Circle prospecting is a lead generation strategy the focuses on outreach to homeowners who live near recently listed or recently sold homes. One of the most common questions we hear from Realtors is how to do circle prospecting effectively.

While it sounds easy, circle prospecting actually requires planning, strategy, and a bit of marketing savvy, so we’re sharing this deep dive and a case study on how one Tampa Realtor generated 200 leads in a day. We’ll share her effective circle prospecting strategy, plus seven tips and scripts you can start using today to generate leads using circle prospecting.

What Is Circle Prospecting?

Circle prospecting is a real estate lead generation strategy where real estate agents contact all homeowners surrounding a specific listing. The goal of circle prospecting is to generate leads by showing social proof with the listing. Think of it as building a mini-farm area that has a direct interest in the transaction you will close in their neighborhood.

Video: 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.

Before You Circle Prospect: Don’t Let ‘Cold’ Leads Slip Through the Cracks in Your CRM

REALqualified

While circle prospecting is a great way to generate leads, any top-producing agent will tell you the same thing: The real money is in the follow-up. How many “cold” leads who might transact soon are sitting in your customer relationship manager (CRM) right now? If only you had the time to follow up…

Enter REALQualified. REALQualified’s team of highly trained inside sales agents (ISAs) will follow up with your leads on your schedule. That means instead of getting hung up on 20x a day, you just get real appointments with real qualified leads.

Visit REALQualified

Deep Dive: Christina’s Circle Prospecting Strategy That Got All Those Leads

Business Person Working

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:

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?

The Results…

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?

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How to Hire ISAs That Can Convert: 5 Tips From the Conversion Queen

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 to engage with the leads they didn’t speak to personally.

Related Article
My 6-Day New Lead Text Messaging Campaign + Agent Texting Scripts

7 Circle Prospecting Tips & Scripts for 2022

Top View of Houses

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 seven circle prospecting tips for 2022 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.

Related Article
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2. Don’t Overthink It

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.

Remember Christina’s simple script: “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.”

Related Article
7 Real Estate Cold Calling Scripts + Tips to Conquer Your Fears

3. Get Over Your Fear of Door Knocking ← This One’s Important!

Door Knocker

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?

Related Article
Door Knocking for Real Estate in 2022: Will It Still Work? (+ Tips & Scripts)

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.

Related Article
Long-term Lead Nurturing: Tips & Scripts to Avoid Overtasking

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.

Related Article
Top 5 Real Estate Postcards Providers + Postcards That Actually Work

6. Practice This Circle Prospecting Phone Script

Here’s a quick and easy script that can work for Slydial or on the phone. This can work particularly well if your listing is priced higher than usual for the neighborhood.

7. Offer to Include Them in Your Monthly Market Report

Since the majority of the people you contact when circle prospecting are unlikely to be moving anytime soon, you need to offer them something of value to stay top of mind. Offering free access to a monthly market report email or even better, an off-market listings report, is the perfect way to do it.

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.

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