Keith Barrot

Effective Prospecting

How do you operate where you do?  (Fourth and final in a series).

As mentioned in my first article on effective prospecting the goal of continuing success and income in real estate will only come from a well planned approach to your marketing. Remember, how effective you carry out your prospecting will be in direct proportion to your prosperity and your long term viability in selling real estate.

Once you have decided on the important aspects of prospecting e.g. where you are going to operate and why you will target a particular area, the next step is to plan how you will obtain the business.

Marketing by real estate agents over the years has been consistent in its style and type and although it seems bland at times all marketing can be effective. The major goal for your prospecting is to be contacted by anyone in your market area who is thinking of selling or seeking real estate information. Quite often agents operate with the blinkers on and seem only interested in prospects that are looking to sell immediately and fail to recognise that all contacts made can one day become clients. All contacts are good contacts if handled and recorded properly.

This can only be achieved if your prospecting is one that builds relationships with all the property owners in your area. You should make sure that every one you come into contact with is entered into a database. Today agents should understand and use a database as it will make the job of contact and follow up so much more effective. It is essential however your database does not just become a mailing list, there is a big difference. Through a database all past appraisals, anniversaries, market updates, and call schedules for example can be programmed so no one is forgotten. You spend a lot of time getting leads and contacts to just let them pass by if they don’t want to sell at the time of contact is a waste of your time and effort. A database will not in itself guarantee success; other forms of activity will be required to maintain your presence in the area to ensure you are top of mind when owners decide to call an agent.

Naturally one consideration that needs to be made is how much you should spend on your marketing. Whatever you decide make sure it is programmed for at least twelve months in advance and is done regularly regardless of market conditions. One can always tell when the market is slow as flyers and the like will appear in the letterbox and our inbox from agents you have never heard of or only from them when the market goes quiet. As I mentioned promotions vary in style and quality so it is important that you develop your brand and stick to it. Only by being consistent in your contacts with prospects will you be remembered.

The monitoring of your marketing efforts will ensure that what you are doing is effective. The question should always be asked of the contact to where they heard about you, and this needs to be recorded. From this information a pattern will develop to help you assess the effectiveness or otherwise of your investment. You need to see yourself as a business and future planning has to be based on all the information you can gather. In your day to day operation as an agent you need to ensure the funds you invest in your promotion are delivering the returns you want.

Being on the look out for new ideas and ways of marketing is a good way to develop your brand and if done effectively will differentiate you from your competition. Social media and other forms of technology available today (and in the future) can also improve your marketing effort. They should also be considered as a means of your promotion and communicating with clients and prospects.

It is important to make the time available in developing your prospecting plans and if required seek outside assistance, ask others, attend seminars, buy a book or CD on marketing. Ideas are every where both inside and outside the real estate industry if you take the time to look. Effective, planned prospecting is not difficult, what is difficult is taking the steps to apply the time and recources to develop your brand and the commitment to looking at your future in the long term.

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