Prospecting is one of the most crucial steps in the sales process. It encompasses every activity that sales professionals perform from finding leads to nurturing them and converting them into paying customers.
As basic as it sounds, finding and nurturing leads can be a very difficult task – looking at the recurrent back and forth that many sales professionals experience when generating leads and communicating with them.
For real estate agents, prospecting can even be a lot tasking and time-consuming – it can take months and countless working hours to generate leads, sell to them and convince them to buy a property.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 43% of home buyers search for their desired property online, while, only 18% go through real estate agents.
Considering the high competitive scope of the real estate industry – there is a high possibility that real estate sales agents interact and sell to the same customers, which makes the sales process a lot lengthier and more repetitive.
Luckily, some effective techniques and tips can help you improve your real estate prospecting efforts. In this article, we will be taking you through all you should know about successful real estate prospecting in 2023.
Table of Content
- What is real estate prospecting?
- Why real estate agents should prospect
- Real estate prospecting skills & mindset
- Real estate prospecting tactics
- Real estate prospecting techniques
- Tips to improve real estate prospecting
- Real estate prospecting tools.
What is real estate prospecting?
Real estate prospecting is the process of finding new real estate clients, nurturing them, and converting them into customers to improve sales and grow your business.
Real estate prospecting combines various forms of sales outreach – offline techniques like cold calling, word of mouth, one-on-one meetings, and online techniques like social media, websites, landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and automated marketing tools to initiate new business by developing tailored messages and campaigns for new clients.
To achieve significant results as a real estate agent, you must invest a significant amount of time in finding and nurturing many leads and exploring various prospecting methods to convert your prospects and increase their retention after sales.
Active vs. Passive Real Estate Prospecting
Prospective activities fall into two broad categories – active and passive prospecting. You must keep the two activities in check during your lead generation and sales prospecting processes.
Active prospecting refers to the activities you control and can measure and keep track of its results.
These activities require your ongoing time and effort to achieve the desired results. Under active prospecting, sales professionals make the first move to interact with and nurture the leads.
Examples of such activities include: attending events, cold calling your contacts and customer database, referrals, networking, seminars, one-on-one meetings, and targeted messaging via emails and social media platforms.
Passive prospecting otherwise known as passive marketing or attraction marketing refers to those activities that you have no control over and are mainly dependent on the reaction of others.
Contrary to active prospecting where sales reps have to reach out to the prospects first, prospects reach out to the agents in passive prospecting. It is also cost-intensive and requires less active time to set up.
Examples of such activities include: developing high-quality and optimized content on your websites, creating lead magnets such as guides, infographics, checklists, ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, templates, training videos, etc., and social media and digital ads.
Why real estate agents should prospect?
Prospecting is critical to the success of your sales and marketing efforts. Real estate like every other industry can benefit the following from prospecting;
1. Increase customer base
Real estate prospecting enables real estate sales agents to get more leads and update their sales pipeline as they lose leads. Based on a report that an average salesperson loses about 15 – 20 customers per year due to gradual attrition.
With prospecting, real estate agents can have customers readily available for nurturing in the sales pipeline.
2. Create qualified leads
Real estate prospecting enables real estate agents to understand their leads better and determine their eligibility as potential buyers. Effectively qualifying your leads will help you improve your sales process to initiate sales.
3. Increase revenue
Prospecting efforts set the pace for generating and selling to new real estate clients. When you have more leads in your sales pipeline, you increase your chances of increasing your sales and revenue.
4. Data gathering
Real estate prospecting provides you with more opportunities and avenues to conduct market and customer research. From this, you find more information about your customers, their interests, goals, and pain point to guide your sales and marketing strategies.
5. Develop customer-focused and data-driven strategies.
You can use the information generated from your real estate market and customer research to develop data-driven and customer-focused strategies and campaigns to target and convert the leads to paying customers.
Real estate prospecting skills & mindset
Real estate prospecting is a time and effort-consuming process. To achieve the best result, real estate agents must have the following skills;
Real estate agents must be very good planners. They must be able to plan and successfully manage their time, activities, tools, and resources to achieve their desired result.
Real estate agents must be able to effectively communicate their plans and offer with their management teams and clients. Communication skills enable real estate agents to understand others and be understood by their clients, team, and stakeholders.
With communication skills such as listening, speaking, observation, and empathy, you can build a strong relationship with your real prospects.
A real estate agent must be able to effectively negotiate and sell their real estate services to their prospects and strike a balance with them. Through negotiation, real estate professionals can convince new leads to consider the business deals and offers.
Aside from this, it will also help you understand how best to resolve conflicts between you and your clients.
Relationship-building is the cornerstone of every successful sales prospecting. For you to grow your real estate business and increase sales, you must build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with your leads and customers.
Listen to your leads when they have issues, and be there to solve all their needs.
5. Value creation
A common rule in real estate prospecting is your value proposition – developing and sharing valuable information and solutions with your prospects and customers. Value creation is one of the most powerful skills required of a real estate agent.
You must be able to craft and share compelling and relevant, value-driven content and sales pitch to your real estate prospects and customers to help you achieve your desired goals.
Strategy rules the entire real estate prospecting and sales process. It determines the approach you take to interact, build relationships and sell your business solutions to your real estate clients.
A strong and data-driven strategy tells you when and how you can gain new leads, nurture them and convert them into revenue-generating customers. Also, check out B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.
Real estate prospecting mindset
As emphasized earlier in this guide, real estate prospecting isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It has its highs and lows that can put you off the process if you are not prepared.
To help you get by the challenges of real estate prospecting, consider keeping the following important tips in mind while prospecting:
1. Always focus more on how you can help
You need to realize that all your prospects and customers are interested in what they stand to gain from talking to you. Before taking too much time in the process, be very clear on the value and the benefits of your real estate services to them.
Once they understand what they can gain from your services, they become more receptive to your sales pitch.
2. Remember relationship rules over selling
Relationship-building is critical to the success of your real estate campaigns. A well-nurtured client can offer you a lifetime value of 6-figures and refer you to their connections – which can provide you with more revenue.
Be fully committed to building and maintaining strong and beneficial long-term relationships with your prospects and clients.
3. Always put in the effort
In prospecting, you have no control over what your clients and prospects do or how they react to your marketing and sales campaigns. One thing you have absolute control over is your input and commitment to the campaign.
To increase your success rate, devote your time and effort to doing the right process and activities. Develop tailored plans and strategies to target and convert your leads and prospects into paying customers.
Real estate prospecting tactics
Real estate prospecting tactics are the ways real estate agents generate new leads. Here’s an overview of some of the best-performing real estate prospecting tactics you can adopt.
1. Cold Calling
Cold calling is the process of reaching out and calling potential real estate buyers and existing customers via calls, emails, or messaging, without being asked to do so. It is time-consuming and mostly requires the intervention of many real estate agents.
Based on a recent report, 46% of sales professionals found phone calls to be an effective method for reaching prospects
Real estate agents have to either go through their contact list and existing clients’ database to call them one by one to initiate a new business or perform a person-to-person outreach by visiting them to introduce themselves and their services.
It is highly recommended that real estate agents use cell phones with advanced features like voicemail (Visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email), a mobile and desktop app, a business caller-ID, and call forwarding.
2. Real estate prospecting letters
Direct mail is a form of direct marketing sent directly to your prospect’s mailbox via post office or courier service. Real estate prospecting letters are modernized and one of the most effective and repetitive forms of prospecting in this digital age.
Prospecting letters are best used to personalize messages sent to clients’ mailboxes to reduce the chances of them missing the letters.
Although they cost more to produce and reach their audiences a lot slower than other digital channels, they are reportedly 20% more persuasive than digital media channels.
3. Direct words of mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing is an unpaid and mostly free form of marketing that is done out of goodwill and customer satisfaction. Word of mouth takes place when your satisfied customers take it upon themselves to promote and become your brand advocates.
Word of mouth requires less amount of money to generate customers and the ROI compounds over time. Considering the number of people that rely on social proof to buy a product or service, word-of-mouth marketing can help real estate agents to gain more leads.
Advertising is a form of marketing communications shared through several traditional and digital media platforms such as television, radio, newspapers, billboards, flyers, or digital or social media ads.
Advertising offers real estate agents a wide reach and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your customers.
5. Open houses
An Open house tactic is an old and effective practice where realtors or home sellers give people access to inspect their homes and get a free feel of the house before buying it.
It is an olden days form of live advertisement where homeowners decorate the house to look its best and offer free incentives like drinks and appetizers to support the sales process.
Open houses are the best forms of lead magnet offered to highly interested and valuable leads to influence the buying process and allow real estate agents to impress their prospects and share their best strengths.
6. Real estate lead generation services
Real estate lead generation services enable real estate agents to buy qualified leads using predictive analysis, ad-based generation tools, and contact databases.
Lead generation services like RedX, BoldLeads, Zillow, MarketLeader, ProspectNow, etc., help real estate agents to track their leads and provide valuable insights about the leads.
7. Social media
The use of social media for lead generation and prospecting has become an effective marketing tool. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram generate high-quality leads and target them via social media ads to target and reach them.
Aside from this, realtors also use social media posts to promote their property listing, find new leads and build and maintain strong relationships with prospects and existing clients.
To use social media to generate and nurture real estate leads, realtors have to hire an independent social media management team to plan and manage their social media promotions.
Real estate prospecting techniques
Real estate prospecting techniques refer to ways a real estate agent carries out real estate prospecting. The two main real estate prospecting techniques are offline and online.
Offline Real estate prospecting techniques
1. Branding services
Branding is the process of developing a strong and positive image of your company and services in the minds of your customers. Consider using business cards, flyers, banners, mascots, etc.
2. Use billboards
Billboards are brand awareness adverts placed in high-traffic places, such as highways and in the cities to drive attention to real estate properties.
3. Build a strong local network
Networking is crucial to the success of both old and new real estate agents. You can generate leads and perform real estate prospecting through a strong local network.
To create a strong local network, consider the following steps
- Attend social and community events like exhibitions, fairs, etc.
- Join real estate association meetings.
- Join your local community meetings.
- Volunteer in social programs
- Organize charity events
- Ask for referrals
4. Develop a referral program
A referral program is a process that promotes and offers incentives to encourage past clients to recommend your services to their colleagues and family. By developing a referral program, you can generate and qualify their leads much better.
Consider offering a discount, split fee, collaborating with other real estate agents, offering a commission to past clients when they recommend and bring in a new customer, and setting up a referral agreement with your local home improvement consultant and stores like a local coffee shop for your meetings with clients, etc.
5. Offer free education
Consider setting up a free education campaign to provide potential and existing buyers with free real estate knowledge and information that can influence their buying decisions.
You can use educational content to build trust and establish yourself as an expert in the real estate industry. Consider making local tours of the community, developing free guides or brochures, starting a youtube channel, or hosting AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions online and physically.
6. Use SMS Marketing
SMS Marketing is the process of sending promotional messages and content to your potential buyers and existing customers via text messaging (SMS).
Although SMS marketing appears outdated, it is still relevant in present-day marketing to access a limited but accurate target audience with less likelihood to get spammed or lost among other messages. SMS marketing is relatively more cost-effective than online media. Check out the guide for increasing your sales productivity.
Online Real estate prospecting techniques
1. Engage in content marketing
Content marketing is creating and sharing relevant and promotional content to attract, engage and retain new and existing clients. You can create a real estate market blog, guide, ebooks, templates, whitepapers, etc., to improve your prospecting process.
2. Implement real estate SEO
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic that visits a website, blog, or landing page. In this case, consider setting up an SEO practice to drive traffic to your real estate website.
3. Make good use of YouTube
YouTube is a powerful medium to put your real estate brand out there. Check out viral videos on YouTube, and real estate advice from real estate experts – Christophe Choo and Krista Mashore – to improve your prospecting.
4. Join Facebook groups to promote your real estate services
Facebook groups are a powerful marketing tool used by present-day realtors to attract and engage with new and existing customers on real estate Facebook groups.
A recent study by NAR found that 80% of realtors use Facebook to connect with their community and nurture qualified leads.
To support your real estate prospecting, research-active real estate Facebook groups and start interacting with them.
5. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a powerful platform used in present-day marketing to promote your brand, products, and services. You can find opportunities on this platform and increase your real estate brand visibility.
Consider boosting your LinkedIn profile, developing the best brand storytelling strategies, engaging with customers, and leveraging the social platform for networking.
6. Develop a presence on Instagram
Instagram is a popular social platform used by marketers today to connect, engage and entertain their customers.
As a real estate agent, you can create an Instagram account and build a strong presence on the platform to showcase your properties, humanize your brand and improve your prospecting practice.
7. Use Social memes to grow your customers
Social media memes are ideas, images, or behaviors that are shared via the internet, mostly, on social media platforms to boost brand engagement, increase customer interaction, and gain new customers.
Memes are effective content that you can share on your social media pages to lighten up the mood and improve your real estate prospecting efforts.
Tips to improve real estate prospecting
Real estate prospecting combines different techniques and strategies like personal outreach, digital strategies, and the use of real estate prospecting technology to generate leads and strengthen the sales pipeline.
Irrespective of the existing strategies and technologies in place for real estate prospecting, realtors still experience difficulty managing leads and nurturing them till they are ready to convert (make a purchase).
Hence, we will be identifying some effective tips on how real estate professionals can improve their prospecting, increase their customer base and generate more revenue.
1. Choose a real estate niche
A competitive industry like real estate requires you to be very strategic about your career and strategies. One of such strategies is finding a niche or specialty that best suits your interests, your person, region, and business goals.
The three broad categories of real estate professionals fall into residential sales, commercial sales, and property management. Under these categories, you must identify and choose which area of specialty you want to focus on and build your expertise and personal brand awareness.
Some areas of specialty are new construction sale/management, luxury property sales, land & development specialty, farms & ranches specialty, green real estate sale/management, industrial properties sales, etc.
Once you have chosen your niche, consider joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups of your niche to find leads and gain insights into your potential and existing customers’ interests, goals, and pain points. Share your real estate knowledge on the groups to position yourself as the go-to person for real estate needs.
2. Set up your real estate business website
A business website is an avenue to put yourself and your brand out in the web space to attract more customers and boost sales.
Now that you have a niche and have hopefully gained extensive knowledge and experience in your chosen real estate niche, your business website should showcase your property listing, expertise, and social proof to improve your prospecting for new clients.
Integrate digital marketing techniques like search engine optimization for your website and blogs, compelling copy, call-to-actions, email opt-ins, and a contact form to increase your website’s online visibility, drive traffic to your site, and aid your lead generation, and nurturing process.
3. Build landing pages
Unlike a website with many web pages, a landing page is a web page created specifically to promote a marketing or advertising campaign.
For your real estate prospecting, a landing page can help you find and attract leads to your page and add them to your pipeline with the use of a lead magnet and contact form. You can also use your landing page to target new clients outside your local region to achieve your business goals.
Ensure your landing page has offers, discounts, or incentives that will not only help you attract new leads but also help them progress in the sales cycle.
4. Make prospecting a part of your daily routine
Prospecting is a daunting task that requires you to invest a lot of your time, effort, and money. The best mindset to improve your real estate prospecting is to add the list of activities and tasks that you need to complete to generate and nurture new leads into your day-to-day activities/tasks.
Consistency is essential to achieving your prospecting goals. Research and look into the best time to carry out your prospecting task and integrate all this vital information into your daily routine.
5. Nurture past clients
A general rule in prospecting is never to forget a past client or prospect. Even if they didn’t buy from you during your first interaction, you can still get them to convert with the use of an improved and customer-focused strategy,
Aside from the personal purchases, your past clients’ or prospects can be instrumental in growing your networking and advertising your services to their friends and family. Hence, you should develop a follow-up strategy and plan that will enable you to reach out to your past clients or prospects at regular intervals.
6. Improve your follow-up process
Follow-up is extremely important to the success of your real estate prospecting. To be frank, you are going to do more follow-up tasks than lead generation tasks to achieve your desired results.
Generating your leads is one thing, the rate at which you follow up and keep your services at the top of their minds till they are ready to make a purchase depends on you. Consider setting apart some days of your work week to reach out and follow up with all your leads.
Make use of real estate CRM software like Sloovi Outreach, Pipedrive, etc., to schedule and automate your follow-up.
7. Initiate face-to-face meetings
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, an in-person request is 34 times more effective than requests via email.
When you meet your prospects physically, you can instantly build a deeper connection and understanding with them. You also reduce the chances of miscommunication or misunderstanding occurring in virtual communication.
Through Face-to-face meetings, you can get more personal with your prospects and openly discuss their interests, pain points, and goals for selling or buying a property. From your conversation, you can tailor your messages and campaign to meet those needs.
8. Engage with your clients and prospects on social media
Social media has become a really big thing in present-day sales and marketing activities. With over a billion people actively using Facebook, and other social media platforms. You can share your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin to attract new clients and engage them with your brand.
Create and share content like pictures or a 360 degrees tour video on your property, your client’s testimonials, insights into your brand, your brand story (how you started vs. now, your struggles and career wins), etc., with your clients on your social media platforms.
Real estate prospecting tools
The process involved in real estate prospecting can be a bit too much for a real estate agent to handle. This is why you need to use certain tools to streamline, schedule, and automate some of your prospecting tasks.
Here’s a list of the important real estate prospecting tools to work with.
1. Communication tools
As a real estate agent, a huge part of your task involves communication, both internally and externally. Using communication tools like ZoomInfo, RingCentral App, Sloovi Outreach, etc., can help you improve your communication, making sure you never miss out on important messages.
2. Project Management tools
Project management tools help you stay organized and manage all your tasks to ensure you don’t miss out on any one of them. Tools like Asana, Trello, Airtable, Zoho Projects, Wrike, Etc., can improve your team collaboration on real estate projects and deals.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Sloovi Outreach allow real estate sales reps to unify all their tasks, update leads and prospecting data, accelerate daily prospecting workflow, prioritize leads with dynamic Smart Views, and track & manage every interaction with leads and clients.
Other CRM tools to watch out for are Zillow premier agent CRM, Real Geeks, Hubspot, etc.
4. Lead generation tools
The ultimate goal of prospecting is to generate qualified leads that will become revenue-generating customers. Lead generation tools like REDX, BoldLeads, and BoomTown can help you generate qualified real estate leads.
5. Virtual Tour tools
The business of real estate thrives on visuals. Virtual tour tools like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Homerover, Klapty, Concept3D, etc., can help showcase your real estate properties to your clients and virtually take them around the house or property.
6. Marketing and Advertising tools
Marketing and advertising are integral parts of real estate prospecting. Consider using tools like Facebook Ads, email marketing software like MailChimp, Sender, etc., and landing page development software like LinkTree, ContactInBio, Shorby, and Lnk. Bio, etc. to advertise and market your properties.
7. SEO Tools
Search engine optimization tools help you improve and drive traffic to your website and landing page. Use SEO tools like SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, etc., to find and optimize your sites with targeted keywords.
Real estate prospecting can be very challenging. Regardless of the time, effort, and strategies you put into your prospecting, it still doesn’t guarantee the success of your real estate prospecting. You would have to go over your prospecting process multiple times to achieve your desired result.
As a real estate agent passionate about your brand growth and success, you must have it at the back of your mind that prospecting is a long and ongoing process. Take your time to study your prospects and best-performing timing and strategy to use them for your subsequent prospecting. With the advent of technology, there are now innovative solutions such as blockchain real estate software development that can help streamline the real estate prospecting process and provide new opportunities for growth. It’s worth considering incorporating such solutions into your overall prospecting strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
The good news is that once you establish a popular and trustworthy brand, prospecting becomes a lot easier and more rewarding.