Prospecting for Buyers

Putting Prospecting to Work for You

You can work harder. Or you can work smarter. Most successful agents don’t go into a secluded room, pick up the phone, and toil away making hundreds of random calls nonstop over an 8-hour period. Few people would even consider that approach. I know I wouldn’t, and I doubt you would either.

Instead, those who win at prospecting begin by targeting who they’ll call and why. They don’t waste their time or effort calling iffy contacts that may or may not even be in the real estate market.

Prospecting is only effective if it generates a lead from a truly qualified prospect — someone who is interested in what you offer, needs the service you provide, and has the ability and authority to become a client of your
business or to refer you to someone who could.

And that’s where targeting, and the upcoming section, comes to your rescue.

Targeting prospects

In targeting, you’re looking for the prospects that have the highest probability of buying or selling in the shortest amount of time. Some easy sources that all agents should target are past clients and those in their sphere of influence (the people they know). Also worth targeting are expired listings, FSBO’s, and referral sources, which generate referral business for you.

Market conditions also can create targets for agents. With each change,opportunities are created for a segment of the marketplace. You may have a marketplace where the high-end properties aren’t selling quickly. However,maybe the middle range is robust in activity and sales. The prospect who sells in the middle of the marketplace to move to the high end has an opportunity to sell high and buy low due to inventory and activity levels of the marketplace. This type of prospect would be a great target.

Right on target: Real-life targeting success

Here’s a recent example of the power of targeting. I work with an agent on the East Coast.She’s an ace when it comes to monitoring her marketplace (see Chapter 4 to conduct your own market research) and as a result she
wasn’t surprised when she saw her market’s housing inventory swell significantly over a 90-day period. For months she’d watched the momentum of the marketplace wane, but over the most recent 90 days the effect had shown up in the box score. During a coaching call she said, “It’s over.” What she was saying was that the rapid appreciation and insane marketplace frenzy had come to a rapid end.

In the face of the market correction or bubble break, I asked her, “Based on this market change, who should become your new target for prospecting?” After a few minutes of discussion, she aimed her focus on her next prospects: Absentee owners, which are people who don’t live in the property that they own.

They may be homeowners of a second home that is only used seasonally or on a part-time basis or may be investors who rent the property for income and appreciation. My client correctly determined that once they became aware of the changing tide, absentee owners would most likely want to realize their profits before prices dropped further.

My client made a decision to call these listing prospects. She would share the market evaluation, inventory, and absorption rates. Then she would ask if they wanted to risk all the equity and appreciation they had gained or if they wanted to sell and lock in their gains. As part of her script, she would also ask owners whether,with appreciation flattening or potentially declining, they might find the rental management, headaches, and repair hassles not worth the benefits of continued ownership.