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by CareyBot

An issue with social media is that it doesn’t require social skills — maybe just some typing skills — to get started. You don’t have to smile, laugh or get teary-eyed, unless you want to leverage the appearance of a feeling.

With technology, we can appear to be very busy in prospecting, but real prospecting is becoming a lost skill.

Our prospecting mindset has moved from roaming the plains like a hungry lion to casting multiple lines with baitless hooks, waiting and hoping for a strike.

Here’s the problem: Technology — while it can be a powerful tool in prospecting, when in the right hands and with the right voice and approach behind it — has taught some of us to be lazy, to prospect by telling.

Reader warning: You may not want to read further because what is about to be shared is a prospecting strategy and tactic guaranteed to help you find prospects who want to purchase or sell real estate or know someone who does.

For the more competitive among you, you might want to have a contest to see who has the most listing and sales the next 30 days pitting technology against what I modestly and informally call the "David Fletcher Prospecting for a Listing or Buyer Today and Not Stopping Until I Find at Least One" system.

One of your team members will need to be good typist. The other must be willing to leave the computer and risk mild rejection in exchange for the possibility of thousands of dollars in commission.

Instructions are always the same.

  • Wear your name badge.
  • Expect to get referred prospects today.
  • If you start shaking and need to text someone to calm down, do it. Then, stay focused on what we are doing for at least two hours.
  • Ask the question.

How it works:

The question: "As you can see (on my badge or Realtor pin), I am in real estate and I was wondering if you may know someone who might be wanting to buy or sell a home?"

Expect the person to say no at first, because they did not expect the question. Give them time to think about it.

Wait for them to return with a referral.

Actual scenarios:

Scenario 1: Two people, one of them an agent, are having lunch. (Lunch is always a good time and place.) The server approaches and a friendly but brief conversation ensues. She brings food, and the agent requests the server’s permission to ask a question. When granted, the agent asks, "Do you know anyone who might be thinking of buying or selling real estate?" The server says no.

The agent responds, "That’s fine. If you think of anyone I would appreciate it."

Moments later she returns, saying that actually she is seeking to buy a house, but she is divorced and has a child and very little money. As it turns out, the agent specializes in working with low-income buyers. In this instance, the agent may not only get the sale — he may be helping someone who has not a clue what to do about her housing concerns. All because he asked!

Scenario 2: Same process, different restaurant, with two agents. The server does not refer any prospects. As the agents are leaving the restaurant, another restaurant worker opens the door. As the agents exit, one of the agents asks her the question.

"Yes, as matter of fact my mother wants to move nearer to me, but she has to sell her house first."

In friendly fashion would there be any question you can think of that should be asked at this point?

How about this one:

AGENT: Does she have it listed?

WORKER: Not yet. Why don’t you call her?

AGENT: That’s a great idea.

The restaurant worker gives her mother’s telephone number to the agent.

The agent thanks her, then asks if she can let her mother know that an agent will be calling.

Result: The agent lists the mother’s house and sells her a house near her daughter. Why did he earn two commission checks?

Because he asked the question.

Scenario 3: Meeting with 12 agents at a large mall. The agents are instructed to break into six groups and start shopping.

Some keys for the agents’ success:

They must not rush the question.

They should wait for a salesperson to ask a question.

MALL SALESPERSON: May I help you?

AGENT: I hope so. As you can see (by my pin or badge), I am in real estate and I was wondering if you knew anyone who might be selling or buying a home.

MALL SALESPERSON: No.

The agent may continue to shop at the store, and can perhaps double-back through the store before returning to the original meeting spot.

Give the agents 90 minutes to obtain as many referred prospects as they can find. When I conducted this exercise with a group of agents, they had obtained over 20 names of prospects. Not all of them were urgently seeking to buy or sell, but the agents were pumped.

I never knew what happened on this one, but I can trust that they learned to continue prospecting for referred prospects in a personal way.

Why did they get the names of these prospects? Because they asked!

Scenario 4: An agent wants to prospect specifically for listings, and decides to target some hotspots for soon-to-be sellers — namely, some home improvement retailers.

The agent asks shoppers for their opinion about some hardware, and then pops the question.

The agent ends up getting a call to schedule a listing presentation.

Why? Because the agent asked.

The challenge

Divide participants into two teams: the "technology typists" and the "passionate prospectors." The team that lists and writes the most contracts with new prospects wins.

If the typists lose, they take the prospectors to lunch and ask the winning team to share their techniques. If the prospectors lose, they have to prove to the typists that they are willing to adopt new technologies to improve their business and — better yet — are willing to learn to correctly use the technology provided by their broker.

David Fletcher has been a Florida real estate condominium and new-home broker for more than 30 years. He has been the broker of record for 70 new-home and condominium communities. He offers podcast coaching services for general agents, broker-owners, homebuilders and developers through his website at www.newhomesniche.com. You may contact him at davidf@newhomesniche.com.

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