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6 min read

Avoid Major Prospecting Faux Pas

Mar 13, 2018 1:15:45 PM

As real estate agents, our jobs never truly stop. We’re at the beck and call of our clients 24/7.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish where our personal lives begin and our work lives end. And a lot of the time, they intertwine.

When you’re always on top of your game, you run the risk of letting your work life spill into your personal life — and it’s not always at the most opportune times.

When you’re outside the office, it’s important to avoid blunders that could negatively impact both your social and business lives.

To Prospect or Not to Prospect?

Real estate agents look for leads everywhere they go. Whether it’s a high school reunion or a trip to the grocery store, potential leads lurk around every corner.

But there is such a thing as a wrong time to prospect.

Here’s an example:

You’re at a funeral for a friend’s uncle. You don’t know many people, and you’re making small talk with some acquaintances and strangers.

They ask what you do, and you tell them you’re a Realtor.

And would you believe it? One of them is thinking about selling their house.

You immediately snap into sales mode. You whip out your business card, collect their address and start asking them when they’re available for you to come see their house.

You think you just scored an easy listing — but chances are, you probably lost it.


There’s a time and place for everything, and your friend’s uncle’s funeral is not that time and place.

Not only is it inappropriate to turn a somber event into a prospecting mine, but you’ve also just killed a potentially promising lead.

Here’s what you should have said:

“Well, hey, let me know if you’d like any advice or assistance in selling your house.”

This way, you leave the ball in their court. If they’re interested, they’ll ask for your business card, and you can happily give it to them. Or maybe they’ll give you their phone number and ask you to call them in a few weeks.

If they seem disinterested, that doesn’t mean the door is closed. If you know their name, chances are you can find them on social media. Send a casual message a few weeks later to see if they’ve made any steps toward selling and would like a free evaluation of their home.

Social interactions are crucial to your reputation. Come on too strong, and you risk offending not only your prospective clients but also other people in the room — and you know how gossip can spread. No Realtor wants to be known as the one who comes on too aggressively — and in inappropriate venues.

Speaking of coming on too strong…

You’re standing in line at the grocery store and notice the woman in front of you has a cart with your advertisement on the front. She’s busy unloading groceries, hasn’t even glanced at your sign and is clearly in a hurry to check out. She has her jacket hung over the cart, blocking most of your face.

You not so subtly announce:

“Oh my gosh! There’s my sign! I never thought I’d actually see one of those when I was out shopping. Do you mind if I snap a picture to show my wife?”

Now, the woman in front of you is going to do one of two things:

  1. Awkwardly agree to let you take the photo — secretly (or not so secretly) annoyed that you delayed her shopping trip.
  2. Make up an excuse for why she’s in a hurry and can’t let you take it.

Maybe you thought she’d strike up a friendly conversation and perhaps point you in the direction of a potential lead.

But chances are, she’s put off by your clearly blatant attempt to direct her attention to your ad.

Not to mention, you’ve held up everyone in line behind you — and we all know how impatient people waiting in line at the grocery store can get.

Wearing Your Job On Your Sleeve

There’s no shame in being proud of your career — but that doesn’t mean you have to broadcast it to the world on a T-Shirt.

That Realtor jacket you ordered is perfect to throw on when you’re out at a showing on a chilly day. But wearing it to every family event — including a summer barbeque in a 90-degree heat wave — just looks desperate.

Showing off your brand is all about discretion. It’s OK to be proud of what you do.

But chances are, you’re the only one who thinks your outfit looks cool. It might become a conversation piece, but it’s likely not for the reasons you think.

Behind the Keyboard

Public venues aren’t the only place Realtors can commit major faux pas.

It’s easy to make costly mistakes online, where you can hide behind a keyboard.

Most Realtors post relevant articles, share current listings, and prospect for leads. But there is such a thing as too much real estate.

If all you do is post a never-ending stream of listings, you run the risk of looking like an automated real estate bot.

When you do share listings, take the time to write about what makes them unique.

Highlight unique features:

  • An amazing neighborhood with lots of young families
  • A state-of-the-art kitchen
  • A pristine backyard with a custom pool
  • A secluded yard with lots of trees and wildlife
  • A large set of French doors that offers a perfect view at sunset

When you share and share all day with minimal details about the property, people are likely to just keep scrolling. You might be on the fast track to a lot of unfollows.  

Your page is also a perfect place to show people who you are as a person.

Did you recently take a camping trip with the family? Write up a short post about your trip and share some photos. Never underestimate the power of relatability in any business.

Bottom line?

If people like who you are, they’re going to want to work with you.

Avoid posting potentially polarizing content, like your opinion on political candidates or the anti-vax movement.

Use Your Best Judgment

While the examples shown here might be a bit corny — and you may be thinking, “I’d never do something like that!” — chances are, you’ve done something to alienate a potential customer.

All of these scenarios have one thing in common: The Realtor didn’t use discretion before prospecting at the wrong time or in the wrong way.

It’s important to love what you do and share your passion with your clients. But there is such a thing as coming on too strong.

Before you shoot yourself in the foot on a potential deal, stop and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I in an appropriate venue to prospect for leads?
  • Does this person seem like they’d be interested in what I have to say?
  • Will my prospecting inconvenience this person in a potentially off-putting way?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should either move on or reconsider your strategy.

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