Sphere of Influence
Everyone that you know has to know what you do. Anytime they hear the words real estate, you want them to think of you. But don't count on them to remember, you have to drill it in their heads.
First, make a list of everyone you know. Friends, family, previous co-workers, previous customers, neighbors, church members, club or committee members, people who you buy things from, etc.
Second, send them each a letter saying that you are now a real estate agent and 10 cards for them to pass out.
Third, call each of them 3-5 days after sending the letter to make sure they read the letter and ask them if they know anyone who needs your help.
If we figure conservatively, every person knows at least 100 people. If each of your 100 people know 100 more people that's 10,000 people that you can reach.
Your 100 contacts need to hear from you at least once a month. Either by phone, fax, email, or letter. Your name needs to keep hitting them again and again. If you call once a month, that is the most effective and cheapest. And as you meet new people and have more clients, they need to go into your database as well.
Out of 100 people, at least 10 will move every year. That is 10 potential clients a year. These 100 people will each know 10 people that move in a year. That's 1000 potential clients for you every year. But only if you keep in touch with your 100 and continue to ask for referrals.
The top performing realtors and real estate agents get that way by mining their databases. They get to the point where people come asking for them and wanting to work with them because so and so said they should. That's the best kind of marketing you get.
Advanced stuff: Who do you know that already has a database of people and will recommend you to them? Is any one of your 100 a salesman, small business owner, attorney, accountant, doctor, dentist, etc? These people already have a client list established. Get them to recommend you to their list and watch the referrals grow exponentially.
More advance stuff: If you work at a large company, see if you can go through the old files and call cold clients. This works especially well if the broker who did the transaction is no longer with the company.
A birddog is basically a person who brings you a lead in exchange for something. Now let me stress that you must know your state's laws regarding giving gifts and payments. (Refer to my blog about RESPA) But if you get creative, you should be able to come up with some way to reward people for referring people to you. Joe Girard author of How to Sell Anything to Anybody was a Chevrolet salesman for many years. He would give each customer a birddog kit with 25 business cards and the promise that he would pay them $25 for every person they sent him who bought a car. It worked wonders for him, and he is now listed as the Greatest Car Salesman by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Your sphere of influence and all your contacts should know what you will give them if they send you a referral. You can even put it on your business cards. But don't do anything illegal. There is a way to do it legally in every state, you just have to find it.
You probably cannot pay money, but many Realtors give out movie passes or gift certificates for restaurants. If you do the same people need to know that you do this in order for them to go out of their way to recommend you.
If you have no money at all and plenty of time, pickup the phone and start calling people. Use the cross-reference directory in your office or library to choose a neighborhood and call every house. Yes, it's tedious and a lot of people will hang up on you. But this is the quickest way to drum up business.
In the real estate training systems, they tell you to cold call for 3 hours every day. You keep calling until your 3 hours are up or until you get an appointment with a potential customer. These 3 hours will be the most productive of your day.