Acquiring clients in real estate involves understanding the buyer journey. The good news: there’s a science to it. Once you have a system in place, you can always acquire new clients and have a business that’s continually growing. But only if you truly understand the buyer journey.
Understanding The Buyer Journey
The buyer journey is a 4-step process that someone goes through every time they spend their money on a product or service. Whether it’s real estate or a coffee, the buyer journey is the same.
Here are the four stages:
If you know what happens in each of these stages you will be able to get more buyers and sellers for your real estate business. The marketing strategy for each stage should be tailored towards a specific buyer persona in order to make your overall marketing more effective in acquiring new clients.
Now, let’s dive in to each stage!
1. Awareness Stage
Your prospective client will always start in the awareness stage. In this stage a prospect realizes the need to take an action (i.e. Buy or sell a home).
Here’s a question to ask yourself: “What event will trigger a person to buy or sell a home?”
Here are some ideas:
- Get a well paying job = first time home buyer
- Get married = upsize
- Have Kids = upsize
- Get divorced = sell a house and/or downsize
- Retirement = downsize
You need to be at the top of a person’s mind, or in front of their eyes, right before events like these occur.
Here’s what a person will do in the awareness stage:
- Think to themselves, “I need to buy/sell a home. I need an agent. Do I know one whom I like and trust?
- Talk to their friends and family and ask for recommendations and referrals.
- Talk to another professional they are working with during this event/transition for recommendations and referrals.
A client needs to go through the awareness stage on their own. According to multiple studies done by the NAR and Inman, prospects will think of one real estate professional or be referred someone, and usually move forward with that Real Estate Professional.
Marketing Strategy for the Awareness Stage
Find a reason to build relationships and connect with homeowners and influencers before they need you. Who are influencers?
Think of people like business owners, home service professionals, and directors of non-profits. Have an item of value to give someone. You can earn their attention and time to build a relationship that leads to client acquisition.
How Do We Help In The Awareness Stage?
Parkbench will help you connect with homeowners and influencers by giving you a unique item of value (a premium neighborhood website) that makes people want to talk to you and build a relationship with you (because they want to be interviewed and featured on it). Then, if they or anyone in their network is in the awareness stage and needs a real estate professional, our clients can attest, they will bring this up and you can win clients and referrals in these meetings where you are interviewing them and featuring them on your neighborhood website.
2. Research Stage
This is the longest stage in a buyer’s journey and where most homeowners will pick their real estate professional. As a rule of thumb, as the price of a product/service increases, the time someone will invest in the research stage increases.
In this stage the buyer actively starts looking for property and neighborhood formation, (e.g schools). If they are planning to sell then research topics include:
- home renovation
- recently sold listings
- benefits of using a real estate professional
- local real estate experts
Marketing Strategy for the Research Stage
Content, content, content. If you have a web presence with lots of content about properties and neighborhood information, then you will show up in front of this prospective client during the research phase.
How can Parkbench help? Our neighborhood websites give agents the #1 source for neighborhood content for the area they want to do business in. And, we have a technology that automatically aggregates local content from around the web, and keeps our real estate professional’s neighborhood websites up to date. That’s right. Fresh, new content, every day, without you having to lift a finger.
3. Consideration Stage
In this stage the client has a list of properties and neighborhood they’re interested in and is either picking a real estate professional from a relationship or referral, or they will be contacting a few agents to interview and “consider.”
CAUTION: Most agents lose clients at this stage because they do not show up during their research, or they have not established relationships with influencers who could refer them.
You need to invest your time in content marketing and a trustworthy online presence!
Marketing Strategy for the Consideration Stage: Following up with people in your database. If you are staying in touch with people whom you have relationships with, then it will be more likely that you become be the real estate professional they pick or refer to their network. Use a CRM like Hubspot (free) and use email marketing to connect with existing clients.
PRO TIP: Offer value in all your follow ups and touch points. This includes real estate market reports, neighborhood guides, buyer tips, seller tips, recently sold information, and local news. And the best thing you can do to follow up is to connect people with one another. Being a referral generator will allow you to get referrals, because as the saying goes “give and you shall receive.”
4. The Decision Stage
In this stage, a client has narrowed in on their real estate agent, listed their home with you or decided on their next dream home.
Marketing Strategy for Decision Stage
Many people think the fundamental laws of marketing don’t apply to the decision stage of the buyer journey. However, it can be very effective if you know what you are doing. The goal for you during the decision stage should be to convert the client into an evangelist.
If they are happy with your presentation and execution of your overall offer and service as a real estate agent they are more likely to refer you to their friends and family leading you to more business.