Real estate prospecting is the act of generating new real estate clients through active outreach and outbound communication. Rather than waiting for the phone to ring, a real estate prospector picks up the phone (or emails or texts or knocks on the door) to initiate contact with potential clients.
Learning how to prospect in real estate can be one of the most rewarding pursuits, and without a doubt, it’s the best way to generate new leads. If your real estate prospecting needs to level up, here’s some expert prospecting advice from five top producers in the residential and commercial real estate game to help you generate more business.
1. Learn the Art (& Science) of Real Estate Prospecting Letters
The first tool in a real prospector’s toolkit is the prospecting letter. The real estate prospecting letter is a fantastic tool for prospectors because it serves several purposes:
- It conveys a lot of information (like a neighborhood CMA)
- It’s an easy way to introduce yourself and soften the ground before a phone call
- It’s effective: Hand-addressed letters are read more than a cold postcard
Though prospecting letters are great, they’re not all created equal.
Make sure your prospecting letters are personalized, professional, and authentic. Nobody likes reading mail addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam.” Remember, your goal with your letter is to demonstrate your value and prompt someone to reach out for more information, so make sure you include a motivational call to action as well.
Get Started Today: Write a prospecting letter to 10 neighbors about the last home you sold. Share exactly what you did to get the job done, and how you are ready to help them too.
The Close Resource: 17 Best Real Estate Prospecting Letter Templates
2. Make Your Real Estate Prospecting Decisions Based on Data, Not Comfort
Realtors who use data to guide their decision-making are going to come out ahead when it comes to real estate prospecting. Here’s what California real estate broker and marketing guru, Marc Azfal, had to say on the topic:
“When you’re real estate prospecting, make sure you’re tracking your results very carefully. If there’s a particular strategy that connects with your prospects well, leverage that strategy and focus more on it, even if it’s relatively uncomfortable.
“For instance, a letter is easy to write and non-confrontational, but if it doesn’t advance your goals, why would you consider sending it?
“That neighborhood garage sale you sponsored was time-consuming and required a lot of face-to-face prospecting, but it netted you three new clients. Even though the garage sale took longer and was more difficult, it’s clearly the way to go.”
Get Started Today: Put big data to work for you in your prospecting. Check out how a predictive analytics platform like SmartZip or Offrs can help you narrow down the prospects in your community to only those most likely to buy or sell.
3. Remember: You’re Providing Value to Your Community
One of the biggest complaints we hear from new agents is that they don’t want to “bother” anyone with cold calls or door knocking. We get it—no one wants to be seen as the sleazy salesman.
Of course, the reality of the situation is that you’re actually providing value to your community.
When you reach out to potential buyers and sellers, letting them know about your services and expertise, you’re also making them aware of their options in the real estate community. I’m sure we’ve all heard the first-time homebuyer or seller say, “I had no idea I could do any of this!”
Get Started Today: One way to start to provide this value to your community is by creating a neighborhood website. These websites act as hubs for what’s going on week-to-week, provide valuable opportunities for spotlighting the best and brightest members of your hometown, and are a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your market. The Faces Of specializes in these sorts of websites, providing a unique platform for sharing your passion for your community and its members. They only allow one real estate agent per area, check to see if your town is available.
4. Make Your Weekly Goals About Work & Your Long-term Goals About Results
Since real estate prospecting is all about picking up the phone and making it ring for your soon-to-be clients rather than waiting for them to call you, it makes sense that you’re going to talk to a lot of people who are interested in what you have to say, but not quite ready to get active in a transaction. Don’t be discouraged by this.
Make your weekly prospecting goals about the work you’re doing: the number of calls you make, the number of texts you send, the number of doors you knock, and so on, and make your six-month goals about the amount of business you close.
The more seeds you plant now, the more you’ll harvest later!
Get Started Today: Start building your prospecting into an overall real estate lead generation strategy that will allow you to dedicate some time to the long-term nurture of prospects, some to the quicker turnaround of paid lead generation, and some to the care and keeping of your existing clients.
The Close Resource: Long-term Lead Nurturing: Tips & Scripts to Avoid Overtasking
5. Use REDX to Improve Your Real Estate Prospecting Efficiency
Just a few years ago, real estate prospecting involved a huge amount of grunt work. You’d have to gather addresses for mailers and scrounge through various less-than-reputable websites to try to find phone numbers. Don’t even get us started on trying to locate contact information for Expired Listings.
Luckily, these days we have amazing and affordable software that can do the heavy lifting, meaning all you need to do is polish those scripts.
REDX is a prospector’s best friend because they do all the hard work for you, giving you all the information you need to start reaching out on day one, and even tools to make that outreach more efficient. REDX gives you owner profiles on every single Expired Listing, FSBO seller, and more. Their built-in Power Dialer automates your calling, making your phone prospecting up to 400% more efficient.
Get Started Today: Right now, REDX is offering The Close readers $149 off the setup price, automatically deducted when you click over to their site from this article. Our favorite REDX lead categories are FSBOs, Expireds, and GeoLeads, so make sure to check all three out.
The Close Resource: Deep Dive Review – REDX
6. Sponsor Seasonal, Family-friendly Neighborhood Giveaways
There are few better ways to ingratiate yourself to a community than to give away fun stuff, and there are lots of chances throughout the year to sponsor giveaways—American flags on Memorial Day and 4th of July, pumpkins before Halloween, and Christmas trees in December, just to name a few.
Either go door-to-door offering these items, or set up a neighborhood pickup night where your potential clients can come to a particular location and meet you. However you choose to do it, each giveaway comes with a handshake, some exchange of contact information, and a call to action, helping to make you the neighborhood real estate expert.
Get Started Today: Neighborhood giveaways are a fantastic prospecting strategy when they’re a part of an overall real estate farming approach. Get started today by identifying a neighborhood in your market that is perfect for real estate farming and start planning your first touch.
The Close Resource: Real Estate Farming: How to Become the Go-to Agent in Your Neighborhood
7. Create a Lead Generating Website
Real estate prospecting is easier if people are already familiar with who you are and what you do. Create a website that provides visitors with information about selling a home in their community, an opportunity to search for properties currently listed for sale, and a way to contact you with questions.
You’ll be setting yourself up for easier conversations and higher conversion rates when you do actually get to speak to your prospects directly.
Get Started Today: Placester is offering a 30-day free trial for Close readers to check out their websites—no credit card required. Head to Placester right now to see which of their plans will best fit into your lead generation strategy.
8. Follow Relevant Hashtags on Social Media & Engage in 1-to-1 Real Estate Prospecting
Prospecting isn’t about cold calling and mass mailers—it’s about starting and then cultivating a relationship with people who you think will be great buyers and sellers, either now or in the future. One-to-one prospecting is a great way to build this relationship, as explained by Manhattan real estate expert, Claudine O’Rourke:
“When I see a baby bump or a stroller, I know there’s a potential client who needs more space! So, not only do I engage in any way I can in person, but I engage on Instagram with those in my sphere who are posting about being a new mom. As a mom myself, I can relate. Instead of offering mommy advice, I offer NYC real estate advice. #nycmoms.”Claudine O’Rourke
9. Dedicate 90 Minutes a Day to Real Estate Prospecting
Your prospecting efforts will only be as successful as they are consistent. Prospecting is a lot of work (and has a lot of potential reward), so thinking that you’re going to get your prospecting done in just a couple minutes a day isn’t realistic.
Successful real estate agents set aside 90 minutes every day and dedicate them to prospecting. Those who can commit to a regular schedule will be amazed at the results that 7.5 hours of prospecting each week will get you.
Get Started Today: Head to your calendar and block off 90 minutes of protected time to prospect each day. We suggest making it the first thing you do every morning since you’re more likely to be using tools like your customer relationship manager (CRM) in the morning anyway.
The Close Resource: Still looking for a real estate CRM? Here are our favorites.
10. Call Expired Listings Every. Single. Day.
Expired Listings are golden opportunities for real estate prospectors (no pun intended). After all, the owners of these homes have raised their hand and said, “Yes, I want to sell my home.” For one reason or another, their home didn’t sell, but chances are, their desire to sell their home hasn’t changed.
The only question is whether you’re going to list the home or a more aggressive agent in your office will get to it first? Before you get an expired listing owner on the phone, have the background on each listing. What was it listed for? Was it priced right? Was it marketed correctly? Be ready to overcome objections and move quickly.
Get Started Today: Head to your MLS and set up a personal alert for any property that changes to an “expired” status. Remember, you’re not the only agent who is planning on prospecting these leads, so the sooner you get on the phone and start making these connections, the better.
The Close Resource: 15 Best Expired Listing Scripts & Objection Handlers
11. Call FSBO Sellers Every. Single. Day.
Just like Expired Listing sellers, FSBOs are fantastic prospects to nurture because the sellers have proven that they want to sell their home now.
However, the approach is different with FSBO owners than it is with Expired Listing sellers because these owners are convinced (or at least they claim to be) that they don’t need a real estate agent to sell their home. Either that, or they just don’t want to pay the commissions.
You’d think that these folks would be impossible to convince otherwise, but you’d be wrong.
We know that more than 91% of homes in the U.S. are sold using the services of a realtor. According to Realtor.com, the median home sale price for a FSBO home is close to $60,000 less than the median sale price of a realtor-listed home. Usually all it takes to win these listings is a savvy pitch and persistent follow-up.
Get Started Today: Head to Zillow and set up a new listing alert for FSBO homes. Don’t get us wrong—there’s nothing wrong with driving the neighborhood and looking for FSBO signs, but over 90% of FSBO homes are on Zillow, so it’s a great place to set up an alert for potential new leads.
The Close Resource: 7 Best FSBO Scripts & Why They Work
12. Stop Fearing the Word ‘No’
According to a study done at Baylor University on real estate cold calling, it takes an average of 209 calls from a real estate agent to a farm area to set an appointment or get a referral. For those of you with a fear of rejection, the takeaway here is that you’re going to have to endure 208 gut-wrenching “no’s” before you finally get a yes.
For those of you who have already gotten over your fear of “no,” this statement is music to your ears. It means that for every “no” you get, you are quantifiably closer to a “yes.” It means that if you can make 627 calls in a week, you’re going to get three appointments out of that hard work.
Get Started Today: Use a basic spreadsheet like Excel or Google Sheets to make a cold call tracking form and start tracking your results. When you start looking at rejection as data, it’s much easier to hear the word “no.”
The Close Resource: 24 Real Estate Cold Calling Scripts and Tips to Conquer Your Fears
13. Get Some Face-to-Face Time With Your Real Estate Prospects
If real estate prospecting is about establishing a relationship with potential buyers and sellers, there’s no better way to take that relationship to the next level than a little face-to-face time.
Just shaking hands with someone you’d like to do business with is a powerful experience, as explained to us by one of California’s leading commercial real estate experts, Hans Hansson:
“Keeping your face in front of your current decision-makers, as well as getting it in front of any new decision-makers, is a must for real estate prospecting.
In the commercial world, I’ve learned the hard way that I could have worked miracles for a client, but the decision-maker had been replaced, and since I didn’t have any face-to-face time with a new decision-maker, they wouldn’t have a clue as to the great work I’ve done in the past. The same idea can be applied to residential real estate.
People need to see your face; they need to shake your hand in order to really establish a relationship so you become their go-to real estate resource.”
Get Started Today: Set up some “office hours” at a local coffee shop. Every time you speak to a cold-outreach prospect, mention that you’re going to be at a coffee shop on a certain morning, and they should drop by for a cup of coffee on you and to talk about real estate if they’d like. Creating a non-confrontational way to offer a face-to-face experience is an excellent way to mature relationships.
The Close Resource: [VIDEO] 7 Best Real Estate Prospecting Tips & Techniques for Success
14. Use Video Marketing to Soften Your Prospects
Prospecting letters aren’t the only way to soften a particular set of future clients. Social media advertising provides some very specific targeting options when it comes to who you want to see your content. Texas-based real estate expert, Evan Roberts, told us:
“YouTube Ads now allow real estate agents to run video advertisements within a specific geographic farm area. We found that recording testimony videos from past clients and running these videos as YouTube Ads to be a great way to build brand awareness within our farm area.
Using YouTube’s targeting features, we were able to reduce our audience size to only homeowners and those likely to buy a house in the near future. YouTube Ads have been cost effective for our marketing efforts since they cost 3 to 5 cents per view and are targeted to only be shown to qualified, potential clients.”
Get Started Today: If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to video content, start with property. Every time you are showing a home, grab your phone and shoot a quick, 30-second tour of the home and post it to wherever you’re active on social media. Even if the listing isn’t yours, it demonstrates that you’re active, you’re available, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like looking inside someone else’s house?
The Close Resource: 11 Real Estate Videos Smart Agents Are Using + Examples
15. Create Facebook Groups Your Prospects Will Flock To
Social media is a popular place to prospect, but it’s not the easiest place to do it unless you know what you’re doing. In fact, a study done by Kuno Creative showed that for business pages with less than 500,000 followers, on average, only 6% of your organic following actually even sees your post, much less engages with it.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t prospect profitably on Facebook. Take, for instance, the strategy used by Will Friedner, broker with the Montana Life Realty Team:
“We’ve had great success using Facebook Groups to generate real estate leads. I now have four real estate Facebook Groups around the state of Montana with a total membership now over 30,000 people (almost 3% of this state’s population). These groups now account for over 50% of my business.”Will Friedner
Get Started Today: Before you get started with your own Facebook Group, check out my presentation to the 2020 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference about creating lead-generating Facebook Groups. Don’t forget to check the presenter notes for my explanations of each slide!
The Close Resource: How to Set Up a Real Estate Agent Facebook Page to Get More Leads
Over to You
The Close has a ton of great real estate lead generation tips for real estate agents of all experience levels. Not sure where to get started? Check out 37 Underrated Lead Generation Ideas to get inspired.
Have a great real estate prospecting strategy that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below—let’s keep the conversation going.