Prospecting! Cold calls! Knocking on doors! There probably isn’t a real estate agent out there who hasn’t felt some desire to somehow avoid prospecting. Some are flat out so afraid of prospecting – so much so it drives them out of the business.
A truth is is you’re going to succeed in real estate you’re going to have to learn to prospect – to take specific action to contact potential new clients.
Finding homes to list, finding people to buy homes, getting referrals, sitting open houses, taking regular floor time are, and farming are some of the prospecting methods available to real estate agents. Some work better than others, although you’ll find a lot of variation when you talk with agents.
Prospecting reluctance mascarades
The reluctance to actually get out there and prospect can masquerade in lots of ways, including:
People who can never find time to prospect are usually afraid to prospect, but not telling themselves the truth about it.
Missing appointments with yourself
If you plan to prospect on, say Wednesdays from 9 am to 11 am, and you find yourself doing something else, you probably fear prospecting no matter what else you call it, particularly if it happens over and over again.
Excessive time getting ready
If you find yourself spending so much time generating lists of names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers or digging out parcel maps you never have time to actually make the call or knock on the door, it’s probably fear that’s hanging you up.
Will hardly let friends and family know about your work
It’s probably fear if you discover you don’t really want to talk about your work to family and/or friends.
Not sure about the ethics of sales
Sometimes people aren’t sure of the ethics of selling. This might show up as self-talk about not deserving the commission or other benefits. You might find yourself reluctant to figure out how much you’re really earning, or avoiding thinking about success.
While any of these ideas may surface occasionally, they also can become habits of thinking that will only get in your way.
4 ways to overcome your fear of prospecting
1 – Admit you’re afraid
The first step to letting go of any fear is to admit that it’s there. You can’t wish it away and the longer you try to deny the fear, the harder it gets to overcome it.
2 – Talk with someone about your fear
Talking with a colleague, a friend or even a professional is one of the best ways to begin to change your attitude. Often a fellow real estate agent will admit to feeling the same way and you can find ways to gently hold each other accountable. And if they tell you things like “you shouldn’t be afraid,” or insist that you’re not really afraid, you’re talking to the wrong person. Move on. Getting professional help might just be the smart thing to do.
3 – Watch your self-talk
It’s amazing what happens when we begin to change our negative self-talk to mutterings of self-affirmation. When you catch yourself, for example, thinking “I hate this!” try a new phrase like “I choose to prospect.” One woman I know tried the rubber band trick. She put a thick rubber band around her wrist and when she caught herself with negative self-talk she snapped herself. “It stung,” she reported, “but it worked, and quickly too!”
4 – Bookend prospecting with someone
Bookending is a great way to change a habit and follow through with a new behavior, even prospecting. It works like this. Call a supportive friend and tell them you’re going to spend X amount of time prospecting. When the time has elapsed, call them back and report your progress or lack of it. Somehow making yourself accountable seems to make the impossible possible.
Know that you’re not alone and that many real estate agents have found ways to conquer or overcome or let go of their fear of prospecting. Experiment with these four tips, giving yourself enough time – at least a week, and maybe up to three – to let them work. Be gentle with yourself, but be disciplined as well. You can become comfortable with prospecting if you truly want to.
What tips do you have about overcoming the fear of prospecting? Tell us in comments.