Prospecting for Real Estate Agents - Why You Might Want to Keep Your Mouth Shut and BE a Secret Agent!

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Education & Training with Sell with Soul

It's funny - I notice that the questions that come into my in-box often have a common theme... one month it's grouping and categorizing your sphere, the next it might be getting feedback for showings, the next maybe it's making open houses more productive.

Well, this month's most popular topic seems to be about expanding one's sphere of influence without being a pest about it.

Just in the last week I've been approached by three different agents who realize they need to beef up their spheres of influence - and quickly - but don't know how to do it without coming across as pushy, desperate or mercenary. So, they're finding themselves hiding out at home being decidedly UNsocial, and then kicking themselves every evening for failing yet again to Meet More People.

Secret AgentWanna know what I told them?

I told all three to go out there in that world AS A SECRET AGENT instead of venturing out into that world, business card in hand and elevator speech fired up ready to launch at every opportunity!

What? Are you serious, Jennifer? You're telling agents to BE a Secret Agent? You're nuts.

Maybe. ;-]

But here's the thing. No one out there in that world cares one bit about your real estate career until/unless they care a little bit about YOU. And when you head out with grand intentions of handing out business cards and delivering elevator speeches, you're gonna scare people. (In fact, I got an email from a real estate agent over the weekend who was nearly arrested for too-aggressively prospecting at a local Target! But that's a story for a different day).

These three agents who wrote to me knew this deep inside - they knew that they'd make other people uncomfortable if they pushed their agendas (and business cards) onto people prematurely, which is why they were having trouble motivating themselves to do it.

So, my advice to them to BE a secret agent went like this: "Go out into the world every day, be pleasant to the people you find there and keep your mouth shut about your career UNTIL/UNLESS someone asks you what you do. At that point, they CARE (at least a little bit) and you're free to answer them enthusiastically."

Will you miss a potential prospect or two by keeping your mouth shut? Perhaps. But I doubt it. And the more pleasant you are to more people (sans sales pitch), the more likely it is that those people will ask you about yourself and actually care about your answer!

 

 

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Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I'm not a name-badge kinda gal, so that approach never worked for me. But if it works for you, absolutely!!

Loreena - Yep, I knew that ;-]

Apr 06, 2011 01:15 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,142,632
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jennifer. I've been a secret agent for many years. I am not comfortable at all pitching people on my services. BUT I am an expert at slipping what I do into a conversation. I can lead a conversation so that folks ask me what I do for aliving. Then I can just answer theoir question. Much less intimidating than pitching everybody you meet.

Apr 06, 2011 01:17 AM #4
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

BB - That is definitely an art that once mastered, is a powerful prospecting tool - I'm pretty good at it, too ;-]

Apr 06, 2011 01:21 AM #5
Ambassador
524,744
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 www.marchantteam.com - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

Hi Jennifer...where did you get that picture...I looked all over for one like that for my post...lol and you know what I ended up with!

I think we are on the same page...I don't think bursting into a room name badge on and flyers in hand is the way to go...but I do think getting out there and engaging people in conversation will naturally lead to what do you do or where do you live type questions and I wouldn't bea secret agent at that point...similar to what BB says.

Apr 06, 2011 01:28 AM #6
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Hey - BB - unless I'm mistaken, today is your Birthday! Happy Happy!

Apr 06, 2011 01:28 AM #7
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Cindy - Yes, I think we agree on tactics! But a lot of agents think they're supposed to be aggressive about handing out business cards and delivering elevator speeches, so until they have that out of their systems, I think it's best to encourage just the opposite until they find their happy medium...

Apr 06, 2011 01:30 AM #8
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Oh, about the picture... I know exactly what you mean - I tried to find Just the Right one and this is the only one that did the trick... got it at Microsoft under the search term "secret."

Apr 06, 2011 01:31 AM #9
Rainmaker
526,154
Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Great post, Jennifer.  I saw Cindy's post, and commented that this is something I struggle with.  I know A LOT of people.  But do they know me as a real estate agent?  Not necessarily.  And you are correct - pushing it does not work.

I once had the bright idea to wear a big ol' RE/MAX t-shirt (with a big balloon on the back) to the gym, and I swear people were moving away from me!  A little too bold, I guess.

Apr 06, 2011 01:47 AM #10
Ambassador
524,744
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 www.marchantteam.com - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

Sorry, had to come back and tell you I found that picture...I would have never thought to type in Secret...I did Secret Agent...duh...that's why you sell books and I sell real estate!  lol

Apr 06, 2011 01:59 AM #11
Rainer
95,419
suzanne welch
Coldwell Banker - Croton on Hudson, NY

I appreciate thoughts, I always so, and agree with you mostly. With this topic, I agree, NO badges, but, i always carry sards, especiall while at the town hall picking up property cards. AND, what has worked for me is NETWORKING..join some groups geared about everyone doing business, and buiding business relationships, it takes about a year, but it si all worth it.

 

Apr 06, 2011 02:57 AM #12
Rainmaker
895,158
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Jennifer - This is so true!  I almost didn't go into real estate because I had the stereotype of a pushy real estate agent in my mind.  What I've found is that by focusing on serving my community in leadership positions and becoming the hub of communications in my community, I have many reasons to interact with others without talking about real estate.  I never bring the topic up, people ask me about it.  You are in a stronger position when people come to you about their real estate needs than when you chase after them.

Apr 06, 2011 03:01 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,142,632
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

It is!! Thanks Jennifer.

Apr 06, 2011 04:23 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,041,083
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

JAH, loved this thought and am headed out with my guitar to the corner to strum out that Johnny Rivers favorite, sans name tag of course.

Apr 06, 2011 04:41 AM #15
Rainer
29,180
Jimmie Graham
Keller Williams Realty - Ypsilanti, MI

Thanks for that extra inch....also i believe it could be a great way to brand yourself and the community your serve as well. though I like your idea a lot.

Apr 06, 2011 08:40 AM #16
Rainer
129,419
Bukka Levy
Keller Williams Realty - Petaluma, CA
REALTOR - San Francisco North Bay

I'm not a name badge kinda guy. I don't think it works for everyone though. You just gotta know who you are :-)

Apr 06, 2011 09:51 AM #17
Rainmaker
717,806
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Guess I'm pretty predictable - but I totally agree with this.  I would love for you to share the story of the agent who almost got arrested at Target - sure there must be a great story there!

Apr 06, 2011 05:58 PM #18
Rainmaker
485,057
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I thought about this some more yesterday and realized that the whole notion of telling everyone what you do at every opportunity really IS kinda silly UNLESS they first have a reason to care. So, instead of advising agents not to be secret agents, perhaps better advice would be to not be secret NICE PEOPLE!

Maybe if we were rocket scientists or brain surgeons or movie stars people MIGHT be more interested in what we do before they care about us personally, but, well, we aren't. We're real estate agents and we're a dime a dozen. That's not a criticism, just a fact.

Go out into the world with the goal of inspiring people to like you and care about you... and there's plenty of time to tell them what you do later...

Apr 07, 2011 12:19 AM #19
Ambassador
3,166,134
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I don't give out business cards. When asked, I may say... give me  your information, I will get back to you.

I really like this post!

 

Apr 07, 2011 02:51 PM #20
Rainmaker
717,806
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I think this post speaks to the relentless assualt that people find themselves under by everyone aggressively marketing themselves.  At some point it just becomes too much and it devolves into a shouting match. 

"I can market anything LOUDER than you!"

"No you can't!"

"Yes I can!"

"No you can't!"

"YES I CAN!"

"I can market anything LONGER than you!"...

And on it goes.....

Apr 07, 2011 04:22 PM #21
Rainmaker
789,276
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I much prefer to just be me and let the chips fall where they may.  I don't do the badge and usually only talk about business when other people bring it up.  Some missed opportunities?  Maybe, but I think being pushy or overbearing can push people away too so those are missed opportunities as well.  I'd rather just be me and not be all business all the time.

Apr 07, 2011 06:27 PM #22
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