Prospecting is a unique blend of skill, intuition, preparation, fate and detective work. It is the lifeblood of any real estate career. Some say it’s all about cold calling or that social media has eclipsed traditional prospecting methods. Prospecting services will try to convince you that purchasing contact lists is the best way to go.
The truth is that you will generate the best leads through your own prospecting. Here’s how:
Sit down and look at your previous clients. Who are they? What is their age? Their income? Occupation? Take that information and create a picture of your average client. That average client needs to be your first target in prospecting. Do you find that you have a knack for selling to thirty-something, first-time homebuyers in the education or public service industries? If so, start advertising in and around schools and universities. Attend community events that feature educators, police or social workers. Know who buys from you, then find and better target your marketing to that group.
Block out time each day or each week that is dedicated to prospecting. Set up meetings, schedule events, do online research, or start cold calling. Work smart and manage your schedule in a way that streamlines your time. If you know you are going to have multiple prospecting meetings in one day, schedule them for locations on the same street or local area.
Leaving a voicemail is not the same thing as talking to the client. Acknowledge that not everyone communicates the same way. Get to your prospects through texting, emailing, cold calling, Twitter and/or showing up at their door. Try any and all methods of communication until you find the one that works for each of your prospects.
Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr—be where your prospects are already talking. Post information about your listings, yourself and helpful tips about the market or real estate in your area. Services like Zillow, Trulia and RedFin offer advertising options that you can test out as well to see if your ideal customer is searching for a real estate agent there.
In your local market, establish relationships with, and refer business to, lawyers (especially divorce lawyers), insurance agents, personal bankers, commercial lenders, financial advisors, contractors and home or property management services. These people understand and value a referral as much as you. Maintain a relationship by attending or hosting lunches, referring business to them, cross-marketing your services with them, and staying informed of how their business is going.
Finally, Know Thyself
Prospecting is not one-size-fits-all. While some agents excel at networking, cold calling, and door knocking, others find themselves generating more leads through extra efforts with social media or direct mail. A large part is the delivery, and that means communicating with confidence and showing how you continually add value to others. If you are new to prospecting, try out multiple approaches until you find the few that you are most comfortable with. Pay attention to what generates the most leads and then build upon that.
What has been your experience with real estate prospecting? Tell us in the comments below!