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Even a Duck Knows the Importance of Prospecting

Even a Duck Knows the Importance of Prospecting

You can learn so much just by observing nature. Last year, Steve was staying at a fabulous hotel in southern California. He and his wife were having lunch at an outside table at the hotel restaurant. It was impossible not to notice the ducks that gathered around the tables at the restaurant looking for food. The birds would wait for the people to leave and then they would flock to the tables looking for crumbs that were dropped to the floor. There were dozens of birds fighting over the scraps left behind. Every duck did the same thing; except for one.

This duck was different. Instead of waiting for the couples to leave, this duck would wait only until the food was originally delivered. At the moment the staff delivered the food, the duck would race to the table and look up at the people who were about to eat. Surprisingly, every person immediately took something from their plate and fed it to this duck. They fed the duck BEFORE they began to eat.

This duck didn’t settle for scraps and leftovers. He ate the best food off the plate. This duck didn’t fight with dozens of others. He was alone when the customers fed him.

It was truly amazing.

It made us think about the difference in real estate agents. Some will list a house, put it on MLS and hope for the best. Others will represent a buyer by simply checking the MLS to see if a suitable house is available for sale. They are like many agents in the marketplace. They are waiting for something to happen. Just like all those other ducks.

Then there are agents who will take it upon themselves to make something happen. They will diligently search for the buyer of their new listing. They will knock door-to-door looking for the perfect house for their new client who is dreaming of a new home for their family. They are like that special duck. They are not waiting for the leftovers.

Bottom Line

In all of nature, some wait for things to happen and others make things happen. Don’t settle for scraps.

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4 replies
  1. Rossi Speaks
    Rossi Speaks says:

    Great analogy, Ducks and Real Estate Agents. I see agents in the office waiting around for a suspect buyer or seller to drop in, doing nothing on their own to generate business.

    I also see agents begging for business like the duck for the crumbs. “I don’t get any leads.” “How come she gets all the referrals.” “I’m signed up with ?.com and pay $60 a month for all the leads.” “I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I spend at least 8 hours a day working it. And not one lead yet.” “I wish we were back in the good old days of floor duty! I used to make a living off floor.”

    Or, they have the same pool of nine friends that they call over and over again chit chatting about everything and anything and then just before hanging up… “Oh, if you know someone who wants real estate, have them give me a call.” Bobbing like the ducks in a pond.

    Now let’s talk about the Duck that waited until the food was delivered and then paddled over begging for a first bite. I don’t really see the difference for the exception, that duck paid stronger attention to the training. But prospecting?

    Here is my two cents, 90% of agents look at prospecting as a failure-reinforcing chore. That is, they are told to knock doors, talk to for sale by owners, solicit people at the grocery store, and/or call everyone they know, everyone they’ve worked with, everyone they go to church with, anyone they have ever met that can fog a mirror, and tell them they want their real estate business. For people who have not done this before, this becomes a daunting task.

    So one sunny morning, after a night of self talk and writing prospecting goals, they go into the office, well dressed with their best positive attitude face and announce, “I’m going prospecting today and get a buyer or a listing before I come back.” With great intentions they get three immediate no’s and go home to watch Ellen or Pawn Stars and retreat into darkness. Henceforth, the word ‘Prospect’ bubbles up in their stomachs like greasy chili and failure is reinforced.

    Knowing that nether Extroverts or Introverts make good real estate salespeople; one is too pushy and the other doesn’t belong in the people business. The BEST real estate salesperson is the Ambivert. If 100 on a scale is the Extrovert and 0 is dead, the Ambivert falls between 30 and 80 (my perception). But still, even Ambiverts will succumb to prospecting fear and reluctance.

    In my studies I learned that if a ‘word’ or ‘thought’ affects you negatively, reframe it. For example: after dinner, with a group of students at a Chinese restaurant, we were opening our fortune cookies and reading them aloud. I was the last one to open and it was empty. In unison, the group said, “Oh no!” Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate pity. So I reframed it, “How blessed I am to already have all the fortune I can hold!” and everyone went “Ahhhh!” Now I like “Ahhhh!” So why not reframe the word “Prospect”?

    I simply call it ‘Lead Generation Activity”\’, just like Gary Keller did in his book, The Millionaire Real Estate Salesman. Lead Generation is not a task or a chore, it’s a way of life. A WAY OF LIFE of the real estate salesman!

    Lead Generation Activity is everything you do, everyplace you go, and like The Police sang, “Every Breath You Take” is a lead generation activity.

    Keep Smiling

    • Steve Harney
      Steve Harney says:


      Two points:
      1.) The smart duck did not “paddle over begging”. He raced over with a look of expectation.
      2.) My daddy told me if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – IT’S A DUCK.

  2. pat lydon
    pat lydon says:

    A reason the the money is on WALL STREET-NOT WALL OFFICE.

    When I knock on doors speak to owners I explain I am their exclusive professional broker. That any questions about real estate I can answer. That there is no need to call anyone else.

    Finally got calling night back up & running in office. In first two weeks every agent has had at least 3 appointments.




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