17 Real Estate Prospecting Tactics to Get More Leads in 2023
The United States Housing market is turbulent right now. Redfin’s May 2023 data pegs a 3.1 percent year-over-year drop in home prices and a 16.8 percent decrease in the number of homes sold.
Is real estate prospecting even worth it right now?
Well, what if I tell you that:
- For 86 percent of buyers (across generations), real estate agents and brokers remain the top home-buying and selling resource
- Furthermore, a Federal Housing Finance Agency report claimed that house prices are rising again
Despite the market volatility, you need not wait for the phone to start ringing. It’s all about proactive prospecting. In this article, you’ll learn 17 prospecting tactics to generate qualified leads, build relationships with potential clients, and close those juicy deals.
Why Prospecting Is Essential for Real Estate Agents
Showing properties and meeting potential buyers is time-consuming and may occupy the bulk of your work day as an agent. So why would you want to put effort towards prospecting on top of all that? Well, here are the top three benefits of effective outreach for a real estate professional:
- Long-term real estate business health: You may spend most of your time serving your current clients. But you need a solid pipeline of leads to build a sustainable business. So you’ve got to expand your network and keep outreaching new prospects.
- Keep your real estate commissions predictable: To build a consistent and stable income, you must keep cracking new deals. Focusing on proven prospecting techniques is the doorway to getting those high-quality leads that convert into clients.
- Builds your reputation and brand recognition: In a Placester survey of 137 real estate agents, 62 percent claimed they spend at least an hour daily marketing themselves and their listings. Further, 60 percent also said that they prospect daily.
The above numbers aren’t a surprise given that the “reputation of the agent” is the most important factor in choosing an agent to sell a home. You have to prospect and keep building relationships to establish your expertise in the market.
In the next section, let’s look at real estate prospecting strategies to help you build a pipeline of leads.
17 Real Estate Prospecting Ideas to Boost Your Sales
Let’s look at a mix of tactics you should experiment with this year to gain a competitive edge and some classic real estate lead generation strategies that work.
1. Document Your Prospecting Plan
You want to stay organized with your prospecting. For that, you need a documented plan to follow consistently. Here are some questions you can explore to get your juices flowing:
- Which channels do you want to focus on for prospecting?
- How often can you prospect while being consistent?
- What specific steps do you want to include in your prospective clients’ experience?
Once you have a plan, you should block time on your calendar for prospecting-related tasks—ideally, you want to incorporate it into your daily routine. Whenever the clock strikes for your scheduled prospecting sessions, avoid distractions and stick with your prospecting tasks.
Remember, arriving at an effective plan and specific steps in your process may require some hit and trial. You should explore some marketing channels to find the ones that work for you and get new clients. Your lead generation process is unique to your business, and is just as important as intellectual property. So treat it as such.
2. Educate Yourself about the Current State of the Industry
“If anyone thinks they are going to sell real estate in ’23 like they did in ’20, ’21 or early ’22, they aren’t going to make it,” according to Nick Bailey, the president of RE/MAX, from an interview he did in December last year.
He further says, “I believe that some agents in the last couple of years have been renting their business, not owning it.”
If you’re a relatively new real estate agent, the rapidly changing landscape may make you feel like you’re starting from scratch. It's okay to feel uncertain about which real estate marketing channels will work for you and how to navigate the market.
You need to invest in education and stay relevant to the needs of the marketplace. As per Virtuance’s 2023 real estate marketing trends report, here are the top marketing and technical skills real estate professionals want to learn in 2023: SEO, social media, and paid search advertising.
In his prediction for 2023, Mr. Bailey emphasizes the increased importance of marketing. “Agents are telling me they are struggling to sell homes because there are more listings and fewer buyers. The buyers there can take their time and look at five different properties, so as a listing agent, you have to be good at marketing your property,” he said.
3. Nurture Your Past Customers and Build a Referral Engine
Before experimenting with TikTok or any other shiny new prospecting tactics, remember the timeless art of building relationships. While it’s cliché, your past clients can scale your lead gen unlike other sources. Per the aforementioned 2023 National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, referrals by a friend, neighbor, or relative were the top method by which buyers found real estate agents.
The home selling side of the equation also presents a strong picture for continuing relationships with your real estate clients. Sixty-three percent of the recent home sellers used a referral or a real estate agent they had worked with.
To start nurturing past customers, Julie Prince Bell (the founder of Bellwether Syndication and a commercial broker)
making “a list of those that know you well and that you know would help your business grow.” She also suggests staying in front of them with monthly phone calls, cards, pop-bys, or an annual event.
“In return for your interest and great service, they refer you to others, who refer you to yet more people, and on and on.”
Consider adding important client life events like birthdays and anniversaries to your client profiles in your CRM. Close lets you set up calendar reminders for tasks. On their special day, you can drop them a quick note or send small gifts.
4. Craft Compelling Listing Copy
Most of your prospecting efforts will involve promoting your listing advertisements. You need a persuasive real estate copy that paints a visual image of your property. Jim Dangerfield, the Vice President at Property Management Inc., recommends the following structure for your ad:
- Short description
- Contact information
Watch his video below, where he breaks down each of the above components:
Now you can use the glorious ChatGPT, a free AI chatbot, to assist with some copywriting. But Kasi Liz Hyrapett, who’s written over 5,000 real estate listings, found some of ChatGPT’s copy cringy and cliched. So, edit your ChatGPT draft to ensure your copy doesn’t read like a million other property ads using worn-out adjectives.
Below is a prompt you can use to get started with ChatGPT. Just change up the property’s details with yours: “Act as an expert real estate copywriter that has written tens of thousands of persuasive listings. Now write copy for a property with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in Naples, Florida. It also has a pool and access to daily conveniences in close proximity.”
For your reference, below is the listing copy ChatGPT generated for me based on that prompt.
5. Learn How to Market Your Listings
Real estate agents are expected to fulfill a crucial role in meeting sellers' expectations: effectively marketing their homes to captivate and engage prospective buyers. But a compelling real estate ad copy isn’t enough. To market your listing, you must also learn real estate photography, as it’s the most useful website feature for buyers.
You can also consider integrating other ways to improve your client’s experiences. In 2023, real estate professionals are leveraging 3D tours, virtual staging, and floor plans to stand out. Video content will soon be table stakes because of the availability of easy access to video creation tools.
If you specialize in creating videos or another marketing strategy, you can offer specialized service packages like realtor Mark Cipolletti. Here’s one of his LinkedIn posts promoting his three listing marketing packages.
6. Build a Stellar Online Presence Starting with Social Media
Most first-time home buyers today start their buying journey online. No wonder, then, that you need a sound digital marketing strategy to get in front of prospective clients. The Virtuance survey we referred to earlier found Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok to be the main social platforms of interest for real estate professionals.
Join active local groups online and market-specific communities and add value to conversations already happening there. Here’s a list of property management communities to kick off with. Also, keep monitoring Instagram’s rental hashtags in your locality with a hashtag tracker.
If you’re keen on gaining some TikTok traction, Ryan Serhant (founder and CEO at real estate company, SERHANT) shares a 5-step recipe of how he got over 400k views on one of his listing videos—with just an iPhone camera:
- Go to one of your nicest listings, or if you don’t have one—request to create a video of a fancy listing by another agent (it can still yield some buyer leads!)
- Use your selfie camera to film an engaging introduction of 3-5 seconds
- Get some videos of the listing to show off the property
- Import your videos to TikTok and add text, music, and use the app’s auto-sync feature
- Post with relevant hashtags and a caption
Remember, though, that a beginner's mistake when starting to create content is overcomplicating marketing. Anna Furmanov, Founder at Furmanov Marketing Consulting, shared the following advice for real estate agents on a Virtuance podcast episode: “I would start with one idea: you have to go simple. Think about your point of view. How is it different?”
7. Build Your Website and Start Blogging
You may feel that promoting yourself online is sufficient. However, Matt Quanstrom, who coaches agents at Compass, a real estate technology company, reminds us that social media is “rented ground.”
“TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, whatever could all be gone tomorrow, or your account can get hacked/banned/removed,” he says. Your real estate website should be “your online home base for all of your content so that over time you can build up your SEO and be discovered by possible leads.”
As a real estate agent, a professional website can be used to:
- Demonstrate your real estate expertise and establish your personal brand
- Market your listings
- Generate leads (many buyers and sellers find agents through their website!)
You can set up your agent website on top of Squarespace real estate templates (or another website builder you like). It can contain the following pages:
- A convincing home page
- An about page with some background and personal info about you
- Services page detailing how you work with homeowners and buyers
- A testimonials page with reviews from past clients
- A contact page providing a form and your phone number
Once you’ve built your website, you can publish blog posts on “hyper-local” subjects. That’s how you can build some authority in the eyes of search engines like Google and get relevant traffic to your website and blog posts.
Mr. Quanstorm emphasizes the importance of blogging and suggests some topics you can start with. “You want to be discovered when potential leads Google phrases like “best neighborhoods to buy a home in XYZ town,” or “does XYZ town have a farmer’s market?”
Is this local blogging and content creation worth your time in the first place?
Well, here’s Quanstorm sharing their results: “When I was an active agent, a blog article I put together was discovered [by a lead] through Google search. After reading, they filled out our lead capture form to reach out. We helped them buy a $1.4M home in Walnut Creek, and they referred four more transactions to us.”
8. Start an Email Newsletter
Matt Quanstorm considers your contact list as the most valuable “thing” you have as a realtor. He reckons it’s a “wicked cost-effective opportunity” to stand out as most agents don't start an email newsletter. I get it: you may feel too busy as is.
But think about it. Whenever you send a new value-adding email, you become “a fresh thought in the minds of your list.” Email marketing helps you stay connected with your sphere of influence and nurture your relationships.
So how can you get started? You can use a tool like ConvertKit to create a landing page for your newsletter—that you can link to from your social media profiles. You can also put some opt-in forms on your real estate website.
How frequently should you email your list, and what should the content focus on? Mr. Quanstorm reckons a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter is good enough. Here are some example topics he suggests:
- Upcoming events in your area
- Highlighting the local farmer's market
- Upcoming kid-friendly activities
- Best local hiking trails
As you can see, Quanstorm strongly recommends focusing on hyper-local content. “People connect with the places they love, so keep things centered on what is going on in your community,” he says. “People also connect with their passions/interests/hobbies. So keeping that in mind when focusing on hyper-local. (Think local golf, yoga, coffee, hiking, recreation, etc.),” he concludes.
Quanstorm considers emails regarding "market data" less engaging, so limiting their frequency to once a quarter can also work.
Can you promote your real estate listings in your email newsletter?
While you can share them in your newsletter, Mark reckons you should “share a little bit of the story of how the listing came to be, or focus on what makes it special” to make them more fitting for your email audience.
Lastly, you can streamline your efforts by integrating website content creation with email marketing. Briefly introduce your videos and blog posts in your newsletter and include links to your website for readers to access the full content.
“This drives more traffic to your website and keeps their eyes on you and your content for a longer period,” Quanstorm concludes.
9. Network and Strike Mutually Beneficial Partnerships
If you’re just starting out, share your real estate adventure details with your friends and family. Then, keep expanding your sphere of influence. You can attend networking events like meetups and conferences relevant to your target market. You can find networking opportunities by searching Facebook Groups and platforms like Meetup.com.
But don’t limit your reach to the real estate industry. Consider collaborating with other relevant industry professionals. For example, Rob Hollingsworth, who owns a roofing company, calls out “realtors in DFW” in his LinkedIn post (screenshot below). He’s looking to partner up with realtors by solving the roofing problems of their houses on the market.
Ben Grotze, a realtor at Remax Precision, calls for teamwork between insurance agents, CPAs, financial advisors, and realtors.
Here’s how he reckons all four of them can come together: “A realtor may work closely with a financial advisor and a CPA to ensure a well-rounded approach. The financial advisor can guide investment strategies, retirement planning, and overall financial well-being. The CPA can offer insights on tax implications and financial documentation, and the insurance agent may advise on appropriate insurance coverage related to the property.”
So be on the lookout to strike lucrative partnerships on social media, in your locality, and —even beyond the real estate industry.
10. Conduct an Open House
While they may seem old-fashioned, conducting an open house is still a great strategy to collect the prospects' contact info already in the market. Even in 2023, buyers continue to attend them as part of their home search.
If you have too many properties, prioritize selling the houses that are in high-income neighborhoods and have a high demand.
While conducting them, ensure you have a simple sign-in sheet to collect the name, email, and phone numbers of the attendees.
Later, you can set up a follow-up email sequence for the leads that don’t make an offer for the house and still assist them in their home-buying search.
Try to experiment with the timings and the days of the week when you conduct such events, and proactively request feedback. For instance, Michelle Thomas Newman, a concierge real estate broker, found that her weekend open houses were inconvenient for busy professionals. So she modified her strategy to conduct them on weeknights.
“I will now hold twilight open houses during weekdays after hours and add wine (for good measure) and appetizers. My hope is that my tech connections from Intel and Nike who take the Sunset highway to work will want to avoid the terrible traffic and check out a property that might be a good fit and better commute,” she ponders.
11. Participate in Neighborhood Events
When you’re starting out, getting face-to-face with your prospects is a fantastic way to build trust and generate new leads. You may think you need to conduct or attend only local real estate events to do the same.
However, attending community events or sponsoring one in your neighborhood can work well. You want to connect meaningfully with your target market and establish credibility as a knowledgeable local community member. Isn’t that the kind of agent your prospects would want representation from?
12. Try Cold Calling
While laden with rejection, cold calling works well in real estate. To get started, you need to identify a high-quality data source, get a targeted list of real estate leads with their phone numbers, and use effective cold-calling scripts—personalized to your prospects.
Umberto Finocchiaro, Director of KnockKnock Lettings, emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding your client’s situation.
For example, you can start by calling homeowners with expired listings and motivating them to sell again. On the call, you’ll need to learn why their house didn’t get interest from buyers the first time around and propose unique sales strategies to sell it this time.
A proven way to get this strategy to work for you is simply following up with your leads religiously—unless they tell you to stop calling. Mixing cold calling with other marketing campaigns, such as SMS and email, is best. A CRM like Close can help you organize multi-channel campaigns and streamline prospect communication.
13. Contact FSBO Listings
As per the 2023 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends, only 10 percent of home sellers relied on for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listings. While FSBOs feel they don’t need a real estate agent like you or don’t want to pay you a commission, you’ve still got to contact these homeowners because they have an intention of selling.
Just use a personalized pitch and lead with open-ended questions. Highlight how FSBO houses sell for significantly lower prices than other homes. Also, share your expertise in attracting buyers, dealing with paperwork, and helping expedite the sale.
You can set up FSBO listing alerts on platforms like Zillow or even try a paid FSBO lead provider like the FSBO Hotsheet or RedX to find FSBOs. Before you start bangin’ those numbers, get a copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry and ensure you can call them in the first place.
14. Use Direct Mail (Yes, It Still Exists!)
Direct mail may seem old-fashioned, but it can be effective if you’re especially targeting home buyers in an older age group. You can try creating your physical collateral, such as flyers, postcards, and newsletters, and send them to a targeted mailing list. Here are some real estate templates by Vistaprint to get you started with designing one.
Michael Ealy, who helps people with real estate investing, recommends finding “off-market” deals through direct mail. He claims one of his partners sends postcards to property owners with code violations and gets as much as a “30 percent response rate!” And he has bought such kinds of properties for as low as $1.
“You can send direct mail to property owners in foreclosure, distressed apartments that need updating, and properties with code violations. More often than not, the owners of these properties can be very motivated. Some are even desperate to get rid of their properties.”
As real estate sale cycles run long, you can also use real estate prospecting letters to stay in front of your prospects. Marisa Pensa shares a note of how her agent uses the time of the year to send her personalized, handwritten snail mail that tends to spark a conversation with her husband.
“This weekend, when opening the mail, I noticed he mailed 'America’s Hidden Gems' for summer vacation ideas. There was also a non-salesy letter that linked the summer vacation ideas and 'If your summer plans include sprucing up your home…' Each season and month is different, and without fail, it sparks a conversation with my husband and me on something that was sent.”
Don’t have the address of your prospects and customers? Pensa suggests asking them a simple question: "What’s the best address for you if I’d like to mail something to you?”
15. Drive for Dollars
Another old-school but intimidating tactic is driving around neighborhoods to find distressed homes. It’s a cool way to find lucrative off-market deals where you negotiate directly with the owners.
Here’s how Caleb Smith, who helps new real estate investors acquire their first investment property, implements the strategy:
“Get in your car and drive around neighborhoods looking for homes that are distressed. They may have:
- Boarded up windows
- Tall Grass
- Overstuffed mailboxes
“Once you have the address, you can then either:
- Call the owner
- Set up a postcard campaign
- Knock on their door.”
Sulaiman Shah, who specializes in real estate investing, recommends skipping A-class areas as they are well-kept. Instead, consider “driving around B or C class neighborhoods because they have more homes with potential.”
If you’re unsure how the above rating system works, below is a brief overview, courtesy of Chad Carson, a real estate investor:
- “Class A building typically means it’s brand new or remodeled and has no functional obsolescence (i.e., bad floor plans, outdated finishes, etc.)
- Class B buildings are often the well-kept older or newer buildings with fewer fancy finishes
- A Class C building is typically older and will likely need some repairs or major improvements in the near future.”
He breaks them down in more detail here with examples from his town.
A fair warning if you consider driving and door knocking: you may meet hostile homeowners. You may end up with nothing after wasting multiple hours knocking on doors like Nicole Gauthier. Based on her experience, she recommends, “Stick with it or pivot for what works best for the situation.”
16. Leverage Real Estate Prospecting Tools
A robust prospecting strategy involves a series of steps executed repeatedly. You may inevitably forget some of them or spend lots of time doing tedious and administrative tasks. That’s where prospecting tools come in.
For starters, you can use them to set up automated email follow-ups, record your outbound and inbound calls, help you qualify leads, etc. Let me share two specific tools.
- Real Estate Sales CRM Close can streamline your communication with leads and clients by integrating email, text, and calling in a single place.
- Vulcan7 gives access to four areas of prospecting data—expired listing leads, for sale by owner leads, for rent by owner/investors, and neighborhood search—with a CRM and a power dialer.
17. Systematize Your Prospecting
Ultimately, you want automation to power much of your prospecting. It begins with defining the specific tasks you want to execute, standardizing the processes, and creating checklists around them. For example, you can create a “new home checklist” that documents the steps you take to market every new property you undertake.
Peter Lohmann, who’s sold 700 units (with millions in revenue) on the side—while taking every summer off—is a master of creating real estate systems. His entrepreneur friend, Codie A. Sanchez, in a LinkedIn post, shares a thumb rule on systematization: “Document everything with more than three steps you do more than three times.”
Here’s a demonstration by Peter of how he leverages no-code tools in his property management business.
Keep Track of Your Real Estate Prospects in a High-performance CRM
While some reports may spell doom in the housing market, as per RealTrends + Tom Ferry sales data, America’s best agents are gaining market share. So there’s a silver lining amidst the chaos.
Whether you’re a new agent just starting in the real estate industry or a seasoned pro, you need to keep prospecting. Experiment with a few strategies from the article and find the ones that align with your personality and skill sets. Then stay persistent! That’s all it takes to become a successful real estate agent.
To keep track of all your prospects and manage client relationships at scale, you need real estate customer relationship management (CRM) software. Close is a turnkey CRM with powerful dialer, email, and SMS functionalities. You can reach buyers where they are, manage your listings, and sell more properties. Start a 14-day free trial of the Close CRM.