Almost anyone working in sales, whether it’s insurance, telemarketing or any other product or service, would probably agree that cold calling is the worst! It’s not fun or efficient making 100 calls or knocking on 100 doors a day trying to convince people who don’t know you to buy something they may or may not need. Sadly, sometimes the measure of a successful call is if you can get past “Hello, I’m Mike calling from XYZ Company …” before they hang up the phone or slam the door.

One of the main reasons cold calling isn’t a very effective way to score a sale is because the leads are “cold.” That means they haven’t warmed up to you enough to actually listen to what you have to say. You’re a stranger. There is no prior relationship or connection you can leverage to capture even a little bit of their attention.

When it comes to selling houses, leads, preferably “warm” ones, are your lifeline. Without a healthy and promising pipeline of potential buyers and sellers, you might as well be trying to sell ice cubes to Eskimos.

So how do you approach lead generation in a way that’s effective, continuous and saves you from a few hang-ups and door slams? Here are 3 ways you can build promising leads that will keep YOU top of mind when folks are in the market to sell or by a home.

Stay Active in the Community

Home buyers and sellers are more likely to deal with someone they already know and trust. One way to build those relationships is to be active in the community you live and/or work in. You can gain access to potential leads and key referral sources by joining community service organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis or the Chamber of Commerce. These groups typically meet weekly or monthly to discuss ways to improve the quality of life or business in the communities they serve in, and to network with other professionals.

Many of the people active in these groups are well connected with other business professionals, who have and need customers or clients just like you do. It’s common for members to refer business to each other when their customers ask for recommendations. Everyone wins when the local insurance guy refers a customer to a local attorney, who recommends a nearby accountant, who knows a great local real estate agent …

Stay Social

Maintaining a presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, is an effective way to reach potential leads. These leads aren’t as cold as you might think. In addition to communicating with the part of your social network who actually knows you personally, you’re reaching your “friends’ friends” and your “friends’ friends’ friends …” You get the picture. That’s a lot of potential home buyers – and sellers. If you’re any good at your job (and even if you’re not), people will know about it via social media.

As far as what you should post, be creative and informative. Post photos or videos that show the houses you’re currently selling. Share links to news stories about lower interest rates or other news that would interest home buyers. Add information about an upcoming open house you’re hosting. Ask your followers questions about home-related topics like “what do you look for when buying a house?” or “what’s your dream kitchen look like” to encourage engagement and conversation.

Stay in Touch

During the home buying and selling process, you spend a lot of time getting to know families. Not just what they are looking for in a house or how much they are wanting to get for the one they’re selling. You build relationships. You learn that their son Mikey plays on a youth basketball team and their daughter Rachel plays the violin. Mom runs a local Bible study for mothers and Dad is into fantasy football and is a big Steelers fan. You might even learn about birthdays, anniversaries or other key family milestones.

All this information is important because it allows you to build relationships that can last beyond that one home sale. Staying in touch is key to gaining repeat business. There are some easy – and not stalk-worthy – ways of staying in touch with your past clients.

Send birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards. Send them a note or card every year on the anniversary date of when they bought their new house. Send them a friend request on Facebook, and like and share their posts. Occasionally, let them know about any homes you’re selling in their area and you’re still in the business if or when they decide to sell their current home.

These three tips will help you build a pipeline of leads – both for the short-term and long-term. Doing so is as important as the current sale you’re working on or the open house you’re hosting next week. To do it right, you have to invest time and effort into building relationships that last beyond one sale or Facebook post. Nurturing these relationships will be help you stay top of mind when it’s time for someone to buy or sell their next home.

*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms. Not intended as legal, financial, or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.