7 Ways to Improve Your Prospecting in 2017

Can you believe it? 2016 is almost over, and 2017 will be here before you know it. But that's not all doom in gloom news. No, in fact, it is great news. Why? Because we are getting ready to have a fantastic year.

But how are we going to have a fantastic year? Well, there is one business activity in 2017 that I need to practice more than any other if I want to succeed. What's that business strategy?

Prospecting.

Last year I posted a great blog post, titled "8 Ways to Improve Your Daily Prospecting." It was a smash hit, ranking as the number one viewed article on the NAR YPN Lounge for that year.

That tells me that I'm not alone when it comes to thinking that daily prospecting is the most important tool when it comes to growing your business.

To best help you with your prospecting goals for 2017, and to rehash some old favorites from last year, here is my list of 7 ways you can improve your prospecting for 2017.

1) Leveling Out Leads

The most important pieces of information you have are the contact details of your previous, current, and future clients. Without this list, you will have no leads. And without any leads, you can expect to close any deals.

Over time, people within your database and will get new contact information. Sometimes they'll get a new cell phone, a new job, a new email address, they'll have a kid, or get married. These are all important bits of information to know about your leads.

At least once a year, you should level out your lead list. Or, as I call it, you should LOL your database. Reach out to your leads, prospects, and clients to get any updated or new contact information on them, their jobs, and their families. Level out the list to remove the old ones and add value to the new ones.

But don’t just reach out to say hello and get their new contact information. Offer something - like an invitation to lunch or a heads up about a cool community event - to entice the people on your database to talk to you.

2) Calendar Checking

As I mentioned last year, most sales professionals keep their calendar just as up to date as their database, if not more so. Why not tap into that treasure trove of information?

Most people get stuck on what they’re going to do tomorrow, next week, and next month. To hone your prospecting skills, go back a day, a week, and a month. Use the appointments that you already had as jumping off points for future conversations.

Had a coffee with a new connection two weeks ago? Email them that you had a great time, and wanted to share some more details about a conversation you had. Had a closing three months? Call your client to see how they’re doing.

3) Thank You Thursdays

In a recent piece in the New York Times, writer Susanne Craig stressed the importance of checking your snail mail. Why is that? Because the most important bits of news come through the post office, not email.

In some of my own research, I’ve found that about a third of all emails will be opened. You can almost double that open rate if the email is from someone you know. But, if you send a hand-written letter through the mail, you can bet the open rate on that will be 100%.

Use the appointments that you already had as jumping off points for future conversations.

I call Thursday afternoons my Thank You Thursdays. I spend the afternoon writing at least ten hand-written thank you letters to my network. It could be to a client that just closed on a deal. It could be to a vendor that got a job done for my client. Or, it could be to someone that shared a useful piece of information.

Whatever the case may be, a hand-written letter is a must-do for daily prospecting in 2017.

4) Community Participation

I follow a model when it comes to my involvement in bettering my community. It is called the Learn. Work. Give. model. In this model, I am called to give my time, talents, and treasures to those who need it more than I do.

To give of my time, I first learn about the different opportunities there are in my community to make a difference. I take tours of the local community resource center for homeless people, I learn about the offerings the local public library provides to after-school youth programs, and many more. To give your talents and your treasures wisely, you have to learn what’s going on in your community. 

Learn. Work. Give.

Once you learn what’s the best way for you to get involved in the community, you then need to work for that organization. Whether it’s the Little League, Girl Scouts, Parent-Teacher Association, or coastal clean-up organization you need to put in some people-hours to have the greatest impact on that group.

Finally, you need to give of your treasures. Yes, it is great to know about community causes and to volunteer for them. But to have the most impact, you need to donate your money to those causes too.

After you complete the Learn. Work. Give. model, you will definitely start to see a difference not only in your business but also in the community. 

5) Social Media Exclusion

In 2016, I made a relatively bold move to par down my social media usage. That doesn’t mean I got rid of my social media outlets.

(I still am a Millennial and couldn’t completely get rid of social media. Although I did delete the Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest apps from my phone.)

Social Media Exclusion just means better defining your online messaging on fewer, more targeted apps.

Unless you have a staff or third party vendor to manage all of your social media outlets, it is best to stick to just two or three and make the most out of those platforms. That way you can spend more time posting and responding to people responsible instead of simply having a profile on the platform.

Treat social media as if you are invited to a nice party. Always bring a party favor, thank the host for inviting you, and be cordial to the other party guests.

The best way to view social media is like a real life party. No one wants to hang out with the person in the middle of the room screaming about government and religion and no one wants to hang out with the loner in the corner who isn’t doing anything either. The best party guest is the one that brings a bottle of wine to the party, thanks the host, and gets along with the other party guests.

Treat social media like that party, and you’ll start to see a difference. 

6) Podcasting

The podcasting medium is one of the fast growing mediums for entertainers and business professionals to share their message with the world. For the cost of a microphone and sound editing software - which, for some people, come free with their smart phone and laptop - anyone can become a podcast producer.

As more and more people take public transportation to work or cut the cords to the cable company, more alternative media sources will be needed to fill the content voids. What better way to provide free content to your past, present, and future clients than with your very own podcast.

7) Business Resource Guide

Fortunately, almost everyone knows or has an idea of what the role of the Realtor should be. That means you don’t have to explain what you do when someone asks you at a networking event what do you do for a living. Instead, you should help them understand how you can be a key resource for them when it comes to almost all aspects of their personal and business life.

Does someone's house need a new A/C? Send your clients a list of trusted HVAC contractors. Are there cool, upcoming farmers’ markets happening in your town? Mail a flyer with the dates, time, and locations of these events to your sphere of influence.

Make it part of your prospecting plan to become that trusted guide.

The next time you are sitting in front of your computer and you find yourself scratching your head wondering what it is you should be doing next, try one of these great prospecting tips and you'll be sure to see the deals come rolling through the door in 2017.

Nico Hohman

Nico Hohman is the broker/owner of Hohman Homes, a residential real estate brokerage based in Tampa, Fla. Nico is also a contributing author to Realtor Magazine and Inman News, the innovative news source for the real estate industry. Nico has contributed his time and talents to better the standards of the real estate industry and the local community by leading and serving on committees at Greater Tampa Realtors, Emerge Tampa Bay, the University of Florida School of Construction Management Alumni Council, Toastmasters International, Nativity Catholic School, and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Guild. Plus, every fall, Coach Hohman is the Head Golf Coach at Jesuit High School of Tampa.

 

Since he began practicing full time in the residential real estate in the fall of 2014, Nico has been involved in the transaction and management of over 100 properties with a total value of nearly $20,000,000.

 

With a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida and past experience in the home building and remodeling industries, Nico focuses on helping homebuyers find and purchase new construction homes. He also helps home sellers looking to sell their properties that also require significant renovation.