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Generating No-Cost Construction Leads Through Realtors – A Tutorial

How To Make $100,000 A Year

This is a guest contribution from Jonah Canter of Canter Construction.

When I first started out with my construction company I actually had zero customers. This is a typical problem when you first branch out into the trade and figuring out how to quickly and effectively gain a reoccurring clientele base is a key strategy to success. I didn’t want to spend money on internet marketing nor did I want to go house to house with flyers. I personally find those types of methods land you window shoppers or those who smell blood in the water and expect you to basically work for free. That is not to say that these are not successful for some contractors but I personally did not find value in them.

I had a couple of neighbors who were in real estate and I had learned that they all needed a contractor who could help them when issues came up with inspection reports. The issues themselves range from minor punch out items to major structural issues. They could not find a contractor who was willing to take the small and the large jobs.. They also had a preference for working with one contractor to repair all the items. The less hands in the process the higher the rate of actually getting through to the closing table. So it dawned on me that I should start to develop a strong relationship with the real estate community in my area.

HARVESTING REALTOR EMAIL ADDRESSES

Fishing for Email Addresses

Harvesting the email addresses of local realtors is a smart way to give your business a boost. It could start with smaller jobs, but if you are professional and do good work then it’s just a matter of time before you start catching some real whoppers.

I started out by going onto the websites and manually harvesting all of the publicly available e-mail addresses. One thing I quickly noticed was that not all real estate companies listed their agent’s emails publicly. Other websites had contact forms they required you to fill out in order to get in touch with the agents. Using a bit of common sense and a little bit of searching I realized that companies, in general, standardize their e-mail naming convention.  For example the email may be @ourcompany.com. If you know that this is the naming convention for the end of every email the next step is to find out how they organize the first part of the email address. A search for the company name and any press releases can be helpful. Usually, press releases will contain the name of a person within the organization for contact.

For instance:

For general inquiries please contact jane.doe@ourcompany.com

For this example you know that they use first name {dot} last name as their email naming convention. From here you are armed with the information that can help you when harvesting clients at this company. Now you can look at the names of the agents and know exactly what their email address should be.

I organized my spreadsheets by the company names and tailored each of my messages specific to their organization. For instance, I had started work for one realtor and in my pitch to his colleagues I mentioned that I work with other agents at your company. This provided confidence that if Agent A was using me they should inherently trust me and at least consider me for jobs. In total I harvested around three hundred leads and sent each e-mail personally. They were all template driven by company and the copy and paste effort this was much better than using an automated email service. Typically, emails from these types of companies are in HTML format and have a high rate of ending up in a person’s junk mail folder.

NETWORKING WITH REALTORS CREATES EXPONENTIAL RESULTS

Out of the 300 e-mails I had 32 replies. Out of those 32 replies I actually picked up 15 new realtors that wanted me to start looking at jobs for them. You may think that is a small percentage at 5% (15 realtors) but that is actually a wonderful response rate and actually 10% if you include everyone who responded in general but may have not given me immediate work.

The immediate impact of this was not apparent until I realized how my network expanded. Agents who were on the buying side and had no knowledge of my company were now hearing that my company was doing the repairs. So I not only gained the selling agent but also work from the buying agent. In the middle of all of that were the customers, both buying or selling who potentially would provide me with more work. It was a wonderful situation to find myself in because in a lot of cases the clients buying the house had ideas for what they wanted to add or update and I was the first person that came to their mind.

In the example above, the one realtor contact I made actually gave me the opportunity to put my company in front of three other people. And at only 15 realtors, say giving me only one job each, that has a potential for 45 new jobs. I can also tell you that if you impress a realtor they will always use you for their own clients, refer you to future clients or within their own internal network of agents. So the benefits of harvesting real estate leads are exponential.

This process lends itself specifically to General Contractors because they are capable of doing a wide range of trade work for customers. Specialty contractors may find results that vary from what I have mentioned since they limit the amount of work they may be able to perform.

I have found no better way to quickly gain leads at zero cost. The key to this is taking the time to compose a direct and professional email that targets what realtors are looking for. It also helps out to have a website with pictures of your work and client testimonials. On my website I also included a tab that was specific to realtors and the needs they have. Remember, they do not know you from Adam so placing silent reminders that you are professional and trustworthy will go a long way in your pitch.

Jonah CanterJonah Canter is the owner of Canter Construction, a full service building and remodeling company. For more information on this article or for general questions you can reach him directly: jonahcanter@gmail.com or visit his website http://www.canterconstructionsc.com

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • BROOKE WILCOX February 5, 2015, 4:59 am

    MY HUSBAND HAS HAD HIS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS FOR THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF I HAVE BEEN HELPING HIM GROW THE COMPANY. IT HAS BEEN A STRUGGLE AND FINDING THE RIGHT HELP HAS BEEN ANOTHER HUGE STRUGGLE. NO ONE SEEMS TO BE MOTIVATED ENOUGH TO LEARN AND TO STICK WITH IT. I KNOW EVERY THINKS THEY ARE A CONTRACTOR AND MAY EVEN THINK WHAT CONTRACTORS DO ISNT HARD. BUT IT IS. HE HAS SPENT NUMEROUS SLEEPLESS NIGHTS STRESSING OUT ABOUT THE COMPANY AND FINDING THE RIGHT PEOPLE THAT WILL FIT. READING THIS HAS REALLY HELPED AND I THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. I GOT A LOT OUT OF YOUR WEBSITE.

    THANKS AGAIN. I AM FEELING MOTIVATED TO GET TO WORK TOMORROW AND SEE WHERE I CAN TAKE THIS COMPANY.

    BROOKE WILCOX

    • Scott February 5, 2015, 8:30 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Brooke. I agree with you that there are lots of people who think that being a contractor or running a service business must be easy, when in reality it’s anything but. It takes planning, hard work, and marketing savvy, and I commend you for looking for new ways to help your husband succeed with his business. Finding good people to work for you can also be difficult. I think it comes down to weeding out the bad apples and finding a way to pay the good ones what they are worth so they’ll want to stick with you in the long run. Of course this means you have to charge the customer enough to cover these expenses. Thanks again for the comments. I really like your website, btw! Very nice. Best of luck to you guys and keep me updated on how things are going.

  • Donna September 9, 2016, 9:09 am

    I read this article to my boyfriend and construction professional. I know if he uses your info he will generate leads to . He has been successful with paying for advertising on some of the bid places. He found that it was better to just advertise and pay a fee for a year, then to pay gor leads that often were no good. This realtor is awesome in that it is free.

    Thank You, Donna

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