Have you ever put off doing a chore that you thought would be difficult? You dreaded doing it but eventually you got stuck into it, and what happened? It was much easier than you thought. You couldn’t imagine why you thought it would be so hard.
Prospecting is like that. It’s just not that difficult. All you have to do is start, keep going, and it will become a habit. A winning habit.
There are only 3 reasons why salespeople don’t prospect:
- They are scared;
- They are stupid;
- They are rich.
Prospecting is a low-skill, HIGH-PERSISTENCE job.
In saying that prospecting is low-skill, I do not mean offence. I mean that the skill required for prospecting is lower than the sales skill required, for example, to list a property and manage the listing effectively so it sells.
You must prospect with a purpose. Never begin prospecting without a clear mission in mind. Would you go on holidays and drive ‘somewhere’?
Before you pick up the telephone, or knock on your first door for the day, think:
- “Who wants to sell?”
- “Which property can I list today?”
And make it a game:
- “I will find a listing today by midday!”
You don’t need a library of scripts either. Two or three variations is all you need. Have a good reason to call and get on with it. If you cannot think of a good reason to call, you can always use the fact that you are looking for work. There is no shame in that.
My favourite question is from Canadian sales trainer, Bill Nasby: “I’m a real estate agent looking for work. When are you planning on moving?” Smile as you say this and you will be pleasantly surprised at the responses you receive.
Or, talk about a new listing that has just come onto the market in the street. “Do you know anybody who might be interested in moving into this street?” Before you leave ask, “When are you planning on moving?” See? It’s just not that difficult.
To be effective you must be determined to speak to a set number of people each day. I recommend forty. This is two hundred people per week and it will give you two listings per week, or eight per month if you keep at it.
You might not see the results at first, but don’t blame prospecting. Perhaps you have hit a ‘vein’ of non-prospects. It happens. Persist.
One of my personal rules for prospecting was to start a street, and finish a street. Speak to everybody in that street, even if it meant some detective work. Often the ones who aren’t at home are the sellers.
Get into the habit of asking the people you meet if they know of anybody who is selling. And I mean everybody. This habit will set you up for life.
Adam Horth, from Johnson Real Estate in the Brisbane suburb of Birkdale, uses this question with his past clients:
“Is there anything I can help you with at the moment?”
“It is an open question. When you say, ‘help you with anything’, and you are referring to real estate, they’re going to answer that question by talking about real estate. They might start talking about renovations they are considering, or talking about their plans of buying, their plans of selling or investing. And you take the conversation from there.
There’s always things that happen in people’s lives. They’re not just sitting around their lounge room watching TV. You just want to come across a person who says, ‘Yes we are thinking about selling’. And if you go about that with an interesting approach, and a non-threatening approach, you’re not going to annoy people.”
The thing is to not sound like a robot, to not sound like you are just reading a script out of a book. You want to sound like a real person, one who is worth the time to talk with.
If you want them to be interested in you, YOU must be interested in what they have to say. Interested people are interesting. When prospecting, don’t just ‘crunch the numbers’. Yes, you have a lot of people to talk to each day, but make each conversation as interesting as you can make it. Be interested in people and they will be interested in you.
More from Adam Horth:
“The numbers as far as I’m concerned are the most important thing. However, there is no point in doing the numbers if you are just after a yes no answer and move on. You’ve got to look for the clues in things that people say, such as, ‘We’re staying here until the baby is born’. You ask when the baby is due and if they’re looking to upgrade after the baby is born. Investigate all clues”.
If you go out each day looking to engage people in interesting conversations, you cease turning prospecting into a chore. Make it a chore and you will dread doing it, avoid it, and wallow in mediocrity.
Remind yourself that prospecting is just not that difficult and determine to speak to forty people a day, to engage them in interesting conversations.
Don’t prospect on Sundays.