Interview with Jonathan Elliott,
Realtor at Black Rock Realty, Arkansas
How important is prospecting for your business?
It’s very important. I spend probably at least one hour to one hour and a half per day on prospecting. Prospecting is getting new leads, new people to talk to, to increase your business.
What approach do you use for prospecting?
We do predominantly social media prospecting, but also follow up with our leads, send out thank-you cards, send out letters. The tried and true approaches to real estate prospecting. But, we are always looking for new avenues.
What targets have you set for prospecting?
We target a 20% closure ratio; That means that for every 100 leads we get in, we want to be able to close 20.
The actual number of leads per week changes throughout the year, though. We are targeting more leads in springtime and summer. Fall and winter are your slower periods. I always target more at the beginning of the year to balance out those slower periods.
What causes this seasonal trend?
Later in the year, people are just winding down and they are getting ready for the holidays. People aren’t buying houses in that period unless they really have to.
What do you feel are the keys to success in prospecting? Is it attitude, discipline, experience, having a system?
I would say just about all of those. You have to have a good attitude while you are prospecting. You are going to be told no a lot, so you have to develop a thick skin for that. You have to be consistent and don’t give up. If you prospect one day and you don’t get any results and stop, then you are definitely not going to achieve anything. You have to be consistent and keep following up. On average I will probably speak to a prospect somewhere between 6 and 10 times before we get a deal working. Either I call them, and they are busy, or they call you back and you are busy. You need a lot of communications with somebody before you get an actual deal.
How have you improved your prospecting approach over time?
You are always refining your systems. Some things that you try don’t work, or you don’t give the response you like. You change those or get rid of them. You also find things that you do like, that do work, and you expand on those. As far as door knocking, we used to go out and put out flyers in the neighbourhood. But we just wouldn’t get back the return on our efforts. We changed how we were prospecting and changed what we were doing to get a better return on the investment of our time.
Social media has given that better return. You can reach a wider audience through social media also. Before, you were strictly targeting the people in a neighbourhood, while on social media you can go set a broader target. You can set your criteria up to reach the people you want. And it’s a lot more cost effective.
What is your biggest pain point with prospecting?
Quality of leads is always something you are going to have a problem with because you are reaching out to a mass audience. You may reach out 100 people and only 10 people might be serious about buying a house and 10 more might be thinking about doing it the next year. The other 80 don’t care.
What is your advice on prospecting for starting realtors?
Definitely, use your sphere of influence. Let all your friends, relatives and neighbours know what you are doing, that you are starting. Let them know how you are doing it and just follow up with them. Talk with the people in your company that have been doing it for a while and learn from them. Ask them questions. You get some realtors that won’t tell you anything because they think you are going to steal their business and that’s not true. Talk to them, learn from them, ask them questions.
I know when I first got started, I talked to some of the people in my office that had a lot of listings. I went to them and said, “Hey, you have some listings that I can open for you on a Sunday at the open house?”. It worked for them because if I picked up a buyer for that house, they got to sell the listing. If it was not the exact house that the buyer wanted, I could help the buyer find another house.