Are there immutable prospecting principles that once known and followed help you list more homes? The answer is yes, and from an interview with master implementer John Sullivan who sold 44 homes his first year, this article walks you through a checklist of 9 basic questions that leveraged these principles and slingshot his success. See how many questions you already know and how many you can improve upon.

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Here Are The 9 Basic Prospecting Questions For You To Explore:

1. Are Your Expectations or Rejection Really Real?
2. Do You Know What To Do When Too Many Agents Work Expired Leads In Your Area?
3. Does Your Prospecting Schedule Match Your Goals?
4. Are You Calling The Right Lead Types In The Right Order?
5. Are You Calling Your Leads The Right Number of Times?
6. Do You Consider Calling Your Sphere Of Influence A Form Of Prospecting?
7. Have You Found Prospecting Scripts That Work For You?
8. Is Your Prospecting Workspace Holding You Back?
9. Do You Have A Pre-Prospecting Checklist?

Keep on reading to explore each of these 9 questions in detail with expert advice from John Sullivan.

1. Are Your Expectations For Rejection Really Real?

It’s easy to be jealous or discouraged looking at successful real estate prospectors. It might seem like they’re not encountering the same rejection other prospectors face every day, but that’s not the case.

“I used to look at the top agents and think, ‘They don’t get any rejection, they get appointments every time,’ which isn’t true,” recalls John. “They just know not to stop when they get rejection. They just keep going, because they know they are getting very close to the next appointment.”

Remember, when calling expired leads, that these are people whose houses didn’t sell, have big life plans that fell through or are now on hold; in their head, they might be blaming Realtors® for their misfortune… and you’re calling them.

However, John says, “Rejection is normal — it’s not personal. They don’t know you, they just found the end of a telephone, and they shouldn’t dictate your outcome and your goals”.

To help you fearlessly face rejection and overcome it, we recommend the book Rejection Proof, by TED Talk speaker. His book and training program will teach you how to fight through the no’s, so you can get to the yes’s!

2.  Do You Know What To Do When Too Many Agents Work Expired Leads In Your Area?

Prospecting in a crowded market can seem intimidating and dismaying, but it’s definitely not a reason to give up. Most experienced real estate prospectors prospect expireds, but also add geographic prospecting.

“There’s a big Mike Ferry based agency here [in Las Vegas.] So, people are getting called by a lot of agents,” says John. To hit his daily contact goals, John does geographic prospecting following a Just-Listed/Just-Sold prospecting script.

A primary reason John does geographic prospecting is because, “no one’s calling them,” and “our job in real estate is to speak to people about real estate every day”.

Instead of feeling like a nuisance, “you’re doing the community a service,” John says. “We’re telling them, ‘Hey, this home just sold in your area for $300,000,’ and they didn’t know. Now they know.”

John uses GeoLeads to simplify geographic prospecting. Enter an address or draw a boundary on the map and GeoLeads will provide a full list of telephone numbers for each property.

GeoLeads is a great option for prospectors who want to speak to more people in less time, while having more calming and rapport-building conversations.

3. Does Your Prospecting Schedule Match Your Goals?

Consistent prospecting in real estate is the foundation of predictable results. But before you can be a consistent prospector, you need to create a consistent schedule.

“I’ve learned the best agents are fanatic about their schedule, and that’s how I wanna be. Whether or not you can hit those goals depends on time management”, says John.

To hit his goals of 30 new contacts a day, John consistently follows a schedule. His schedule includes: new appointment generation and follow-up with past contacts, as well as physical and mindset exercises. He leaves his afternoon open for appointments. When he doesn’t have any afternoon appointments, he dives back into prospecting for more listing appointments.

For ideas on how to build your own schedule or improve the one you have, the books “Habit Stacking” by S.J. Scott and “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod are resources that will help you.

4. Are You Calling The Right Lead Types In The Right Order?

Once you have your time blocks set, you need to create a Lead Stack™. A Lead Stack is the type of leads you call and the order you call them. There are a number of variables to consider when creating a lead stack. A few of them include:

  • • Your objection handling skills
  • • Your level of rejection resiliency
  • • Time of day you prospect
  • • Your contact goals

John explains his lead stack: “I like to call the Expireds/Withdrawn first, then For Sale By Owners, Just Listed/Just Sold, past clients, my center of influence, and then go to my lead follow-up after that. Sometimes I may mix it up”.

John also mentioned, “If I’m experiencing some bad Expired calls, I may just pick up the phone and call a past client. They’re generally nicer, they like you. A nicer conversation can help get you back in the groove.”

Remember there’s no right way to create your Lead Stack. Experienced real estate prospectors stack their leads differently and periodically make adjustments to the order and timing.

5. Are You Calling Your Leads The Right Number of Times?

You know lead follow-up is important, but it can be difficult to decide who and when to follow up with. A good rule of thumb is put priority on contacts who’ve voiced an interest in listing within the next two weeks.

John explains, “I’ve lost deals in the past because my good leads have got muddled up in poor follow-ups. You want to be prospecting people who are ready to sign contracts in the next 7-14 days.”

To avoid getting muddled in poor lead follow up, John “trashes” leads he’s called six times and who are not ready to list. He recommends that it’s time to focus your energy elsewhere.

6. Do You Consider Calling Your Sphere Of Influence A Form Of Prospecting?

If you wish to be at the top-of-mind with your sphere of influence, then your sphere of influence must be at the top-of-your-mind. That means you need to think of your sphere of influence (SOI) as every other lead type. Just like Expired leads and FSBO’s — SOI needs to be part of your daily Lead Stack.

Like exercising, prospecting to your sphere of influence is a small daily investment that pays off over time. “Building your SOI and center of influence will take time. You have to really maintain and manage that for two or three years,” says John.

To invest in his sphere of influence, the 1st thing John does is call his buyers and sellers 2-3 times during the first month after a deal closes.

For sellers, he says: “Hey, did you get all your proceeds?”

For buyers, he says:  “Hey, do you need any contractors to do your work?”

After that, he calls four times a year at minimum and always on their birthdays. “Staying connected is important. I ask for referrals when I speak to them, too.”

7. Have You Found Prospecting Scripts That Work For You?

Scripts are the best way to keep a call on track towards a qualified listing appointment. The script that works best for you depends on the type of prospector you are, and the type you want to become.

For instance, John uses a Mike Ferry style script when prospecting. He explains: “What’s best about them is they’re a series of questions, and all of the questions have to be answered. None of the questions have ‘yes’ or ‘no’; answers. The scripts really help create a conversation and help the flow.”

John prefers The Mike Ferry organization Expired scripts, Just-Listed and Just-Sold scripts, but he encourages you to “make the script your own.” For more script building resources see the free 26-page REDX script book.

8. Is Your Prospecting Workspace Holding You Back?

Your physical workspace might be the very thing that’s holding you back. Specifically your desk and what’s on it. If your mind is distracted by the clutter on your desk, consider one desk space dedicated to prospecting and another to everything else.

John’s workspace is setup exactly like this, “I have a desk with two screens on with whatever I have to do for that day on a folder. I have a separate desk — a tall, stand-up desk, with my scripts in front of it, no distractions. So, two computers; one for prospecting, one for everything else.”

John insists standing while prospecting helps him stay energized and focused. According to Forbes Magazine a standing desk can “give your brain an edge“. John bought his stand-up desk at the Prices for hand-crank standing desks start at $159 and go up to $519 for electric-powered ones.

9. Do You Have A Pre-Prospecting Checklist?

There’s more to fighting distraction than separating your workspaces. To keep your attention where it needs to be, leave anything unrelated to prospecting far from reach — before prospecting.

Here are the five things John does before prospecting that help him stay focused on hitting his daily goals:

 How Did You Do On The Checklist?

Go further into these prospecting principles with master implementer John Sullivan. His interview reveals details not covered here, including advice on how to recover from a bad call, how to find a coach or mentor (even if you don’t have money), and a dozen other highly effective tactics based on the principles shared here. All together, this checklist and principles will help you when you need more listings.


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About REDX

REDX offers real estate professionals a complete all-in-one prospecting platform for generating listing appointments. The platform includes seller leads, a dialer, and a lead management tool that makes follow up simple. Call (800) 731-7339 option 1 to learn more about prospecting FSBOs, Expireds, FRBOs, Pre Foreclosures, GeoLeads™, and our Storm® Dialer or visit