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real estate prospecting ideas

Prospecting is such a broad term and that makes it hard to know what types of real estate prospecting ideas are best suited for your real estate business.  As a marketing major I’m used to taking the top down approach when coming up with a prospecting plan.  That combined with my experience as a real estate agent has given me a very clear path to the most effective real estate prospecting tactics.  So let’s get to it!

Ask for referrals

Every agent wants a referral based business, no?  I mean there isn’t really a better feeling than getting a call from someone you’ve never met asking “if you have time to list their home” because Mrs. Past Client told them how wonderful and professional you were in selling their home.

A referral based business is a great goal for you to strive toward but it’s not as easy as closing deals year after year.  You’ve got to be a good agent throughout the entire process even after closing day.  On top of being a great agent you’ve got to be willing to ask for referrals.  Even your most adoring clients may not have you at the top of their minds every single day.  Here are a few tips when asking your past clients for more business.

Make it personal

When it comes to finding good real estate prospecting ideas, developing a personal relationship is the goal.  When you call or send your past client a message asking for a referral you may want to start off with something other than, “hey I would love to close a few more deals this year, know anyone?”.  Obviously this is the dialogue we all envision and it’s the reason we don’t send the message or make that call in the first place.

Start off the conversations with… a conversation!  Ask them about how their summer was or how the dogs or kids are doing.  Spend the first few minutes talking about ANYTHING other than real estate or yourself.

Be specific

Make it clear to your past client what you want them to do.  Politely asking them if they know anyone who may be ready to buy or sell in the next year is not rude or unreasonable.

“I had such a great time representing you in the sale of your home last year and any of your friends would be just as fun… are any of them thinking about moving?” would be a great line to use.

Make it easy

You can create a virtual business card using bvcard.com to send to your past clients and they can forward that to anyone they think may need your services.

Create a schedule and keep it consistent

Asking for referrals feels weird so you’re going to avoid it but putting it down on paper and setting a reminder a few times a year will help you get this done!  I once saw an agent post to Facebook that she was a certain amount of sales away from her goal and she needed (her Facebook followers’) help to reach her goal.  I personally would never use this approach but that’s the beauty of real estate.  Everyone can create plan that works for them and their network.

Reward your advocates

Give them a small gift when you ask for the referral

If you plan to ask for referrals via handwritten note (my personal favorite) you may want to include a $5 Starbucks gift card with it.  They’ll feel more obligated to give you something in return, ahem a referral preferably.  😉  I like to include in my note that I appreciated their business so much and would love to catch up for a cup of coffee.  A few things happen when you do this:

  • You accomplish the referral ask
  • You’re dripping on your sphere (so they don’t forget about you).  More on that here.
  • You’re opening up the opportunity to meet up in person and further deepen your relationship

Keep your advocates informed on the success of the referral

When I receive a referral I almost always hear from the client making sure that I received the referral.  You see, they are proud to refer you to their friends and family and they want the referral to come to fruition just as much as you do.  So you owe it to them to keep them informed on the progress of the transaction.

Here’s what I do every time I receive a referral from a past client:

  1. Make  a personal phone call to thank them.
  2. Send a thank you card and $10 coffee gift card in the mail.
  3. Update them via email once I’ve reached out and scheduled an appointment with the new client.
  4. Update them once the new client has made an offer.
  5. Mail them another gift once the sale closes.

Give them a gift when you close the referral transaction

This doesn’t need to be a huge gift; they’ll appreciate any gift you send to them.  Here are a few ideas…

  1. Donate to their favorite charity
  2. Give them a gift card for 5 car washes
  3. Buy them dinner for two and movie tickets

Keep a list of your top referral sources

One of the best pieces of advice and real estate prospecting ideas I’ve received over the years is to create a list of your top referrers in a tab next to your entire database/sphere of influence.  Knowing where most of your business comes from is essential to scaling your business and income levels.

Be sure to reciprocate referrals back to your best referrers if it’s applicable.  If not, consider hosting a referral appreciation event at a local ball park or restaurant to make them feel extra special and reinforce those good behaviors.

Create a rating system for your prospects

I use Contactually for this because it’s an amazing product and makes my life easier.  Their scripts are phenomenal and I get much higher open rates on my emails.  The buckets they use to help agents rank their prospects are genius and now they’ve gone further to help agents accurately rank prospects, telling you who’s going to buy in the near future.

Create a follow up system and track your results

The power of tracking your goals is something I’m very passionate about and it’s very simple.

    1. Make a plan
    2. Build your list
    3. Track your results
    4. You can find resources to help you will all 3 of these steps in my free resource library.

real estate prospecting ideas

Direct mail to renters

If first time home buyers are your niche then this is a great way to get your name in front of them.  There are numerous ways to purchase mailing lists but if you’d rather go the free route try leaving valuable information in public places where renters spend the most time.

Advertise a recent sale in the area

People pay very close attention to sales in their neighborhood and knowing that you are as well will bode well for your prospecting efforts.  Using the FOMO effect to your advantage is actually very easy and has worked well for me in the past.

I simply look at the most recently sale in the neighborhood of my geofarm and create a postcard saying, “Your neighbor just sold their home for $_____, you may like to know how much your home could sell for”.

Walk your dog through your geofarm

As a dog lover and owner and someone who walks their dogs daily, this is one of my favorite real estate prospecting ideas.  It’s really simple!  Take your dogs for a walk through your geofarm neighborhood while wearing a company shirt.  It’s important to dress casually in this case.  People understand that you aren’t going to walk your dog in a suit.  Don’t hand anything out, don’t knock on any doors, just greet people as you walk by them.  You may have to do this on a regular basis but that’s what prospecting is all about; consistency.

Make it personal

Take the time to send  your prospects a hand written note.  The chances that they’ll open it and consume the information is higher than if you were to send a company branded legal sized envelope.  Just make sure to follow this blueprint while sending snail mail.

  • Hand write everything (return address, mailing address, content, etc)
  • Use a live stamp (holiday or patriotic)
  • Choose notecards and matching envelopes in a greeting card size
  • Make sure the return address has your personal name

Drip on your sphere of influence regularly

Your sphere should hear from you about every 3 weeks.

Here are a few resources for when you actually get ahold of them:

Produce useful and consumable content

When you’re making a plan to prospect you should make 80% of the content valuable to your audience and the other 20% can be dedicated to asking for business.  You can provide value in numerous ways but be sure to tailor it to your niche’s specific interests and pain points.

Here are a few ways you can provide valuable content to your prospects

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics are great as door hangers because they’re the perfect shape and easily consumable
  • How to videos
  • Snapchat is great for a behind the scenes look at your profession
  • Facebook live Q&A

Additional reading material:


Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale teaches online courses and workshops for new + experienced real estate agents who want to enhance their skills, grow their business, and live the life of their dreams.She believes it’s always the right time for coffee and that if there's a heaven it's a pool filled with golden retreivers.
Jenna Martindale