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Solving the Prospecting Puzzle
By Jim Morton

Solving the Prospecting Puzzle has been the keystone practice of every entrepreneur since the beginning of time.  The business of sales, if done correctly, is the process of filling a void, servicing a need or solving a problem.   Taking that definition and manipulating it to its highest function is what separates good salespeople from great.  Add systematic and consistent prospecting and follow up to that equation and you have a model for long term success. 

Creating the perfect system can leave some agents stalled while analyzing, re-tooling and researching all that the industry has to offer.  Keep in mind, the more difficult a system is, the less likely you are to implement it.  So, start with the basics, set your goals, know your product then set about building your foundation, or as we like to refer to it your BusinessBASE. 

FIRST, BUILD YOUR BASE.  It sounds like hard work, but it could and should be fun when taken in the right perspective.  Start with a list of who you know.  The first time you sit down to accomplish this, simply write down names.  Then begin to build a profile sheet for each client or potential client by adding their contact information, and as you build your relationship, include more data which will help you best service them such as birthdays, family member names, hobbies, occupation, interests, etc. 

SECOND:  PUT THE “INFLUENCE” IN YOUR “SPHERE”:   Most agents come into the business and are told to work their “sphere-of-influence.”  Unfortunately the how, when and why of that task often goes unexplained.  Statistics show that 66% of all the business generated by 95% of successful professionals today comes from only four sources:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Close Acquaintances
  4. Referrals from the First Three

With that in mind, take yourself out of a mailing list mentality and think about making a friend first and a sale later.  Influence comes from relationship building.  It is a give before you get proposition, but its value is boundless.  People do business with people they like and remember, and who in turn, remember them.  By recognizing all the things about each person in your database and what makes them unique, you can communicate with them effectively, efficiently and more importantly, in the spirit of friendship.  In the words of Floyd Wickman, “people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”  Remember, being memorable, personable and CARING is what will set you apart.

THIRD:  MAINTAIN YOUR BASE:   Build your BASE to at least 250 people and commit to make monthly contact.  Utilize the “Send-Call-See” method of prospecting which means that within the course of a year, you need to be in contact with the people in your BusinessBASE at least 12 times if you expect to get their business or receive good word-of-mouth referrals.  Start by SENDING something each month to keep your name and face fresh in their minds.  Then, occasionally CALL for a personal conversation, and you will be remembered.  Additionally, take the time to SEE someone personally now and again and you will ensure their trust. 

At first, building a foundation of 250 prospects may seem overwhelming, but you will be surprised, with focus and perspective how simple it really can be.  Having 250 people in your BusinessBASE will secure your long term success in this industry, and eventually give you something to sell when you retire.  A good rule of thumb is to remember that by using this system you should do at least 50 transactions per year as a result.  With that kind of motivation, you’ll find yourself searching each day for a new “friend.”  Slow down, look around, who do you see?  Who cuts your hair?  Who coaches your children?  Who is your doctor, and his/her staff?  Who does your dry cleaning?  Where do you buy your tires?  Who owns your favorite restaurant?  Who does your landscaping?  The possibilities are endless.  In the course of a day, how many people do you meet, talk to, or see while going about just the business of life.  Make a friend in line, at the store, or while waiting for coffee.  Put them on the list, follow up and follow through. 

FOURTH, FIND THE RIGHT TOOLS to continually generate name recognition and you have the integral piece to solving your puzzle.   NAR statistics show that 73% of Sellers contacted only one real estate agent before listing their home.  Getting your name to the top of that particular list means the keys to the kingdom for most agents.  Tapping into that mindshare is crucial to success, but fortunately there are systems in place that can help you.  Our customers utilize our postcard marketing with great success.  Why?  It’s simple, effective and efficient.  With minimum effort and expense your sphere continuously receives your message with your name, contact information and photo each month.  Change that up every now and again and send something fun, catchy and creative.  Whether you send calendars or cookies, recipes or riddles, try finding those things that will showcase who you are and that you are there for them.

FIFTH, BE FIRM IN YOUR COMMITMENT to your BusinessBASE.  In caring for this group of people, you are caring for those who will take care of you and your career for years to come.  Review your BusinessBASE each business day.  On the first day of the month, contact everyone whose last name begins with the first letter of the alphabet.  On the second day, contact those with last names that start with the second letter and so forth.  This ensures that no one slips through the cracks and you touch everyone in your sphere every 30 days.  This task should take about an hour each day, but it will be the most important job you’ll have.  Business development as a daily priority gives you the ability to stay in business and realize your long term goals.  Consider this, the average person moves every five years.  With a base of 250 people, that suggests that 20% of them will make a move THIS YEAR.  While you will not do business with everyone in your BusinessBASE, you should expect to receive referrals from 80% of the people within two years. 

FINALLY, CONSTANTLY FINE TUNE YOUR SKILLS.   Your success in today’s market will stem from the ability to market to the right person at the right time with the right tools.  Utilize psychographics to market directly to the mindset of each group you are prospecting.   For example, your approach to a FSBO will be different than that of a builder.  Selling to a first time homeowner and a savvy real estate investor will also require two very different strategies.  By communicating directly to the needs of each potential client you increase your likelihood of getting their attention, and ultimately, their business.   Next, take advantage of the valuable data mining resources now available to maximize your ability to specifically and effectively target the markets you are interested in.  Ultimately, stay on top of your game by taking advantage of the opportunities available through technology, education and skill building. 

Solving the prospecting puzzle is not a new problem for sales agents.  It is an ever-changing process of staying forward thinking, creative and consistent in your message and your marketing.  Focus on the people and the process and the pieces will fall into place. 

Jim Morton, is the President and CEO of ProspectsPLUS!, an industry leader in agent prospecting tools and broker/manager recruiting solutions.  He has educated, entertained and motivated thousands of audiences and helped associates across the United States and Canada realize their full potential utilizing the tools and techniques found in the products and services he has developed.  To download your free copy of the complete BusinessBASE! System as well as the 150 Who Do You Know Questions, 30 Reasons to Contact Someone
and more, Click Here or call 1.866.999.MLSM (6576).

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