Real estate prospecting is the process of cultivating leads to generate business. Prospecting is a mix of sourcing new leads, leveraging your social network to create business, and engaging in community events to boost your brand’s visibility. Good agents will commit a consistent amount of their time to prospecting, and we recommend that you spend one to two hours every day.
Here are the strategies that top agents use when prospecting.
1. Have a Daily Real Estate Prospecting Plan
Start off by making a very specific calendar for yourself and your tasks related to prospecting so that you open your calendar daily knowing what to do. Consistent prospecting leads to consistent business. Block out one to two hours every day, to complete specific goals every day. For example, schedule in one hour to set up Zillow Premier Agent, or set up social media accounts.
2. Make Weekends Social
A lot of real estate action happens on the weekends. While you are already out and about preparing for showings and doing other things, be sure to participate in community events as they become available and mark these on your calendar. These are wonderful opportunities to show involvement, create social media posts, take photos, make videos, and showcase the best of the area you represent.
3. Set up Personal Meetings
Part of any successful prospecting plan is scheduling in time to actually meet people in your lead funnel. Don’t be shy about reaching out to grab a coffee or pay for a lunch to meet with a potential client. People like to do business with those they know and like. Schedule in the time to meet with people in person, and be flexible enough to do so on their time frame when it’s required.
4. Follow Up on Every Lead
Far too many leads are left on the table because no one followed up. Ryan Serhant of “Million Dollar Listing” was once asked when he stopped following up on a lead, to which he remarked, “when they die,” and even then he joked that he would follow up with their children and then their grandchildren. Successful realtors are relentless about following up on their leads.
Storing contact information, keeping records, and following up on leads is absolutely essential. Chris Taylor, a broker with Advantage Real Estate in Boston, advises that “one of my best prospecting tips is to keep meticulous notes! Keep a record of anything and everything you learn about a prospect.” If you need a place to store your leads that gives you automated reminders to help you follow up, be sure to check out a CRM like Contactually.
5. Sign Up For Zillow’s Premier Agent Program
A must for any agent is to sign up for Zillow’s lead generation program. With over 90% of all home buyers looking on the internet to house hunt, you want to be the name they see when they want further listing information. It is estimated that real estate agents receive $2.60 in commissions for ever $1 they put into Zillow Premier Agent.
Zillow Premier Agent is an important tool in real estate prospecting because it gives you exclusivity and exposure in your target market. If you are a Premier Agent, on seller’s listings you submit to Zillow, you are promoted as the exclusive agent (increasing your chance at a full commission), and you can also opt to advertise on listings in your area where the agents are not Premier Agents themselves.
6. Find Local Leads on Facebook
Facebook has become an increasingly valuable tool for agents who want to get their services in front of their target audience. According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, 80% of agents use Facebook to nurture leads and connect with their community.
The value of Facebook is that you can runs ads or promote your posts to specific audiences (setting demographic variables) and specific geographies where you operate. To see the scope of what’s available on Facebook, and use step-by-step instructions to get you set up, be sure to check out our post on Facebook for Realtors. Setting aside a bit of time to get your Facebook business page constructed, learn about posting and how to run promoted posts and ads will be an invaluable weapon in your lead generating arsenal.
7. Use Instagram to Target Millennials
Only 14% of real estate agents are on Instagram but 59% of millennials, who are the largest share of first-time homebuyers, use this platform daily. Use Instagram daily to fuel your real estate prospecting efforts. Post images of the community, homes for sale, happy customers, and use hashtags for searchability. Although technically part of Facebook (when it comes to running paid ads), Instagram is a separate entity that requires a separate account.
I can attest personally that Instagram can bring agents leads that convert. I bought my most recent home from an out-of-state agent I found through Instagram, and he was one of the best agents I’ve ever worked with.
8. Set Up Your Real Estate Business Website
If you haven’t already created a web presence for yourself, now is the time. Having a presence on the web adds legitimacy and authority to your brand, as well as help clients to search your listings.
There are a variety of things to consider when creating your own website that are particular to real estate agents and brokers. For example, you have to consider how to incorporate an IDX integration (the internet data exchange that allows you to show real estate listings on your website). We show you how to set up your page and integrations and break down this daunting process to make it easy.
9. Sign Up For Online Matchmaking Sites and Referral Networks
As long as you do your due diligence, using online matchmaking sites and referral networks can be a wonderful method for getting or giving leads. Agents are usually well vetted and must have a recent transaction history on the MLS.
With matchmaking sites, your lead is literally “matched” to the agent most appropriate to take the client, while more traditional referral networks you should just be sure that the referring agent/broker has a current license, and things usually go smoothly.
One of the best matchmaking sites we recommend signing up for is Homelight. Backed by Google Ventures, it operates in a way that treats agents equally, and tends to match referrals based on what kind of transaction history you have. For example, if you have sold a $400K home in Nashville, TN you would likely be matched with other referrals for a similar amount in your area.
10. Set Aside Time to Appreciate Past Clients
Selling a home to (or for) a client should be the beginning of your relationship, not the end of it. Take time quarterly to reach out to past clients through various holidays and the anniversary of their purchase to keep yourself at the forefront of their mind.
Statistics show that people who own homes will sell and move approximately every five to seven years. Each of your clients is not only a potential repeat client but has access to a vast network of individuals that can make all the difference to your bottom line. While it might seem impossible to remember events like client anniversary dates, using a CRM like Contactually, that contains reminders, can make you seem like a rockstar.
11. Make Networking a Priority
When over 40% of all buyers and sellers find their agent through a friend or family member, getting yourself out there as an agent is one of the most important things you can do in real estate prospecting.
Set aside time in your schedule specifically for professional networking events, community events, and neighborhood gatherings. Be sure to carry your business cards everywhere you go. Even a child’s sports game can be a place where the topic of finding a new home or selling an existing one comes up.
Real Estate Prospecting Circle of Influence
There are so many ways in which you can make yourself and your skills known to others. For example, attending real estate investor meetups in your area is one way to cultivate leads. While attending conferences might be a more typical approach to gaining referrals, there are literally hundreds of ways to get involved in your community, network with developers or flippers, be a part of neighborhood events, and have your name come to mind the next time anyone needs an agent.
12. Print Door Hangers and Postcards
Door hangers and postcards can be fantastic for real estate prospecting, gaining new clients who might have never considered an agent otherwise. In a rapidly appreciating neighborhood, for example, someone learning of a sale for $40K above asking price only two doors down can be a compelling argument to consider selling themselves.
The messages that adorn door hangers and postcards should capture your audience and be as unique as the neighborhood market. Consider using an inexpensive but polished program like ProspectsPlus to create a door hanger or postcard that will tastefully get their attention. As long as your advertisement appears eye-catching yet professional, it can be a tool that some may even pass along to a neighbor.
13. Contact FSBO Listings
Despite what many believe, FSBO listings make wonderful real estate prospecting opportunities. These are owners who are clearly ready to sell, and individuals who may have a listing that has been sitting for a while and might welcome more effective marketing.
Real estate prospecting to convert FSBO listings might not be the dreaded cold call you fear, and might actually be one of the most productive conversations you’ve had in a while. We’ve put together a guide on how to convert FSBO leads in real estate to help you get started.
14. Follow Up on Open House Leads
Open house leads are incredible opportunities for real estate prospecting. If you’ve had a successful open house, you have left the property with a sign-in sheet full of potential business. Individuals come to open houses for a variety of reasons, but aside from a stray curious neighbor here or there, most are present because they are genuinely interested in the local real estate market.
Nurturing open house leads does not have to take incredible time or effort. Taking the time to craft your own open house email follow-up template, for example, can help you reach out while also preserving your time with clients. Here are some templates that the pros use and some of the elements to be sure to include if crafting your own open house email follow up template.
15. Write an Expired Listing Letter
An expired listing might not have sold for a number of specific reasons, and if you can figure them out, you may have the perfect real estate prospecting opportunity. Crafting a well received real estate prospecting letter requires empathy, understanding the problem, and a call to action.
Expired listings are an opportunity. While a homeowner may receive a dozen of these letters when their listing expires, you can make yours stand out by using these tips, and getting your foot in the door for further conversation.
16. Host Free Real Estate Seminars
A well publicized free seminar can be real estate prospecting gold. Think about answering a question that many future clients might have. A popular topic is “The basics of buying your first home.” Give solid information (as well as handouts with your name on them), make a connection, and be the obvious expert they turn to when it comes time to take the leap.
Topics abound to demonstrate leadership in your community through real estate seminars:
- The Basics of Buying Your First Home
- Downsizing: Is It Really For You?
- The Unique Things to Know When Buying A Condo
- Tips to Selling Your Home Fast
- The Biggest Mistakes New Homebuyers Make
- The 5 Ways Anyone Can Own (not rent) a Home
17. Meet with Divorce Attorneys
People who are going through a divorce often need to sell their home quickly for the best possible price. Connecting with a divorce attorney in your area for real estate prospecting can seem initially rather heartless, but doing a good job for people who need it most helps everyone. Selling the home of the couple assists them in closing a painful chapter in their lives, and can also lead to individual home purchases futurely if the sale goes well.
Real estate prospecting with divorce attorneys can be a mutually beneficial relationship. It is certainly not uncommon to have clients selling their homes who plan to divorce and have yet to seek counsel. Recommending an attorney you trust who will complete divorce proceedings expediently might be a welcome referral.
18. Reach Out To Large Local Employers
Large employers in your area can be a significant real estate prospecting opportunity. As the use of formal relocation services is becoming more uncommon, employers are still hiring individuals from out of state who will be moving into the area. Make yourself a resource for universities as well as large employers in the area by meeting with their human resources department and providing your information.
Come well prepared for your meeting, bring some coffee, have information for the human resources professional to review, and talk about how you can help their employees make a smooth transition. For many employees moving into the area they may choose to rent while looking for a home, be sure to demonstrate your local expertise and how your services can be of great use on both of these fronts.
The Bottom Line
Real estate prospecting takes daily commitment and hustle, but the rewards are great. The methods to creating an effective pipeline of leads and lasting business vary from internet focus to more traditional methods, and even might require some out of the box thinking.
While methods like Zillow’s Premier Agent are almost standard because of how essential and productive they have grown to be, little known methods as well as traditional networking also has the potential to pay off with big commission checks.