Are you prospecting enough?

luca-bravo-207676.jpgProspecting is to a broker what free throws are to an NBA star, or what the gas pedal is to a race car driver. Simply put: it’s the foundation of your success.

And yet, the Massimo Blog revealed that over 80% of respondents in a national survey prospected only sporadically or when they could. What’s more, 7% of these respondents suggested that they do not prospect at all.

Just like getting enough sleep and exercising, prospecting seems to be one of those things we know we should do more of but probably don't. And we get it: often it’s because there’s a lot going on in a broker’s day, and a lot of it happens to be more urgent (though not necessarily more important).

But there’s a problem with that: if you're prioritizing your to-do list based on urgency, then prospecting won’t get your attention until it becomes an actual emergency! If you wait until your pipeline is dry, you’re already too late. The truth is that you should be prospecting when times are good, not when they start looking desperate.

Top brokers, of course, already know this—and it shows in their earnings. As the Massimo revelations taught us, those with higher income levels were also those who were more likely to prospect consistently.

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How much should you prospect?

We’ve said before that each quarter, brokers should aim to connect between 600-800 prospects by phone. Let’s do the math on that: if you need to reach 600-800 people per quarter, that breaks down to 10-13 people per day. (John Highman puts this number higher, at 40 outbound calls per day, during which you’d only realistically reach 15-20 people).

So how do you pull this off? Here are seven prospecting recommendations:

  • Calculate the cost of NOT prospecting. Look back at your past year of deals. How many were the direct result of your prospecting activities? Now ask yourself how much time you spent prospecting to get to those deals. Ballpark it. If you spent 250 hours prospecting and earned $100,000 in commissions, then the dollar value of a single hour of prospecting is effectively $400. Once you know what each hour of prospecting is “worth” it’s a lot harder to put it off. It’s also fun to think about what would happen if you doubled your efforts—could you double your commissions, as well?
  • Follow the Gandhi rule. It is said that Gandhi meditated for one hour each day. But one day his backers told him, “Oh, you can’t do that, you’re too busy today.” His response? “Well then, now I need to set aside two hours for meditation.” Remember this when you find yourself too “busy” to prospect. Gandhi understood that meditation was the foundation of his success, and he made extra time for it especially during his busiest moments. What would happen if you adopted the same philosophy?
  • Put it on the calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it won’t happen. And since prospecting is the basic building block of your business, it needs to be the very first thing on your calendar each day. Before emails. Before requests from colleagues. Start with at least one hour dedicated to prospecting each day (you can always scale up). If you can do all your prospecting at the same time each day, even better: that’s how it becomes a habit.
  • Squeeze everything you can out of that time. Calling ten numbers isn’t the same thing as calling a specific set of ten numbers. Now that you’ve blocked prospecting time on your calendar, you want to squeeze the most value out of that time. The best way to do that? Do your research ahead of time. Know who you’re calling and what to say to pique their interest. (And by the way, Apto can help you do that much faster).
  • Keep that call list handy. You’ll find yourself with a spare 5-10 minutes here and there throughout the day. It happens: you have a few moments before a meeting, or before another call, or before lunch. It’s not enough time to do anything major, but it may just be enough time for a quick 10-minute phone call. Keep a list of numbers on hand and get in the habit of calling them whenever you find yourself with a little pocket of free time. These extra moments, carved from existing gaps in your schedule, can make a huge difference.
  • Mix it up. You phone calls should be to a mix of people you’ve spoken to before and completely new prospects. That way, you’re always staying on top of leads and keeping yourself top of mind for when opportunities do arise. At the same time, you’re actively creating new connections. Pro tip: Call every property owner or major tenant in your market at least once per quarter.
  • Never wonder about what to say. We’ve outlined 23 conversation starters you can use to warm up your prospects from the first call. And don’t forget—the goal isn’t just to have a nice conversation. It’s to get a meeting!

By now you know that prospecting is definitely not optional: each phone call you make represents a potential future deal, and the more phone calls you make the more your potential earnings grow.

What will you do to make prospecting a part of your day today?

Infographic: A day in the life of a broker, 1997 vs. 2017