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By Kelle Sparta

RISMEDIA, August 9, 2007–One of the things I love the most about owning my own business is that almost anything is a tax write-off.  If I talk about work in a way that might garner me business, then it counts – no matter what I’m doing.  So here’s the thought for this week.

Most agents right now are complaining about the lack of business.  They started when business was fast and they could cherry-pick and order-take and effectively do nothing in the way of prospecting and still make a good living.  You don’t need me to tell you that those days are over.  So now it’s time to learn how to prospect effectively.

In your prospecting for this week, I want you to think about who your favorite people are to work with.  What personality do they have, what is their age range, are they married or single, are they white collar or blue collar, are they high-brow or plain spoken, what personality traits do they all have?

Once you have this list compiled, then take a look again and ask yourself where people like this congregate.  Do they go to the gym, golf, attend mommy-and-me programs, take adult education classes, attend meet-up groups, kayak, quilt, run, go to comedy clubs or theater productions, go to book groups, etc.?   Where do “your people” congregate?  Get creative here – think outside of the box.  If you’re not sure, then call up some of the people that you’ve enjoyed working with and tell them that you’re looking to work with more people just like them and ask if they could suggest some places to find them.  You never know, maybe they’ll have a referral for you while you’re talking to them!

Then (and here’s the hard part), once you’ve figured out where these people congregate – go there.  Step out of your normal routine, out of your comfort zone and into a place where you may just find someone who needs to buy or sell property.  Don’t know how to start a conversation in a new environment?  No problem!  Just ask someone there to take you under their wing – tell them that you’re new and ask them to introduce you to people.

Or, start a casual conversation by reflecting whatever emotion you see in someone’s face.  Something like, “Hard day, huh?”  Or “You look like you’re on top of the world – what’s the good news?”  Or just commiserate with the person hiding in the corner: “I always find it hard to mingle at these things, how about you?”  It’s not hard to find an opening if you just pay attention to the people around you.

And the best thing about doing this?  Not only do you get to meet new people, do something cool and new, and potentially get new business about it.  You also get to write it off your taxes.  So don’t forget to save your receipts.

Kelle Sparta is the author of The Consultative Real Estate Agent – Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales, as well as  being a speaker, trainer and coach specializing in the real estate industry.  Kelle is the founder of Sparta Success Systems, a real estate training company that provides tools, products, and training to empower agents and brokers to create lives and businesses they can love.  For more information, visit her website at