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.
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.
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.