Sales prospecting is quite the task! Many sales reps are given a bad name because they appear desperate when making sales calls, fail to listen and look for shortcuts, hoping to outsmart their prospects.
Before actually getting into what brokers and realtors can do when it comes to prospecting, let’s distinguish a prospect from a suspect. A prospect is a qualified lead — someone who will likely do business with you, someone who has the budget and characteristics of your target market. A suspect is someone who MIGHT be good to pursue at some point but has not yet been qualified. This person may or may not be suitable to work with.
Many realtors pursue EVERYONE they meet. This is a huge mistake. Instead, they can follow these five tips for effective sales prospecting:
1. Develop warm leads through networking.
Realtors and brokers can focus on building relationships through regular group networking events. Rather than pitch strangers or go “hard” when it comes to introducing their trade, they can learn about the people they get to know over several months.
Find out what their home situation is (divorce, marriage, kids moving out, etc.) and allow conversations to occur organically. Only when it’s appropriate should they divulge anything at all about real estate, ask to assist or request referrals. In other words, they should ‘work in reverse.’ Listen first.
2. Use social media.
LinkedIn is a great professional platform for business advancement. Having a great profile is only one part. The other is consistently sharing 3-4 valuable posts per week: sold properties, videos of special properties, testimonials and simple real estate business tips for prospects. The idea is for realtors and brokers to utilize LinkedIn as a data source to build lists of potential prospects.
Using Facebook and Instagram in the same way is also powerful. The idea is to be consistent with posts across all platforms. Be creative and try new things. Authenticity is what will win at the end of the day!
3. Make sales calls with caution.
Cold calling is one of the oldest methods of marketing and is still effective today. Anyone who says cold calling is a thing of the past is wrong. Make sales calls with ease, by asking for permission first. Be polite, pleasant and confident over the phone. The idea is to turn cold calls into warm conversations over time and not spend time with the wrong people who will never open up.
Having a strong calling script and plan is essential. Going back to authenticity, be real over the phone. State who you are and what you do. Say that you want to stay in touch over time and provide value through information like educational market updates. Don’t expect a deal right away and avoid sounding desperate. With this approach over the phone, the conversation will make a positive shift and the relationship will develop over time.
4. Follow up.
Always follow up when you say you will. Be someone of your word. Many people say they will follow up and then don’t, for whatever reason. Keep a strong real estate CRM or business tool to track leads. Note dates and times, special conversations you have with your prospects and personal information shared both on calls and in person.
Your CRM is the lifeline of your business. It is your future income. Yes, it is that serious!
5. Ask for the meeting.
When it comes to sales prospecting, whether over the phone, via LinkedIn or during a networking function, it’s imperative to get into the habit of asking for the next step. Always try to secure a meeting date but if not possible, a phone call follow-up date.
Getting excited over a great first conversation will fade — this is what people don’t realize when they are prospecting. Always be proactive and take nothing for granted. Initial excitement during meetings won’t last, and you will be forgotten fast.
Sales prospecting practices will test your level of patience and perseverance. It’s more important to get their information than to provide yours. This includes their business card, their contact information and their story. Remember, it’s all about the prospect, not you. Your ego to win business must be kept in check.