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Real Estate Prospecting Methods (+12 Tips)

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The key to successful real estate lead generation isn’t a secret. It can be made – or broken – by the strategies behind your real estate prospecting methods.

In today’s real estate market, it’s important to implement a mix of traditional and modern real estate prospecting methods to meet your GCI goals. That’s why we’ve combined this list of tips and techniques to help you reach those milestones even faster.

Table of contents

What is real estate prospecting? 

Real estate prospecting is the process of actively seeking out potential clients or leads by reaching out to individuals who may be interested in buying or selling properties. It’s an essential part of an agent or broker’s job, as it helps build your client base and Sphere of Influence (SoI).

What does prospecting in real estate entail?

The process of seeking out potential clients and leads is a multi-step approach.

  1. Lead Generation: This involves finding potential leads through various channels such as online listings, social media platforms, referrals and networking events.
  2. Contacting Leads: Once leads are identified, real estate agents reach out to them through phone calls, emails or in-person meetings to establish a connection and gather more information about their real estate needs.
  3. Qualifying Leads: During the prospecting process, agents need to qualify leads by determining their level of interest, financial capabilities and specific requirements. This helps agents prioritize their efforts and focus on leads that are more likely to convert into clients.
  4. Follow-Up: Consistent follow-up is crucial in real estate prospecting. Agents need to stay in touch with quality leads, provide them with relevant information and nurture the relationship until they are ready to make a buying or selling decision.
  5. Building Relationships: Real estate prospecting is not just about closing deals. It’s also about building long-term relationships with clients. By providing exceptional customer service, staying in touch and going the extra mile, agents can turn real estate clients into repeat customers and generate referrals.

It’s important to note a customer relationship management (CRM) system plays a critical part in each step of the prospecting process. That’s because a CRM streamlines the organization of various channels – like your website, PPC and social channels – ensuring a centralized hub for potential leads. Then, it supports personalized outreach, tracking interactions through calls, emails and other touch points. 

Through analyzing CRM data, you can qualify leads by interest level, budgets and other criteria. Then, during follow-up, a CRM automates and schedules interactions, ensuring consistent and well-timed engagement until clients are transaction ready. Even after a client closes on a property, a CRM is critical in supporting your future work through and repeat business. 

What are the different types of prospecting methods in real estate?

​Real estate professionals have many different types of prospecting methods they can use depending on their goals and target audience.

Subtypes of prospecting: Passive vs. active

Passive prospecting, for example, involves creating a strong online presence to attract and nurture an audience of potential clients who are both actively seeking information about real estate, as well as those who are just keeping an eye on the market. 

One of the most effective ways agents can do this is through the use of an IDX website built with real-estate-specific SEO in mind. On these sites, you can build out supportive content to help establish your expertise in the industry. This can take the form of blog articles, videos and virtual tours alongside your property listings.

Active prospecting, on the other hand, involves a more direct approach. This can include more traditional forms of lead generation, including cold calling, door knocking, networking and referral management. 

An example audience that these efforts could be targeted to could include expired listings whose owners may still be motivated to sell or For Sale by Owner properties who could benefit from agent services.

Long-term vs. short-term pipeline strategies

Prospecting isn’t just about uncovering individuals who are looking to purchase or put up for sale properties presently. Building relationships with those who may require your services in the future is just as important to your sales strategy as reaching transaction-ready prospects.

Remember, 97% of all leads won’t be ready to buy or sell immediately. So, it’s important to invest in prospecting methods that can deliver on both short-term and long-term goals. To do this, a mix of active and passive efforts are required.

What are the best real estate prospecting tactics?

Traditional prospecting

This form of lead generation is typically based on direct forms of communication, like face-to-face interactions or real-time phone conversations. It helps agents gain trust and build relationships in a personable way.

Some common methods include:

  • Door knocking: Door knocking involves in-person interactions where an agent or broker visits a home to make an introduction and offer real estate services.
  • Cold calling: This involves making unsolicited phone calls to potential clients.
  • Direct mail: Direct mail is a form of outbound marketing where an agency sends brochures, postcards or other materials to targeted homeowners or neighborhoods.
  • Email marketing: Similar to direct mail, email marketing is an outbound tactic where you connect with prospects via their inbox, rather than their physical mailbox.

​Online lead generation

Online lead generation involves capturing potential client information through online platforms. This can include a multitude of tactics, including your website, online advertisements, social media outreach and more.

  • Paid ads and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns: This involves running online advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads. This method is useful for targeted prospecting, as you can narrow your campaign to focus on a target market based on things like keywords, location, device usage and other demographics such as age, gender and household income.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is a great tool for attracting and engaging with potential real estate leads. Some examples of content marketing include website blog posts and videos which, when posted to your website, help nurture a website visitor and prove your authority on a given topic.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Your online presence is only valuable if people are actually seeing it. That’s where SEO tactics can help. SEO works to optimize your online presence, from your website to your content marketing tactics, improving your search engine results and ensuring that the right audiences are seeing it at the right time.
  • Retargeting: Retargeting efforts are critical in re-engaging prospects who have visited your website or interacted with your content before. This helps bring back website visitors until you’re able to convert them into a lead and move them through other nurturing sequences.
  • Social Media: Social media is a valuable tool in the real estate industry, as many passive prospects use platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to view property listings and other real estate content.

Targeted prospecting

This method helps agents concentrate efforts on specific niches in the market, in many cases honing on audiences who have already demonstrated being transaction-ready. 

  • Expired listings: Reaching out to homeowners of listings that were recently taken off the market after failing to sell is a useful method of reaching transaction-ready clients.
  • For Sale by Owner properties: Often, property owners try to sell their own home without involving a real estate agent. This method of prospecting works because you already know the seller is motivated – you just have to convince them of the added value you can bring to the sale with your expertise.
  • Circle Prospecting: Circle prospecting involves reaching out to homeowners within a certain radius – typically, properties surrounding a recently sold home – to try to identify potential buyers or sellers in the same area.

Networking and referrals

Networking will always be a part of the real estate business. Use this form of prospecting to build relationships with potential clients, past clients and professional contacts in the industry to widen your SoI.

  • Open houses: Open houses involve inviting potential buyers to visit a property that’s currently listed for sale to showcase the property. Use this time to meet prospects, answer questions, gauge interest and collect information you can follow up on in the future.
  • New developments and builders: As an agent, you can establish relationships with local builders and developers to gain access to new construction projects or developments. This can help give your agency exclusive access to new inventory before they reach the general market.
  • Sphere of Influence: Your SoI consists of your existing personal and professional network. These are individuals who already know you and have a level of trust in your abilities as an agent, making them more likely to consider your real estate services.

12 prospecting tips real estate agents can use now

2023 existing home sales experienced a 16.6 percent drop year-over-year. Even so, there’s a possibility that the softening real estate market may face in the coming year if mortgage rates drop – as they’re expected to.

As home activity ebbs and flows, agents and brokers are experiencing a need to draw on, fill and manage sales pipelines. Here are twelve tips you can implement today to put different prospecting tactics to work for you.

1) Don’t be afraid to mix passive and active methods 

Paid advertising can complement traditional prospecting methods like cold calling and door knocking. Leverage targeted online ads to generate leads in specific neighborhoods or demographics, then use traditional methods to follow up with a personal touch.

2) Curate a library

Build out your content marketing library and showcase your expertise and authority on your content pillars. Once you identify the gaps, you can develop content to fit that need and promote it using a mix of email, social media, direct mail and other touch points.

3) Prioritize SEO early

A well-optimized website can serve as a hub for all prospecting efforts. By using an IDX website that is already built to support SEO, you can ensure your content is optimized as soon as you post, increasing your likelihood of attracting the right audience to your listings.

4) Work on your personal sales pitch

If you’re reaching out to an expired listing, you’ll want to demonstrate how you’re able to meet their needs better than their previous agent. Come to the table prepared with success stories from your recent clients and any metrics that can prove you can get their listing sold.

5) Tailor your outreach

Use nurturing tools to analyze your leads, then tailor your nurturing and follow-up tactics to meet their specific buying criteria and pain points. This might sound like a lot of work, but if you use a proven real estate marketing automation software to do this at scale without sacrificing personalization.

6) Develop scripts for traditional outreach

Even the best of us get tongue-tied sometimes. Traditional methods of prospecting can be difficult to automate, but having scripts ready for your cold-calling or door-knocking efforts can help keep you on track, even when your prospect begins asking hard questions. 

7) Organize everything

You already know how to work your sphere of influence to get results. In some cases, your network may be too large already, making it too unmanageable to serve its purpose. Use the features of a CRM tool to help you get the most  out of your established network as well as net new prospects. Your CRM should be intuitive enough to let you categorize leads based on their potential value, while also offering automation features to keep your follow-ups timely and relevant. 

If you already have a robust database, learn from our experts about how to mine your network for new opportunities.

8) Reinvest in open houses

Open houses aren’t a new tactic to most agents – but how you approach an open house can be. Consider combining in-person tours with virtual alternatives, interactive floor plans and automatic lead capture through QR codes and website contact forms. This can help alleviate some of the demands on your agents’ time, without losing the personal touch of an open house.

9) Use online tools to strengthen in-person connections

Just as online lead generation tactics can be used to reach buyers and sellers, you can use them to reach builders and developers, too. Use targeted social media, email marketing, website optimization and Google ads to help build valuable personal connections with new construction segments and help gain access to potential lots and for-sale properties.

10) Don’t forget about social media

Post regularly on your social media pages and take the time to engage with comments and messages. This is a great way of engaging with passive prospects and keeping up with homebuyer trends and preferences.

11) Analyze your data

Make sure every tactic employed gets tracked so progress becomes clear over time. A robust CRM system can help with this. It lets you monitor which methods are bringing in leads and conversions – even helping you track metrics like cost-per-lead and cost-per-close – allowing for informed decision-making on where to focus your efforts.

12) Dare to experiment

Test different combinations of modern and classic approaches until you hit upon what works best for you. Remember that each agent’s success will vary based on factors like local market conditions, personal strengths or client preferences. 


Real estate prospecting is an essential way to ensure your business is able to meet short-term and long-term revenue goals.

It’s important to understand active and passive prospecting, as well as the different tactics available to you when reaching and developing your lead audience. Remember, this isn’t a one-or-nothing approach. Mix and match different methods depending on current market trends, analyzing your results along the way.

Almost all of the methods, tactics and tips offered in this article are reliant on real estate CRM software. That’s because it helps agents manage and organize lead volume, automates follow-up and supports personalized nurturing. It also is invaluable in providing data insights, routing leads and streamlining the work of your collective agency.

Learn more about Sierra Interactive’s best-in-class real estate software and how it can help support prospecting efforts today.  


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