- Establishing a schedule and a system for prospecting leads is the first step in successfully gaining more contacts.
- Calling FSBOs (for sale by owners), holding open houses and contacting expired listings are three ways to mine for prospects.
- Use technology, advertise yourself and create business partnerships to not only find but also work with new leads.
Every real estate agent is interested in getting more business. To do so, you have to find prospective buyers and sellers, known as “prospects” in real estate terminology.
You will be more successful in this endeavor if you plan to target a particular area, type of home or type of buyer. Later on, you can add to this initial field of concentration.
Here are five systems for drumming up prospects and increasing your chances of success.
Step 1: Establish a system or schedule
Successful prospecting requires planning. Some people like phone contacting and others prefer face-to-face contact. Whether you use one option or both, set specific times for prospecting.
The best time for phone prospecting is from 10 a.m. until noon. Aim for working the phone for at least two hours.
Afternoon is the time to check emails and respond. You will find that most people contacting you with email will do so before 4:00 p.m., so use the last hour before you end your day responding to those messages.
The evening is a good time to contact any referrals generated throughout the day. Make sure you call after dinner time. If you are not comfortable interrupting a family’s evening, send an email letting them know that you will give them a call the next morning.
Make sure that you set up a database to track all of your contacts — an Excel spreadsheet works well. Include the following information:
- First and last name
- Address and phone number
- Dates and type of contact (phone, personal, at an open house, etc.)
- Notes (why contacted, type of home wanted, whether it is a buyer or seller, etc.)
Include everyone you contact, meet with or discover through a referral.
Step 2: Use networking and mining
Networking is simply using your sphere of influence, people you know or encounter each day, to generate leads. Mining is finding places to get new prospects.
Everyone you meet should know that you are a real estate agent. This includes friends, relatives and those with whom you come in contact with in the course of a normal day, including your mailperson and the clerk at the grocery store.
Three ways to mine for prospects are to call for sale by owners (FSBOs) and expired listings and hold open houses.
As you travel around locally, take different routes to look for FSBO signs that provide potential listings. You can jot down the owner’s number and call later to follow up.
For owners who aren’t interested in your services, ask if you can show their property to prospective buyers. When you do, they might decide to let you list their property.
Contacting expired listings
Monitor the MLS in the areas that you target every day. Create a “hot sheet” in the MLS to notify you of any expiring listings.
You can either call the owner to discuss the property and why it did not sell or drop off a marketing packet on the doorstep. Of course, phone contact is preferred.
Hold open houses
Every person who comes to an open house is a potential prospect. And you do not need your own listing to hold one of these marketing events.
Ask other agents in your office, or with other offices, if you can hold an open house on their property. If anyone shows up who is not being represented by an agent, ask if you can help him or her find a house.
Make sure you note FSBOs, expired listings and open house contacts in your prospect database to follow up on later.
Another idea for finding prospects is to reach out to various professionals — divorce lawyers, CPAs, tax companies — and businesses with many employees to offer your professional real estate services for their clients and employees.
Step 3: Harness technology’s power
Successful use of technology varies for each individual and also by location.
Facebook is not successful unless you have a broad base of friends. It also seems to work best in smaller towns and communities as a means of letting people know you are in the real estate business.
Read about social media trends, and choose the platforms that allow you to be the most authentic. Authenticity sells.
In addition to your company or broker’s page, you should have your own website where prospects can contact you and find information and your listings.
Including a blog answering frequently asked real estate questions can increase traffic to your webpage.
Technology allows mobility. With the use of a laptop and cellphone, you can create a mobile office to do each of the following:
- Promptly answer emails from buyers, sellers and other business contacts
- Take pictures of FSBOs, houses you wish to list, repairs that might need to be made, etc.
- Use mobile upload to update property pictures for listings
- Show prospects other listings they might wish to view
The use of technology is only limited by your own imagination and continually increases. Some real estate professionals use drones for aerial pictures and virtual reality for home “visits.” You have to find what works for you and your budget.
Step 4: Advertise yourself
To reap prospects, you should be a walking advertisement for yourself. Always carry business cards, and pass them out at every opportunity.
Leave them in every business you frequent, and hand them to every person you meet or interact with, including the cashier at the grocery store and those in the waiting room of your doctor’s office.
Ask if you can put a card on bulletin boards whenever you see them.
Dress professionally as if you are meeting or working with a client — because everyone you meet could become one.
Wear a name tag with your name and the company you work for any time it is appropriate to do so, which is most of the time.
Also wear clothes with your company’s name and logo whenever possible, such as at the gym or while participating in recreational activities.
Again, use your website to advertise yourself. Show homes you have sold, and add some testimonies from pleased buyers and sellers. Make sure you include any professional organizations to which you belong, extra education completed and awards won.
Step 5: Create partnerships
As a real estate agent, you will have vendors for various tasks related to your listings. Each is a prospect for referrals.
When you do your calls each day, spend a few minutes checking with any vendors — plumbers, electricians, contractors, maintenance specialists, etc. — you have not talked to lately to see if they know anyone interested in buying or selling.
Professionals such as attorneys, bankers, insurance agents, etc., who dominate the local market are also good for generating leads. Refer clients to them, and make sure they mention you as their referral source.
Keep a master list of vendors and professional contacts so that you can recommend them to people you know, such as homeowners needing professional work done on their house or assistance in another area.
This way, you’ll create a stable of vendors and professionals who will think of your when they encounter someone buying or selling a home.
Finding and working with new prospects is the best way to increase your real estate business and build your career. These five tips for doing so cover some of the most fruitful methods.
Using them consistently and conscientiously is the key to your business success!
Frederick Franks is a real estate agent with Sellstate Next Generation Realty in Ocala, Orlando, The Villages and Tampa, Florida. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.