Real estate prospecting is the process of finding new contacts and turning them into leads in order to grow your business. This is typically done through a mix of email and phone outreach, increasing social media engagement, and meeting people in person through community events and networking. Most real estate agents still spend a significant amount of time and generate a significant amount of their leads through manual outreach and real estate prospecting. As an agent, you need to be continuously exploring different prospecting methods to make sure you’re finding every opportunity and staying competitive. Below are our top 11 tips for finding new prospects as a real estate agent. You can also check out our guide on finding real estate leads for new agents.
11 Real Estate Prospecting Tips
From tried and tested tactics to cutting-edge software, here are the 11 methods you should continuously be cycling through to gather the highest number of qualified leads.
1. Set Up Your Daily Goals and Stick to Them
First things first, you should set up a daily goal for how many new contacts you want to reach out to. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the typical lead-to-transaction conversion rate for real estate agents is somewhere around 1% (.4% - 1.2% to be exact). For every 100 contacts you reach out to, you’ll likely only gain 1-2 clients. Real estate prospecting is a numbers game, so set a realistic goal for yourself to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance. For new agents, five contacts per day is a good place to start, and more seasoned agents could up this to ten or 15 contacts as you gain confidence and experience in the industry.
2. Set Up a Basic Website
In this digital age, you really do need to have at least a simple website to refer contacts to. Younger generations especially are notoriously phone-shy, and would likely prefer to contact you online. Having a website allows you to demonstrate your expertise in the industry by showing off photos of apartments you’ve rented, publishing informational blog posts, posting photos of yourself participating in community events, and more. You can also easily add your website address to promotional materials like pamphlets, postcards, and business cards. Your website only needs to have basic capabilities like a photo gallery, blog, and contact form. Sites like WordPress and Squarespace are great places to start, as they provide professional-looking website templates and charge only a small monthly or annual fee.
3. Get Active on Social Media
Part of establishing an online presence is putting yourself out there on social media. Social media sites can work hand in hand with your website, as you can cross-promote your listings, photos, blog posts, and other content. It’s also the best place to connect with younger prospects as well as with other professionals in the industry. Here are some real estate prospecting tips for some of the most popular platforms:
- Join city and market-specific Groups for real estate agents
- Monitor Facebook Marketplace for FSBO’s and FRBO’s
- Run website traffic ads to push users to your site
- Join city and market-specific Groups for real estate agents
- Join larger groups in the real estate field to stay up-to-date on industry trends
- Display your open listings with engaging photos
- Research new prospects with real estate and rental-focused hashtags
4. Engage in Community Events
Contacting new real estate prospects online is the way of the future, but there’s still nothing that can replace an in-person connection. The best way to meet new prospects face-to-face is to engage in community events whenever you can. You never know who you’re going to meet and if they might know someone who could be interested in your services. Participating in these types of events also gives you great content for your social media channels and shows your followers that you’re active and involved in the market. Some ideas for community events include:
- Chamber of commerce networking events
- Sponsoring a neighborhood food or culture festival
- Donating time to a local charity or fundraiser
- Giving a free lecture at a local library or community center
5. Host Open Houses Whenever You Can
Hosting an open house or “open apartment” is an excellent way to gather contact information for people who are already on the market. Though this likely won’t be an option for every single place you’re trying to fill, you can prioritize the spaces that are in high demand and high-income neighborhoods. Make sure you have a way to gather names, emails, and phone numbers for each person that comes to tour the space, usually a simple sign-in sheet will do. Then you can follow up with all the people who don’t end up making an offer to see if there are opportunities for you to direct them to another location you’re representing and/or help them sell their current home.
6. Reach Out to FRBO Listings
You’ve probably already heard about the expired listing prospecting strategy, where an agent reaches out to a landlord or homeowner whose property listing recently expired to see if they can help in the next round. Since this is one of the most popular real estate prospecting areas, you can try to get ahead of the competition by contacting FRBO’s (for rent by owners) while their listings are still current. Though FRBO’s are obviously trying to handle things without an agent, you can still reach out to succinctly explain the ways you could help them and offer incentives like negating your fees if they end up finding a tenant on their own. Some of them may be relieved to hand things over to a professional.
7. Contact Past Clients for Referrals
By far the best way to find new real estate prospects is to be personally referred by a previous client. The market is crowded with agents hungry for new leads, so a glowing recommendation is a surefire way to make you stand out. Set alerts for yourself to check in with past clients six months or so after your engagement with them has ended. You can ask them how they’re settling into their new home and see if they know anyone looking to move, rent, or sell. This also helps keep you in their thoughts for if and when they decide to move again.
8. Reach Out to People in New Life Situations
There are a few events in life when people are likely to need to relocate quickly, and that is marriage, divorce, and a new baby. These days, you’re not going to need to crawl through the engagement announcements in the newspaper, but instead, take to Instagram. As we mentioned earlier, Instagram can be a goldmine for real estate prospecting because of its robust hashtag research.
There are plenty of marriage, engagement, and new baby hashtags you can use, just make sure you reach out tastefully and congratulate the prospect first before jumping right into your offer. You can try researching divorce hashtags on Instagram too, though most people don’t usually advertise that sort of thing. Instead, you can try contacting a few local divorce attorneys and seeing if they would allow you to leave some of your informational materials in their waiting rooms.
9. Don’t Discount Friends and Family
Referrals from past clients should be a top priority, but don’t discount the value of personal referrals from friends and family either. Though close friends and immediate family members will likely already keep you in mind when one of their connections needs an agent, it can also be helpful to reach out to more distant relatives and social media connections as well. Set yourself a reminder to send out a call for new clients via your personal accounts every few months. The beauty of social media is that each person is a network within a network, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a few new real estate prospecting leads each time.
10. Provide Small Gifts and Personalization
Sending gifts is a popular method of real estate prospecting - an offer that comes with a free donut is that much more appealing to the prospect! Reach out to contacts on your list that you already have some level of a personal connection with, such as people you’ve met at one of your open houses or at a community event. You can send them a personalized greeting or note along with a small gift. Ideally, the note will contain some piece of specific information that you remember from your conversation with them, whether it’s the type of apartment they're on the hunt for or a detail they shared about their dog. This lets them know that you really were paying attention to them and appreciated their time, and is a great strategy for turning warm leads into hot leads.
11. Try Out Real Estate Prospecting Tools
In addition to the various manual prospecting techniques we’ve outlined above, you should also experiment with some of the automatic real estate prospecting tools that are out there. Though they are a lot less time-consuming than manual outreach, the downside of these tools is that they can be expensive and less accurate than actually connecting in person. A combination of manual and automated prospecting is a great way to make sure you’re keeping up with both the volume and quality of prospects. Some of the most popular real estate prospecting tools include:
Real Estate Prospecting Postcards
As we mentioned above, having informational materials about you and your services is extremely useful for advertising at local events, open houses, offices, and more. One of the most popular advertising strategies for agents is the classic real estate prospecting postcard. You can mail these out to specific neighborhoods or areas that you specialize in, as well as keep some on hand for events. Real estate prospecting postcards don’t have to be anything too fancy. You’ll want to be sure to include your name, phone number, email, website, a photo of yourself, a photo of a property you’ve helped manage, and a few lines about what makes you unique or special in your services. You can also include any seasonal or holiday tie-ins as well.
To help you get started, we’ve created a basic real estate prospecting postcard template that you can download and customize yourself using free design tools like Canva.
And if you're ever in the rental business and need to find potential tenants that are ready to apply to your properties, RentSpree makes it easy to quickly conduct screening and background checks to make sure they’re the right fit for your client. Learn more by contacting us for a demo.