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(Updated May 2017)

Lead generation, farming, and sales prospecting – these terms are often used interchangeably, but in actuality have different meanings, each requiring unique skills. What are the differences and what skills are needed to do them? Resources to help define them are available in this field guide, including toolkits from REALTOR® Magazine Online, pertinent articles from various websites, and books, eBooks, and related Field Guides from Information Services. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist)

E – EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page. 


Lead Generation Vs.  Sales Prospecting

“Unfortunately, far too many business owners don’t understand the differences between lead generation and prospecting, and simply assume that using one or the other is acceptable. To the contrary, both strategies are important to employ in your business if you hope to maximize your potential return on new business development, and they should be executed uniquely by different people-lead generation by your marketing team and prospecting by your sales staff.”

Source: Sales Prospecting Vs. Lead Generation - Know the Difference, (Inside Sales Box, Dec. 31, 2015).

Farming, Lead Generation, and Prospecting Defined

What is a Lead? What is a Prospect? What’s the Difference?, (HiP, Oct. 13, 2015).

Why Prospecting and Lead Generation Aren’t Synonymous, (IdeaXchange, Aug. 15, 2013).

Ask Gitta: What Does the Term “Farming” Mean in Real Estate?, (Zoomer Media Limited, Sept. 1, 1999).

When to Use Lead Generation Campaigns versus Sales Prospecting, (KLA Group, n.d.).

What are the differences between prospects, leads and contacts?, (Quora, n.d.).

How to Generate Leads

What is Lead Generation?, (The Balance, Oct. 29, 2016).

Farming an Area or Market Segment in Real Estate, (The Balance, June 18, 2016).

Smart Farming for Real Estate Agents, (The Chris Angell, Nov. 29, 2015).

Own a Community: A REALTOR®’s Comprehensive Guide to Neighborhood Farming, (Quantum Digital, Oct. 22, 2015).

Secret Weapons for Geographical Farm Marketing, (REALTORS® Property Resource, June 17, 2015).

4 Ways to Rise Above the Noise & Generate Leads Online, (REALTOR® Mag Blogs, Feb. 19, 2015).

Does It Make Sense to Buy Leads?, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2015).

Does Farming Work as a Marketing Approach for Realtors?, (Kevin Ward, Apr. 9, 2013).

Real Estate Farming - Part 1 of 2, (The RE Consultants, Dec. 4, 2012).

How to Create a Geographic Farm and Win More Listings, (RIS Media, n.d.).

Turn Prospects Into Clients

Spring’s Here and So Are a New Batch of Buyers and Sellers: 3 Tips to Identify New Prospects, (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Apr. 25, 2017).

5 Things Prospects Can't Say No To, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Sept. 2016).

Defining Prospecting for Real Estate Agents, (YesMasters, 2016)

The Common Denominator of Prospecting: Finding ‘The Why’, (YPN Lounge Blog, Sept. 16, 2014).

Quiz: Prospecting, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, 2014).

Sales Prospecting Basics: 3 Must-Have Checklists, (Openview Labs, July 11, 2014).

Prospecting 101, (CCIM, May/June 2013).

Prospecting call LIVE with Deric Lipski, (Deric Lipski, Oct. 14, 2010).

Prospecting, (entrepreneur, n.d.).

What is Sales Prospecting?, (RingDNA, n.d.)

Helpful Tools

5 Ways to Improve Your Vocal Impact, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Oct. 2014).

The Prospecting Toolkit, (REALTOR® Magazine Online).

The Follow Up Toolkit, (REALTOR® Magazine Online).

Real Estate Business Letter Templates, (National Association of REALTORS®). 

Buyer and Seller Marketing Toolkit for NAR Members, (National Association of REALTORS®)

10 Rules For Writing An Effective Sales Letter, (Entrepreneurs Journey, n.d.).

eBooks & O​ther Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

42 Rules to Turn Prospects into Customers: How to Build Profitable Relationships to Close More Sales and Drive More Business (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The 7 Biggest Mistakes When Making Sales Calls (Overdrive Digital Audiobook)

Advanced Selling Strategies (Adobe eReader)

Beyond Traditional Marketing (Adobe eReader)

The B2B Social Media Book (Kindle, OverDrive  EPUB eBook, Adobe eReader)

Customer-Centric Selling (Overdrive Digital Audiobook)

E-Marketing (Adobe eReader)

Fanatical Prospecting (Kindle, OverDrive  EPUB eBook, Adobe eReader)

Fool Proof Marketing: 15 Winning Methods for Selling Any Product or Service in Any Economy (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Get More Referrals Now—The Four Cornerstones That Turn Business Relationships Into Gold (Adobe eReader)

#LEADS to SALES tweet Book01 (Kindle, Adobe eReader, OverDrive READ)

The New Rules of Lead Generation (Kindle, OverDrive  EPUB eBook, Adobe eReader)

New Sales. Simplified (Kindle, Adobe eReader, OverDrive READ)

Perfect Phrases for Real Estate Agents & Brokers (Kindle, Adobe eReader, OverDrive READ)

Persuasion—The Art of Getting What You Want (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Power of Prospecting (Overdrive Digital Audiobook)

The Sales Mastery Academy (Overdrive Digital Audiobook)

Selling Sucks (Adobe eReader)

Smart Selling on the Phone and Online (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Social Media Marketing Book (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Stephan Schiffman's Sales Essentials (Kindle, Adobe eReader, OverDrive READ)

Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business (Kindle, OverDrive  EPUB eBook, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The Laws of Charisma : How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success, (New York : American Management Association, 2011). BF698.35.C45

Real Estate Prospecting: The Ultimate Resource Guide, (West Conshohocken, PA:, 2008). HF 5438 K27

The ABC’s of Prospecting: An Advanced Sales and Productivity System, (D & S Real Estate Education, 2007). HF 5438 R82

Magnetic Selling—Develop the Charm and Charisma That Attract Customers and Maximize Sales, (New York, NY: American Management Association, 2006). HF 5438 B62

Knock Your Socks Off Prospecting: How to Cold Call, Get Qualified Leads, and Make More Money, (New York: AMACOM, 2005). HF 5438 M61k

Dress Your Best ..., (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2005). GT 5524 K28

The Fred Factor, (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2004). HF 5500 Sa5f

Prospect Factory, (Cincinnati, OH: Palmetto Publishing, 2004). HF 5438 St4p

Dare to Be There—Power Prospecting, (David Knox Productions, 2004). DVD 012

Hard Work: Success Made Easy, (Phoenix, AZ: Henry Cooper Press, 2004). HF 5386 C85

Seller Solution: Walter Sanford’s Complete System for Sellers, From Prospecting to Presentation and Plan of Action, (Kankakee, IL., 2001). HF 5438 Sa5s

Charisma : Seven Keys to Developing the Magnetism that Leads to Success, (New York : Warner Books, 1998). HF 5438 Al2cs

Red-hot Cold Call Selling: Prospecting Techniques that Pay Off, (New York : AMACOM, 1995). HF 5438 G56

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Direct Mail

Field Guide to Do-Not-Call, Do-Not-Fax and Do-Not-E-Mail Laws

Field Guide to Effective Online Marketing

Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®

Field Guide to Real Estate Closings

Information Services Blog

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