March 4th - 2012

The ABCs of prospecting techniques

In Glengarry Glen Ross, a movie based on the play by David Mamet, motivational salesperson Blake confronts the employees of a Chicago real estate office about their less than stellar performances.

Looking for clientsIn Glengarry Glen Ross, a movie based on the play by David Mamet, motivational salesperson Blake confronts the employees of a Chicago real estate office about their less than stellar performances. Blake’s advice: “A-B-C. Always… Be… Closing.”

OREA’s advice – be careful with your ABCs. You should translate prospecting initiatives into sales goals, but do so with the client’s best interests in mind. How do you find buyers and sellers? 

Here are tips on several prospecting techniques and brief descriptions. 

Cold calling - Making unsolicited telephone calls or visits, may seem daunting, but it is necessary, especially as you launch your new career. It need not be unnerving if you are prepared. For example:

  • Determine how many cold calls to make each day (make sure it’s reasonable)
  • Have a clear understanding of your objectives in making the calls
  • Be positive (easier said than done)
  • Be persistent
  • Be professional
  • Be brief 

Ensure that you do not contact anyone on the National Do Not Call List or your brokerage’s Do Not Call List. For more information, see the OREApedia topic of Do Not Call in the Members section of See also the CRTC resource centre websites at and Also, check the MLS® listings of your local real estate board to ensure you do not call someone with a property currently listed for sale.

Remember – the great thing about selling real estate is that virtually everyone you know and meet will require your services at some point in their lifetime.

Converting For Sale by Owner (FSBO) - This technique is rife with opportunities and challenges. The opportunity – the people you’ll be contacting want to sell their property. The challenge – they don’t want you (or any other salesperson) to sell it for them. It is your job to convince them they should use a salesperson and that you are the right person for the job.

What should you tell them?

  • Because of your market knowledge, you can help them to determine what their property is worth.
  • You have the knowledge and skill to market the property effectively.
  • You have the knowledge and experience to negotiate successfully on their behalf.
  • You will handle the paperwork and ensure it is completed properly.

Working another salesperson’s open house - This technique is based on the premise that you have no listings and a lot of spare time, and another salesperson in your office has lots of listings and no spare time. This is an excellent networking opportunity – it’s a great way to meet potential prospects and gives you the opportunity to practise your communication skills.

Working a farm - In real estate, “working a farm” means choosing a target market and positioning yourself as an expert in the minds of buyers and sellers in that market.

Farming can be classified under two headings – geographical and personalized. Geographical farming is targeting a specific area/neighbourhood. Personalized farming is based on your interests, hobbies, and relationships (e.g., people in a specific profession, or people who belong to a specific club).

Direct your marketing initiatives (advertisements, website, newsletters, door knocking) towards buyers and sellers inside your farm. Your goal is to build your presence and reputation.

Working expireds - ‘Expireds’ refers to listing agreements that have reached their expiry dates, meaning the listing brokerage no longer has a representation agreement with the seller. This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the seller is motivated to sell. The disadvantage is that the seller is likely exasperated with the whole selling process.

In addition, because of privacy concerns, you must be certain the seller has consented to being contacted after the listing expires (or is otherwise terminated). This information is noted on the listing. Even if a seller has consented to being contacted after the expiration, cancellation or termination of the listing, this consent would not override Do Not Call -- if the seller has put their phone number on the national Do Not Call List or the brokerage’s internal Do Not Call List.  For more information see the OREApedia topics of Privacy Compliance and Do Not Call.  

For more information on sales techniques, consult our manual, Training for Success: A Mentoring Kit for New Salespeople. This is a valuable resource for both brokers and salespeopleFor details, visit the Products and Services section in the OREA Real Estate College section at

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