16 real estate prospecting strategies to supercharge your business

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Prospecting is the lifeblood of your business. Without a strong real estate prospecting strategy in place, you’re missing out on future business. You can be the best agent in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough clients. The most important activity you can focus on is your real estate prospecting.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, real estate prospecting is a proactive approach to finding new clients through direct outreach, outbound communication and events. Here are some proven real estate prospecting strategies. When applied with consistency, they’ll help you grow your business.

1. Start with your sphere

The people you already know are the fastest and easiest sources of business because trust is already there. They know you, like you, and want to help you be successful, so half the work is done for you. Simply stay in touch with them by consistently reaching out in a variety of ways (phone calls, texts, social media DMs, mailers, emails, in person) to stay top of mind.

Let your happy, satisfied clients know that your business thrives on word-of-mouth. Ask if they know anyone looking to buy or sell their property. When receiving referrals, your prompt follow-up is crucial. You’ll need to show appreciation to your client who sent the referral and reach out immediately to engage with your new prospect while the recommendation is still fresh.

Pro tip: Bring up real estate in conversation by telling interesting or funny stories from the field. It’s ok to borrow other agents’ crazy stories until you have your own.

2. Host (and sit) open houses

Open houses are a great way to meet prospective buyers, many of whom might not have their own agent yet. It’s also an excellent opportunity to post the open house on your social media platforms and establish yourself as an expert. The perception to your followers is that you’re a successful real estate agent, even if the open house is not for your own listing.

You can also promote the open houses you sit or host using signage, flyers, community notice boards, and direct mail postcards sent to homes in the community to attract a larger audience. We recommend Wise Pelican. They’re an affordable postcard printer. Pricing varies by quantity, but 500 printed postcards cost under 50 cents each.

3. Door knock inviting neighbors to every open house

One of my favorite real estate prospecting strategies is door-knocking the neighborhood the day before the open house, inviting neighbors to an exclusive neighbor preview, typically an hour before the public open house begins. This accomplishes several things: it makes the neighbors feel special, gives them permission to be a “nosy neighbor,” and gives you more face time with future potential sellers.

Pro tip: Print fliers and bring them with you, in case the homeowners aren’t home. Just be sure not to leave anything inside the mailbox!

4. Send golden letters

Golden letters are simple, one-page letters sent to homeowners that say “I have a buyer interested in this neighborhood. Have you considered selling?” (Check out our article on real estate prospecting letter templates). Use this strategy when you have a buyer who doesn’t see anything they like on the market or when they’re tired of being outbid. You might pick up a listing, or you may just find an off-market property for your buyer, making you a hero.

Pro tip: Send the same letter to the same neighborhood multiple times. It may feel strange, but it will get you more results.

5. Stand out with expired listings

If you’re experienced and confident calling expired listings, absolutely call all the new expireds daily. If not, try calling old expireds from several years ago, sending them a handwritten note, or even showing up at their door. This will set you apart from all the other agents calling the same list. Expired sellers have (most likely) already had a less-than-stellar experience with their last agent, so show them how you’ll go above and beyond for them. 

We love Handwrytten for writing golden letters and other outreach because it convincingly mimics handwritten notes, saving you time and hand cramps. It integrates with Salesforce, Follow Up Boss and Hubspot, so you can easily send notes to anyone in your sphere of influence.

6. Build relationships with For Sale By Owners (FSBOs)

FSBO owners need help but do not want to be sold to. So, lead with value and build relationships slowly. Eventually, most FSBOs will hire an agent. Be that person when the time is right for them. Try Vulcan7, a helpful tool for finding FSBO contact info in your local area.

Targeting For Sale By Owner (FSBO) and For Rent By Owner (FRBO) listings can be a viable strategy for finding seller leads since these homeowners have expressed a desire to sell or rent their properties. A drive through your favorite neighborhoods or a scroll through Facebook Marketplace will help you find FSBOs & FRBOs.

To win their business, you’ll need a well-prepared pitch explaining the benefits of working with an agent, such as broader market exposure, professional marketing, and assistance with negotiations and legal issues. Tailor your pitch to address the unique pain points of selling or renting a property on their own.

7. Network with strategic partners

Who are the “golden gooses” when it comes to finding real estate clients? Divorce attorneys, financial planners, probate attorneys, assisted living managers, rent insurance agents, estate sale companies, etc. Buyers and sellers typically talk to these professionals before hiring a real estate agent. When you put in the effort to network with strategic partners like these, you increase your chances of receiving high-quality referrals.

Pro tip: Ask these partners to teach seminars with you and invite their databases, as well. Most will jump at the chance to teach a seminar with you.

8. Teach webinars and in-person seminars

The topic can be anything: first-time buyers, first-time sellers, downsizing, house-hacking, investing, etc. Seminars give you a reason to contact everyone you know and offer something of value. It makes keeping in touch with your sphere and following up with your leads much easier. Seminars also position you as the expert in front of potential clients. I’d recommend partnering with appropriate vendors to help you run your seminars or webinars. For example, a mortgage lender is a great person to have at your first-time buyer sessions.

There are lots of ways to get involved: volunteer, host a booth at a community event, sponsor a local sports team, etc. You can find opportunities to get involved on your city/town’s website, community Facebook groups, or by calling local organizations such as the public library. Most community organizations would be more than happy to have an additional volunteer or a sponsor for an upcoming event. You’ll be seen as a leader in your community and it’s another way to meet new people.

Pro tip: If you’re hosting a booth at an event, capture attendee’s contact information by raffling something large and exciting (a Yeti cooler is always a hit). They’ll need to fill out a form to enter to win – you can even ask them on the form to tell you when they might be thinking about making a move.

10. Join networking groups

One benefit of joining networking groups is that everyone else is there for the same reason — to do business. Go in with the mindset of helping the other business owners you meet and expanding your network. Most of my referrals over the course of my career came from networking groups. You can try Business Network International (BNI), Facebook groups, Meetup.com, young professional groups, or women entrepreneurs’ gatherings.

11. Host housewarming parties for your buyers

Offering to host a housewarming party for your buyer clients in lieu of a closing gift is a fantastic prospecting strategy. Some buyers will take you up on this; some won’t. But for those who want it, there’s no better way of meeting your buyer’s friends and family. This expands your network and allows you to connect with future potential clients. Bonus: You can write off 100% of the cost since these are a marketing expense.

Expand your sphere of influence by running ads on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. Be sure to include a lead capture form and have a follow-up system in place. One of our favorite tools for this is Zurple. Zurple offers an automated lead nurturing service that helps you stay in touch with new contacts from your ads.

Stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% of your social media posts should be non-real estate, and only post about real estate 20% of the time. The caveat is that you can adjust those percentages if your real estate posts are funny or entertaining. This keeps you top-of-mind with people you already know, so when they have a real estate need or a referral, you’re the one they reach out to. Social media is an awesome alternative to cold calling if that’s not your thing.

If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, Facebook Lives can help reach a broader audience to showcase your latest listing and share market insights. Try scheduling live sessions in advance to promote your upcoming open house. Using a call-to-action, such as encouraging watchers to reach out for a private showing or to visit your open house, can help convert interested viewers into potential clients.

An added benefit of using Facebook Lives is that you can share them in your feed for your connections to watch later, and you can repurpose them as an archive of “how to” and market information you’ve shared, helping to showcase your market expertise long after the live session has ended.

14. Send a monthly email newsletter

A monthly email newsletter is a highly leveraged touch (and it’s free!). Most CRMs will offer an automated email campaign option that keeps you top-of-mind with your sphere, leads, and past clients. Use infographics you can create in Canva to keep the content easy to read. This way, you provide valuable market information in a format everyone can understand.

15. Circle prospect around recently listed and just sold properties

Circle prospecting can take the form of either physical postcards sent in the mail or phone calls. The purpose is to reach people who live near a recently-listed or sold property and promote yourself as the local market expert in that neighborhood. Tom Ferry’s Prospecting Bootcamp can help you master circle prospecting. His program is known for excellent conversation starters and objection handlers.

16. Host client appreciation events

In-person events are the most impactful form of communication, and inviting all your past clients to an annual appreciation event is one of the best ways to see them in person. You can use the event to further build the relationship, ask for referrals, and show gratitude to your past clients. Even if they don’t show up, being invited captures mind share and could very well result in you receiving referrals.

Pro tip: If you don’t have enough past clients for an event, invite current clients, leads, friends, vendor partners and neighbors. Don’t worry about the number of attendees – simply plan it, invite people, and have fun.

Real estate prospecting: Bottom Line

Consistency is key, and the magic is in the follow-up. Go into the world daily and find those people who need your help buying, selling, or investing in real estate, and you will build a successful business.

Here are some additional real estate prospecting tips to help you build your plan:

  • Choose 1-3 strategies of these 16 to implement at a high level. Don’t try to do too much
  • Carve out time on your calendar daily to prospect (and protect that time)
  • Give your plan six to 12 months to get an accurate measure of results
  • Assess the results and adjust accordingly

I recommend doing a quarterly audit of your real estate prospecting strategies, tracking your results, and determining where you’re getting the highest ROI. Double down on what’s working and let go of anything that’s not.

Resource: Check out my VIP DAYS, where we’ll build your plan together, put it on your calendar while protecting your family time, and assess/audit your efforts to ensure things are working.

Ashley Harwood photo

About Ashley Harwood

Ashley Harwood began her real estate career in 2013 and built a six-figure business as a solo agent before launching Move Over Extroverts in 2018. She developed training materials, classes, and coaching programs for her fellow introverts. Ashley currently serves as Director of Agent Growth for three Keller Williams offices in the Boston metro area. She is the creator of The Quiet Success curriculum and has taught thousands of real estate agents across the country. She has been a guest speaker at top industry events and has been named a leading real estate coach by prominent industry publications.

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