Prospecting vs. Advertising

Prospecting vs. Advertising

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 4 minutes

Prospecting vs advertising

Both prospecting and advertising can be great ways to bring in more clients for your real estate business. As an agent, you'll probably want to spend your time doing a little of each. But it's important to spend the majority of your energy on the area that will be the most valuable to you and your career. To do that, you need a good understanding of both of these methods of gaining clients. Here's what to know about prospecting vs. advertising, so you can decide where you want to focus your efforts.

What is Prospecting?

Prospecting is the concept of looking for your ideal clients. When you prospect, you need to know who you're looking for, where to find them, and how to attract them. That sounds simple, but in practice it can take a lot of time and consideration. The first thing is to determine your dream clients, and understand who they are. You may be looking for high-end clients only, or you may want to target middle-income people moving to your area for the jobs that are being created. There are all kinds of client groups.

When you prospect for clients, you want to be sure you have the right ones in mind. If you're not sure who they are yet, it's time to do some research and soul-searching. Once you have a client base that you're focused on targeting, the next step is to know where you can find them. You won't find most of your million dollar clients at the same places you'll find clients with more modest home-buying abilities, so knowing where to look is a big part of prospecting for your real estate clients.

As you learn more about your clients, what they like to do, and where they're likely to be, you can start looking at ways to get in front of them. Yes, that translates to advertising. But it's a different way of advertising. You're targeting a much smaller group of people, and you're also looking for people who you want to work with. That's not to say you won't take on other clients, but some are much more ideal to your goals and future plans than others. Prospecting focuses specifically on that client group, above any others.

What is Advertising?

Advertising doesn't take your ideal clients into account. Instead, it casts a broader net when it comes to finding people who want to work with you to buy or sell realestate. In other words, it's open to nearly everyone who needs your services. But that doesn't mean you don't have a target market you're most interested in. You might even direct your advertising dollars toward that market -- but you're not seeking ideal clients. You're only seeking typical clients.


Advertising is more about creating the conditions and interest levels that bring in the dream clients, as opposed to going out and specifically hunting for those clients, instead. As you do that, you'll also attract a lot of other clients that may not be ideal for you, but who will be clients you can work with or refer to others in the real estate profession. You may bring in a larger client base when you advertise versus when you prospect. But you'll need to be aware that some of these clients won't be a good fit for you.

Many real estate agents advertise in ways that are very open and inviting to the largest number of clients. For example, you may want to consider a billboard, or an ad on a bus or park bench. You may also advertise online with sponsored posts on social media, or put magnetic signs on the sides of your car. All of those ways to advertise can work for you, depending on the kinds of clients you're trying to attract, where they're located, and how much they're exposed to the advertising you're creating.

Which Option is Better?

There's no right answer to which option is a better one. They're both good choices, and which one of them will be right for you depends on what you're working toward with your real estate career and client base. Many agents are very focused on a big group of clients, and they want to bring in as many people as possible. Others are more interested in a specific niche of clients, and they'll cultivate that instead of looking for a wider audience. If you work toward ideal clients, you can also help others along the way.

What's the Bottom Line?

The bottom line on prospecting vs. advertising for any real estate agent, is that it's very important to know what direction you want to take. That way, you can spend your time and energy on the right type of clients, and the kind of cultivating that's going to work for your career and your future. In short, prospecting usually takes more work, but can produce more specific results. Advertising may be less detailed, but won't be as targeted toward ideal clients. Many agents use a mix, to build a strong client base.



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