Easy and Effective Real Estate Prospecting Tips
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Does that word send shivers down your spine?
For many real estate agents, prospecting is the hardest thing to do. It is part of your job, but that doesn’t make prospecting any easier. Cold calling random people or knocking on strangers’ doors doesn’t feel natural. You feel vulnerable, anxious, and a wee bit unsure of yourself with every phone call. Then, when they don’t answer the call, there’s a mixture of sweet relief and frustration because you do need prospects to survive.
But what if I told you there was a way to get prospects without actually picking up the phone and calling people blindly? Instead of cold calling 100 people to find the one who actually has an interest in buying or selling real estate, you can generate even better leads by not prospecting.
It sounds like madness, right?
But it’s actually possible. In this post, we’ll discuss 9 ways to find prospects without prospecting.
By prospecting, I’m referring to cold calling, door knocking, handing out business cards at local events, and any other active form of prospecting. With only two notable exceptions, the majority of prospecting activities on this list don’t even require picking up the phone or interacting directly with your prospective clients.
Curious? Let’s get to it!
The first step to passively generating prospects is to create a real estate website. This way, people can come to you when they’re actively looking for the real estate services you provide.
Your website doesn't have to be fancy to work. It just needs the following essential elements:
A home page that serves as an introduction to your brand and the main launching pad for your visitors to find what they're after, whether that's your bio, your listings, or reports about your local area.
Listing pages for each of your active listings. You should have a separate listing page for each property for multiple reasons. First, it gives you the opportunity to share more information about the property than what may be available on Zillow. You can include video walkthroughs, Q&As, and the ability to print out or share the listing on social media. Another reason for having dedicated listing pages is so you can improve your site's overall search engine optimization, or SEO.
The more real estate-relevant pages you have on your website, the more you help Google understand what your website is about so that you can rank higher in the search engine results pages.
A blog which also helps you improve your page ranking in search engines. The more blog posts you produce, the more opportunities you have to show up as the answer to a prospect's query on Google. For example, if someone searches for “Tips for selling your Boston area condo,” your blog post can show up in the search results. Once you pull a prospective client onto your website, you have a great chance of establishing a relationship with them.
NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number. You need to include your business' name, address, and phone number on every page of your website. (It's easiest to do this on the header or the footer of your website.) NAP is crucial for local SEO because Google uses it to determine if your website should show up in searches that are intended for local businesses, such as “realtors near me.”
Neighborhood pages that target buyers and sellers who are interested in specific neighborhoods. You can create dedicated pages for each of the neighborhoods that you work within, including a look at the market for that area and how many houses are for sale currently. You can also discuss the different amenities that are available in each area, along with business and school information.
But be careful that you don't run afoul of the Fair Housing Laws, which makes it illegal to use discriminatory language in your marketing. For example, you can't say “no children” and, by the same token, you can't say a neighborhood is “great for families.” Present the information and let your clients decide what's right for them.
Through your website, you can produce a lot of content and draw prospective clients to you. Plus, creating and maintaining a website is one of the most inexpensive ways to market your real estate business. Don’t ignore this golden lead generation opportunity.
In addition to getting found by prospective clients on search engines, you can get found on social media, too. People hang out on social media to keep up with their friends, family, and favorite celebrities, but they also follow businesses. So many agents are intimidated by social media, but there are several ways to get involved. You can:
Social media allows you to build a community and then engage them regularly without asking them to leave the platform.
Did you know that you can set up Facebook ads that will only be shown to people who’ve visited your website before?
It’s known as retargeting. Here’s how it works:
Even if you’ve never created a Facebook Ad campaign before, the process is pretty easy – so is installing the Facebook Pixel on your website. You can use Facebook’s retargeting capabilities to reach out to people who’ve already expressed interest in your website. Perhaps they’ve clicked on a listing, read a blog post, or visited your neighborhood page. These people are already in your funnel. You can use these ads to continue nurturing them until they’re ready to convert into a client.
I can guess what you’re thinking. Isn’t reaching out to expired listings a lot like cold calling?
Admittedly, you will need to pick up your phone to call these prospects. But here’s how it’s different: You’re calling someone who’s proven that they want to sell their home. You’re not shooting in the dark.
With cold calling, you never know if the person on the other end is actually interested in selling their property. And that’s what makes it stressful.
That said, reaching out to expired listings can be challenging because the prospect is frustrated and probably disillusioned with the selling process. Not only will you need to convince them to list again, you’ll need to convince them to list with you.
Before you reach out, take a few minutes to research the listing. Find out why the property didn’t sell. Was it the price? Lack of marketing? Lack of staging? When you call the prospect, you want to be informed and offer them a reason listing with you will be different.
Divorce attorneys can be a great resource for prospects. They have a steady stream of clients who need to sell their marital home. If you can build relationships with divorce attorneys in your area, they’ll likely recommend you to their clients. This way, you’re not prospecting. The divorce attorney is prospecting for you. And that feels a lot like a word of mouth recommendation. Additionally, you can ask if you can leave your business cards or brochures in their reception area.
Networking with divorce attorneys in your area starts with a simple invitation to coffee. Just keep the relationship alive by continuing to email and check in on them throughout the year.
Reach out to owners who are selling their property by themselves (a.k.a. FSBO).
These owners want to sell their homes but their inexperience is preventing them from doing it efficiently. They’re probably inundated with low ball offers. Or phone calls at all hours of the day and night. And, if they’re working a full time job, it can be challenging to handle the demands of a listing.
The truth is that nine out of 10 homes are sold through a real estate agent. Homes sold through an agent sell quicker and for more money. Use data to convince these owners that listing with an agent will result in greater visibility for their property. You have more marketing skills and a bigger network to sell to.
FSBOs believe they're saving money by doing it themselves. And it’s true that they won’t pay commissions if they sell their home by themselves. But that’s a big if. In reality, they’re losing money by taking time off to show the property and by continuing to pay their mortgage while waiting for the property to sell.
They need your help. It’s just up to you to convince them.
In your call, share the above reasons why they should partner with you. If you have FSBO success stories, be sure to share them.
When calling any prospective client, whether expired, FSBO, or other, be sure to check the “Do Not Call” Registry. You cannot solicit people who are currently listed in either the national or the state of Massachusetts registry. If you do, you are breaking the law and are subject to a penalty of up to $43,792 per call. Yikes.
You can get clients without actively prospecting. The above activities are like advertising without the bitter aftertaste of prospecting. Include them in your rotation.