make sure you set realistic expectations and a realistic budget before spending money on ads. It can often cost a few thousand dollars before you close a deal from your advertising efforts, which is still worth it if you make a profit, but it’s important to be aware of that so you don’t quit too early.
2. Focus on Quality
Quantity is important — if you do it right, more leads will result in more deals.
But it is possible to generate a lot of low-quality leads that result in very few deals. That’s what you want to avoid.
How do you generate high-quality leads?
Well, consider targeting the following lists when you run advertisements or send direct mail…
- Tax default mailing lists
- Vacant house lists
- Expired listing lists
- Pre-foreclosure lists
- Out-of-state landlord lists
And if you want to get even more targeted, then you can “list stack” — which refers to the process of marketing to motivated sellers on multiple lists. You might, for example, target vacant house listings that are also expired on the MLS. Or you might target out-of-state landlords who are going through pre-foreclosure.
This requires some digging, but it’s how you find the most high-quality leads.
REISift is a tool that allows you to list stack… and it’s built specifically for real estate investors.
3. Keep Following Up
Your first, second, or third conversation with a prospect is not indicative of your fourth, fifth, or sixth conversation.
In other words, just because they don’t want to sell right now doesn’t mean they won’t want to sell in a few months or even a few years.
But there is one sure-fire way to make sure that they never sell to you… even if they change their mind down the road: stop contacting them, end on a bad note, or express frustration at them having led you on.
It doesn’t take much effort to follow up with dead leads once every 6 months or so, and if you do it right, they won’t mind the phone calls or emails.
You might just be surprised at how many of those “dead leads” turn into deals a few months or a few years into the future.
Can’t know unless you try!
Here are some conversation starts you can use when following up…
1. “Have you had any luck selling your home?”
People who’ve rejected your offer still have to do something with the home.
Maybe they’ll try to sell on the MLS, maybe they’ll move into the house, or maybe they’ll start their search for tenants.
So following up a few weeks or months after the prospect has rejected your offer and asking them (A) what they’ve decided to do with the home and (B) how it’s going can be a great way to reconnect and offer friendly advice.
Because chances are… it’s not going well (especially if the home needs a lot of repairs).
And by calling them, checking in, and offering friendly advice — without pressuring them about your services — you can again become the hero in their story.
After the call, I pretty much guarantee they’re gonna be reconsidering your original offer.
2. “I found this helpful resource!”
If the prospect is still holding out after a few follow-ups, one quick way to touch base is by emailing or texting them the link to a helpful resource.
This could be a blog post, a podcast, or some other piece of content.
The idea is to provide them with free value and by so doing, continue to build trust.
If the person told you that they’re going to find tenants, for example, then you might send them an article that offers tips and advice for doing that. While that might sound counter-productive to closing the deal, it often actually reveals just how difficult and challenging the tenant-finding process can be.
At the same time, it creates trust between you and the prospect.
3. “Do you know anyone else who needs to sell fast?”
Maybe the lead really is lost… or maybe it isn’t.
Really, it’s impossible to know why or when people are going to change their mind.
What you want to do is keep the positive relationship going for as long as possible. That doesn’t mean following up every month… but every 6 months? Sure, why not?
And here’s how you do it.
Call, remind them of who you are, ask how their life is going and actually listen. Then, in closing, tell them that your business is still going full steam and that if they know anyone who needs to sell fast, that they can count on you.
You might be surprised at the long-term relationships and high-quality referrals that this little trick generates.
My car salesman used this trick on me. I knew what he was doing. But I didn’t care… I totally fell for it, gave him referrals, and still consider him a friend today.
How’s that for good salesmanship?
4. Explain The Benefits Of Your Service
It might sound like a dull note to your ears, but that’s because you’re so familiar with the benefits of working with a real estate investor instead of a real estate agent.
Remember, though, your prospect probably has no idea what those benefits are.
If they’re calling you, then their only understanding of the benefits of working with you is what they read on your direct mailer, your website, or your Facebook or AdWords ad.
But they will still need some help conceptualizing those benefits. So reiterate those benefits for them again and explain why you’re able to do each.
- “Close fast
- Pay cash
- Not a realtor so no commissions
- Buy as-is
- Pay closing costs”
5. Share Case Studies
When a prospect is trying to decide whether to work with you or not, they’re trying to figure out whether they can trust you, whether you’re the real deal, whether you really have their best interest in mind.
That’s the way of things, after all. What do you do before paying someone a lot of money?
You make sure that they’re the real deal.
That’s why 85% of consumers, for instance, read up to 10 reviews before feeling that they can trust a business.
And one of the best ways to build trust with a prospect over the phone (or on your website) is to have a story ready to tell. When they start saying things like…
- “Have you done this with anyone else before?
- “How do I know this isn’t a scam?”
- “I don’t know. It makes me nervous.”
- “It sounds too good to be true.”
- “What’s the catch?”
…it’s a good time to tell them a story about someone else who was nervous before working with you, and how they were so happy that they took the leap.
That’ll work wonders to build trust, squash objections, and increase how many leads you close.
6. Build Meaningful Relationships
What if you treated every lead — even the dead and dying ones — as opportunities to build relationships in the community?
What if you actually got to know the people who reached out to you, whether they were going to end up working with you or not? What if you showed them that they can trust you? What if you showed an interest in them… not just their property?
I’m not telling you to spend hours chatting with every lead on the phone, but small gestures can make a big difference.
Tasteful humor, questions, and general kindness can quickly create relationships that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
And you might be surprised at how many of those “dead leads” end up becoming some of your biggest advocates.
It’s rare for salespeople to show prospects that they genuinely care… but doing so goes a long way.
7. Focus On Emotions
Here’s the thing.
Typically, motivated sellers don’t work with wholesalers because they’re trying to get as much money for their home as possible.
They sell to you because they want to sell quickly for cash — which usually means they’re trying to get out of a sticky situation like divorce, bankruptcy, or some other difficult life event.
There’s a lot of emotion involved.
And that emotion is why they work with you. Because they feel that you can help them solve a problem quickly and painlessly.
If you as the salesperson fail to connect with the prospect on an emotional level, then they’re probably not going to work with you.
You’ve got to show them that you hear them, you understand them, and you can help them.
By asking more questions. That’s why top-performing salespeople consistently ask more questions than their less successful counterparts.
8. Send Targeted Mailers
As much as possible, the mail you send should be specific to the people who you sent it to. Sending general offers and campaigns (like the example below) might get the phone ringing… but a lot of those leads aren’t going to turn into deals.
Try sending more targeted mail.
If you’re sending mail to a foreclosure list, for example, then appeal to their specific challenges and explain how you can help them. Your message should match the audience.
This will help to attract people who are actually interested in your service.
And if you want to create a more personal vibe with your target market, consider Ballpoint Marketing, which allows you to send hand-written mailers that get a great response rate from high-quality leads.
9. Set Realistic Expectations
When you create advertising materials, you naturally want to make it as compelling as possible so that it drives real results.
But some investors go over the top and make their offer seem too good to be true. And that’s a problem. Most reasonable people will ignore your mailer if it seems too good to be true — they’ll assume it’s a scam.
What’s worse is that the people who do call are probably highly emotional and unlikely to turn into deals… because those are the people that too-good-to-be-true offers attract.
So tone it down just a little bit.
Explain your service, who it’s for, how you can help, and what people should do if they’re interested.
10. Answer The Phone… Fast
If you don’t answer the first time that a new lead calls, there’s an extremely good chance that you’re never going to hear from them again.
They probably won’t even answer your return call.
One study revealed that the chance of contact decreases 100 times from a delayed response of 5 minutes to a delayed response of 30 minutes.
And the qualification rate drops 21 times from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.
When you’re searching for motivated sellers — people who are in a hurry to find help — fast response is even more critical.
If you don’t answer the phone, they’ll just call your competition.
11. Assume You Have The Right Person
One of the most common mistakes that investors make when following up with leads is starting the conversation with something like, “Hi, this is Justin with ABC HouseBuyers. Is this Joe?”
Do that and you give the lead an easy out.
They know who’s calling and it’s easy for them to avoid you — they just have to say, “No. You have the wrong number.”
And as any experienced investor knows, wishy-washy sellers are more than happy to take that opportunity.
Then you’re stuck in an awkward position.
So start by assuming that you have the right number. Say, “Hey Joe, this is Justin with ABC HouseBuyers.”
And don’t pause after you say that… remind them of the last conversation you had.
12. Set Your Goal & Ask Your Closing Question
To some degree, you want to assume that the deal is going to happen.
Obviously, you don’t want to bully or force sellers into working with you, but it doesn’t do any good to pussyfoot around the topic, either. In fact, doing so will just make the lead more hesitant to work with you.
Trust that the seller is competent and can make their own decisions, then set a goal for the call and ask your closing question — be straightforward and get to the point.
“When can we come to see the house?”
“When can we follow-up with our offer?
“Here’s our offer.”
By assuming that the deal is going to happen — and by allowing your words and tone of voice to emulate that attitude — you’re more likely to close the deal.
This doesn’t mean you should be forceful and avoid dealing with real objections, it just means you should come out of the gate ready for action — sellers will take you more seriously that way.
While generating leads for your real estate investing business is important, it’s also a skillset — something to be practiced and mastered.
Few lead-gen tactics will create a lead-flow overnight. Most will take at least a few weeks or months to build momentum and some will take years.
The important thing is that you keep at it.
Keep sending mailers. Keep running advertisements. Try new things. Stick with what works. Get rid of what doesn’t.
That’s the process.
And you can use the above 12 lead generation ideas to get started!