Being a Real Estate Team Leader: Who to Hire First

real estate team leader

Being a Real Estate Team Leader: Who to Hire First

real estate team leader

Building their own real estate business is the goal of many real estate agents. Running their own team, greatly increasing revenue, and, as the eventual goal, stepping out of production entirely. Every real estate agent has the potential to get to that point if they take the right steps and make the right choices along the way. It’s no easy journey and, in some ways, the real challenges only start when you make the jump over to growing your own real estate team and being a real estate team leader.

In this article we’re going to cover when the right time is to make the switch to building a real estate team, as well as who your first hire on that team should be.

What It Means to Be a Real Estate Team Leader

Before we start discussing when and how to start building a real estate team, I think it’s a good idea to touch on what it means to be a real estate team leader. As we covered in a previous article of ours, team leaders have to double as a real estate mentor. They have to be dedicated to assisting their team members and helping them grow and develop.

Like we said in that article, it’s not necessarily the same skillset involved in being a real estate agent and being a real estate team leader and real estate mentor. For that reason, the latter role is not always for everyone. But if you want to be a coach, a mentor, a trainer, on top of being in the day to day real estate trenches (at least in the beginning) and running a business, then building a real estate team may be for you.

The next question is, when should you start?

When to Start Building a Real Estate Team

The first thing you need to consider when deciding whether or not to starting growing a real estate team is if you have sufficient business to justify it. In fact, transitioning from a solo agent to building a team should be the logical next step for your current situation.

Look at it this way, being an agent requires various tasks and an immense amount of work. You have to spend time prospecting for new leads, creating and executing marketing campaigns, meeting with clients, dealing with mortgage brokers, taking clients on property tours, etc.

As your solo business grows, it will become more and more difficult to handle all of these tasks effectively. It will get to the point where it’s literally impossible for you to take on any more clients, and you will have to start turning people away.

Although this might be a good problem to have, you don’t want to be missing out on potential revenue. It’s at this point when you should consider starting a team to help handle the volume you are generating. Typically, 50 to 60 transactions per year is the most that an individual agent can handle. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 40 to 50 transactions before you consider starting a real estate team.

The next question is, who should you hire first?

The First Person to Hire for Your Real Estate Team

Too often, agents transitioning to real estate team leaders want their first hire to be another agent or a real estate ISA. However, more often than not, these positions are not the first ones you should think about filling. For one thing, you need a solid foundation of scalable and transferable lead generation systems, you have to be very organized, and you need a training program for new agent and ISA hires. Generally, most agents do not have the time on their hands to build these systems when they are still handling all of their own administrative work.

So, who should you hire first to your real estate team? An administrator!

Why Hire an Admin for Your Real Estate Team

All of your success as a solo real estate agent has brought with it mountains of paperwork, a large database to maintain, and a busy schedule to manage. If you’re handling 50 transactions a year, then you need someone to take some of that burden off your shoulders. That’s why an administrator is the best first hire you can make for your team.

An administrator will free up your time, so you can start focusing on building the systems you need to make agent and ISA hires that will help generate your business more revenue. Your next hire would typically be a buyer’s agent and then an inside sales agent. From there, it’s all about adding to the roster when the volume becomes too much for the team to handle. More agents, more ISAs, more admins.

Before you know it, you’ll be running a large, successful operation and can accomplish the goal of most real estate team leaders: to pull yourself out of production completely!

If you want to focus on ramping up the accountability, organization, and communication of all aspects of your business, as well as crafting and executing an effective plan for dominating your market, then check out our leadership coaching.


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Top Characteristics of Real Estate Team Leaders and Mentors

real estate leader playing chess

Top Characteristics of Real Estate Team Leaders and Mentors

real estate leader playing chess

Being a successful real estate team leader is no easy thing to accomplish. Contrary to what many people think, achieving success as an agent does not necessarily guarantee someone will be a good leader. Team leaders need to be a real estate mentor and have to be committed to helping their team members grow, improve, and succeed.

But before we dive into leadership styles, principles, and characteristics that make great real estate mentors and team leaders, let’s first understand why agents join teams in the first place.

Why Join a Real Estate Team?

Many people are attracted to the real estate industry because it offers high levels of freedom, flexibility, and control over your income. In every state, agents are required to find a sponsoring real estate broker for their license, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are working with a team. In other words, many agents are sponsored by a broker but operate without much support. To be completely independent, some agents choose to also go after their broker’s license.

So why would anyone want to work for a real estate team? This is an important question to know the answer to if you want to lead a team of your own.

The top reasons most agents want to join a real estate team rather than operate independently (at least at first) are the following:

  • Shared resources – real estate teams share marketing materials, expensive software, leads, knowledge, and other types of digital tools and technologies that can be extremely helpful to finding clients and buying and selling homes.
  • Team support – working as a solo agent can sometimes be a lonely and stressful business. Many agents enjoy being a part of a team, because they feel like they are all working towards a common goal and have colleagues to turn to when things get tough.
  • Professional development – new agents will often join real estate teams because they want to learn from more experienced agents and a real estate mentor in order to further their career. Good real estate team leaders will provide training, skill building workshops, and resources for their agents to hone their skills on their own.
  • Accountability – many people realize that success is easier if they have someone holding them accountable for their performance and career goals. A real estate team leader and other team members will let you know if you are slipping in any area and help support you and give you the tools to improve.

What Is a Real Estate Team Leader?

A team leader is a real estate mentor, consultant, trainer, and partner all rolled into one. Instead of focusing on listing, selling, and buying real estate, the team leader focuses on their team members—helping them become as productive and profitable as possible. Their task is to cultivate a team culture and build a systems-driven environment to make lead generation, lead conversion, negotiating deals, and closing deals as easy as possible for their team.

The main goal of real estate team leaders and what they ultimately have to love is coaching people and developing a profitable, scalable business. Not necessarily working with clients and negotiating deals. Team leaders need to pull themselves out of the trenches on a day to day basis and focus on the big picture. Their job is to work on the business while their agents work in the business. That’s the key difference.

Characteristics of a Successful Real Estate Team Leader and Real Estate Mentor

Every team leader will be different with different leadership styles and leadership principles. However, there are some characteristics that are important for every real estate team leader to cultivate. I say cultivate because being a great leader is a skill that needs to be worked on, practiced, and constantly developed. It’s not something you just have or don’t have.

  • Be a real estate mentor – at the heart of it, a team leader is a real estate mentor or coach. You need to have a burning desire to help people succeed and pass on your knowledge, skills, and experience to them. You have to want to be their ultimate support and go to person. You should view their success as your own success.
  • Be a great communicator – agents almost always have to be great communicators in order to do well. But it’s even more important for real estate team leaders. No matter which leadership styles you think are best, communicating clearly should always be at the top. You’re leading meetings, setting goals for the team and for individual team members, and guiding training activities. Knowing how to communicate effectively without coming off as negative, passive, unsure, or angry will make all the difference in how your team relates to you.
  • Be positive and empathetic in stressful situations – as a real estate team leader your agents are looking to you to set the tone in different situations. Staying positive even when things aren’t going great and always being empathetic to the feelings and mistakes of your team members are critical to maintaining a productive, cohesive, and effective team.
  • Be influential – you have to have an impact on your agents’ mindsets and outlooks. If your agents don’t tell themselves the right stories, then they won’t produce. What are the right stories? That they are helping people and their community. When they call leads, your agents have valuable information and skills that will help make that lead’s life better. Your agents aren’t sleezy salespeople or a burden on the people they are calling and working with. Leaders need to have the charisma necessary to positively influence their agents’ thoughts and feelings of self worth.
  • Be systematic – developing systems are one of the most critical parts of building a real estate team and being an effective real estate team leader. You have to translate how you’ve been successful into processes that will allow your team to be successful. Everything from how you generate leads to how you convert them to how you follow up with them to how you manage transactions should be documented and repeatable.

The Right Leadership Styles: Servant Leadership and Being a Real Estate Mentor

Servant leadership is a concept and leadership style that was coined in the 1970s by Robert K. Greenleaf. We’ll sum up this article with his words:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

 “The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

Great real estate leaders have leadership styles that embrace servant leadership. They are serving their team in order to lead them and to help them achieve success. They are real estate mentors.

If you want access to resources and materials to help improve your team, then Smart Inside Sales can help.


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Find and Hire Rock Star Real Estate ISAs

real estate isa hiring

Find and Hire Rock Star Real Estate ISAs

real estate isa hiring

What are the best places to find awesome ISAs for your real estate business?

We hear this question a lot at Smart Inside Sales. Many team leaders and real estate business owners struggle with finding and hiring inside sales agents who perform well, contribute to the business, and last for the long term. It’s frustrating and expensive to hire the wrong candidate, especially if you don’t understand what you are doing wrong.

Hiring Real Estate ISAs: Treat It Like Lead Generation

The important thing to remember when hiring new inside sales agents is that you need to treat it similar to lead generation. Finding the right candidates to work with you is literally lead generation for your company. What does that mean? Run ads for the position on Indeed and other job websites, and aim for a high volume of candidates. You should be trying to generate 20 to 30 resumes of potential hires every week. If your ads aren’t generating that many candidates, then tweak and revise them.

Once your ads are bringing in sufficient numbers of resumes, that’s when you start screening them and building your short list.

I know what you’re thinking…that all sounds really obvious and is already what I’ve been doing with bad results. Well, frankly, the reason you’ve been getting bad results is because you haven’t been screening and narrowing down your candidates in the best way possible.

How Real Estate ISAs Are Normally Hired

The problem with the way most real estate team leaders, and really leaders in every industry, hire new candidates is that they don’t conduct serious evaluations of their skills until after they make the hire. The way it normally works is that they’ll look at a bunch of resumes, talk to the candidates whose resumes they liked the best, and then, usually, hire the candidate they liked talking to the most.

The issue is that at no point in that process does the team leader really determine the skill level of the candidate. They are basically going off of what the candidate says about themselves. It’s only after hiring the ISA that they learn whether or not that person can actually do the job required of them.

This way of doing things wastes the valuable time and resources of a real estate business. But there’s a better way to do it.

Screen Inside Sales Agents before You Hire

The first step in your hiring process after looking at resumes should be evaluating whether or not the candidate is actually capable of the job you need done. Instead of narrowing down resumes, interviewing, hiring, then screening their performance, the process should go: narrowing down resumes, screening their performance, interviewing them, then deciding whether or not to make the hire.

How do you screen their performance? By evaluating how they talk on the phone with you or another team member. The most important skill a real estate inside sales agent needs to have is to be able to have good conversations with complete strangers and convince them to take an action. If you don’t think someone is very good at speaking on the phone, then they most likely will not be able to accomplish that.

So, before you even move on to the next steps in the interviewing and hiring process, you want to hear how they sound on voicemail, do role plays with them where you present them with various situations or objections, and have the candidate make actual calls to see how they do. Doing this might seem like a lot of work for potential hires, but the alternative is spending far more time and money on an ISA that doesn’t end up working out.

The candidate doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should be convinced that they are at least somewhat good and confident on the phone—to the point where you think you can train them to be better.

What’s the Next Step?

Once you narrow down your resumes and then see which candidates sound good on the phone, the next step is to conduct a formal interview. This step will help you gain a deeper understanding of their experience, skillset, mindset, motivation level, and, generally, what kind of person they are.

If everything checks out, then make the hire.

After hiring, the first next thing you do should be training them. Do role plays, mock calls, and call reviews, and teach them objection handling techniques, sales techniques, etc.

We Have the Tools to Help You Hire, Train, and Keep a Real Estate Inside Sales Agent

The ISA Ascend program at Smart Inside Sales covers everything a real estate team leader needs. It takes you from prepping your business for ISA training and showing you how to promote the position, to how to screen resumes, evaluate candidates, and actually make the hire. Once you hire the best ISA for the job, you’ll also have access to our Conversion University program that includes video courses and live coaching.

Hiring the right ISA can be tough, but it’s impossible. The tools we offer at Smart Inside Sales make it a whole lot easier!


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6 Things Successful Real Estate Agents Do Every Day

real estate agent to do list

6 Things Successful Real Estate Agents Do Every Day

real estate agent to do list

Real estate agents can often build their own schedules and, in some cases, be their own bosses. It’s one of the best parts of the job. But, as the saying goes, with more freedom comes more responsibility. It’s up to you to structure your daily schedule in a way that is conducive to your productivity and success.

Real estate agents need to find a balance between meeting with clients, calling potential new ones, honing your marketing efforts, generating new leads, and working on existing deals—not to mention maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This daily schedule will look slightly different for each agent based on their particular business, market, specialty, inclinations, and goals, but successful agents will likely share a lot of similarities.

The most important thing is to find a schedule and structure that works for you. Here is how I structure my day, as well as six things that I do on a daily basis that work for me and help me be as productive as possible.

6 Things I Do to Start My Day

  1. Get your minimum required sleep – If you’re going to perform and do your job well, then you need to be thinking, alert, and personable. That’s not easy to do if you’re tire and nodding off in a meeting. Whatever the minimum amount of sleep you need, get it. For me it’s 7.5 to 8 hours. If I get that minimum amount, I feel good waking up in the morning (well, at least most of the time).
  2. Exercise daily – I know that this is a tough one, but if you build your morning so that you can fit in a quick workout or some type of physical activity, you’ll feel awake and have more energy throughout the day. I like to do this in the morning. I either walk the neighborhood or do an exercise video, even if it’s only for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Do some type of mindset work – As a real estate agent, you need to feel positive and motivated about your work. It can be a constant struggle against negative thinking. Whether it’s journaling, meditation, or something else, it’s important to do something. In the past I’ve written down three good things from the day before or three things I’m thankful for to counteract any negative thoughts.

4. Have a hard start time to your day – When you’re your own boss, you need to act the part. Set a start time to your day and stick to it no matter what. Pretend that you will get fired if you show up late too many times. For me it’s usually 8 or 9 in the morning.

5. Have a hard end time to your day – Same with having a start time, real estate agents need to have a hard end time. It’s all too easy to keep working and working, but you need to find time to shut it off. The quickest way to destroying your mindset and productivity and eventually your health is to constantly be stressed about what you didn’t do or aren’t doing.

6. Don’t treat yourself like a machine – Things happen, life throws curveballs, we mess up. Have your routine and stick to it, but don’t punish yourself if you have to break it once in a while. You don’t need to add “not sticking to my routine today” as another thing you’re feeling stressed about. Do the best you can and if your routine needs to be tweaked, do it.

Here is my power morning routine: I get my 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep, and then I make coffee, play some video games, walk the neighborhood or do an exercise video. Next, I help get the kids ready in the and then make breakfast. Then I start work. That’s about it. It works for me and I feel generally happy and (mostly) stress free as I go about my day. 

How Real Estate Agents Should Schedule Their Day

Once you find and implement a morning routine that works for you, then you have to schedule the rest of your day. Again, this will probably look slightly different for every real estate agent out there, but the general structure should be about the same. Typically, your day will be divided into lead generation and servicing your existing business.

Here’s what a schedule may look like:

7am: Wake up (after your minimum amount of sleep)

7am – 9am: Morning routine (breakfast, exercise, mindset work, getting ready)

9am: Hard start to work day

9am – 11am: Active prospecting and lead generation

11am – 12pm: Administrative tasks (check the status of transactions, clean up your CRM, confirm meeting times and places, etc. This can also be a time for trainings and skill building.)

12pm – 1pm: Lunch. Take a break and recharge your brain.

1pm – 2pm: Follow up with existing leads

2pm – 6/7pm: Appointments with leads and customers (or lead generation when you don’t have appointments)

6/7pm: Hard stop to the day

The Key Takeaways

Like I mentioned, the most important thing is to build a schedule and routine that works best for you and your business. It’s also critical to do prospecting and lead generation every single day—if you focus solely on existing business then the well is going to dry up fairly quickly. Always block time out for specific activities, schedule in lunch and other breaks, and treat your start and end times as sacrosanct and inviolable.

Do these things, and you’ll find your days are less stressful, more productive, and even more fun. Stay motivated and on top of yourself, and your business will thrive as a result!  


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How to Get Started with Real Estate Content Marketing

real estate content marketing tools

How to Get Started with Real Estate Content Marketing

real estate content marketing tools

Want to establish yourself as the expert in your market? Want to attract more real estate leads? Want your website to be more effective at driving sales? If you answered yes to any of these (I hope you answered yes to all of them), then you need to start or improve your real estate content marketing.

In 2021 it’s simply not enough to just have a good looking website that shows your listings and has a few nice pictures. You need people to find your website, and you need it to offer them value even before they hire you to buy or sell a home. Content is not only crucial for boosting your search engine optimization (SEO), it’s also critical for establishing yourself as the agent that people want to work with.

In this article we’ll cover what real estate content marketing is and why you need to do it, as well as the different types of content you should include on your website.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What is real estate content marketing and why you need it
  • Content type #1: Customer stories
  • Content type #2: Tips for buyers
  • Content type #3: Tips for sellers
  • Content type #4: Market and industry updates
  • Content type #5: What do you bring to the table?

What Is Real Estate Content Marketing?

Real estate content marketing is simply creating content that helps make your brand more well known and helps people find your website. There are various types of content you can create, including blog posts and social media posts. Ideally, the two should work together and you’ll create blog posts that can be shared on social media and sent out via email.

Real estate blog posts can be either written or in video form. The important thing is to always create content that is helpful, informative, interesting, or valuable. You want to publish blog posts regularly, around once a week if possible. Cover various topics and don’t be afraid to make some posts a little more personal—about your success or lessons you’ve learned or about recent clients you’ve worked with.

The big question: Why??

Posting regularly on your website serves three primary goals:

  1. It boosts your SEO and creates more ways for people to find your website
  2. It gives you a ready stream of content to share via social media and email
  3. It shows you understand what you are doing and establishes you as a real estate expert

Regularly creating content allows you to take more control of your online reputation. You have limited control over what other people say about you through ratings and reviews, but you have direct control over the quality and type of content you create for your website and social and email campaigns.

Take advantage of that control.

Real Estate Content Type #1: Customer Stories

When someone is deciding whether or not to work with you, they want to know that you have a track record of success. You can’t necessarily control reviews that other people write, but you can be sure to fill your corner of the internet with as much positivity as possible. Describe a tough deal you closed for a client. Discuss how well something worked out for a client. Conduct an interview with a happy client so your readers or viewers can either read or see firsthand how clients feel about you.

The sky’s the limit with customer stories—you just need to be creative!

Real Estate Content Type #2: Tips for Buyers

What do buyers want to know? That they are buying in a good area and that you can find them what they want. Tell them about places to shop, eat, drink, and spend time with the family in your area. Create posts that have a list of your current listings or even more in depth posts that cover a single specific listing (don’t include the seller’s name of course). Include key buzz words like the number of bedrooms, the neighborhood name, the school district, and the price.

You can also create content about topics that will help buyers prepare for the real estate process. Things like how to clean up their credit, how to choose a mortgage broker and get preapproved, what to expect at different stages of the process (putting in an offer, home inspections, etc.), and even tips for choosing the right agent.

Establish yourself as THE expert with your real estate content marketing.

Real Estate Content Type #3: Tips for Sellers

Similar to tips for buyers, seller tips need to be interesting and valuable to your website visitors. Include things like how to properly prepare their home for showings and stage different rooms, how to appraise their home, which home improvements to make before selling, and how to go about pricing their house. It’s also helpful to include content discussing what other homes in your area have sold for, what sellers should look for in a listing agent, and any specific success stories you have about working with other sellers.

Real Estate Content Type #4: Market and Industry Updates

You should always be on the lookout for interesting developments in the real estate industry and your local market in particular. Things like new home construction trends, statistics about where the market is and where it is going, how homes are selling in your area, if and how many people are moving to or leaving your area, and any other information that you think your website visitors would gain value from learning.

The most important thing is to take these big ideas and distill them down to a form that is useful and easy to understand for the everyday person not particularly well versed in the real estate industry.

Real Estate Content Type #5: What Do You Bring to the Table?

In addition to customer stories, tips, and industry updates, you should include posts about the specific services you offer, what types of properties are your specialty, and information and statistics about your past success. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up in these types of posts. It’s fine to sell yourself in some posts, as long as the majority of your content is not overly salesy.

Remember that your real estate content marketing is the best opportunity to make your business shine on the internet. Show what you do, how you do it, and your track record of success. Tell specific stories!

These are just some of the ideas to get you started on your real estate content marketing journey. Be creative and have fun with it. The result will be higher Google rankings, a more effective lead generation and conversion strategy, and an increase in business!

How and Why to Use Real Estate Drip Campaigns

email drip campaigns
email drip campaigns

How and Why to Use Real Estate Drip Campaigns

Drip campaigns are known by many names—automated email campaigns, drip marketing, marketing automation, autoresponders, lifecycle emails. But the idea is the same with all of them. The purpose of email drip campaigns is to have a set of emails that get sent out automatically in a series when a certain action is taken by a lead.

Drip campaigns are used in every industry. For example, a person will sign up on a website to receive information about products and specials from a company. They will then receive an initial email and then emails at certain intervals for a specified time period thereafter. The trigger for an automated email campaign can be anything from signing up on a list to purchasing a product to attending an event to having a designated period of time pass since a previous purchase.

For real estate agents and teams, having multiple email drip campaigns for different types of clients is a must.

Real Estate Drip Campaigns

Buying and selling homes are the largest transactions that the vast majority of people will make in their lives. That means that most people will take some time building up to actually buying or selling or even finding an agent and starting the process. Your goal is to get those people in your sales funnel and nurture them so that when it comes time for them to start the process, they turn to you for help. You also want past clients to think of you when they’re ready for their next home transaction.

That means that you or your team need to stay top of mind. The best way to do that is to consistently put your brand in front of prospects and provide them with valuable information. Real estate drip campaigns help you build trust, establish yourself as an expert, and cultivate future business.

The question is, how do you get started?

The Nuts and Bolts of Real Estate Email Campaigns

Here are the basics of setting up a real estate email drip campaign before you actually start creating the content:

  • Find a platform: The first thing you need to do is figure out a way to send emails. The good news for you is that in 2021 there is a very wide variety of options available. Many CRMs like Follow Up Boss or Real Geeks give you the ability to also send automated email campaigns. While other platforms like Mailchimp, constant contact, and SendGrid are more centered around email campaigns and can integrate with your CRM. There are many resources out there to help determine which is the best platform for your particular business and needs.
  • Subdivide your audience: Once you get set up on a platform that lets you send email drip campaigns, the next step is to segment your audience. The most basic way to divide your leads is into buyers, sellers, past clients, and unresponsive or inactive clients. Once you segment your clients, leads, and prospects, you can then set up different campaigns for each group.
  • Determine your send frequency: After segmenting, you can then determine how often to send out emails to each group. Frequency varies from company to company and the only way to really know what works best for you is to test out different lengths of time. Leads who are closer to buying or selling should receive emails more frequently than someone not ready to buy. For your active buyers and sellers you might want to send out multiple emails a week. For previous clients or people who want to wait to buy or sell, once a week or once every two weeks or even once a month might be sufficient.

What Type of Content to Use

The type of content in your campaigns should vary based on who you’re sending to. However, everything you send should be relevant, useful, valuable, or interesting. Here are some ideas for different types of leads:

  • Active Seller Leads – Send out things like stats and info on homes recently bought in your market. Include tips for how to present your home to buyers or entice potential buyers, and things like blog posts and seller client testimonials to establish yourself as an expert. You can also include some promotional information in active seller emails, like stats about your track record and facts about your business.
  • Active Buyer Leads – For buyers, you can send relevant listings in their area, updates on the housing market, like trends, prices, and mortgage rates, and even information on local restaurants and activities that could make them excited about moving to an area. It’s also a good idea to include tips and best practices on how to do things like get preapproved and the top things to look for in a real estate buyer’s agent.
  • Inactive, Unresponsive, or Past Clients – Your third main group consists of people who maybe initially showed interest but then stopped opening emails in your other campaigns, people who went through your entire active buyer or seller campaigns but did not take any action, or past clients. The goal of this campaign is to keep your brand in front of them. Send them useful blog posts, exciting developments in the real estate industry, tips for homeowners, real estate fun facts, and community developments.

Final Tips

When it comes to real estate drip campaigns, keep your emails short and sweet. You can always link back to your website or other relevant webpage if they want more information. Look up how to write compelling subject lines—they need to be intriguing, start a story, or show the reader the value they’ll gain if they open the email. You need to also include compelling CTAs that link back to your website and ensure your emails are mobile responsive (most people read emails on mobile devices).

Real estate drip campaigns are key to nurturing your leads, so get out there and take the first step today!

7 Things to Include in Your Real Estate Agent Website

real estate agent website backend
real estate agent website backend

7 Things to Include in Your Real Estate Agent Website

Your success as a real estate agent depends heavily on getting the word out about your services and track record. That means using ads, setting up social media pages, handing out business cards, attending local events, and even going door knocking. You also need to have an effective website.

In 2021, your real estate agent website is really at the core of your lead generation strategy. What happens when people find you on social media? They’ll look for your website. Where do you send people through paid ads? To your website. If you’re knocking on doors meeting people in your market, where’s the first place they are going to look after they are done talking to you? Your website.

You need a real estate agent website dedicated to your brand. It should concisely explain your services and what you offer, should be simple to use and understand, and should showcase your past success. There should also be ample opportunities for potential leads to enter their contact information and get in touch with you.

We’ve put together six things that every real estate agent website needs to include.

#1. A Professional Look

The first thing people notice when they come to your website is how it looks and feels. Images and videos need to be vibrant and high quality. There should not be any copy errors or broken links. And the copy has to be clear, concise, and easy to read (you don’t want any weird fonts or colors that make it difficult to look at). Your website also needs to load quickly. Slow load times make your site seem unprofessional and not worth looking at.

#2. Logical Organization

Most people only stay on websites reached through organic search for about a minute. A good average website session is two to three minutes. That is not a lot of time for you to successfully make your case or capture a lead. That means you need to make it easy for real estate agent website visitors to find what they need. Ensure things like home valuations or market analyses are quick to find, and put some form of your unique value statement front and center. Above all, use a simple navigation menu that’s visible on every single page.

#3. A Responsive Design

In 2020, 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices. Whether they are home or on the go, people increasing access the internet almost exclusively from their phones. As a result, your real estate agent website needs a responsive design so it can adjust its width and format based on the device it is being viewed on. There’s nothing worse than a website that looks great on desktop but has severe formatting problems when scaled down to mobile.

#4. Your Real Estate Listings

No real estate agent website would be complete without a page showing off your listings. If you can, the best approach is to include an IDX feed that integrates your MLS listings seamlessly into your site. If your MLS doesn’t allow you to do that, then see if they have any other ways to display listings on your website. 

#5. Listing Search Function

Your website should make it simple for visitors to find a listing their interested in. You want a search function in which they can set parameters for types of houses or must-haves, along with criteria like price ranges, amenities, and even school districts.

#6. Useful Content

It may seem simple, but your website needs to include ample high quality content. This helps SEO (search engine optimization), it makes you look like an expert, and it provides value for website visitors. Include things like blog posts about your market, local area, and the real estate industry in general. It’s also a good idea to add information about local neighborhoods—types of houses, restaurants, neighborhood events, and similar information.

Additionally, you want to have an “About You” page. This section will showcase your experience, how well you know the area, your track record of success, and what unique value you bring to the table that will help you solve the website visitor’s problem.

#7. Contact Info

Your phone number and email address should be easy to find on every single page, typically in the header, footer, or in a sidebar. The site should also include contact form fills and bots that make it convenient for visitors to request more information on a listing or things like a home valuation. Once they contact you through your website, their information should be automatically added to your real estate CRM.

Your website showcases your business and your brand. Invest the time and resources to make useful and professional, and it will pay off big as an effective tool in your real estate lead conversion wheelhouse.

What Is Circle Prospecting in Real Estate and How to Do It Right

overhead shot of neighborhood

What Is Circle Prospecting in Real Estate and How to Do It Right

overhead shot of neighborhood

In its simplest form, real estate circle prospecting involves calling people within a particular geographic area and asking them whether they are thinking of moving or whether they know someone who is thinking of moving. In other words, you’re calling people up and asking them for business.

The way it usually works in real estate is for agents to call homeowners who live nearby your recently listed or closed home. Circle prospecting in real estate is built on the idea that homeowners in a given area would be interested in hearing about a home near them that has recently sold. As a part of the surrounding community, nearby owners have a direct interest in houses selling around them, how much they are selling for, etc.

Why Do Real Estate Agents Use Circle Prospecting?

The thing with circle prospecting is that your objective is not necessarily to create an immediate transaction. Your goal is to develop a long term relationship so that people in that area think of you first when it comes time for them to sell their home. With that said, you always want to ask for their business first, but your job isn’t done if they say they say they are not ready to buy or sell in the near future. But more on that point later.

The way circle prospecting is often understood or visualized in real estate is as a farm or growing crops. By calling homeowners in a given area, you are “planting the seeds” of future business.

You’re accomplishing several things through real estate circle prospecting. First, you’re asking for business right now. Second, you’re putting yourself on their radar if they want to buy or sell in the near future. And third, by calling up surrounding homeowners and letting them know you just listed or sold a home in their area, they know you are capable of doing your job.

Taken together, those three aspects of circle prospecting work for you to win new business right now or in the future.

Circle Prospecting vs. Other Real Estate Cold Calling

Cold calling in real estate or any other industry is never easy. However, calling FSBOs (for sale by owners) and expired listings make the task feel almost impossible. That’s because there is a large number of other agents and ISAs all calling the lead at about the same time. As soon as that listing expires or they put their house up as FSBO, every agent starts circling.

You might be the best agent for the job, but it’s hard to get anyone’s business if you’re the 20th caller saying you can help them sell their home.

Circle prospecting, on the other hand, is calling people whose homes most likely aren’t listed and haven’t been recently listed. So you still have the challenges of cold calling, but at least there should be a lot less competition involved from other agents. These homeowners aren’t getting hammered from every direction by real estate professionals, so they might actually be happy to talk to you.

How to Do Circle Prospecting Right

At its core, circle prospecting is just letting people know you buy and sell homes in their area. Putting up signs on current clients’ yards and stuffing flyers into mailboxes also all technically qualify as circle prospecting. But more often than not, when people say circle prospecting, they are referring to cold calling the surrounding homeowners.

There are several things that go into successfully circle prospecting:

  1. Finding phone numbers
  2. Having the right mindset
  3. Using the most effective script
  4. Following up
  5. Following up
  6. Following up

Finding Phone Numbers for Circle Prospecting

Step one is probably the simplest part of the process. In 2021 there are many companies that will provide you with phone numbers of people in a given geographic area. The important thing to remember here though is to always check “Do Not Call” lists. If people have taken the time to put their numbers on a list, then they are not going to be happy to hear from you and it will most likely be a complete waste of your time.

Having the Right Mindset

Having the right mindset is crucial for any type of cold calling. Really, it’s critical for any type of sales. That’s why I like to hammer this home to the agents in my training program. The only way you’re going to be able to keep up the motivation for calling number after number is if you are telling yourself a good story in your head about why you’re doing it.

  • You’re working for yourself and your family. You’re building the life you want to live. You’re working hard to increase your GCI so you can work less and spend more time with your family.
  • On the client side, you’re making the process simpler for them when it comes time for them to buy or sell a house. You’re building a relationship with them so they don’t have to worry about searching for and sifting through a bunch of agents when they need one. When it comes time to buy or sell, you’ll get it done for them better than most other agents would.

Tell yourself positive stories, and it will help you build positive outcomes.

Using the Most Effective Script

Here’s where I might deviate from other agents and teams. I think the key idea with scripts is to use them for support, but not to rely on them completely. One of the worst things you can do is sound like a robot and seem unable to spontaneously answer questions or respond naturally. The most critical thing to do is have a real conversation.

  1. Answer the phone using the lead’s name, tell them you just recently listed or sold a house near them.
  2. Ask them if they would also be interested in selling.
  3. If no, ask them how long they plan to live in their current home for.
  4. Ask them why they picked their current home.
  5. See what they would look for in a new home.

Prepare questions and responses, but don’t lean on a script too much. Let the conversation flow, match their intensity and speaking speed, and just be friendly and find out about their current situation. Keep it simple. Even if they are not interested in selling in the near future, ask them if you can send them emails once in a while about real estate conditions and homes being bought and sold in their area. Get them in your funnel.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Following up is key to successful circle prospecting and building your sphere. One of the primary purposes of circle prospecting is developing future business. That means nurturing leads who may not want to sell now but will want to buy or sell in the future. Keep sending them valuable information (everyone likes hearing about what homes in their area go for), keep them updated on market conditions, especially if it becomes more advantageous for them to sell, and just generally be their real estate resource.

I would also recommend calling those leads every six months or so to check in with them. Ask them how they are doing, see how they are liking their current home, and tell them that if they are thinking about selling, you are ready for them. Following up via email and phone will help keep you top of mind.


Circle prospecting is an excellent way to develop and build new business. In today’s crazy real estate market, you have to use every tool at your disposal. Follow the tips we laid out above to do it successfully and make it worth your time.


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The Best Real Estate Cold Calling Strategies in 2021

real estate agent cold calling
real estate agent cold calling

The Best Real Estate Cold Calling Strategies in 2021

Real estate cold calling is probably one of the toughest parts of the job and, if we’re being honest, not one that most of us like to do very often. Afterall, we’re calling people who are not expecting us, who are busy going about their day, and who will most likely offer a good deal of resistance if they do answer the phone.

With that said, real estate cold calling is still a very important part of any lead generation and conversion strategy. What’s more is that with the craziness of the current real estate market, you need to cultivate every advantage possible for your team or business. That’s why we’ve gathered some insider tips and best practices for cold calling in real estate in 2021.

  • Mindset
  • Enter your calls in an interesting way
  • Have a real conversation
  • Sales discovery
  • Objection handling
  • Closing logically

Real Estate Cold Calling: It’s All about the Mindset

This might seem obvious or not like an actual solid tip, but the truth is that few things are more important than your mindset when it comes to cold calling. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many scripts you study, how many objections you practice handling, or how much research you do on your leads. If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t be successful on your calls.

By “right mindset” I mean thinking positively about your role as a real estate agent or ISA, the value you’re bringing to each lead, and your faith that the interaction will be successful for you both. Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and enter calls confidently:

  1. Know and understand the benefits you bring to every person BEFORE you dial them. Know what you are offering them and how it is going to palpably improve their lives.
  2. Live and breathe mantras like “they are waiting for my call” or “they need my help”. Repeat these between each dial to keep your energy up on your entire list of leads.
  3. When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefitting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.

Enter Your Calls in an Interesting Way

Let’s face it, people do not answer the phone for numbers they don’t recognize nearly as much as they used to. That means that when you’re lucky enough to have a prospect actually pick up, you need to make the most of it. When they first answer you have precious few seconds to convince them that you are relevant to something they need or want.

How can you do that? By tailoring your opening statement to the specific person you are speaking to.

First off, assume the person who answered the phone is the person you were calling. Commit to their name; they’ll correct you quickly if it’s not right. Start your first sentence with “Hi Steve…” or “Hi Nicole…”. Then add a statement that lets them know that you know at least something about their situation. Something like, “Hi Mike, I saw you were looking for homes in Downtown Savannah”. By tailoring your message to the interests and behavior of your leads, you increase your chances of a positive sale.

Have a Real Conversation When Cold Calling in Real Estate

Real estate scripts can be very valuable when cold calling. They give you something to fall back on if the conversation gets away from you, they can help you have tried and tested responses to common objections, and they can give you a greater sense of confidence on the call. However, scripts alone are not enough.

Prospects can tell when you are just mindlessly repeating something you memorized. Instead, use the script as a starting point but then have a real conversation. Respond to what the lead is telling you in a way that is tailored to and makes sense for their specific situation.

Real Estate Sales Discovery

When it comes to cold calling, many agents and ISAs are too quick to close. More specifically, they try to close before they’ve put in the work to actually understand what the lead’s goals are—what their motivation behind buying or selling a home is (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not just “to buy or sell my house”).

You need to ask the right questions to dig down and understand what the lead is trying to accomplish through buying or selling, as well as additional information that will help you close later like:

  • The prospect’s financial situation
  • Their budget for buying a home
  • Who is involved in the decision to move forward working with you
  • What the prospect’s ideal timeframe is
  • Potential objections the prospect might throw at you later in the conversation

There are probably hundreds of discovery questions and variations you can ask when cold calling in real estate, but here are a few of the most common and effective ones:

  1. Where are you guys moving from? Great! Are you from there originally?
  2. Who are you moving with?
  3. Why are you guys looking to move out of your current home?
  4. How long have you been looking for a new home? What have you liked about the homes you’ve seen? What kept you from buying that particular home?
  5. Is this your first time buying a home?
  6. How long has your current home been on the market?
  7. Where are you planning on moving to?
  8. When would you like to be in your new home?

Real Estate Objection Handling Strategy

There are a lot of strategies out there for overcoming real estate objections on your cold calls. We’ve found that the most effective one is known as the PPO process. PPO stands for Perspective, Process, Outcome. It’s important to note that we’re referring to the lead’s perspective, the lead’s process, and the lead’s desired outcome. These are the three parts of every objection.

  • The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation. Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are “I’ve sold my home myself before”, “I’ve already met with an agent”, and “I can do what an agent does, you guys don’t do much.”
  • The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. Examples of a process is “I’m going to sell my home myself”, “I’ll just use the agent I used before”, and “I am just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal”. The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.
  • And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them. Examples of these are “not wasting time”, “avoiding disappointment”, and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or to the world that I am right”. Once you understand these three parts of your lead’s objection, then you follow these steps to overcome it:
  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

And Finally, Close Logically

Closing on your cold calls should be natural and bring all the above strategies together. If you are working with the lead to get an understanding of the outcome they desire, and you are powering through any objections they present, then the time to close is going to naturally arise once you can tell they are satisfied with your answers to their objections. Just follow the conversation.

If the lead says they are starting to interview new agents and get their home back on the market in a few weeks, then the logical time and way to close would be to say “Oh great! I am excited to show you how our team sells homes in less time and for more money than other agents. I am available on Wednesday or Thursday to meet. Which day works best for you?” That would not be the logical close if the lead said, “We’re not interested in selling. We took it off the market and are going to wait until the market improves.”

You see the difference?


Real estate cold calling in 2021 is difficult, but definitely not impossible. The biggest hurdle is low answer rates. But if you can get someone on the phone, then follow the strategies we outlined above, and you’ll to start to convert more leads and grow your business like never before.

If you’re an agent or ISA struggling to convert your leads, then Smart Inside Sales has a training program that will help called Conversion University. 


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How to Find Houses for Real Estate Buyers: Emergency Real Estate Strategies

two real estate buyers
two real estate buyers

How to Find Houses for Real Estate Buyers: Emergency Real Estate Strategies

These are unprecedented times in the real estate world. In almost all markets across the country there aren’t enough sellers, an overflow of buyers, and just simply too few houses to satisfy the massive demand. What does this mean for agents working with buyers? Your clients are coming up against some stiff competition with every home they put an offer in on.

In some markets it’s just mildly annoying with a few other offers here and there, in others it’s more annoying with multiple offers on every property you make an offer on, and then there are the crazy markets where the expectation is that there are going to be 30-40 offers. Those last ones are the markets where the sales are going 10-15% over the asking price and, in some situations, if you are not an all cash offer then you have no chance of winning the deal.

For real estate agents who work mostly with buyers and for buyer heavy teams, this situation can only be described as an emergency. Your livelihood is based on your ability to successfully get your buyers into the homes they want. And right now, your livelihood is at stake, which means you need some emergency real estate strategies to work with.

So, what can you do about it? In this article, we’re going over several emergency real estate strategies to keep your business moving during these tough times without spending large amounts of money on paid leads and marketing.

  • Calling expired listings, even from previous years
  • Look through withdrawn for sale by owners (FSBOs)
  • Get out and go door knocking

What’s the Problem?

Compared to seller agents, buyer agents are always constrained by the fact that they are physically showing houses to their clients and taking the time to research and find the best houses that meet their clients’ needs and wants. They also have to take the time to write offers. So, if you’re writing 10-15 offers without one going through, then you’ve got a large strain on your time with nothing to show for it.

In other words, how do buyer teams and agents keep their businesses afloat and thriving in the current crazy market? That’s the problem we’re trying to solve with these emergency real estate strategies.

Emergency Real Estate Strategies: Call Expired Listings

Because it is such a strong seller’s market right now, one of the best ways to successfully make deals for your buyers is to find homes that aren’t yet listed. There are several ways you can do this, but it’s important to remember to make clear to the seller that you represent the buyer and have a responsibility to them not the seller. The first strategy for cold real estate prospecting is contacting expired listings.

There may not be many expireds in your market right now because homes are selling so easily. With that said, it’s worth checking out. It’s also a good idea to call past expired listings from previous years. Contact listings that expired in 2017, 2018, or 2019 and ask if they would still like to sell their home. There’s a good possibility that some people don’t even realize what is happening in the market right now.

You may even find expireds who aren’t interested in listing their home but who may be open to having you bring a buyer by the house.

Look through Withdrawn FSBOs

In most markets, for sale by owners (FSBOs) are most likely having an easier than normal time selling their homes. However, similar to expired listings, there still may be some who are having trouble for a number of different reasons. Also, similar to the strategy for expired listings, go through withdrawn FSBO listings from previous years.

Again, you may find people whose home was taken off the market and who may feel reluctant to go through the process again and who don’t understand what’s going on around them in the real estate world. Believe it or not, there are people who don’t watch the news or scroll through social media. They either don’t know about the seller’s market or don’t quite understand what it means for them.

It’s your job to educate them and then tell them that they don’t have to go through the stressful process of selling their home again, because you have a buyer who is very interested in their home right now.

Go Door Knocking

In addition to calling expired listings and FSBOs, you also need to keep your ear to the ground in your market. Contact rental property owners to see if they would rather sell than rent because of the current market. If they seem like reluctant landlords, then they may be open to having your buyer stop by. Look for things like for rent by owner signs, people handling home improvement projects, talk to your network to see if anyone knows anyone who is thinking of selling—pull out all the stops.

If your market allows it, get out there, go door knocking, and start trying to make new contacts. Remember, your goal is to find properties whose owners are willing to sell but who haven’t listed them yet.

Find More Sellers, Too

What’s great about these strategies is that they also give you the potential opportunity to sign seller clients. Even if your first or second buyer doesn’t end up putting in an offer on the house, as you’re bringing buyers by these properties that aren’t even listed, the owner may become open to listing their home. And they see you already bringing buyers by, they recognize your initiative, and they might think that, even if your initial buyers fall through, you’re the person to sign with to get their property sold.

Aren’t these Strategies too Much Work Though?

Getting out and finding sellers before they list can be a lot of work. But so is writing 40 offers and only having one of them go through. These strategies aren’t necessarily more work, they are just different work—and they may have a better chance of bearing fruit than what you are currently doing.

Calling expireds and FSBOs, finding reluctant landlords, and reaching out to your network to find potential sellers are all ways that you can find homes for your buyers without spending large amounts of money purchasing leads. The current market calls for creative strategies that involve thinking outside the box or doing things you wouldn’t normally do.  


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