If a successful real estate business is built on a strong referral network, prospecting is the mortar maintaining its integrity.
Many people still associate prospecting with cold calling. And while the process is effective – one study showed three-quarters of decision makers make sales appointments as a direct result of cold calling – it’s also old fashioned.
Consumers today are more savvy and want to interact with you on their terms. It’s with that in mind that we suggest some more modern approaches to filling out your client base (and ultimately strengthening your referral network):
- Become a local educator – There are several ways to put on a public-facing real estate course or workshop (i.e. a library or community center) that can educate hopeful buyers and sellers on the realities of the market and the process, while at the same time attracting a crop of potential clients.
- Reach out to FSBO sellers – Prospecting can seem a daunting task because it’s trying to find a bronze needle in a stack of silver ones. Not everyone wants to buy a home. Not everyone wants to sell a home. But when you reach out to a FSBO seller (maybe the for-sale sign in their lawn tips you off) you know you’re connecting with a person already interesting in selling.
- Use FB bots – As we reported, Facebook recently introduced a new messenger feature: a bot function you can use to respond to inquiries and qualify potential clients. By programming the bot to have conversations with curious consumers, you can collect general information about them: if they want to buy or sell; what their price range is; where they want to buy or sell; and all the contact information necessary to take the next steps.
- Be a go-to relo agent – Thousands of families are moving to and from cities every day, and a large portion of them are moving because of work. Not every company is going to have a relocation department; however, a lot of larger companies will; and by forming a relationship with the managers in charge of that department, you’ll be well positioned for taking on a wealth of new relo clients.
- Speak at municipal meetings – The ultimate goal for real estate agents is to have business come to you. One way to do that is to have such a robust referral network that your past business generates your new business. Another way is to cultivate yourself as the ultimate professional and authority on real estate matters. By attending city council and neighborhood board and association meetings, you’re telling your community that you not only work in real estate, but you’re also invested in the community and you know your stuff. It’s a great way to impress potential clients and meet local buyers and sellers.