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Real Estate Prospecting – Building an Advocate Army

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By John Boe

RISMEDIA, December 21, 2010—The single greatest concern facing all real estate professionals is prospecting for new business. As a commission salesperson, your livelihood is directly dependent on your ability to prospect effectively. Do you consistently ask for referrals? To be successful in the real estate profession, you need assistance from your clients in the form of referrals.

Many real estate professionals today aren’t investing their time or their money toward developing clients into advocates. An advocate is a person that will go out of their way to recommend you to their friends and associates. Obviously the more people that are saying good things about you and your company in the marketplace, the more sales you will make. Building an advocate army doesn’t happen over night, but the time, money and effort required to develop advocates is certainly worth it. Most clients are initially reluctant to provide referrals and need to be encouraged and trained. To become effective, advocates need to be trained and motivated. Advocates aren’t born, they’re developed.

The following tips will help you successfully turn your clients into advocates.

How do I go about finding my advocates?
-Begin by creating a list of your existing advocates. Clients that have already referred prospects to you should automatically become part of your advocate army.
-Review your client list for potential advocates. Identify those clients that have purchased a home from you, but have not yet referred a prospect to you.

After I’ve identified my list of advocates and potential advocates, what’s the next step?
-Let your existing advocates assist you in training your potential advocates. Develop an action plan to contact your potential advocates and invite them to a breakfast or lunch along with one or two of your best advocates. This low-pressure approach is effective because you merely guide the discussion and allow your advocates to share their referral techniques.
-Stay in contact. Put your advocates on a suspense list to contact them quarterly. Consider calling or mailing them something of interest, such as an article or newsletter.

How do I train my advocates to prospect effectively?
-Teach your advocates how to approach a prospect. Be careful not to let them overeducate their referrals. Role-play the actual words you would like them to use when they introduce you. I suggest that you coach them to say what it is that you do—not how you do it. Keep it simple and short.
-Prepare them for the standard objections that they may expect to encounter from a prospect. If your advocates aren’t prepared to deal with the typical objections, they will be less effective and will potentially be discouraged from future prospecting attempts.

How do I reward my advocates?
-Send them a thank you card and or call them to thank them for referring a prospect to you. Keep them informed on the status of their referrals. You must have a system in place to provide feedback to your advocates or they will not feel appreciated and will loose interest.
-Consider giving them a small gift for their involvement, such as a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call 937-299-9001.

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