Team up with a partner (or several) for prospecting success

By Amy Corr

As we head into the fall market, there’s no better time to begin building a pipeline of business opportunities for 2024. But facing low inventory levels, high interest rates and clients that seem to be sitting on the sidelines, prospecting can feel like a daunting task. This is when we need to dig deep to find opportunities where others see challenges. If you can do that, your efforts in the fourth quarter of the year are going to push you ahead of the competition.

When prospecting, it can be difficult to focus and stay committed to the task at hand — not to mention the challenge of finding consistent times to prospect that won’t disrupt your schedule. To help break this cycle and head into the coming year with a robust pipeline, try teaming up with one or more fellow agents to create a prospecting group. This shared commitment can help keep you on track, and working in a group gives you the opportunity to share tips, ideas and challenges.

Be creative

Set a day and time, whether in person or over Zoom, where you and your group can all prospect together. Rotate the task of planning how you’ll conduct your outreach each week and be creative! Look for ways to make things interesting, which will keep everyone focused.

For instance, one agent in our community organized an impressive virtual power hour with over 30 agents, all focused on setting up coffee appointments with their vendors. If they didn’t have specific vendors in mind, they reached out to clients within their sphere and asked for recommendations. In just one hour, they managed to schedule over 50 appointments for the upcoming two weeks — a great example of the power of collaborative prospecting!

Following are some additional creative ideas our agents have used for keeping themselves accountable:

• Lunchtime “speed sessions.” For example, call five past clients in 20 minutes.

• A weekly challenge: Set a challenge where the “winner” buys coffee/lunch for the other group members.

• “Pick a year” challenge: As a group, review your CRM and find the list of clients you helped with a real estate transaction in a certain year. Put together a communication to these clients about the value of their home, what the current market conditions are and how things have changed since they purchased or sold that year.

• Create theme days, like “Social Post Saturday” or “Testimonial Tuesdays.”

Set realistic goals

It’s important to set realistic goals that you and your prospecting group can truly manage. The key is to be consistent, even if it’s just 10 minutes per day. Ten to 15 minutes of targeted, focused prospecting is worth more than one hour with interruptions.

I suggest starting with short, achievable goals. Make sure to stay targeted and focused. For example, you could call five clients whom you helped three years ago, rather than simply calling five people from your database at random. And of course, regularly track your results and review what worked.

Be direct

Right now, your goal is to gear up your business for the fall market and beyond, so when you reach out, be honest with your contacts. While it may seem uncomfortable to bypass the usual “FORD” (family, occupation, recreation, dreams) questions, I suggest getting straight to the point.

Let your prospects know that you’ve achieved success for numerous clients this year and have the availability to take on additional buyers and sellers, and don’t hesitate to ask if they know anyone seeking advice or insight into the current real estate market.

• Other questions you can ask are:

• Do you know of anyone who recently had children going off to college who might be interested in purchasing a local property for visits — or for their children to use in the future?

• Do you know of anyone who might be looking to upsize/downsize in the coming year?

• If a prospect tells you they had a great summer vacation, let them know it’s a good time to purchase a vacation property.

Prospecting is nonnegotiable

In today’s real estate market, prospecting is critical. Teaming up with colleagues not only makes the process more enjoyable, but also ensures that prospecting is a top priority in your business.

Amy Corr is the executive vice president of culture and agent development for @properties Christie’s International Real Estate.

The secret to a long, successful real estate career? Ditch the sales pitches and swagger. Just listen.

By Diane Terry

I am often asked what I feel is the secret to my 30-plus-year successful career. The answer for me is simple. It is understanding the importance of your listening skills. Stephen Covey said it best: No one cares how much you know until they know you care. I have seen fellow agents dish out thousands of dollars to learn “pitches” and, God forbid, “swagger.” I assure you there is not one past client I was honored to work with who cared about my swagger, and they would smell a sales pitch a mile away.

In the many listening workshops I teach and with the private coaching clients I have, we start first by understanding the type of listener you are. There are basically 11 listening modes to which we tend to default. You can find them in an excellent book called “Listen Like You Mean It,” by Ximena Vengoechea. It is very important to understand what your default mode is so you can be aware of your behavior and train yourself out of it.

For example, I am a problem-solver. The minute a client begins to share their problem, I am troubleshooting the issue five different ways in my mind. Before I learned to train myself out of this, I was so busy solving the problem that I was not staying present, remaining quiet and listening for the “real” problem, and probing for more.

All people need a bit of a warmup before they get to the core issue. So, they may give you what is easy to share, but unless you create a safe space and all the time in the world, then they are not going to trust you enough to share the REAL issue. The first problem shared is rarely the real one. If you do not know how to listen, you are going to waste your time showing how you can solve the wrong or incomplete problem.

When I meet sellers in their homes and I notice that I am doing the talking and not them, I silently reprimand myself with W.A.I.T. — “why am I talking”? I am learning nothing if I am doing the talking. Remember, “words conceal, silence reveals.” Get comfortable with silence. Did you know that in the U.S., people jump in after 4.6 seconds of silence due to discomfort? Contrast that to Japan, where it is 8.2 seconds. In the silence is a sea of possibilities.

Learn the type of listening style you default to in a client situation, and create a safe space for them to reveal what is most important to them. Learn how to ask great questions. Know how to probe deeper. Seeing good listening as a cooperative conversation vs. listening to “win” will serve you well, not only in business, but in all the areas of your life.

Who else would like to see a collective discussion of our industry revolve more around integrity, honor, work ethic, privilege, fiscal responsibility, a standard of excellence and the sacredness of our vocation? How about less of things like pitch, swagger, pay per click, buying leads, “use your buyers as bait” and sending unsolicited CMAs?

We are better than this. Let’s all hone our listening skills and become invaluable partners in our clients’ journeys of success.

Diane Terry is a 30-plus-year real estate professional in the Seattle area. She is the chairperson for Windermere Real Estate’s In City Standards of Practices Committee and has been for six years. She has recently parlayed her coaching and teaching skills into She offers talks, workshops and one-on-one coaching on listening skills, business planning, boundaries and women in business.