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The Battle at the “For Sale” Sign: Are You Losing Real Estate Leads?

By Guest Author | July 4, 2016

The “for sale” sign has long been an iconic object in real estate. Listing agents plant this stake in the ground, claiming their territory and letting all who pass know that property is on the market.

For sale sign

The sign is real estate 101. It’s pretty much the first thing you do once you have a listing. It’s big, it’s colorful, and it’s eye-catching. Your company name and contact information are on display, welcoming all to contact you and put in that max offer. Future sellers are also welcome. If their neighbor chose you to sell their home, you will definitely strike curiosity in those hopeful souls hoping to put their home on the market and get it sold.

Now that the “for sale” sign is up, the calls will pour in, right? Not so fast.

That big beautiful sign you’re so proud of and relying on to help generate some leads, is most likely driving them away from you.

That’s right: your own sign and marketing could be working against you. You put in the time and effort to get the listing, only to have someone beat you to the punch obtaining those buyer leads. You may not even realize it’s happening or you may feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m here to tell you, you can take back the power and win the battle at the sign.

How your sign is working against you

Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, whether they’re a buyer or seller. You drive up and see a “for sale” sign in front of a house that intrigues you; it checks off most of the boxes on your needs/wants list.

You pull up next to the curb, trying not to appear like a criminal scoping out its next victim, and start looking for details. So how do you get the details? You pull out your phone and call the agent directly, ask all of your questions, and get the answers you want, right?


You pull out your smartphone, enter the address, and start looking on all major real estate listing sites for that particular house. There’s no contact with the agent at all. Most people don’t really make phone calls anymore, unless they absolutely have to. It’s become much easier to just find the information online.

So what has transpired so far is, your sign just drove that potential buyer or seller to a website you have nothing to do with. Even if you have the listing listed on your own website, chances are the big listing portals are going to outrank you in Google. We tend to gravitate to the first couple of choices when we search something online. This poses a major problem when it comes to capturing leads.

The focus is lost on your listing.

Those who are searching for information at the curb will probably find your listing, but they will also be easily distracted by several other listings in the area—listings that could be homes with similar attributes, cost less, or maybe just have better pictures to capture their interest. Your potential buyers are also being shown pictures of other local agents. What is drawing your buyers’ attention? Not the fine print advertising who the listing agent is. It’s the featured agent or the other available listings on these websites.

The point is, technology today drives people to online searches. Buyers can search, to their hearts content, listings in the comfort and privacy of their own home or car. They were interested in your listing, which could have been the best choice for them. Now you’re at risk for them to forget your listing, costing you the sale.

As for potential sellers, they definitely want to know the details of the home. As they land on this same website, they do their research and eventually fill out some type of form to be contacted by a listing agent in their area, which is most likely not going to be you.

“What's really killing us now, too, is with the sign, people are driving up and looking at your sign; instead of calling you, because they don't want to talk to a live person, they're Googling the address and they're landing on the portal,” said Robert Palmer, CEO of Listing Power Tools. “Portals aren't just initiating contact from people who see the home’s for sale. Now, your own sign showing people the home's for sale has been turned against you in order for the portal to generate more leads.”

See the problem? It’s a big one. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

How to win the battle at the sign

Now when you plant your “for sale” stake in the ground, the battle is on: it’s time to go on the offensive and win the battle at the sign with these tools.

Text Technology

Today, consumers don’t like to make calls; they text. In fact, over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day, and 90 percent of all text messages are read in under 3 minutes [].

That means potential buyers and sellers are more inclined to text, and they’re more likely to read a text they receive.

So what do you need to do? You need to add text technology in your marketing and display it on your “for sale” sign, giving leads the option to text you. If you don’t give them the option, they're not going to do it.

“I believe the next wave of Winning the Battle at the Sign is completely dependent upon text messaging technology, because you can send a text to a 10-digit phone number faster than you can Google an address and click on the first result,” Palmer said. “We all want the fastest possible path to information.”

Instead of them whipping out their smartphone and searching the property online, they can text you directly. Now you have a line of communication and you’ve also captured that person’s contact information. You’re now their source of information.

Automated response

In this digital age, we’ve been programmed to be impatient. If we want something, we want it now. If we have to wait, we’re on to the next thing.

This is where an automated response can be very helpful when people do text: you have a system in place to send an immediate automatic reply.

In addition to being impatient, most people also have a fairly short attention span. This means it’s crucial to get back to your prospects immediately. Your message should be clear and provide the consumer exactly what they want: detailed information on the property, or how they can get that information.

Single-property websites

Don’t let your leads get distracted with other listings in the area. To do this, you need a fantastic single-property website that provides images and specific details about the listing, as well as how to contact you about this property.

Even if they go to your own website, people can get frustrated looking through listings or having to search too much for what they want. Provide them the information directly and keep the focus on your listing.

It’s important to capture them at this point. They’ve done the difficult steps in contacting you and starting the funnel process; now is not the time to deter them from completing the funnel process where you capture the lead. Make it easy for leads to learn about your listing and contact you directly.


About the author: Caleb McElveen is the content manager for Listing Power Tools, a company that provides real estate marketing solutions for lead generation.

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