In this article, we’ll first answer the question, “What is prospecting in real estate?”. Then we provide dozens of great real estate prospecting ideas for realtors. There is a special focus on networking ideas. Stay tuned to find out why that’s so essential!
Beyond that, we’ve included 11 super helpful tips for real estate agent prospecting, especially for those new to the residential realty game. We’ve also rounded up 7 of the best tools and resources for realtor prospecting.
What Is Prospecting in Real Estate?
Real estate prospecting includes the various forms of outreach a realtor uses to generate leads. It’s a key step in a real estate sales funnel. Generally real estate agents begin by targeting their audience. After designing a website, they develop automated marketing tools, a social media presence, email marketing campaigns, etc.
At this point they attract leads through different real estate prospecting ideas and techniques. The prospective clients move down the pipeline if they are qualified leads. Hopefully they turn into first appointments and then into closings!
“Traditional” real estate agent prospecting has included offline marketing techniques like real cold calling, estate farming postcards, and canvassing a neighborhood on foot. In some ways, there’s still a place for these old school prospecting techniques.
It’s especially true that personal networking and community engagement remain invaluable skills for real estate agents. Word of mouth referrals are the #1 real estate prospecting technique to generate new clients. For that reason, we’ve included a special networking and community engagement section to our list of prospecting ideas for realtors.
Real Estate Prospecting Ideas
Networking & Community Engagement Techniques
- Ask former satisfied clients for referrals. Many realtors call former clients to request referrals, but a handwritten note provides a personal touch. You may shy away from the idea of wrist cramps, but you already know to never underestimate word of mouth.
- Host an open house for a seller. Use this as an opportunity to put feelers out for other clients. Some experts recommend sponsoring open houses every weekend. Not only will you gain a lot of in-person exposure to potential leads, you’ll keep a constant finger on the pulse of the market.
- Volunteer for floor duty at your brokerage or agency. You can always find clever ways to invest your time when the floor traffic is slow. Just ensure your chosen task can be stopped on a dime.
- Engage your immediate sphere of influence. Think about family, friends, and anyone you see on a regular basis. Always remain open to talking about your profession and be forward about your appreciation for referrals. Those closest to you are the most inclined to feed your lead pipeline.
- Pay special attention to your own neighborhood. Especially if you’re a new realtor and looking for beginner real estate prospecting ideas, this is a great technique. Consider joining or founding a neighborhood watch.
- Host real estate seminars. Clearly this is a more advanced technique. If you have the expertise and experience, it can be a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your market. Think about the trust you could establish by slipping that into a conversation with potential leads.
- Approach large companies in your areas and recommend yourself for their relocation services. Clever, right? Just leave behind business cards and market reports. When presenting yourself to the companies, remember that you are providing them and their employees with a service, not begging for a favor.
- Attend professional networking events. It’s key to attend events that include non-real estate professionals. And be sure to come as a puppy, not a shark. Your goal should be to have fun and socialize, not target fresh prey.
- Get politically active. Are you concerned about climate change? Do you have a vested interest in the public safety of your town? Your interest in political issues may range from the global to the hyperlocal. Get involved.
- Volunteer strategically. This real estate prospecting idea works on multiple levels. Sure, you’re farming potential leads. But you’re helping those in need and gaining personal enjoyment from that. Plus it improves your community reputation. Keep in mind that some forms of volunteerism will provide significantly more potential leads than others. But ensure that you’re doing something you love.
Unique Real Estate Prospecting Ideas
More Community Prospecting Strategies
- Join extracurricular activities. This real estate prospecting idea is a reminder that whatever extracurriculars you’re involved in can be used as a networking opportunity. It’s also an encouragement to get involved in group hobbies.
- Join events for your pets or children. Activities like dog park meetups, high school cross country meets, or playground days are great because they naturally foster conversation among the adults.
- Get involved in even more events! Use platforms like MeetUp, Eventbrite, and Facebook Events to find activities that suit you well.
- Feature a local business on your website each week. This idea can be somewhat labor intensive, but it also has a great payoff. It fosters a huge amount of community connections. Remember that when you preemptively do something nice for someone, they feel inclined to return the favor, especially a favor of like kind. So what better way to get people to recommend your services than recommending their services? Plus you develop a bank of great restaurants and activities for people relocating to your area.
- Knock on doors but with a strategy. Many realtors shy away from farming a neighborhood by going door to door because it feels intrusive. That’s fair, but we have two real estate prospecting ideas that mitigate that feeling, both for you and the home-owners. First, bring along a dog on a walk through a geofarm neighborhood. If you don’t have one, borrow one! People are often happy to pet a friendly dog. It’s win-win-win-win. You, the dog, your friends, and the home-owners all get a nice treat. Keep in mind that some people are afraid of dogs, however, so it’s best to use a small, harmless, and well-behaved dog. Second, bring along a free resource like 450 Ideas to Sell Your Home Faster. Suggest sending the document electronically to save the environment and get an email as well.
- Knock on doors with gifts. In particular, you should bring market reports that demonstrate a strong growth in home values for a particular area. People are more likely to receive you pleasantly if you give them proof that their home is worth more than they thought. It’s almost like showing up with a gift of $10,000-50,000+.
- Public speaking. Yes, it’s the scourge of mankind. Our second biggest fear. But that’s exactly why it gives you a powerful presence and establishes you as an authority. Consider schools, universities, chamber of commerce, networking groups, and community meetings.
- Sponsor Neighborhood Giveaways. For example, you could hand out American flags on Memorial Day and Independence Day. Or mini pumpkins before Halloween. Hot chocolate kits in December. Funfetti Puppy Chow (for people) for the New Year. The list is endless.
- Contact the owners of expired listings. Do some homework first and ask why the listing expired. Then give free advice. But always check the Do Not Call Registry!
- Contact FSBO listings, especially those on the market awhile. What’s worse than paying a realtor commission? Never selling your house at all.
- Contact foreclosure listings.
- Find a good CPA and become his or her client. They might give you great referrals. Leave your business cards—or even better, beautiful fridge magnets—at their place of business.
- Connect with divorce attorneys. They also can provide great referrals. Get your mindset right beforehand—you’re providing both the attorneys and the divorcees with a service during a trying time.
- Buy a billboard! Here’s 30+ examples of effective real estate billboards.
- Get decked out with real estate gear. It’s wise to have exercise clothes, polos, and other outfits that signal you’re a real estate agent. Wear them on your geofarm neighborhood dog walks.
- Invest in refrigerator magnets. Business cards are cheaper, but so easy to misplace. On the other hand, a business-card-sized magnet works like a tiny billboard for everyone that passes through their kitchen. Make sure the design is beautiful and/or funny to incentivize people to place it prominently.
- Engage in content marketing. Apart from community engagement for word of mouth referrals, the best forms of real estate prospecting for realtors is online content marketing. You can check out our blog for dozens of quality articles on real estate content marketing. We’re regularly updating to provide you with free stellar content, the best resources, and helpful reviews.
- Learn about Real Estate SEO. This goes hand in hand with content marketing. You can also follow the lead of hundreds of realtors and sign up for Real Estate SEO Consulting. I offer FREE one-hour SEO consulting sessions to realtors. Read the Google reviews on the right-hand sidebar to see what they have to say. Then sign up to get your hair blown back.
- Plaster yourself across YouTube. This is my favorite way to get online real estate leads. You can check out my Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Video Marketing (Coming Soon). For now, learn from the masters Christophe Choo and Krista Mashore.
- Use NextDoorThis underutilized app brings together neighborhoods and communities with updates, events, posts, concerns, etc. It’s essentially a digital billboard, and you should be all over it! Make yourself the “neighborhood mayor”. Be the welcome committee for new transplants and take care of issues that will gain you major street cred.
- Use Facebook Groups related to your city. A recent NAR study concluded that 80% of realtors use Facebook to connect with their community and nurture leads. Once you’ve found a few relevant groups, Facebook will suggest more ideas. Soon you’ll be plugged-in to ready-made communities that you can provide value to.
- Leverage LinkedIn. Use this Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Prospecting on LinkedIn (from LinkedIn!) for some excellent strategies. Check out the video around the 21:30 mark for more great advice!
- Develop a presence on Instagram. Especially if you already enjoy Insta, this is a fantastic way to connect with and entertain potential leads. Follow @joycereyrealestate for a model strategy. Check out the video around the 24 minute mark for more great tips!
- Consider Facebook Ad campaigns. At the very least, get a Facebook page. Be sure to track your success and decide if it’s worthwhile.
- Become a Zillow Premier Agent.
- Post on social media. It’s a free way to reach a wide audience beginning with your best referees—those close to you and past clients.
- Add a Live Chat to your Website. This can be a highly effective method for retaining potential leads.
- Improve your meme game. We’ve already compiled 50 great real estate memes for use on social media.
Prospecting Tips & Advice
- Create a calendar and fill it with your real estate prospecting tasks. Or use CRM software with a built-in calendar.
- Keep track of how many prospects you contact before getting a listing appointment. Use it to track your best real estate prospecting ideas. At first, aim to get one secured lead per day and one secured listing appointment per week.
- Prospect every day during a set time. It should be a daily routine because inconsistent prospecting is the quickest way to sink the ship. Consider dedicating 2 hours each morning or afternoon to real estate prospecting.
- Aim to have 5 significant conversations every day. Be wary of working a pitch into every conversation. Let your real estate services come up naturally. When they do, talk about them enthusiastically. Highly successful real estate agents hit this benchmark naturally.
- Give a gift when you ask for the referral. And consider writing handwritten notes over a phone call. Include that fridge magnet we keep talking about!
- Always ask new clients how they found you. If they were referred, give the referee a gift and a thank you call. Inform the new clients that you always give gifts to referees. Accordingly, you establish trust but also incentivize them to become referees in turn.
- Consider sending another gift at closing. Nobody has ever complained about receiving too many gifts, but people remember those who go the extra mile. Here’s a fantastic little guide include a list of gift ideas for realtors.
- Revisit your contact list. Reconsider those who you considered too small to call. Put your best foot forward, treating small opportunities like big opportunities, and expect an eventual payoff.
- Ask for permission to stay in touch. This paves the way for the next contact.
- Don’t be discouraged by initial measly results. Prospecting, like any kind of marketing, takes time to grow. If you’re feeling defeated, use that to re-educate yourself. What can you do better? Get some ideas in mind and keep at it.
- Be relentless about following up on leads. Check out this contact probability arc. One-off outreach is easy to forget. Consistent, polite outreach is hard to ignore. Just space out your outreach efforts and make sure you keep asking for permission to get in touch again!
Real Estate Prospecting Tools
- First, invest in good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It will help you keep track of your real estate prospecting and farming efforts. Check out this review of the best CRM software for real estate prospecting.
- REDXis another excellent prospecting resource. It helps you organize and gather leads on expired listings, FSBOs, pre-foreclosures, and more.
- You can also design and order a virtual business card with BV Card.
- Then order custom promotional refrigerator magnets from Pure Buttons, Fedic Crafts, or AliBaba vendors.
- Finally, check out this Field Guide to Real Estate Prospecting and Farming if you have a membership with the National Association of Realtors.