By Gil Davis

Why do some agents strike it rich, but most just muddle along? The answer usually lies in their ability to consistently list well-priced properties with motivated vendors. How do they do it?

Imagine you wanted to pan for gold. How would you go about it? You would need the proper equipment of course, and you would have to look in a gold-bearing stream; not just any stream, or you would be wasting your time. Even then, it would take some practice, and most of all work, before you got a decent reward.

Prospecting for listings is the same. Your equipment is your listing kit and information on recent sales and prices. The right stream is a little harder to identify, so let’s examine your options:

  • Door-knocking is a favourite of Sales Managers. Yuk! It is the equivalent of wading into every stream hoping for a bit of luck. It yields what are known as cold (or luke-warm) prospects – sellers whose main motivation is more money than their place is worth.
  • Door-knocking can be refined by the technique of hotspotting. This is where you concentrate on properties around a recent good sale. Basically you’re panning near where gold has already been found.
  • Making community contacts. This takes you from cold to warm prospecting because you are talking with people predisposed to like and use you. If you help them without being asked and without a direct reward, they will  respond by bringing you information about likely sellers, sometimes themselves. Over time, they actually pop  gold-dust in your pan.
  • Using a database. This is hot prospecting. It involves maintaining excellent and continual contact with people with whom you have already dealt. They are pure gold, and include:
    • past buyers and sellers;
    • people for whom you have done an appraisal or helped in some way (such as arranging finance or insurance);
    • property management clients, and;
    • genuine prospects from earlier sales contact.
  • Finally, my personal favourite – open houses. These draw potential sellers like a magnet. They are your opportunity to showcase yourself directly to people who are actively deciding who to use. So the better you present the property and information about it and the area, and most of all yourself, the more likely you are to win a listing immediately. 24-carat stuff.

Whatever technique (or combination of techniques) you use, you have to be diligent and determined. That means setting aside a regular amount of time every working day to prospecting. All too often a salesperson will prospect well for a while, then, when they get listings, concentrate of selling those listings, and forget about prospecting. This results in see-sawing commissions. It is also a major reason why I preferred to concentrate on listing from contacts derived at open-houses, and not to delegate following up enquiry. Incidentally, don’t assume you can guess who the likely sellers are at an open-house. You have to be extra nice to all of them and follow up everyone.

If these tips don’t work for you, try panning. I’m told there’s gold in a stream… somewhere.