If you were to ask a thousand real estate agents, “Do you have enough clients to produce the income you need to reach your goals,” I’m almost positive you would get a big “NO” very quickly, from the vast majority. Before a sale can be made, or a property can be listed, an agent must find someone that is interested in buying or selling real estate. During the 1970’s through the 80’s, the term for finding customers was “Prospecting.” The primary techniques used in prospecting were “Cold Calling” and “Door Knocking.” Cold Calling was performed by taking a phone directory, and page by page, calling people to see if there were interested in buying or selling real estate. Today the terminology has changed to “Telemarketing.” During the same time period, door knocking was the most feared technique used for prospecting. I’ll never forget my earliest experiences in door knowing. I would ring the door bell and run back to car before they could come to the door. When I could get enough courage I’d try again. One morning I started to ring a door bell and the door popped open. I had no choice but to give the lady my spill. She informed me they were going to move and wanted to sell their house. I set up an appointment for 7pm that night and was able to list their home. I learned from that experience that not everyone you talk to is interested in buying or selling real estate but some are. I learned that I have to get through the “No” in order to reach the “Yes.”
My early experiences helped me realize that finding new people to work with wasn’t that difficult. Prospects were literally everywhere. I just had to learn how to communicate with them. I came to the realization that I didn’t need to make phone calls to people who didn’t want to be called to begin with, and I didn’t need to ring door bells of total strangers to find customers. They were all around me. Everywhere I looked, everywhere I went; there were people. These people were prospective customers. I just needed to separate the ones that are interested right now, from the ones that might be interested sometime in the future. If you saw me in the public, you would have thought I was a politician. I was shaking hands and kissing babies everywhere. I quickly developed a technique or conversation that has worked for over 40 years and it still proves fruitful today.
This is my script:
Hi, my name is James, (hand them a business card) I am in the real estate business and I’m looking for people that are interested in buying or selling real estate. Do you happen to be one of these people? (If they responded no, I would say,) I can appreciate that. Do you know of anyone who is? (Wait for their response and if they say no, proceed) Please keep my card and if you happen to think of anyone, would you please give me a call or have them call me. Have a great day!
How difficult is that? It’s very simple isn’t it? It seems to be a human trait for people to complicate things. Finding prospective buyers and sellers of real estate is as simple as following this short script. There is an abundance of people in our country; an abundance of people to talk to. At some point in their lives, they will be interested in buying or selling real estate and they will know of other people who are interested at some point. If I earn my living by representing these people in a real estate transaction, doesn’t it make sense that I should get to know them, stay in touch with them, and develop a relationship with them, so that when they are interested, I will be the person they contact?
The terms prospecting, cold calling and door knocking are seldom used in the Twenty-First Century. We are now in the computer age and the process for finding these people are referred to as “Lead Generation.” This process is largely done through the World Wide Web by large corporate entities capturing contact information from people searching properties and passing that information on to sales people for a fee. In some cases this type of lead generating is profitable, however, you the sales person are not in control; they are. With today’s housing market conditions, we have to use numerous methods to produce prospective customers, but none is easier, nor more productive than talking to everyone you come in contact with. Let’s face it, no sales transaction will close until there is a conversation between the customer and the agent, so why not speed up the process by beginning with a conversation?
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.