Creating a real estate prospecting action plan is the key to consistently maintaining a full pipeline of prospects. Unlike agents who seek prospects whenever they have spare time, those who follow a structured plan are able to find higher quality prospects on a more predictable basis.
In this article, we’ll dive into the six most important elements of a real estate prospecting action plan and give you specific steps to act on each one:
- Schedule time every day for prospecting
- Leverage your existing network
- Foster lasting relationships in your community
- Optimize your online listings
- Send personalized outreach to expired listings
- Reach out to leads ASAP
By the end, you’ll have a plan to consistently generate real estate prospects.
Schedule Time Every Day for Prospecting
Even when you have several listings, you still need to spend time prospecting because as soon as those listings close, you need new ones. How much time you need to spend prospecting varies based on the amount of business you get through referrals.
If you get almost enough referrals to maintain your ideal number of clients, then you likely only need to spend 30-60 minutes a day on prospecting. However, if you’re new to your market and don’t have a strong network yet, you may need to spend two to three hours a day or more on prospecting to get the number of leads you need to reach your goals.
- Schedule time on your calendar to work on prospecting activities every day.
- Lower the amount of time you spend prospecting as you get more referrals.
Leverage Your Existing Network
A NAR survey found that 39% of sellers choose agents that were referred to them by their friends or family. Since buying and selling homes can be a very personal and stressful experience, many people want to use an agent that their connections trust.
Thus, leveraging your existing network is one of the easiest ways to generate prospects. Instead of trying to convince cold prospects that you’re the right agent for them, you just have to have regular touch points with your network so that they don’t forget you. When you stay top-of-mind, former clients will remember to refer you when one of their friends needs an agent.
- A few weeks after a sale, check in with your clients to make sure everything is going well.
- Send out a newsletter to former clients at least once a quarter to stay in touch.
- Reach out on birthdays, home anniversaries, and other significant dates.
- Thank people when you get a referral from them.
Foster Lasting Relationships in Your Community
If you’re still trying to build your network, getting involved in your community is a great place to start. Attending community events gives you opportunities to meet local influencers, potential prospects, and gain a better understanding of your market.
Randomly attending events isn’t guaranteed to generate prospects. You need to have as many authentic conversations as possible and have a plan to foster lasting relationships. Here’s how:
- Attend community events and genuinely get to know as many people as possible.
- Send follow-up messages to every person you meet. Even if they’re not currently a prospect, they may be one in the future or be able to introduce you to someone who is now.
- Create social media posts about your event attendance. This shows potential prospects that you’re an active member of the community.
- Always have business cards available for when you meet potential prospects.
- Consider sponsoring events and/or hosting a booth. This gives your business greater exposure.
Optimize Your Online Listings
According to NAR, 93% of home buyers look at homes online, often before reaching out to an agent, and over 85% of them using photos and information posted online to help them decide which properties to seriously consider.
Having beautiful, up-to-date online listings (your site, Zillow listings, MLS listings, etc.) is an easy and effective way to generate consistent inbound prospects. Since online prospects look at tons of properties, you need to make your listing stand out by:
- Having high-quality photos of every major part of the property.
- Containing complete, up-to-date information.
- Highlighting nearby amenities including good schools, business districts, etc.
- Having an easy way to reach out to you for more information.
Investing effort in making your listings beautiful and comprehensive helps you earn a consistent stream of inbound prospects.
- Post all of your listings on multiple sites with high-quality photos, information about amenities in the home and nearby, and your contact information.
- Update your listings as soon as you get new info and/or photos.
Send Personalized Outreach to Expired Listings
After a listing expires, homeowners often receive letters from several agents offering to represent them. Most agents send templated, uninspiring letters that simply offer to represent the property and list off some of the agents' credentials.
Taking the time to send personalized letters to owners of expired listings significantly increases the likelihood that you’ll get the prospect since it shows owners that you’re sincerely interested in helping them.
Here are some points you can include to personalize your expired listing letters:
- Your average days to close for homes that are similar to theirs.
- If you think the home hasn’t sold for aesthetic reasons, share a couple of examples of how you’ve successfully staged homes.
- Share a couple of specific ways you’ll promote their property.
- Give a couple of examples of other homes you’ve sold in their neighborhood.
If done correctly, sending personalized offers to expired listings can be one of your top prospecting methods. Everyone you’re reaching out to needs a real estate agent - you just need to convince them that you’re the right agent for them.
- Review expired listings on a daily basis.
- Send personalized letters to property owners you think you can help.
Reach Out to Leads ASAP
A 2018 NAR survey found that 75% of sellers and 68% of buyers choose to work with the first real estate agent they speak with. Most prospects are overwhelmed by the process of buying/selling a house and don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for an agent.
Being the first person to reach out to prospects and offer them support is one of the most reliable ways to turn your prospects into sales. To respond quickly, make sure you’re being notified about leads as soon as they come in and have information about all of your listings in your head or easily available so you can quickly answer any questions they have.
Even if you’re not the first agent your prospects talk to, you can win them over by proving that you’re the agent who’s most capable of helping them achieve their goals whether they’re trying to find their dream home or sell their current one for the best price possible. The easiest way to prove that is to provide examples of how you’ve successfully helped clients with similar needs.
- Set up mobile notifications for all of your prospect sources.
- Reach out to prospects within the hour (via email or phone) to start discussing their needs.
- Have information about all of your listings available at all times.
- If prospects are interviewing other agents, prove that you’re the best by sharing how you’ve helped similar clients.
Worried that you don’t have enough time to implement this prospecting action plan? A real estate virtual assistant can help. Our trained assistants can support every task in this article so that you can focus on developing strong relationships with clients. Download our guide to working with a real estate virtual assistant or schedule a free consultation to learn more.
About the Author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.