You may be a great communicator, a gun salesman or a clever negotiator, but if you’re not a consistent prospector, your real estate business can suffer through peaks and troughs.
Great Agents know the importance of persistence, continuity and discipline when searching for new clients, and they understand that it’s not just about cold calls and door knocking – it’s about building relationships. And it’s those relationships that will ensure consistent levels of stock, listings and most importantly, sales.
Ten industry leaders were recently interviewed by Domain, and here they share their top tips for prospecting.
Make it a habit
Incorporating prospecting into your daily routine is essential, says Michael Keil, Director of Michaelkeil.com Property.
“It’s very easy to start a prospecting plan, but it’s also very easy to stop,” he says. “By prospecting every day, it certainly becomes a habit. A successful Agent should never stop prospecting.
”Setting time aside for dedicated prospecting is crucial, and it’s important to not just squeeze it in around other tasks. James Tostevin, Director at Marshall White, prefers to schedule large blocks of time to reach potential clients. He says shorter bursts just aren’t as effective.
“Ideally I like to have four to five hours or even up to seven hours where I am just making phone call after phone call after phone call.
”Discipline is key – but it can be fun too
Sometimes Agents will postpone prospecting because it can be perceived as a slog. But Brett Hunter, General Manager of Raine & Horne Terrigal – Avoca Beach, has a solution. His company has a “10 before 10” rule where each Agent has to make 10 prospecting calls before 10am. They also have a DDD philosophy – delegate, dump or do it – which helps to prevent procrastination.
“All of these little mantras you have around the office help you have fun with the bits of work that you know are super necessary but sometimes you need to be pumped up to get the energy to do it,” he says.
Make communication meaningful
Prospecting does not mean getting on the phone and giving people the hard sell about selling their home. It’s about building relationships and engaging meaningfully with prospective clients.
Mark McLeod, Growth CEO at Ray White, believes prospecting has become too Agent-centric with a ‘what’s in it for me‘ attitude. He says structured prospecting is on the way out, and organic communication is the new black. The future is all about interacting with people on a very personal and community level.
“It means interacting on a level that means something to them and interacting with them about things that are happening in their immediate communities. For that to be real and transparent and authentic, it actually needs to be about the customer.”
Create a quality database
Size doesn’t always matter when it comes to databases, says Scott Wulff, CEO of MyDesktop.
“You get a lot of Agents who think that they have a great database because they’ve got a massive database, and that is probably as far from the truth as you’d get,” he says.
Wulff says a good database is manageable, one that an Agent can work well and is not too time consuming.
Vivien Yap, Principal at LJ Hooker in Claremont, WA, agrees. She says prospecting is all about quality.
“If you have 30,000 clients on your database but they are not the quality clients that you want, you’re just sending out information that they will just delete.
”Don’t stick with the same spiel
Jeroen van de Peppel, State Sales Manager at Domain has seen a lot of new businesses fluctuate when they don’t consistently prospect. But it’s also about being smarter with the message.
“The most effective habits that I have observed have been the Agents that have been able to segment their database, and segment them in such a way that they’re not communicating the same message to everyone on their database.
”Simply bombarding your entire database with the same message is simply not as effective as clever targeting.
Keep ‘er steady, Cap’n
Prospecting consistently will ensure your stock levels don’t wildly fluctuate and you can avoid peaks and troughs. Once they have stock, it’s easy for Agents to get distracted with listings and sales and neglect to prospect – and that’s to their detriment.
Agents need to keep at it year-round, asserts Harcourts Coastal Director Dane Atherton, who has a unique way of explaining his strategy.
“The analogy I like to use is once you get to cruising altitude and you’re at 30,000ft above the weather they tend to start getting relaxed and comfortable but ultimately what happens is once the stock goes, they get back down a little bit to rougher times and they realise that they haven’t actually replaced that stock.”
Choose the right time to prospect
Calling prospective clients early in the morning or late afternoon up to 7pm when people are finished work is a successful strategy for a successful strategy for Sabrina Minic, Principal of Minic Property. She also keeps it simple.“When you speak to clients, speak to them with purpose,” she says. “I like to keep my calls short – no longer than two and a half minutes.”
After all this hard work, it’s also important to acknowledge that you’ve stuck to scheduled blocks of dedicated prospecting time and put your best foot forward, says Cary Giezekamp, Director of Callagher Estate Agents.
“For most Agents to get around the time block scenario I think the best thing they can do at the moment is reward themselves – give themselves a little reward after each block of time.”