Real estate coach: Tom Ferry
Call coordinator: MyOutDesk
IDX website: BoomTown!
Listing presentations: Cloud CMA
Circle prospecting: Slybroadcast
Real estate concierge: Riley
Video emails: BombBomb
Circle Prospecting Reimagined
In the age of Inman and mastermind groups, truly innovative real estate lead generation strategies are rare. I should know. Every week I get pitched by at least half a dozen real estate agents, teams, brokerages, and tech companies promising an exciting new way to get leads. None of them are exciting, and none of them are new. Innovation isn’t easy.
That’s why we were so excited to watch Tampa Realtor Christina Griffin’s presentation at Tom Ferry’s Success Summit. With inspiration and guidance from Tom, Christina came up with an exciting AND new (well, new to us, at least) circle prospecting strategy.
Christina’s strategy combines cutting-edge technology and one of the oldest lead gen techniques there is: circle prospecting. Check out Christina’s presentation on her strategy below, then read on for our thoughts and some tips from our own coaches for better circle prospecting.
What Is Circle Prospecting?
Before we dive in, let’s talk theory. Circle prospecting is a lead generation and marketing strategy that relies on the premise that homeowners who live nearby your recently listed or closed home will want to know about it. Think of it as building a mini-farm area that has a direct interest in the transaction you just finished in their neighborhood.
Mindset & Motivation: What Drives Christina’s Success With Circle Prospecting
If there’s one thing that most psychologists, life coaches, real estate coaches, and bloggers agree on, it’s that mindset is absolutely crucial to success in real estate. Many people actually take that a step further to include success in life, and we don’t disagree.
For most people, this means focusing on building resilience and cultivating a growth mindset. However, there’s a bit more to it than that. In order to push yourself past your comfort zone, you need a “why” to go along with your “how.” What motivates you to succeed?
If you answered money or power, then the odds of that “why” sustaining your growth through truly difficult times is close to zero. Unless you’re a sociopath, money or power won’t motivate you enough. Instead, you need something deeper.
In Christina’s case, that “why” came from personal tragedy. After a death in the family and a cancer diagnosis, she knew she needed to step up her game and succeed. Working with Tom, she managed to overcome the odds to provide for her young family.
Forget lead generation, forget shiny new customer relationship management (CRM) software. If there’s one thing you should take away from Christina’s presentation, it’s this:
“No matter what you put your mind to, with the right motivation and the right support, you can accomplish any of your goals.”
The Circle Prospecting Strategy That Got All Those Leads
Like most great ideas, Christina started with something that has worked historically, and tweaked it with new technology. Here’s what she did.
Starting with a new listing, she leveraged the age-old technique of circle prospecting—reaching out to homeowners in a circle around her recently listed, or recently sold, property with a targeted message.
However, instead of sending postcards or using door hangers, Christina brought circle prospecting into the 21st century.
She started by gathering the cell phone numbers of people who lived near her listing from a company called Cole Realty Resource. She then checked the Do Not Call (DNC) list, and using software called Slybroadcast, left each of them a message on their voicemail. This is a crucial part of the strategy. Slybroadcast does not ring their phones—instead, the message goes straight to voicemail.
Here’s the script she wrote with Tom’s help:
“This is Christina Griffin with the Griffin Group at Coldwell Banker. We just listed a home in your community XXXX. If you know anyone looking to move, give us a call.”
Simple right? Well, most great scripts are! The more complicated your message, the higher the likelihood it will be ignored. This is true for almost all marketing and lead generation.
Think about it. Which copy works better for ads: long convoluted copy that touches on a dozen ideas, or a simple straightforward pitch that encourages your lead to take a specific action?
Her results were truly astonishing:
She sent out a total of 1,200 messages to cell phones in a two-mile circle around her listing. From those messages, she got over 200 returned calls. So many, in fact, that her poor call coordinator from MyOutDesk couldn’t keep up with the volume.
From those 200 calls, Christina and her team managed to get two new listings and four closed buyer deals.
All from a simple, high-tech circle prospecting strategy that didn’t require cold calling, door knocking, or Facebook advertising. Not bad, right?
The Follow-up: Using Technology to Grow Genuine Relationships
As many of you already know, the money, of course, is in the follow-up. Anyone with deep enough pockets or a clever idea can get their phone to ring. Turning those calls into closed deals takes practice and a good lead nurturing strategy. Luckily, Christina’s team has both.
They took the returned calls from their circle prospecting and put them into their CRM (BoomTown!) and labeled them appropriately.
They also smartly used a Google phone number to track the calls, and used SMS-based lead nurturing software called Riley to engage with the leads they didn’t speak to personally.
5 Circle Prospecting Tips for 2021
If you’re an agent who doesn’t like the idea of using Slybroadcast but still wants to get better at circle prospecting, here are five circle prospecting tips for 2021 from our real estate coaches Chris Linsell and Sean Moudry:
1. Don’t Make Your Circle Too Large
A common mistake that new agents make when circle prospecting is making their circle too large. They think if reaching 50 homes is good, then reaching 200 homes will be better. In reality, this strategy will be more costly, more time-consuming, and will likely get you worse results.
The reason why is simple. The further out you go from the home you transacted on, the less relevant that transaction will be to the homeowners you reach. Let’s say you closed a two-bedroom bungalow for 20% above asking in neighborhood X. Why would someone who owns a seven-bedroom mansion in neighborhood Y care? Worse, if you contact them with irrelevant news, they will assume you’re not very interested in their needs. To them you’ll just be another salesperson trying to make a quick buck.
Instead, try to target 50 homes or less, and make sure all or most of the homes you target are at least somewhat similar.
2. Don’t Overthink Your Circle Prospecting Scripts
Another mistake that many agents make when circle prospecting for the first time is overthinking their scripts. It’s a natural mistake to make because well, most agents want to do a good job and they study those scripts like their lives depend on it.
In reality, a script should be like an outline for a story. You should use them as a general guide to start and maintain a conversation, but never forget that this is a conversation. Yes, you want your lead to set up a listing appointment, join your email list, whatever. But if you overcomplicate your script, you’re going to come across like a robot.
3. Get Over Your Fear of Door Knocking ← This one’s important!
Most new agents are scared of having a lead hang up on them during a cold call, but the fear of door knocking verges on phobia. If you don’t believe me, find a new agent and ask them to come knocking on doors with you next week.
The reality, of course, is that just like cold calling, the fear of door knocking is pretty irrational. Most people are not jerks, and you will be surprised at how many appreciate the courage it takes to knock on their door. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, you just proved to them that you’re a brave salesperson who isn’t afraid to work hard and risk rejection. Isn’t that the whole point of lead generation and marketing anyway?
👉Want to learn the ropes of door knocking or sharpen your skills? Check out our in-depth guide to door-knocking tips and scripts here.
4. Understand That Circle Prospecting Is Not Just About Getting Leads
Another mistake new agents frequently make with circle prospecting is giving up if they don’t get leads right away. After all, circle prospecting takes time, effort, and money. Shouldn’t you expect a return on investment (ROI)? Well, yes, but sometimes that ROI will come later rather than sooner. Circle prospecting is just as much about marketing as it is about generating leads.
For example, you might send out just-sold postcards in May, but get a phone call in September when a homeowner is thinking of moving. Or you might send out that postcard in May, then go door knocking in September and have the homeowner remember you from the postcard. So don’t freak out and quit if you don’t get leads right away. You will be increasing brand awareness and softening up prospects for future outreach.
5. Use Multiple Outreach Methods to Increase Your Response Rate
While Slybroadcast can work great, it won’t work great for everyone you reach. Some people are just not texters, might consider voicemails spammy, or just won’t respond when you call. In order to maximize your response rate, blend in other marketing materials like postcards, texts, phone calls, and door knocking over the next few months.
Over to You
Know a great real estate agent, broker, or team leader who leverages new (or old) technology in a creative way to generate listings and leads? Have a great circle prospecting story? Let us know in the comments or join our Facebook Mastermind Group for experienced agents here.