Networking and sales success have always gone hand in hand. People tend to buy from salespeople they know and like. Trust, familiarity, and loyalty all play into the complex psychological processes that induce customers to choose one salesperson over another. In no other industry is building a network that trusts you more important than in real estate.

For most of us, our homes are the largest investment we ever make. Beyond this, homes are where we feel safe, raise children, and create treasured memories. Homeowners’ identities are wrapped up in the home they take pride in calling their castle. With an asset this important, it’s no wonder that people choose their real estate agents carefully.

To build a network that continually supplies them with real estate leads, real estate agents must think beyond mass mailings and calendars. Networking requires making constant contact with potential sources of listings and customers.

Sometimes, a novel approach is needed to stimulate new business opportunities. Read below to discover how to generate leads in real estate with these surprisingly effective networking techniques.

Position yourself as an expert

Creative and engaging internet and social media activities have become a necessity and are a top source of real estate leads. If they neglect their online brand, real estate agents make themselves invisible. People view online profiles both to find a realtor and to make a decision on whether to hire one. In both cases, the agent’s online brand succeeds if it positions him or her as an expert who is trusted by the community.

For example, an agent can become an expert by developing a detailed knowledge of a neighborhood or style of house and then showcasing these qualifications online. When agents showcase these rare attributes and use them in online advertising and social media posts, they rank higher in searches in addition to presenting a positive image.

This also results in better leads because it attracts people interested in the specific area that you know so much about.

real estate expert

Local businesses offer promotional opportunities

Stores that sell home supplies and home repair businesses provide great places to prospect. Many customers frequent these places because they are preparing to sell their homes. They are the best places to leave brochures and business cards.

Stay abreast of local economic development

The local news provides information about companies relocating to your area or leaving town. Both instances mean activity in the real estate market. They also may spark new housing development, a sure sign the local market is full of opportunity.

Use market conditions to motivate sales

Anyone considering a home sale can’t afford to miss a sellers’ market. When a sellers’ market arrives, make sure your marketing plan includes data confirming that the time to sell has arrived. Those who are on the fence will feel motivated to list their home. They’ll also look at you as the expert.

The opposite approach works in a buyers’ market. A marketing plan that focuses on the savings buyers can gain by acting now often gets results. The market may be sluggish when there are too few buyers, leaving homes on the market for months or even years. Working on the buyers’ side always helps generate commission checks during slow periods.

The personal connection

If you’re wondering how to generate leads in real estate, consider that personal connections provide the most fruitful source of listing prospects. They also tend to promote you as an expert agent and give referrals.

Many times, there are clear signs that a personal connection is thinking about selling their home, such as a family with another baby on the way or a neighbor who typically neglects lawn mowing suddenly turning his or her yard into a lush paradise.

Teach workshops

Hosting small gatherings helps brand you as a real estate professional who can be trusted with very important real estate transactions. Workshops can be held in many locations, such as a coffee shop, local library or even online. These workshops are not about selling but about helping establish your expertise and gain name recognition.

If you offer valuable information and advice to local residents, business will start to come your way as a result. Possible topics include staging a home for sale, landscaping tips and how improvements influence home valuations. These subjects tend to attract people interested in selling a home in the not-too-distant future. Topics regarding finding the perfect neighborhood or selecting a type of mortgage attract those who are thinking of buying a home.

Old FSBO leads

Homeowners usually underestimate how much work goes into marketing and selling a property. Often, when the months drag on and the FSBO seller has put in all the effort for no results, they become receptive to working with a real estate agent who can take the weight off their shoulders and get the home under contract.

Build local partnerships

Networking with other professionals raises your profile and results in leads over time. Partnerships with attorneys, bankers, lenders, and financial planners benefit both parties. In addition to netting you more listings, they give you valuable resources to offer your clients, and that’s how to get real estate leads coming in constantly.

Networking tip: Become a restaurant regular at a nice establishment in the area and meet clients and partners there. By being known to the waitstaff, managers, and other regulars, you appear plugged into the community. The people you meet there also may become clients or referral sources.

Paid advertising still works

About 44% of home buyers start the shopping process online. Advertising on real estate sites like Zillow and social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit allows you to focus in on your target market. It’s important to link these advertisements to your personal website, not just your page on the brokerage’s website.

A personal website builds your brand, showcases your specialties, and demonstrates your experience. If you change brokerages in the future, the personal website provides a cohesive presence that reassures clients.

Real estate sales, like most businesses, is a marathon rather than a sprint. It takes time to build a network, gain a stellar reputation, and become a bedrock of the local market. Getting there requires persistent efforts to gain new listings. By building connections in the community, branding yourself as an expert, and pursuing leads relentlessly, you’ll soon know how to get real estate leads and the consistently large commission checks that go with them.