10 simple tips to master circle prospecting (+ scripts)

10 simple tips to master circle prospecting (+ scripts)

What is circle prospecting? Circle prospecting is a proven and effective way to find real estate clients. In its simplest form, circle prospecting means contacting homeowners in a radius or circle around one of your recent listings or sales to ask if they or anyone they know is looking to buy or sell their home.

The beauty of incorporating circle prospecting into your overall lead generation strategy is that you can customize it to fit your budget, available time, and preferred communication methods. Traditionally, agents circle prospect on the phone, calling neighbors of their just-sold or just-listed properties. However, you can choose to add door-knocking, mailers, and/or emails for a more comprehensive approach.

10 simple tips to master circle prospecting 

We’ve listed ten simple tips for mastering circle prospecting. These will help you keep your real estate lead pipeline full and withstand industry changes. 

1. Create a solid follow-up system

Circle prospecting is a long game and a numbers game, but the real money is in the follow-up. Most of the homeowners you talk to will not be looking to relocate tomorrow. However, they may be thinking about moving in the next 6-12 months. Staying in touch and keeping top-of-mind with all your leads is the key to getting the listing appointment when the time is right for them.

A solid follow-up system must be simple, easy to implement, and consistent. Your best bet is to use an automated system. If your CRM has its own lead follow-up tool, I’d start there. If not, check out Zurple’s intelligent lead nurture system, which provides over 200 automated texts and emails to keep in touch with your leads. Zurple’s automated lead nurturing tools will ensure that when homeowners are ready to make a move, they’ll remember you and reach out.

2. Leverage the time-consuming task of finding contact information

Tracking down phone numbers and email addresses for homeowners can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. There are a few options for leveraging this task: pay a virtual assistant to pull the data for you or subscribe to a service that provides all the information you’ll need. 

Vulcan7 has a feature specifically for circle prospecting. It provides verified email addresses and phone numbers and also allows you to search by owner-occupied, non-owner-occupied, property type, length of ownership, and many other filters. Every query searches for real-time information and returns the latest data. This info can help you be more intentional with your circle prospecting.

3. Build relationships

Beyond generating leads, a significant goal of circle prospecting is building and nurturing relationships in your community. No one likes the feeling of being sold to. Instead of approaching homeowners with the intention of selling their house immediately, focus on building relationships. Sometimes, agents feel nervous about calling or door-knocking. While that’s completely normal and understandable, a mindset shift is the answer.

Remember: They’re just people. They’re not leads, prospects, buyers, or sellers — just regular people living their lives. And they may have a life event in the future that will cause them to want or need to relocate. Lead your conversations with humanity. Doing so will make a greater impact and give you confidence in your approach.

When you truly detach from the outcome and focus simply on helping people with their needs on their unique timelines (not yours), the people you’re talking to will pick up on that energy and respond well to it. Put the person above the transaction and trust that when you build strong relationships, business will come.

4. Be patient and inquisitive, not sales-y

To take this one step further, ask your questions when circle prospecting in a way that’s authentically inquisitive. The goal is to find out exactly what their situation is, what their needs are, and what their ultimate motivation may be. Only then will you be able to serve them well. Some great questions to ask are: 

  • “What do you love about living here?”
  • “If you were to move someday, where would you go?”
  • “Is there a certain price that would motivate you to sell?”
  • “Who in the neighborhood might be thinking about selling?”

Circle prospecting is a lead generation strategy that requires an abundance of patience. The general public is still quite wary of real estate agents, especially when you are cold calling, so approaching each person with patience is key. This way, no one feels rushed or pressured. They will feel like you really care about getting to know them and their unique needs.

5. Offer valuable information

Lead with value. Offer homeowners something they will find valuable (hint: they don’t care how much money you made last year). Here are some ideas of value you can offer when circle prospecting:

  • Hyperlocal market data specific to their neighborhood, including details about recent sales, the number of offers each listing received, and the speed at which the homes sold
  • An in-person equity analysis (a different way of saying a comparative market analysis or CMA)
  • A guide to the highest return on various home improvements
  • Upcoming local community events
  • Local charity drives and volunteer opportunities (host your own charity drive!)

6. Vary your outreach methods (more touches = higher likelihood they’ll remember you)

When you hear the term “circle prospecting,” you probably think of cold calling. That’s certainly a proven, efficient, and affordable method of communication. Yet I’d recommend a varied approach. It might be awkward to call the same person all the time, especially if they’re a stranger and haven’t expressed any interest in working with you yet.

However, if you call them, email them, and later send a postcard or letter in the mail, followed by a pop-by at their home where you offer an item of value, it will feel far more organic.

The more often a person hears from you, the more they feel like they know you. These many touch points will increase the likelihood that they’ll reach out to you when they have a real estate need.

Yes, some people will ask you to stop communicating with them, and that’s fine! That’s actually a good thing because it means you can focus your efforts elsewhere.

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7. Lead with a specific reason for reaching out

While cold-calling strangers to introduce yourself may work for some agents, I much prefer reaching out to homeowners for a specific, interesting, and time-sensitive reason. Otherwise, it’s easy to sound too “sales-y.” Some excellent reasons to call, text, email, mail, or door knock are: 

  • Just listed: “We just listed your neighbor’s house for sale! Any chance one of your friends or family members would be interested in living here?”
  • Just sold: “We just sold your neighbor’s house for (sale price)! We actually had (number) of offers, which means many qualified buyers are still looking in this area. 
  • Open house neighbor preview: “We are hosting an open house this weekend and doing a special neighbors-only preview the hour before the public event. I hope you will be able to stop by!”

A circle prospecting success story

David Myers, an agent with AimPoint Realty Group, Keller Williams, regularly uses circle prospecting to find new clients in his local area of Bedford, New Hampshire. One day of door knocking to invite neighbors to an open house resulted in three transactions, and a 100-home direct mail campaign around one of David’s new listings generated two additional listings.

8. Don’t call people on the “do not call” list

This should go without saying, but we need to say it anyway. Do not call people listed on the Do-Not-Call list. In 1991, the U.S. Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to restrict sales calls and the use of robo-dialers and recordings. This led to the creation of the Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry.

If you plan to do cold calling as part of your circle prospecting, you can check the database yourself or forgo this tedious task and purchase contact information lists that have been scrubbed for you. Vulcan7, as we’ve mentioned, is one of the more robust search tools available and can help ensure you’re staying compliant.

Door knocking is usually safe, although you can call your municipality and request a solicitor’s permit for the day to protect yourself further. Direct mail is also fair game unless someone specifically asks you to stop mailing to them.

9. Practice your conversations and responses

Confidence comes from practice. Yes, most agents cringe at the idea of practice and role play, yet it makes a world of difference in your confidence level when you know what you’re going to say. Practice by yourself in the car, to yourself in the mirror, and with your fellow agents in your office. The higher your confidence level, the easier it’ll be to build trust with the people you’re prospecting. 

Practicing what you’ll say is helpful, but you’ll also want to consider your responses to common questions and objections. What will you say when someone responds to your circle prospecting efforts and strikes up a conversation with you? Here are some common questions or objections you may hear: 

  • How’s the market? 
  • How many homes have you sold in this area (practice this one, especially if you haven’t sold much there)
  • Interest rates are way too high — it’s not worth it for me to sell now

Decide what your response will be, then brainstorm with your peers and determine the best response for the situation. You’ll not only feel more prepared — you’ll also hone your ability to think quickly on your feet. Check out the scripts below to help you get started. 

10. Keep it simple and casual

Stay calm, keep your conversation starters simple, and maintain a casual attitude. Imagine a stereotypical sweaty salesperson fumbling over their words. You can easily avoid coming across as that type of person by following our tips and strategies shared here.

Don’t overcomplicate what you’re going to say — prepare a sentence or two, and let the conversation flow naturally. If the other person responds and engages with you, that’s a win! 

5 effective circle prospecting scripts

Scripts are powerful tools to help you feel prepared for cold calling and for handling objections — but it’s a delicate balance between being prepared and sounding natural.Use these scripts as starting points to generate interest and demonstrate your expertise and value. Be sure to adapt them to fit your style and market.

Just sold announcement

Just listed open house invite

Market update pitch

Neighborhood expert pitch

Neighborhood home valuation offer

Expired listing approach

Referral request

Circle prospecting is a fantastic strategy for expanding your network and establishing yourself as the local expert in a particular area. It’s a long-game, yet many agents have found success with it. Use these tips consistently and you’ll reap the results.

Ashley Harwood photo

About Ashley Harwood

Ashley Harwood began her real estate career in 2013 and built a six-figure business as a solo agent before launching Move Over Extroverts in 2018. She developed training materials, classes, and coaching programs for her fellow introverts. Ashley currently serves as Director of Agent Growth for three Keller Williams offices in the Boston metro area. She is the creator of The Quiet Success curriculum and has taught thousands of real estate agents across the country, has been a guest speaker at top industry events, and has been named a leading real estate coach by prominent industry publications.

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