Prospecting is one of the sure ways to build a business and find new clients. In the real estate business it’s also called “farming”. A business won’t survive or grow without prospecting. Prospecting is very purposeful, planned and it brings great reward. By observing the technics of Realtors, we can learn relevant wisdom that will assist us in our efforts to reach and restore people. I pray that you will acknowledge that God is calling us to do for Him the same things we would do to build our personal business. If we prospect for our business, but not for His, we need an adjustment of the heart!
The web is a great source of articles on prospecting. Just browsing through these articles you can see the intentional investment that is necessary to generate listings and sales in Real Estate. Here is just one of the hundreds of articles available.
This article was published on: 07/01/2003
Build—and Keep—Your Leads
Your contact databases offers a powerful tool to grow your business.
BY WALTER SANFORD
You’ve got a fairly substantial lead database built up, but you admit a few potential clients slip through the cracks.
You wouldn’t throw hard-earned commissions out the window, but every lead who doesn’t end up in your database or whom you lose to another salesperson is a potential commission down the drain.
That doesn’t mean you want the name of every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your database even if they probably will never lead to a closed sale. More names mean more overhead because you have to write, e-mail, and call all those people.
Your goals in building and sustaining your database should be twofold: To include people in your database from all aspects of your personal and business life; and to stay in touch with those people often enough that when it comes time to buy or sell property they contact you, not another salesperson.
To reach these goals, schedule a day each year to take a close look at your database. Make sure it includes all these groups:
- Friends, family, and their friends and family. They know and trust you, so you have a good chance at getting their business.
- Past clients and current leads. They’ve experienced or are experiencing your free services such as advice on purchasing a property or referrals for top-notch contractors. That means you have IOUs in place.
- Contacts from your Web site, direct mail, and calls. If they’ve made the effort on their end, you can spend the overhead to service them.
- Open house attendees. They shook your hand and looked you in the eye—this will make future contacts easier by phone or email.
- People with whom you do business. If you give them business, they should give you business, right? Ask your accountant, your dry cleaner, and the owner of your favorite restaurant, “Who services your real estate needs?” Before you buy a car, ask to interview all the salespeople in the dealership with one question: “Who’s buying or selling a home in the next 24 months?” Add frequent business contacts in your check register and on credit card bills to your database.
- Orphaned clients. As a young salesperson wanting business, I found old file in my office cabinets from salespeople no longer with the company. Since my broker owned the files and listings, I asked her to write these past clients a letter to tell them I was their new representative, I had superb abilities, and I’d requested that they accept my phone call or email.
Keep your eyes peeled for similar opportunities: salespeople who may be retiring, leaving the business, or moving out of the area. Let them know you’ll stay in touch with their past clients and you’ll pay a referral fee on closed transactions for a period of time.
Clients I didn’t represent that bought my listing. I met them during the negotiations, underpromised, and overdelivered. I believe their salesperson may not follow up because I witnessed poor representation during a transaction or I’ve heard the salesperson has a reputation for not following up. It could just be I felt the solicitation of the client after close wasn’t in violation of any moral, ethical, or legal rules. In any of these situations, I might add the clients to my database—but only if I don’t do business with their salesperson. This method of clientele solicitation may be underappreciated by their salesperson, so think about the ramifications first.
You might have noticed I left out your Lion’s Club, church group, and college alumni association. If you aren’t well known by a group, don’ t service its real estate needs, and don’t speak to the group on real estate subjects, group members may not be good leads because you haven’t had direct contact with them. Remember, the leads you call and write should be people who have a connection to you—either personal or business.
Now that you’re clear about who goes into your database, your next step is to decide how often to contact them. If you don’t contact leads enough, you may alienate them and lose them to the salesperson down the street. If you contact them too often, you’re taking time away from more profitable lead generation endeavors or wasting overhead money.
So how do you determine the amount of contact right for you? Using your past experience contacting leads, determine the least amount of contact needed to keep lead relationships alive and to keep your name in the top of their minds. For me, minimum contact was two phone calls and four to six e-mails or letters per year.
On the phone, catch up with people and ask if they have family or friends thinking of moving. Tell them how hard it is to acquire new clients and tell them how much you’d appreciate their help. Also ask if they’ve ever considered investment property. Finally, find out if they’ll be taking advantage of any of your VIP services, which may consist of various free services such as advice on buying and selling decisions, estimates of value on all types of property, or buyer qualification estimates for a new purchase.
If they decide to take advantage of your services, it gives you a reason to contact them. E-mail or “snail mail” information about your free services to your database leads at least every three months.
By finding and keeping leads through minimal, cost-effective methods, you’ re increasing your opportunities to grow your sales.
How To Reach Walter:
Walter Sanford is an international speaker and author of 14 books for real estate salespeople, including The Book of Real Estate Checklists. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Sanford Systems & Strategies, 800/792-5837.
Walter Sanford is an international speaker and author of 14 books for real estate salespeople