So, you’re a real estate agent. You’ve got the skills. You’ve got the know-how. You even have a slick Facebook page and a steady trickle of qualified leads. What you don’t have is enough actual listings. Converting cold calls into loyal clients doesn’t happen overnight, but there are a few smart ways you can make your case and win your next listing. Here’s our top 4:

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

There isn’t an industry or occupation in existence that doesn’t benefit from the adage “set yourself up for success.” In real estate, preparation is a crucial part of every game plan. From client interviews to pricing strategy to open house invites, you can’t strike gold if you don’t even know where to hunt or what kind of tools to bring.

Start by preparing your clients. Email them an introductory packet with a rundown of your brokerage history and a step-by-step guide to selling their home. Have your assistant conduct a “preinterview” so you have what you need to prepare a personalized listing, then create a tablet-based presentation that puts legal pads and PowerPoint to shame. Finally, email a copy of that killer presentation to the clients so they have it to refer back to when they can’t remember the difference between ARM and APR.

2. Sell Yourself

Most clients won’t have any idea who you are, let alone what you’ve accomplished. Sure, some will have seen your splashy ads, and other prospects may have gotten your name from a friend, but neither scenario is enough to make them sign on the dotted line. View the initial meet-and-greet kind of like a first date: While you don’t want to give a 30-minute monologue cataloging your greatest achievements since grade school, you can detail why your track record and hands-on approach make you a phenomenal choice.

3. Be Proactive

If you use all the same marketing and outreach methods favored by other brokers, you’re going to be competing with a very large group of colleagues. The key to standing out in a crowd is to stop restricting yourself to the mosh pit. Wander away from the hordes (if only for a moment) and try out some other strategies:

  • Visit neighborhood groups and respond to posts from community members looking for new rentals or purchase opportunities.
  • Check out expired listings and see if changes in the market — or in the sellers’ situation or mindset — might make a current sale more likely.
  • Use your open houses to forge relationships with buyers who might not be interested in the current property but who still very much need a new place to call home.

4. Don’t Skimp on the Info

Clients don’t know what they don’t know. Leave them to their own devices and your appointment may wrap up in record time, but once clients leave the building, the doubts start to creep in. What fees do we need to pay up front? How long will it take to sell? What listing price is fair? Has the agent sold in the neighborhood before? What’s the next step?

Be the expert and lead the conversation. It’s not always easy to strike the perfect balance between being informative and overwhelming sellers, so watch for any signs of fact fatigue. If your audience starts to glaze over or panic, it might be time to dial it down a touch.

There is no fail-proof way to win clients and close a sale. If you’re looking for shortcuts to success, real estate may not be the right career for you. If, however, you’re willing to work hard and continually refine your approach, sellers are bound to sit up, take notice and put their listings in your capable hands.