Real estate

Circle prospecting: An amazing way to generate real estate leads

The easiest real estate sales calls are warm calls. The second easiest? Circle prospecting around a new listing. Instead of a stale script, you actually have news to share with nearby homeowners, so although the contact is cold, that news warms it up a bit.

The perception is that you aren’t soliciting their business – you’re sharing news and looking for a buyer for your listing. “Your neighbors at 123 Street Name just listed their home,” says the circle-prospecting agent.

“Do you know anyone who has expressed an interest in living in this neighborhood?” This makes it so much easier to approach homeowners.

It’s a brilliant way for a new agent to get business and a listing agent to increase it.

Circle prospecting won’t make you an overnight success

But, really, what lead gen technique works right away? It takes time and consistency to make yourself familiar to leads. If you want to be a listing agent or increase your listings, this is one of the best ways to go about it.

Circle prospecting isn’t limited to just new listings, either. A recent home sale and even an open house (if you’re holding them now) are good excuses to get out there and contact homeowners.

This type of prospecting is like hitting the trifecta-you’re not only building brand recognition but you’ll “own” the neighborhood and, if you’re consistent, take a couple listings as well.

Don’t neglect renters

Sure, renters don’t have a home to list, but there’s nothing wrong with picking up a couple of buyers, right?

If the home is within the financial realm of possibility for a renter, by all means, include apartment buildings and condos is the circle.

Ask your favorite lender to put together a fact sheet, explaining the different scenarios on how a particular home fits an area renter’s budget.

Then you can make a handy list of down payment and closing cost assistance programs to help seal the deal.

Circle prospecting methods

Although circle prospecting is a lot like farming, only on steroids, many agents use geographical farm methods. In other words, they buy a list from a company or get a list from the title company of homeowners within a certain radius.

The most common geographical farming methods typically include two that are old-school but tried-and true: direct mail and/or door knocking.

The most successful circle farming agents we spoke with use those methods as well the phone.

How will you get the homeowners’ phone numbers?

We wondered that as well. Then we came upon a Tom Ferry video, featuring Tampa, Florida agent Christina Griffin.

She offers 3 tactics to be a successful circle prospector:

  • Know your strategy (hers is open houses and new listings).
  • Know your resources (Christina and her team use Cole Realty Resource and Slydial Broadcasting).
  • Know your script (Christina’s is short and sweet and we’ll include it below).

Slydial, a “ringless voicemail message app,” is the centerpiece of Christina’s strategy. The app takes your voicemail message and delivers it directly into the recipient’s voicemail box. In other words, their phone doesn’t ring, but they will have a message from you.

Cole Realty Resource provides their clients with “… access to cell phones, emails, landlines and other additional household intel such as purchase date & amount, square footage, length of residence and much more,” according to the company’s website.

Christina and the team scrub their lists to avoid calling those on the Do Not Call List.

The first time that the team used the leaving-a-message technique, they sent out more than 1,200 messages and received more than 175 return calls in one hour, according to Christina.

The end result included “four closed buyer deals and two listings.” Remember, this business was from the initial effort. With consistent follow-up, the results can be amazing.

Waiting for her script? Here ya go:

“Thank you for calling Christina Griffin with the Griffin Group and Coldwell Banker. We just listed a home in your community, Promisia. If you know anyone looking to move, give us a call.”

One thing I don’t get about the script: She called them, so why thank them for calling? How many recipients listen to it and think “Wait a minute, I didn’t call her.”

The script was created by Tom Ferry and, apparently, it’s effective, so who are we to question it?

Naturally, you’ll want to gear your script to your targeted audience and be as specific as possible. We brainstormed and came up with an alternative.

“Hi, this is Anita Deal with Coldwell Banker. I’m calling to let you know that we just listed an adorable 3-bedroom home in your neighborhood. If you know anyone who wants to live in Starry Knolls, please give us a call.”

Notice we left out the name of the team – it’s superfluous at this point and makes the message longer than it should be.

Christina offers additional advice on how they tweaked their use of resources, how the team tracks and measures their success and more in the YouTube video.

If you decide to just plain-old cold call, the best time to call homeowners depends on the neighborhood’s demographics, according to southern California agent Loida Vasquez.

“I can tell you from experience that certain cities and neighborhoods, when I call in the morning, everyone answers,” she said in a YouTube video. “It seems that a lot of the owners there are usually retired …”

Calling isn’t the only way to approach homeowners

If you’re uncomfortable using any of the previously mentioned methods, direct mail may be the ideal choice for you.

We’ve mentioned the benefits of direct mail and reviewed the best real estate direct mail companies in the country to help you get started.

So, what are you waiting for?

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