Quick and Easy Real Estate Prospecting Strategies
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Real estate clients don't just magically appear in your office ready to hire you. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the world is filled with potential real estate clients. Everyone you know is a potential client. In fact, everyone on earth needs shelter. It won't be hard to find a person who needs your real estate services, but you've got to put effort into it. You can't just sit around waiting for referrals.
Not when you need to eat and you've got bills to pay. You need more prospects today so that you can get to the business of converting them into clients.
Whether you're looking for buyer leads, seller leads, or both, here's what you need to know to generate more real estate prospects.
Before we discuss the how, let's discuss the what and the why: What is real estate prospecting and why is it important?
Real estate prospecting is everything you do to find potential clients (i.e. buyers and sellers). Your first goal is find them and your next goal is to convert good leads (i.e. people who are ready to buy or sell now) into actual clients.
Prospecting is not the same thing as inbound marketing. Examples of inbound marketing include blog posts, Facebook or Instagram ads, and SEO. Inbound marketing is what you do to attract clients to you and build trust slowly over time.
In contrast, prospecting fits within the outbound marketing sphere where you interrupt (and not attract) your prospective client. Instead of pulling them to you, you push your way towards them. When compared to other forms of marketing, prospecting is more direct and in-your-face. You identify your target customer and then go out to introduce yourself to them.
Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies are beneficial for real estate agents, but in this post, we'll focus on the advantages of outbound marketing, specifically prospecting.
You may be resistant to prospecting because, let's be honest, it's kind of scary to put yourself out there.
Unless you're a mega extrovert who enjoys attending live events where you don't know anyone...
Unless you're an eternal optimist who can handle cold call rejections with ease...
...You may recoil at the idea of real estate prospecting.
You may even be scanning this article right now in an attempt to find the easiest ways to prospect without actually doing anything outside of your comfort zone.
Unfortunately, that type of prospecting does not exist.
Prospecting, if you do it right, will definitely push you out there. It's vulnerable, and there's no way around that. But here's why it’s worth the effort:
Is prospecting comfortable? Not always. You'll teeter between feeling exposed and awkward to feeling excited and undeterred—sometimes in the same cold call.
But whether you like it or not, prospecting is a non-negotiable part of growing your real estate business, especially when you're first starting out.
Now that we've discussed the what and why of prospecting, let's talk how. Here's what you can do right now, as soon as you finish reading this article, to improve your real estate prospecting game and get more business:
Start prospecting with your own network. This includes your family, friends, former co-workers, and frenemies. Everyone needs your real estate services eventually, if not right now.
When calling your personal network, do the following:
Get to the point. Limit small talk and explain the purpose of your call so you don't create that awkward, "why are you calling?" vibe.
Give them an action plan. What do you want them to do as a result of your call? Check out the latest listing on your website? Recommend you to others? Schedule a listing appointment?
Emailing your network is easy, especially if you create a system. It's also important. While not everyone will answer your call, just about everyone will see your email in their inbox and they may even open it from time to time. But even if they don't open your email, its presence accomplishes a big win for you—it keeps your name at the top of their mind. I guarantee you that if you can maintain that top of mind status, you'll be the first agent they think of when it's their time to buy or sell real estate.
This is why sending emails is more of an inbound strategy, but you can use it for prospecting. Here's how:
Send the "Let's catch up" email. In this email, directly ask your contact if:
By sending this type of prospecting email, you have a specific reason to reach out to your contacts. Personalize your email. Don't just copy and paste the same generic email. You can use an email template to save time, but be sure to include individualized content, such as their name and personal details. This type of email is much more likely to get opened and responded to.
Do you know any divorce lawyers? You need to. Divorce attorneys deal with couples who are selling their homes and looking for new ones. Divorce attorneys are an eternal spring of real estate prospects, so it makes sense to network with them.
Look up divorce attorneys in your neighborhood and initiate contact through written correspondence. You could also call them, but attorneys are usually too busy to answer their own phones and often have a gatekeeper. It may be more direct to send an email, personalized letter, or direct message on social media. Let them know what services you provide and how you can specifically help their clients.
FSBO is short for For Sale By Owner. To find FSBOs, you'll need to look through websites like Facebook and Craigslist because they don't usually show up on the MLS. You can also find them by driving through your neighborhood and spotting any FSBO yard signs.
When reaching out to the FSBO, don't expect to convert them right away. The best strategy you have is to present yourself as a dependable resource. Offer your services along with sales advice that you think they'll benefit from. Then continue to stay in touch with them. The hope is that they'll eventually pass the baton over to you to sell their home.
But be careful not to call anyone—not just FSBOs—who is listed on the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry. Get access to the National Do Not Call list here.
You can also subscribe to receive the Massachusetts Do Not Call registry here.
Similar to FSBOs, you can also reach out to owners of Expired Listings. The good news is that these prospects are sell-ready. But be careful. These sellers have likely soured on the selling process and probably won't return your optimism.
Before your call, try your best to figure out why the property didn't sell (bad pricing, not enough marketing, etc.), and what you could do to turn it around. Then, present your polished and informed pitch to the seller.
Scour the MLS every day to find Expired Listings and then reach out daily (and continue reaching out until and unless you get a “no and do not call again”).
Here's more information on how to approach expired listings.
How to Find FSBO and Expired Listings Use a service like REDX, Landvoice, and Vulcan7 to find FSBO leads.
Zillow is a must for every real estate agent because it's so darn popular. Your prospects will likely visit Zillow during the process of buying or selling a home, and that's why you need to be there.
While Zillow offers free membership for agents, it's a good idea to upgrade to the Premier Agent option. This way, when a prospect expresses interest in a property, Zillow can connect you to them directly over the phone. Learn more about how to generate leads on Zillow here.
Instead of cold calling, consider warm calling.
Warm calling is when you phone a prospect after you've made prior contact. Perhaps you reached out with an email or postcard first. This "warms" up your prospect so that they're already aware of you when you call. Prior contact removes some of the awkwardness in your call, and gives you instant talking points.
You can warm up FSBOs, Expireds, Referrals, and contacts from lists that you've purchased.
Prospecting is the most important thing you can do to grow your real estate business. Use the above tips to create an effective prospecting strategy. Check out the below articles for even more tips: