I can’t prove it, but I suspect looking for clients is called prospecting, the because it’s same term that is often used for looking for gold. In truth, those who prospect regularly tend to have higher income than those agents that don’t.
The key to getting the best repeatable results from prospecting is to get organized.
The first step is to remember what you’re actually doing.
Prospecting is about building relationships
Every time you talk with someone about real estate, or the real estate market or about their home or their dream home, you’re building a relationship with that person. In fact, every time you pass out your business card or someone mentions you’re a real estate agent, you’re building relationships.
That, all that, is prospecting.
Your goal, of course, in addition to making money, is to be truly of service to both buyer and seller (and your fellow agents).
It’s those relationships that over time will be the key to your real estate business.
Getting your prospecting organized
Like so many things in life, there’s no perfect prospect organizing system for everyone. That said, there are general ideas or themes about organizing you should keep in mind, including:What information do you want to track?
- How do you want to keep track of your prospects?
- What information do you want to track?
- Where do you want to prospect?
- How will you do your follow up?
Master these four items, and you’ll be a prospecting champ.
What information do you want to track?
Many call it a Customer Management System, particularly if software is involved. The point is to find a way to keep track of:
- Who you talked to – including their name, address, email and phone number. Sure, you can’t always get email and addresses, at least not the first time, but you do need to write this information down in a way you’ll be able to find it and use it over and over again.
- When you talked to them – the date of the first and subsequent contacts.
- What you talked about – a brief note is all you need as long as you understand it. Sometimes adding where the conversation took place is helpful.
- How and when to make contact again – often this is a guess and may range from tomorrow to six months or so. Sometimes you’ll actually make some sort of call back date you need to note down. It helps if you also write down the goal of that next contact. Goals can include saying in touch, asking for a listing, asking for a referral, about a specific property, getting them info they requested, etc.
How do you want to keep track of your prospects?
Just for fun, I put the term prospect tracking into Google and got almost 13 million pages! I doubt there are really that many methods of tracking clients, but sometimes it seems that way.
Probably the first thing to find out if you don’t already know is if your office provides any sort of tracking systems. Many do and many don’t.
Usually the kind of tracking offices provide is software based. It’s probably at least good enough. It offers the advantage of already being set up. It also helps that your colleagues are also probably using it, so it’s easy to get help.
The key to getting the most out of your office contact management software is taking time to learn the basics, and continue to learn it until you’re a master.
If your office doesn’t provide a system, you get to choose one for yourself. Ask around. Find out who is using what. Check reviews like the one you’ll find at SoftwareAdvice.com and the advice at Realtor.com.
The key to making any computer based contact management system is to learn the basics and keep learning the system.
Yes, if you hate computers, you can set up a manual, paper based system. Cards, either 3 x 5 or 4 x 6. The biggest challenge is figuring out the call-backs. A tickler file of either days of the week or numbers of the day for a month may be the best system.
Not so by the way, it’s not just prospects you want to track. The best systems allow you to integrate existing clients with potential new ones in ways that help you keep track of both.
If you’re just getting started, it might make sense to start with a card based system – that way you’ll soon know what you actually need.
How do you track your clients and potential clients? Tell us about it in comments.