Prospecting can be an intimidating task for a lot of agents. However, there’s really no right or wrong way to prospect, and each of us has to choose what works best for our personalities and styles. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

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This article was last updated Sept. 12, 2022.

Many agents are paralyzed by the fear of prospecting, yet they know it’s the lifeblood of our business. This is a common challenge for salespeople in all industries, especially in residential real estate where the sale of a home is so large and incredibly personal.

It’s not the same as buying a car, a watch, a bag, a pair of shoes, a stock or even a commercial investment property, which is generally just about the cap rate and return on investment (ROI). 

How well you push through this fear of prospecting is critical to success and long-term consistency of your business. So, what should you do? Well, let me start with telling you what you should not do. 

Do not chase the quick fix, the silver bullet, the fancy app or new shiny object or anything that convinces you that you can circumvent the tried-and-true process of prospecting consistently day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. 

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There is no right or wrong way to prospect, and each of us has to choose what works best for our personalities and styles. So, here are a few prospecting tips to put into practice.

1. Networking events or groups

Join a charity or group that interests you. The more authentic and passionate you are about the cause or group, the more likely you are to connect deeply with other members of the group and create long-lasting relationships that will inevitably lead to referrals

2. One-on-one meals, coffee, drinks

We have three meals per day and coffee breaks, too. There’s at least five slots a day to set up a personal meeting with anyone in your network and anyone you want to add to that network.

Again, being authentic and having a true interest in getting to know someone is the key to effective relationship-building. No one wants to sit at lunch with an agent who is pitching them on their services.

3. Phone calls

Old-school cold-calling or warm-calling is still effective and will always be effective. This does not mean you should open up the yellow pages and dial for dollars. Be strategic about who you call and why you are calling.

Start with people you’re friends with and like to speak with, and build out slowly from there. Also: Call people back! There is nothing worse than a lead or referral that you forget to call back because you were busy scrolling through social media. 

4. Texts, emails, direct messages

This is today’s equivalent of cold-calling. Most people prefer to receive a text from you, not a call. It is easier and takes less time to respond. I find texting and emailing to be extremely effective.

You can also send bulk texts and emails to targeted groups whether they are buyers, sellers, investors or even better, a group of people interested in something you are passionate about like tennis, golf, running, surfing, books, investing, art, little league, cooking, restaurants, the list goes on.

5. Social media content

You have heard Tom Ferry say for over a decade that if you are a real estate agent, you are a media network, and if you have an iPhone, you can produce good video content on a daily basis to build your brand and network.

Do not be generic, and do not follow the masses. The most effective agent content is unique, humorous, entertaining and educational. Figure out your brand and your personality — and play to that.

6. Digital ads/internet leads

If you buy ZIP codes with Zillow or some other large internet lead provider, this is a full-time job. It does not work unless you work it 24/7. It takes a lot of money, and it takes an organized team to follow up with the leads within seconds and then constantly stay in touch with them.

Conversion rates are 1 – 3 percent for those who master this game. Unless you are prepared to commit money and all of your time, stay away from this.

7. Door-knocking

Did you know door-knocking works? We can all come up with several excuses of why it does not work. All you have to do is look at real estate legends like Ron Wynn at Compass and Chad Lund at Douglas Elliman who have built seven-figure businesses on door-knocking on the Westside of Los Angeles and star rookie agent Adam Glick on Sally Forster Jones team, who built his business from the ground up by door knocking.

Again, if you are not committed to knocking on doors for at four hours per week for the next three to four years, do not waste your time. It takes relentless consistency and usually works best when focusing on a micro farm of less than 500 homes.

8. Hobbies and interests

What do you like to do? There’s golf, tennis, book club, running, yoga, hiking, concerts, dancing, cooking and eating, to name a few.

Figure out what you love to do, and include others to do it with you. Be social, be yourself, and when you do what you enjoy the best, parts of your personality will shine and come through.

9. Mailers and print ads

This is probably what your Realtor parents did 40 years ago, and guess what? It still works. It takes a ton of capital and consistent investment, and you should be very strategic and particular about where you mail and where you take out print ads.

This is usually most effective in conjunction with something else you do like door-knocking or other community activities where you are meeting people in person.

A big mistake agents make is spending a ton of money on one ad and expecting that they will get a big lead off that one ad. This can happen, but it is so rare. You are doing this for branding and exposure, not to get a call off the particular ad you placed. 

10. Hosting events

Hosting fun, entertaining events once or twice a year is highly effective. It has to be relevant and interesting (or at least fun) for people to show up. Having cool music or live entertainment, food and cocktails is always a good reason for people to come together.

You should give some sort of toast or relevant presentation which ties into the theme of the evening. This is one of the best ways to connect on a personal level in a relaxed social atmosphere. You can do it a home, a restaurant or bar, a local retail space, or a park or beach. 

There is no right or wrong way to prospect, and each of us has to choose what works best for our personalities and styles. Be authentic, be yourself, and do something!

Danny Brown is a luxury Realtor with Compass in Los Angeles, California. Connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn

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