Active vs. Passive Prospecting

Prospecting is a frequent topic of conversation in the real estate business as every agent is focused on keeping their lead pipeline full.

Less talked about than specific means are the different broad strategies and ways to find prospects. Active prospecting refers to some of the traditional tools we think of, including cold calls, referrals, networking events and targeted mailings. Think of it as activities you can control and track.

Passive marketing or passive prospecting is hard to duplicate, and the results are difficult to measure, as you must wait for the people to respond or business to come to you. Taking agent floor duty is passive, as is social media. While you can measure the number of hits or clicks on your blog or other platforms, you lack control over how they respond past that point.

While some agents argue passive prospecting is a waste, most experts say the most successful agents use a combination of the techniques.

Active Prospecting

Active prospecting is always time intensive and everyone starts their career with this: calling every contact in your email and holiday card list for referrals is a traditional starting point for rookie agents. Those agents who want to grow their business and not just ‘make a living’ will keep their focus heavily on actively looking for leads. Techniques may include calling expired listings, for sale by owners (FSBO,) and geographic farming, the latter of which refers to making yourself THE real estate expert in a particular community or neighborhood.

Passive Marketing

The knock on passive marketing is that you leave the decision entirely up to others. While you can target direct mail or email to a tailored list, mail programs still rely on the recipient for a response. Having said that, the best passive prospecting anticipates the needs and wants of potential clients. High-quality content on websites, frequent and relevant social media posts – include your current listings with top-notch photos – will inevitably lend you credibility and reinforce your active prospecting. As crucial as active lead generation is, social media has become an indispensable weapon in every agent’s arsenal.

Agents with established careers can default to a more passive style of marketing as referrals roll in but let’s be clear: the only agents who stop active prospecting entirely are agents who don’t want to close deals.

What you choose depends on the stage of your career, your company, your personal strengths and how well you are known in your community.  Whatever mix of prospecting you use, remember a consistent approach is the best way to keep your pipeline full of potential customers.