"Prospecting" to Strangers Without a Sales Pitch

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

The other day I wrote a blog, basically admitting that I've lied all this time when I said that virtually all of my real estate business came directly or indirectly from the people I knew, otherwise known as my sphere of influence (SOI).

As part of my re-entry into the wonderful world of real estate sales, I've been more closely analyzing where my business came from the first go-around and had an AHA moment of... "wow - I got a lot of business from strangers!" Now, don't get me wrong, I hadn't forgotten about these Very Important Clients; I just kinda forgot how I met them since, of course, they all ended up in my SOI and many became friends or semi-friends.

But the difference is... I never prospected for the business of strangers. Never cold-called, door-knocked; rarely advertised or farmed. I never, ever approached a stranger with the intent to prospect to them.  All of my Business from Strangers was serendipitous...

They say that luck is when opportunity meets preparation. BINGO!

Opportunity: Being out in the world with a smile on your face and your antenna up.

Preparation: Being ready to hand out your business card and spout your elevator speech? NO!!! Preparation means being ready to speak intelligently and knowledgeably about the local real estate market without a hint of a sales pitch.

Don't want to prospect? Then don't. Spend that time learning the heck out of your market. Preview, preview, preview. Read neighborhood newspapers. Preview some more. Visit neighborhood grocery stores and shopping districts. Preview. Visit new home communities, attend meetings on Transit Oriented Development. Preview. Know your office inventory inside and out.

When a Stranger Calls...(on one your listings or while you're on floor duty), you'll get ‘em. When an open house visitor expresses in an interest in the neighborhood... you'll get ‘em. When another guest at a wedding wants to talk real estate investment... you'll get ‘em.

KNOWING YOUR MARKET is the best way to "prospect" to strangers. No fancy business card, well-rehearsed elevator speech or slick closing technique will beat the confidence that exudes from you when you know your stuff. It's magnetic.

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p.s. remember the part about leaving out the sales pitch. If you impress someone with your market knowledge, then hit ‘em with a sales pitch, you'll likely un-do all the good you just did. When you're confident and enthusiastic, people will ASK for YOUR business card. It's a beautiful thing.  Right, Susan?

 

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Rainer
80,366
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert

I'm always impressed with your posts as I learn so much.  I am still trying to learn how to stop talking so john brown much!!!  It's almost like shooting yourself in the foot. 

I do make it a point to always wear some type of name, whether it's my name tag or my Realtor pin.  Both are effective means of drawing attention .

Jan 28, 2008 02:35 AM #27
Rainer
292,552
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Jennifer, I don't think you said "preview":)  This is great and inspirational too!
Jan 28, 2008 03:51 AM #28
Rainmaker
124,715
Elaine Hanson
Compass - Topanga, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent
I have come across the word "serendipity" so many times in the last two weeks, it's a little crazy!  I can relate to Julie Neerings comment about never really having to discuss numbers before these last few months.  I'm paying more attention to the numbers in order to be able to answer the casual questions I'm asked.  Serendipitous moments are happening, but preparation may determine where they lead.
Jan 28, 2008 04:10 AM #29
Rainer
50,733
Greg Knowles Santa Barbara Ca.
Fidelity National Title Group-Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, CA
Jennifer, great post on one of the businesses fundamentals. Putting it in football terms (the Super Bowl is this weekend) Blocking and Tackling. Good Job!
Jan 28, 2008 06:26 AM #30
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Greg - LOL!

Elaine - funny, so have I. What could it mean?

Diane - Oops! I forgot to mention previewing which is very important!

Latonia - I talk too much, too. It's probably all in our heads, though, or at least, no one else notices. Don't fret.

Allen - SMILE!!!

Lisa - Yep - it's the shortest route to confidence... in my experience.

Patricia - good point. I was "trained" before the days of virtual tours or even interior photos. Maybe that's why I'm such a preview freak.

 

Jan 28, 2008 06:19 PM #31
Rainer
37,637
Karl Burger
ERA Beach Ball Realty - Pensacola, FL
Pensacola Real Estate News
That is an inspiring post, and good to keep in mind, especially these days when so many agents are desperate for business. Seems like the first thing that comes across is a sales pitch and business card.
Jan 29, 2008 01:05 AM #32
Rainer
891
Tasha Tyler
CENTURY 21 Baylis & Davis - Crestview, FL
I love this! As a rookie, I had recently allowed the pressure of "selling" my business creep into my brain,  instead of remembering why I had gotten into real estate in the first place-doing something I actually loved and loved learning about, and helping people in the manner I would want to be helped!  It can be easy sometimes to find yourself thinking that in order to be successful, you have to pair hard work with "attacking" every person in sight (ok, not literally) with a sales pitch, or purchasing lots of nifty gadgets and marketing plans that cost tons of money (that I really don't have =).  I'm a self-proclaimed book worm, and I found getting back to my mojo, which is study, study, study, and using my personality, has built and still builds more confidence in me than any marketing punch I could ever buy.  I do carry my business cards everywhere though, just in case!!!
Jan 29, 2008 03:34 AM #33
Rainer
41,853
Eugene Jones
Weichert Realtors - Somerville, NJ

Hi Jennifer, very enlightening blog, it puts things in perspective. Lately I've been engrossed  with building a website and finding different ways to market myself, but I've learned that my main focus right now should be mastering my market. Thanks!  

Jan 29, 2008 09:47 AM #34
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Eugene - that's a great revelation. It's so much easier to market yourself when you feel good about the product and are excited to share your knowledge.

Tasha & Karl - It's hard for everyone, myself included, not to push when we need business. Yeah, sure, it's fine to do this SOI soft sell stuff when you're feeling good, but when things get a little tight, we want to revert back to pushing for what we want. Trouble is, it doesn't work. I do the same thing and then laugh at myself when it doesn't work.

 

Jan 29, 2008 12:23 PM #35
Rainer
1,213
Mark Davis
Century21 M&M and Associates - Modesto, CA

Jennifer, I appreciate this blog (bookmarked in fact :) ) and all the comments.  I'm new to the business and yes I would say even a bir shy.  There has been the pressure to door knock, cold call  and all sorts of "high pressue" sales tactics  that rookies are encouraged to try.  This blog confirms for me that I should go with my natural style ( research, research, research) be freindly and available to help someone find their new home. 

Hope I didn't ramble too much. :)

 

Jan 29, 2008 06:19 PM #36
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Mark - very well put! Be friendly and available (and do your homework)!
Jan 29, 2008 07:58 PM #37
Rainmaker
91,326
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Ok, ok...I get it!! Whew!! Because I was really getting tired of sending postcards to every expired listing and not getting any response. I just do NOT want to call them. My kids' high school is having a meeting tomorrow night to get volunteers for their upcoming "Health Fair". They need folks to hand out flyers advertising the event. How cool would that be...standing in the grocery store (with my handy-dandy Howard Hanna pin on my lapel), handing out something to help the school? It would take, what, an hour or so of my time? So I guess I know where I'LL be tomorrow night.  :)

And I'll start previewing more...and more...and more! 

Thanks Jennifer...this one's bookmarked!

 

 

Jan 31, 2008 02:48 AM #38
Rainmaker
484,257
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Here's the thing... your next client could be anywhere... and everywhere!!!! I'm stunned how many people on this planet have an interest in real estate - maybe today, maybe next year, but heck! I'll take a full pipeline! If you meet one stranger every day for a year, that's 365 contacts, all of whom could lead you to a client. But the chances of that go way down if you treat them to your sales pitch...
Feb 01, 2008 11:45 AM #39
Rainmaker
394,850
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Jennifer,

First, let me say I just love your posts! Since starting over in Alabama, I have been previewing, previewing, previewing. I have pulled absorption rates till I'm cross eyed!!! My office mates laugh when I spout out monthly figures....Well, it paid off today! I got a floor time call, showed them the house they called on...it was a POS and remembered a great home I had previewed. Took them, showed them, wrote them. It was wonderful! Then, a "looker" from my very first open house in January called this week and I am in the process of selling them! I obviously had nothing better to do than to hand write thank you notes to all ove my open house folks, weekly, and it paid off.....Wow, it's a great feeling. keep the good posts coming!

Mar 13, 2008 02:33 PM #40
Rainer
29,842
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO
Excellent!!!!!!! It is a good feeling, isn't it???
Mar 14, 2008 04:24 AM #41
Rainer
175,807
Bob Edwards
Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc. - Appleton, WI
Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI
Thank you for directing my attention to this blog Jennifer, this is exactly the direction I'm going. Everything I read from you helps reinforce my "plan" and keep me on track.
Apr 16, 2008 02:44 AM #42
Rainer
292,552
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Jennifer, I'm clearly very late to do this but I am going to Feature...great insight for Newbies Again!
May 03, 2008 01:40 AM #43
Rainer
2,683
Aaron Williamson
WestUSA Realty - Phoenix, AZ

Jennifer Allen-  I hope you never get writer's block, carpel tunnel, or so busy in your Real Estate career that you stop writing!  You are a good writer; you hit the nail on the head in such a way it is motivating to do something.  Always a pleasure to read what you write.

Jun 14, 2008 06:14 AM #44
Rainmaker
91,326
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I agree Aaron!! Her writing helped motivate me to get my license at 47. She's definitely the best!!

 

Jun 14, 2008 06:45 AM #45
Rainmaker
102,146
Paul Franciskato
Asset Brokering Services - Junction City, KS

I think when things happen due to luck, it is most widely thought that the outcome is a random event.  But when you really think about how luck comes about, it does require opportunity and preparation as you have said!  What a great perspective!

Aug 25, 2011 02:34 PM #46
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