Real estate listings are the lifeblood of your real estate business. If you’re not getting listings, you don’t have a business. But building a listing inventory is typically the number one challenge new real estate agents face.

So how do successful agents get more listings? It’s the million dollar question every new agent wants the answer to. How did someone like Nanaimo, B.C. agent Jason Simard sell 135 homes in his first year of business?

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

Why Real Estate Listings Are Hard To Get

You got into real estate to have more time, more freedom, and because you actually enjoy connecting with people.

You invest time and money obtaining your license, working around your full-time job while you try to stock your inventory of real estate listings. But instead of more free time, your weekends and evenings are booked trying to find prospects, host open houses, and network with prospects. 

For all your enthusiasm, the listings are not coming in as fast as you’d like. Months go by without a single lead. First-time buyers you’re trying to attract are increasingly finding themselves on the lowest tier of affordability, and competition for available properties is so fierce that only a few can afford to successfully bid for their dream home.

So the leads are coming in slowly. You can only show houses on weekends or evenings because that’s when most buyers are available. During the day, you either have to work or cold-prospect to people who don’t know you.

Think you’re alone?

Guess again. A 2012 report analyzed the performance of approximately 34,000 real estate agents operating as members of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). TREB is the largest Canadian real estate board, so the insights revealed can likely be applied to most real estate boards anywhere in the world:

  • 71.2% of the active agents were part-time, selling an average of 7 – 12 homes annually
  • 18.6% of the 34,000  agents logged ZERO transactions, despite working hard
  • Approximately 16% of all agents sold only 1 home for the year
Agent Statistics based on TREB members

TREB Agents Who Completed 6 Transactions or Fewer Annually (2011)

So how the heck do you get more listings, when so many agents are struggling to sell even 1 home for the year.

More Referrals Leads To More Real Estate Listings

Homes are being sold every day by someone. But where are you when a prospect in your neighborhood begins searching online for a home?

Businesses and homeowners in your farm are your best source of referrals. If you want more real estate listings, you need to increase your referrals. You need a comprehensive plan for discovering, meeting, and winning prospects who trust you enough to list their property. And quite often, the agent who reaches the prospect first wins the listing.

That’s why it’s crucial to connect with potential buyers and sellers early in their search for a home before they are ready to list or buy.

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

Reach Prospects Before They List Their Home (or find one)…

Prospects don’t search for an agent UNTIL they’ve found a home that interests them. Homeowners don’t reach out to an agent until they’re ready to sell.

Most agents wait for a prospect to contact them about a listing. But ask yourself:

  • What am I doing to help prospects FIND their dream home?
  • How can I help homeowners who are still in the early stages of thinking about selling?

Offline and Online Marketing Work Hand in Hand

Whether it’s a listing or housing market information, the first place a prospective buyer or seller goes on their journey to homeownership is the internet. If buyers and sellers are exposed to you online in a meaningful way that adds value to their search, you’ll win their business and get the listing every time!

But your online presence is not enough.  What are you doing offline to drive interest online?

You need to be engaging with business owners and local residents offline to generate referrals and expand your sphere of influence online as well. If you can provide value to local homeowners and businesses face to face, they’ll reward you with valuable referrals that will turn into listings.

Your online and offline marketing should work hand in hand to help you expand your referral network. A lawn sign should have your website address and email. Your open house is an opportunity to get subscribers to your newsletter. Face-to-face meetings, open houses, door-to-door prospecting – this is a waste of time if it doesn’t drive prospects to engage with you online.

So how can an agent expand their referral network online and offline to get more listings?

Kevin Ward – 4 Best Ways to Get More (Real Estate) Listings

Kevin Ward, founder, and host of the popular YESMasters series, has been mentoring agents with helpful tips for generating more listings in their farm since 2012. His advice is timely, practical, and relevant for any agent.

Taking Kevin’s advice into consideration, we’ve drawn some valuable insights from his YouTube presentation and added some of our own recommendations to give you some practical solutions for building the inventory of listings:

5 Key Pipelines To Generate More Listings

#1 Your personal and professional network

Reach out to everyone you know in every way possible. Facebook, email, and phone. Let them know what you do and how you can HELP them in listing their home. Keep staying top-of-mind with your network by sending relevant, helpful housing information that will help prospects during their search for a home.


Notice of Defaults (NOD) and probate listings (owner passed away and executor wants to sell) are ripe opportunities to win listings. In all 4 cases, these are properties already positioned for sale. Reach out to the owner or executor by phone and ask for the business. Talk to the people who you know already want to sell!

#3 Open House events

Go to the neighborhood early, and knock door-to-door before the open house. Invite everyone in the neighborhood. Let them know about the open house and give them a flyer. BE PROACTIVE instead of waiting for buyers to walk in. Volume is not important. If you knock on 200 doors and only 2 people show up who are actually interested, you just won yourself 2 leads for a couple of hours of work. If each of those leads gives you one referral, you just doubled your opportunities.

#4 Content Marketing: Social Media

Promote your business by publishing home valuations, and other useful content. This is a slower method of generating leads, and take more effort to nurture. But the leads will be highly qualified, and you’ll be generating word of mouth as people share your content in their own social media circles.

#5 Interview Business Owners and Professionals

Reach out to local business owners, artists, professionals, and other potential homeowners in your farm. Help them generate exposure for their business by promoting the interview through your social media channels and your blog. Don’t have a blog for your real estate business?  Get started on one right away.

The 8 Pillars of A Successful Real Estate Listing Agent

Jason Simard sold 135 homes in his first year of business because he was committed to his success, and he planned to succeed. So if you want more real estate listings, keep these  key pillars in mind:

1. Set Impossible Goals

If your goal doesn’t scare you, you’re doing something wrong. We all need to be challenged if we want to produce our best. The number of listings isn’t important. What matters is setting a goal that you think is out of reach.

Your sales target shouldn’t be unreasonable, otherwise, you’ll only set yourself up for failure. But raise the bar. Instead of settling for a listings target that you think you can reach, double that goal and hold yourself accountable every single day. Then break your goal down to specifics: daily, weekly, monthly, and annual.

2. Create A Business Plan

Think of yourself as a business, even if you work from home part-time. Set a revenue goal and figure out how many homes you need to list or sell each month to reach that goal. Don’t get sucked into buying services and products you don’t need right now. Research your industry and competitors to find out what works and what tools are actually worth investing in.3. 

3. Define Your Niche

Are you interested in selling luxury homes? Do you prefer to sell condominiums? What neighborhood, zip, or community offers the highest potential for real estate listings? Define your target audience by location and property type. If you focus, you’ll get better results and quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field. You’ll get to know your competitors quickly because your niche is targeted.

4. Own Your Social Media

Everyone is active on social media these days. If you produce content that can be shared on social media, you’ll generate more targeted, relevant interest in your brand than spending money on a newspaper ad.

5. Invest in SEO

Make it easy for search engines to find you. Prospects searching for a property listing or an agent by smartphone, tablet, or desktop, should be able find you with ease. Use the right keywords, the appropriate tags, metadata, and even the right domain name to boost your visibility in search results.

6. Be Consistent

Consistent daily behavior will bring you closer to your goals each day. Whether it’s creating great content for social media, prospecting, research, or administrative tasks like updating your CRM, you should be doing something every day that brings you one step closer to achieving your sales target.

7. Don’t Solicit: Serve

How can you be helpful to business owners and homeowners? What services besides real estate can you offer? Who can you connect together? Have a compelling reason for reaching out to a ‘cold’ prospect.

Become a problem-solver, and you’ll gain a reputation as someone who finds solutions. In the course of helping others find solutions, you’ll uncover opportunities and earn the trust of your prospects. As you build more trust and a wider reputation, your real estate listings will grow.

8. Be Proactive

Waiting for buyers to walk through the door is a losing game. Initiate conversations with everyone in your target farm and always be prepared to offer value through your connections or expertise.


Every encounter matters, whether it’s offline at an open house, or online through a comment left on your blog. Everyone you meet is a potential homeowner or a potential listing referral. Treat every encounter like it’s your last chance to leave a great impression. Leave an impression by being of service, instead of simply promoting yourself. Focus on helping the people you meet and interact with daily, be proactive, and the listings will follow.