Phooey on Prospecting... I just wanna do my job!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

I'll be interested to see the responses to this forthcoming brain dump... some of you will totally relate, while others will think I'm just a weirdo.

I hate to prospect, in any way, shape or form. By "prospect" I'm not really referring to any particular method, strategy or activity, I just simply don't like drumming up business. I get no joy out of self-promotion, marketing or pursuing. I very much dislike the idea of spending any time at all worrying about where my next closing might come from.

But I LOVE LOVE LOVE selling real estate. Or, perhaps I should say that I love MANAGING the process of the exchange of real estate. I love pricing homes, I love solving problems, I love creating home brochures, I love managing my Internet advertising, I love negotiating contracts and inspections, I love previewing homes for my buyers, I love preparing for a tough appraisal, I love talking my buyer off the ledge when they're in panic mode.

The vast majority of my business through the years has, frankly, found me, as a result of my sphere of influence (SOI) and my satisfied past clients (SPCs). I've rarely had to formally prospect and have been able to spend most of my time doing what I love- that is - managing the business I already had.

That's still where my business comes from - from my SOI and my SPC's, but I'm feeling a bit grumpy that it doesn't flow in nearly as painlessly as it did in years past. There are lots of reasons for this - some obvious, some not so, but the fact remains that I'd be happy as a clam if I could just BE a great real estate agent and let someone else worry about making rain...

But maybe this is, like, totally obvious, dude. Does everyone feel this way, or are there people out there who really enjoy the rainmaking part of our jobs?



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Brooke Shepherd
Keller Williams Partners - Colorado Springs, CO
Speak With Honesty~Act with Integrity

Amen Sister!  I feel the same stinkin way. I love helping people, not begging people for their business.  I just want to help people that is all!


Dec 04, 2008 03:15 AM #64
Kelly Bovi, Charlotte Area Real Estate
NavMak Enterprises, LLC - Charlotte, NC

I feel the same way, I love the business but I hate having to prospect. I am not good at the self promotion.

Dec 05, 2008 01:24 AM #65
Michael Mullin
Caliber Home Loans NMLS 15622, Originating loans in CA, OR and WA. - Bend, OR
NMLS 11911 - Branch Manager, FHA, VA, USDA, Conv

Jennifer, first I have to confess I did not read ALL 66 comments before skipping the rest so hopefully this isn't a duplicate!

I've been in at least a couple 500 person conferences with Joe Stumpf when he asked by a show of hands which Realtors and lenders liked to prospect and which liked to process.  While there were some hands up for the prospecting group, it was a far smaller group than those of us in the process camp.

What we need to do is partner with a person with the opposite desire - what a winning team that could be!

It's so obvious I'm surprised partnering hasn't been more widespread.  The personal character traits that make a great prospector are WAY different than those needed to guide a complex real estate or loan transaction.

I've seen numerous "superstar" loan prospectors in the past and they've always ended up creating caos in the processing department because they just wanted to dump the client in someone's lap after they got them in the front door. I always thought it would have been in the company owner's best interest to just hire that superstar their own loan officer/processor to handle the paperwork.


Dec 05, 2008 11:33 AM #66
Olena Osipov
Maple Ridge, BC

I hear you. I don't enjoy it a lot but I'm getting used to it. Doorknocking has become part of my life and I'm getting some results out of it. I just know that prospecting is inevitable part of my business at least right now. I'm just starting, I don't have a database of past clients so I have to build one. Somebody said to me that doorknocking is like a first kiss and it's true. I feel way more comfortable with it right now than a mont hago and I do it because I want to make the real estate my career and I want to survive in this business. That's the art of the real estate agent-to be able to find customers and turn them into clients. Otherwise, are you really a REALTOR?

Dec 05, 2008 04:28 PM #67
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Olena - Thanks for your thoughts! I've heard rumors of door-knocking actually becoming enjoyable after awhile, but I just can't imagine... mainly because I DO NOT want anyone knocking on my door, trying to sell me something or even engage me in small talk. So, I simply can't do it to someone else. But you ask an interesting question - if you don't want to find customers and turn them into clients, are you a REALTOR? I don't remember anything in the Realtor Code of Ethics or in my Colorado code of conduct that mentions the importance of prospecting - I feel that being a licensed professional REALTOR has everything to do with being competent and knowledgeable at managing a real estate transaction - not at being great at business-building.

Dec 05, 2008 10:57 PM #68
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Michael - I agree 100%. I've had two such partnerships and while they weren't perfect, they were pretty darn effective. I always have my antenna up for another one, although I'm so opinionated these days about how business ought to be done, I might be a really bad partner!

Dec 05, 2008 11:31 PM #69
Trish Greene
VanDorm Realty - Tenino, WA
Team 242- Realtor, ABR

Hey Jennifer, Check with your State Parks and Recreation Dept (possibly other State Departments as well). I was asked to apply for a postion as a Real Estate Aquisition Specialist here in Washington, I declined because I would rather poke my eye out than work for the state (or anyone for that matter) but those positions are out there! Your State government is ALWAYS purchasing and selling land, buildings, homes ect. A salaried position, you manage 100's of deals at any given time! What you are looking for is out just have to hunt it down:) Good Luck! 

Dec 07, 2008 08:59 AM #70
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I don't cold-call, but I do like creating cool brochures and flyers to send to my little farm area. I have an apartment complex down the street...I lived there for 5 years before buying my house 7 years ago. Anyway, I send them something every 6 weeks or so. I've been doing this for a year and haven't received so much as a phone call. Do they check out my website? Maybe. But I still get a thrill when I put that batch of "whatever" in the mail...imagining that one phone call that'll make it all worthwile. Because I KNOW one of those "apartment people" will be in the market to buy a house -- just like I once was. And when they're ready, I want them to think "Sue Gabriel, that real estate agent who sends us all that neat stuff!" : )

That said, the last 4 closings I had came from people who already knew me, or were referred to me by folks who knew me. SOI'ing is still the best, and usually most cost effective, way to go!!


Dec 07, 2008 10:43 AM #71
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

"...striving to "attract" business with a strong message rather than going out and trying to find someone who might be interested!..."

Jen, how do you use your strong message?

Dec 12, 2008 01:34 PM #72
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Elva - great question. I probably can't answer it in full here, but the basic idea is that you are an expert in what you do (you know your market, your systems and your contracts and you are a great problem-solver & negotiator) and you know you're an expert in what you do... and then you put yourself in situations where you can share your expertise with people who might be interested. When you exude an air of quiet confidence (as opposed to arrogance or desperation) when talking shop, people are drawn to you and will want to know more... about you and about your business. If they have a real estate need or know someone who does, they'll ask YOU for your card instead of your pushing your card onto them. It's beautiful!

Dec 12, 2008 11:37 PM #73
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

I actually like it, but I am a sick sales junkie.

Dec 16, 2008 06:54 AM #74
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

You will never, ever make a respectable living cold calling.  The problem is that you can't possibly see enough people who, at that moment, need a Realtor and worse, don't already have in mind who they're going to use.

If you could go into a room full of people who 1) did need a Realtor and 2) hadn't already picked out one, and you could cold call that group, you'd be wisely spending your time.

Dec 17, 2008 12:28 PM #75
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

If almost everyone hates prospecting then why do we do it?

I am afraid to say, but prospecting is part of the business. Prospecting is similar to problem resolution in my opinion. But, the problem doesn't have to do with the house but the amount of income you would like to achieve. I had lunch today and we were talking about the "Good Ole Days". The ratio between practice and promotion has become horribly skewed.

Dec 17, 2008 01:43 PM #76
Sue Eller
Realogics Sotheby's International Realty-Sequim - Sequim, WA

I am so happy to have found this group on active rain!  I have sell with soul and have been running my biz in a very similar fashion even prior to finding all of you kindred spirits!  I think of prospecting like exercising. You don't have to like it, you just have to do it. Do it in whatever way works best for you and stay positive and focused.

Dec 28, 2008 04:47 PM #77
Michael Johnson
Carolina One Real Estate - Goose Creek, SC
Metro Charleston SC

I hate having to prospect as well but it is part of the job.  I'm not to the place yet where people are lined up at my door waiting for me to help them buy or sell a house.  I can't wait for that day, but it's kind of like waiting for the end of the never seems to come.  Even when I think it has come....I soon realize I was wrong.

Jan 07, 2009 03:20 AM #78

First, I learned about you today and have been reading your blogs for the last hour; brilliant!  Second, I wanted to add that I LOVE making rain!!  I'm a rookie agent, very much still in the 'training' stages.  Although I am certain  I will enjoy the transaction process very much when the time comes, I must admit that I am enjoying the heck out of prospecting in the meantime!!! 

-Karin ;)

Jan 22, 2009 11:52 AM #79
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Karin - Good for you!!!! I enjoy HAVING rain; I just don't like being responsible for it... but congratulations on your enthusiasm!

Michael - for most of my career, I did have a steady stream of business without much effort. I won't say that it was with NO effort; apparently I was doing something very right and just took it for granted. When I hear the word "prospecting" I get the heebie-jeebies, but it is very possible to attract business without doing stuff you'd rather not..

Jan 22, 2009 10:52 PM #80
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!


It's a pity that we don't live closer together, because I actually like dreaming up new prospecting campaigns and seeing them through.  Sometimes, I get tired of the listing appointments, showing houses, completing the CMA's, etc.

I enjoy the creativity of designing new plans.  We coulda been a perfect team!

Nov 01, 2009 04:15 AM #81
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Chris - I agree. I searched most of my career for the perfect person to hook up with! Experimented with a few with varying degrees of success...

Nov 01, 2009 09:56 PM #82
You have shed a ray of snsuihne into the forum. Thanks!
Sep 18, 2011 01:54 PM #83
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