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The most important thing for you to master to really succeed in real estate is prospecting. It’s also the one area most agents are likely to get tripped up on. Why? Because they get caught up in misconceptions and misinformation, and in the fear of rejection and sometimes even bad advice from other agents.

Here’s the thing: Prospecting is about communicating with other people. For some agents, that’s scary. “But Darryl, what if they hang up?” Well, then they hang up. It’s not the end of the world! Most agents start by calling For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), then they get rejected. So, they try door-knocking, and that’s not comfortable either. Then they try a few Expireds, and those people are just grumpy! So, what do they do? Quit prospecting and start working with buyers. Buyers are friendly, right? Not as intimidating… “I can always go back to prospecting!”

Please listen to me. Do not get seduced by the Dark Side of the Force, because that’s exactly what it is. First of all, working with buyers does not necessarily mean it’s quick and easy money. It may look like that on the surface, but agents who have been in this business for a while will tell you there are plenty of times when you are working with buyers weekend after weekend and they are not buying anything. They may decide to rent or, worse yet, they buy from another agent, and you may invest a lot of time and energy and have nothing to show for it.

If, instead, you take that same energy, that same tenacity with the buyer, and you apply it to listing real estate, you may get several listings that can equal thousands of dollars. So, here’s my challenge to you: if you are brand new in real estate, before you take any buyer out to show him/her any property, you need to get six sellers to list with you. If you do that, I promise you that you will be one of the best and greatest agents in your market. If you can get past that first hurdle, those first six listings, you won’t even want to take buyers out. Please trust me on this. As I’ve said before, listings are where you should focus your time and energy, as they bring the best returns.

If listings are so important, why don’t most agents spend their time prospecting for them? Even the good agents lose their focus from time to time. Why is that? The key to focusing has to do with two things: excitement and passion. So, you need to have excitement and passion for what you do to stay with it and to have it succeed. Find what engages, fires and inspires you, and run with it.

What I teach my Power Agents® is to take a slightly different approach to prospecting. Most agents are taught from the start to “call until you get one”—and the focus is a win or lose scenario. You get the appointment, or you don’t. When you approach prospecting that way, with a win/fail focus, it’s discouraging. A better approach is to come from a place of service. Every single call you make is simply to move the relationship forward, offer solid resources, and commit to delivering answers and service that you know in your heart and mind will help that seller get the most money for their home in the shortest period of time, and with the least number of headaches. You have to be sold on that before you even pick up the phone.

Statistics, history and industry trends all show clearly that a homeowner is better of working with an agent than going it alone. Focus on your people skills, on listening to what people are saying and responding to them rather than just waiting for your next “dialogue” queue.

The approach that I love the most is calling FSBOs. I’ll be honest, it’s more of a love-hate thing. I really hate to sit down and make that first call. The people I call are usually resistant; they don’t want to work with agents because they want to sell their houses on their own. But I love the part about knowing that if I can push past that feeling of being uncomfortable, then I will become much stronger when it comes to prospecting. There’s nothing that tickles me more than calling a FSBO who’s ready to hang up on me, 20 minutes later getting an appointment, then going to the house and, finally, hours later, leaving with the listing. I just love that! And so will you.

Of all the approaches to prospecting, FSBO is perhaps the best. Why? Because you know they want to sell. Don’t you want quick and “easy” money? Who better to get a listing from than someone who wants to sell? All the other approaches to prospecting can take longer. Despite my recommendations to prospect with FSBOs, you might find that you can’t get passionate about calling FSBOs yourself. If you can’t, then find another approach you can get excited about.

You’ve got this. I’m here to help, with a passionate community of Power Agents® that can be there for you as well. Learn more at

Darryl Davis, bestselling author of “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate” and owner of Darryl Davis Seminars, has trained and coached over 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe for more than 27 years. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system, The Power Program®, which has helped agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, and the new agent tools that can help take you to your Next Level®, please contact or visit