Think of circle prospecting as building a mini-farm area that has a direct interest in a neighborhood transaction you’re already working. It’s a lead-generation strategy focusing on outreach to homeowners in a designated area. The most common questions I hear from Realtors are about how to do circle prospecting and whether or not circle prospecting works.
While it sounds easy, circle prospecting actually requires planning, strategy, and a bit of marketing savvy. To help you get started, we’re sharing six proven strategies and scripts you can start using today to generate leads using circle prospecting. But if you want to get straight to the social proof, skip down to the video and case study on how one Tampa Realtor generated 200 leads in one day.
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. You can also use closed transactions to make the case that you can get the job done.
Before You Circle Prospect: Don’t Let ‘Cold’ Leads Slip Through the Cracks in Your CRM
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 will follow up with your leads on your schedule. That means instead of getting hung up on 20 times a day, you get real appointments with real qualified leads.
6 Circle Prospecting Tips & Scripts for 2023
Now that you understand the basics, here are six tips and scripts for circle prospecting in 2023 from our real estate coaches Chris Linsell, Sean Moudry and myself.
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 that 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 lackluster results. The reason is simple. The further you go from the target listing, the less relevant that transaction will be to the homeowners you reach. Stick to 20 to 30 (no more than 50 total) homes in the immediate vicinity of your listing to get the best results. This approach will help you focus on homeowners who have a similar home and a vested interest in your listing.
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2. Use My Circle Prospecting Open House Invite Script
Here’s a quick and easy neighbors-only open house invite script that can work for Slydial or when you call prospects directly. I’ve found that the last line of this script helps create a sense of curiosity, but if your local market is slow, skip it. If there’s one thing people hate, it’s a real estate agent saying the market is hot when it isn’t. Don’t be that agent.
“Hi, this is [your name] from [your brokerage]. I just wanted to let you know we’re hosting an open house at [listing address] on Sunday and I wanted to personally invite you for a neighbors-only sneak peek. The market is picking up again so I wanted to give you a chance to see what [price of listing] gets you if you’re thinking about making a move in the next year or so.”
3. Think of Your Scripts as Conversation Starters
Another mistake many agents make when circle prospecting for the first time is overthinking their scripts. It’s a natural mistake because most agents want to do a good job and they study those scripts like their lives depend on it. However, when they finally get a lead on the phone, they don’t know how to keep the conversation going.
In reality, a script should be like an outline for a story. Use it as a general guide to start and maintain a conversation, but never forget that this is a conversation.
Here is a simple just listed script you can use to keep the conversation going:
Agent: This is [your name] with [your brokerage]. I just listed a home in [community name] and I was wondering if you knew of anyone who might be moving to the neighborhood.
Homeowner: No, I can’t think of anyone right now. Sorry.
Agent: No worries. The market is a little tricky right now, but I am just trying to get my client the best possible price I can for their home. That’s the commitment I made when I got the listing and I want to do as much as I can to make them happy. Just out of curiosity, when do you plan to move?
Homeowner: We just moved here last year so we aren’t looking for a new house anytime soon. Sorry.
Agent: I wouldn’t either. It’s a great neighborhood and not a lot of homes come on the market. By the way, I send out a monthly [off-market listings update or market report] to all my clients. Even if you’re not moving, it’s a great resource to see what’s happening in the market. If you want, I can send it to you in a text message.
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4. Remember 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. The truth is, circle prospecting is just as much about marketing as it is about generating leads. The goal is to get in front of more homeowners and become a familiar face in the neighborhood.
The best way to think of circle prospecting is planting seeds. You may not see any growth immediately, but if you continue to water those seeds, you’ll start to see them sprout. So get out there, start conversations, and practice great follow-up.
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5. Get Over Your Fear of Door Knocking ← This One’s Important!
Sure, most new agents are scared of getting hung up on 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 is most people are not jerks, and you will be surprised at how many appreciate the courage it takes to knock on their door. A great way to combat the rejection is to use a multichannel approach to your circle prospecting. Start out by sending postcards or hanging door hangers so you’ll seem more familiar when you begin the scary task of actually knocking on those doors. It’ll also give you something tangible to reference when they open the door. Here is a script from Sean Moudry that’s perfect for circle prospecting around a listing you just sold:
“Hello, sorry to bother you. My name is [your name] and I am the listing agent for the property down the street [point in the direction of the property]. We received multiple offers and, of course, we can only accept one. The home sold well above asking price and these other buyers are still looking for a home in [neighborhood]. Who do you know who would like to sell their home in this hot market?”
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6. Use Multiple Outreach Methods to Increase Your Response Rate
To maximize your potential success, blend in other marketing materials like postcards, texts, phone calls, and door-knocking over the next few months. Just remember that there is a fine line between staying top of mind and becoming a pest. You don’t want to door knock, call, and flyer the same house in the same week with the same offer.
This is why we only recommend circle prospecting when you have something of value to offer. That might be information on a recently sold listing, an invitation to a neighbor’s-only open house, or a list of off-market properties. Don’t worry. If you’re working your farm area correctly, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to circle prospect with something of value.
Want to improve your prospecting strategies and materials? Check out our guides below.
Video: Circle Prospecting Real Estate Strategy for the 21st Century
Truly innovative real estate lead generation strategies are rare because 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 with circle prospecting, mixing an old strategy with a new methodology. You can check out Christina’s presentation on her strategy below.
Deep Dive: How Christina’s Circle Prospecting Strategy Got All Those Leads
Like most great ideas, Christina Griffin 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 List, and using software called Slybroadcast, she left a message on their voicemail. This is a crucial part of the strategy. Slybroadcast does not ring prospects’ phones—instead, the call 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, [neighborhood name]. If you know anyone looking to move, give us a call.”
Simple, right? And therein lies the secret. The more complicated your message, the higher the likelihood it will be ignored. This is true for almost all marketing and lead generation.
When it comes to effective marketing, simple is best. Focus on one basic idea and direct your audience to take one action at a time.
Her results were truly astonishing:
Christina sent out a total of 1,200 messages to cell phones in a two-mile circle around her listing. From those messages, she got more than 200 returned calls—so many that her 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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The Follow-up: Using Technology to Grow Genuine Relationships
As I mentioned up top, the money 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, put them into their CRM (BoomTown!), and labeled them appropriately. They also smartly used SMS-based lead nurturing to engage with the leads they didn’t speak to personally.
Christina’s circle prospecting strategy is smart. She leverages modern technology to boost her results quickly. The runaway success of this strategy helped her grow her team and create success by thinking outside the box.
You can utilize the strength of circle prospecting to generate leads and grow your business, even if you don’t have a sphere of influence to work with. So, get out there and start working those neighborhoods.
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Over to You
Have a great circle prospecting story? Or maybe 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. Let us know in the comments. We love to hear your exciting stories from the field.