The Ancient Art of Prospecting

Even in tough times, the top agents can bring new business in the door through their referrals. But how do they do it? Let’s uncover what it takes to master the art of prospecting. Story by Bill Robertson.

Firstly, prospecting ensures you have the stock needed to sell and succeed as a real estate agent. But there is no magic pill; prospecting or searching for new business requires hard work and a genuine commitment to quality customer service.

Quality outweighs quantity

Agents often wrongly believe that the ‘quantity’ of prospective sellers/buyers is what counts. The common misconception is that it’s about the number of people you talk to and follow-up; the many different organisations you belong to; and the number of people on your database that makes good prospecting. But no, in falling markets it always comes down to ‘quality’. It has to be about the quality of the contacts you make and the quality (and ability) of people who want to do business with you. Unless the market has totally collapsed, if you’ve been in the industry for one year plus, and find getting listings is still as hard as when you first started, then perhaps you’re doing something wrong.

Market based and client based listings

The majority of sales agents only focus on ‘marketing based’ listings. These are listings that agents get as a spin-off from their current marketing via the website, print media, window, flyers or brochures, signboards etc. Although this approach has its merits top sales agents also concentrate on ‘client based’ listings which are their referrals. This is critical because 80 per cent of all good business should come from referrals.

The power of referrals

It’s your past clients and customers who make the best referrals. Many of the best agencies and sales agents enjoy an average repeat and/or referral rate of 65 to70 per cent. This means that two thirds of listings can be the direct result of past, happy clients and/or the excellent local reputation of your real estate firm.

Think about the business you could generate from satisfied clients whom you’ve impressed and with whom you’ve done business with before. If they were impressed with your level of service, they will gladly recommend you to others. In order to gain referrals you need to make your past clients and customers ‘walking advertisements for you’ — it costs you nothing but a little time to keep in touch. This is why the sales agent who just ‘does the deal only’, usually misses out.

Tips on obtaining that referral

In all your dealings with sellers and buyers remember they will become your best advertisement or your worst critic. To be regarded highly in the eyes of your customer remember:

  1. First and foremost stay in touch – use a simple client-base system to keep in touch with all clients, customers etc.
  2. Ask for the referral
  3. Give something back to your clients such as sponsor them in a local event, offer to talk about real estate at their Rotary or Lions Club; act as an auctioneer for a charity auction they have organised and so on.
  4. If anyone provides a service to you, write and thank them andenclose your card – a small thank you gift for a referral will also be appreciated.
  5. Pick the people that you want to do business with.
  6. Provide exceptional service
  7. Be memorable – make sure people remember your: Manner, Honesty, Professionalism, and if you did business… your Results

Therefore, if your manner is pleasant and courteous; you act with honesty and fairness with all the people you deal with; you are knowledgeable and act professionally people will gladly recommend you to any person who they know may want help in real estate – remember to ask for that referral.

Think about this for a moment
When a doctor gets the diagnosis wrong, they still get paid.
If your lawyer loses the case, they still get paid.
But… when a real estate agent doesn’t get a result, they don’t get paid!

So, when you are ‘out there’ prospecting for real estate business, is it not better to prospect in such a way, that when you do get the business, you have a 70 to 80 per cent chance of getting paid? If you have done your job well and satisfied your customer don’t hesitate to ask for that referral. You deserve it!

eLearning Centre: earn CPD points online

The ‘Ancient Art of Prospecting’ is one of the CPD topics that can be completed online at Kaplan Professional’s new eLearning Centre. The site is available in NSW but will be rolled out Australia-wide by mid

Show More


To contact the editorial team at Elite Agent email