There is simply no point in sending one real estate prospecting letter. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a 1% response. And that’s only if you’re lucky. After you’ve made the effort to gather a good list, you want a better response. And you can get it…
Instead of one real estate prospecting letter, send a minimum of five.
That is the minimum number of ‘touches” recommended by the Direct Marketing Association, and it is sound advice.
In the past, I’ve had agents who purchased a set of my real estate prospecting letters call to express their concerns over the cost of mailing. They’ve asked if they can’t just bundle all of the letters together and do one mailing.
The answer is no, for several reasons.
Sending just one real estate prospecting letter yields disappointing results.
Marketing studies show that:
- 2% of responses come from the first contact with a prospect.
- 3% of responses come from the second contact with a prospect.
- 5% of responses come from the third contact with a prospect.
- 10% of responses come from the fourth contact with a prospect.
- 80% of responses come from the fifth to twelfth contact with a prospect.
Keep in mind that these statistics don’t take into account the fact that some of those prospects will NEVER respond. They simply aren’t interested in selling.
So what it boils down to is that sending just one mailing will likely get you less than a 1% response.
If you’ve mailed to less than 100 people, you’re statistically likely to get no response at all.
Whatever your budget for mailing, divide it by 5 and send as many letters as you can with 1/5 of your budget. Then mail to the same list 4 more times.
But WHY doesn’t just one real estate prospecting letter give good results?
First, the timing may simply be wrong for many of your prospects. On the day your letter arrives, they might be:
- Swamped with work, with no time to read your message
- Ill – or awaiting medical test results that have them worried
- Caring for a sick child
- In the middle of a personal crisis of some other kind
- In the middle of planning some kind of event
- Entertaining house guests
- Packing for a trip
- Out of town
- Depressed and discouraged about the chance of selling
- Inundated with similar letters (But that’s unlikely. Most agents don’t really prospect.)
In other words, they might be interested, but today is not the day.
So your message goes unread.
Second – if this is your first contact with these prospects, they may disregard your mail because they don’t know you. Your letter may get nothing more than a glance and a “Oh, more advertising” thought before it hits the trash.
Postal prospecting is no different from email marketing in this regard. How often do you take time to read a marketing email from a stranger? How many times do you need to see that stranger in your in-box before you become curious about his or her message?
While it is true that people are more likely to read postal mail than email, reading doesn’t mean responding. With the first letter, you’re still a stranger.
Consistency in mailing overcomes those problems.
When you keep appearing in front of those prospects, your chances of having the message read go up with each mailing. And once your prospect reads one message and finds good information, the chance that he or she will read your next message and the next one increases… until at last they’re convinced that YOU are the agent they need.
Note that I said: “Good information.” If all you send is a sales pitch, your chances of success go down.
But those are not the only reasons to send more than just one prospecting letter.
If you’re sending good information, such as the reasons why divorcing couples might be better off selling the home they share, too much information at once can be overwhelming.
Stuffing all of your reasons into one letter dilutes the impact of each point and can be just too much to absorb at once. Sending multiple letters that each outline and explain one reason makes it much easier for people to understand.
Let your prospects digest your message a little at a time.
Think of all the things people need to know and think about when they’re the executor of an estate in probate. Think of all the tasks homeowners need to do before putting a home on the market. If you’re prospecting for FSBO’s, think of all the things they need to know. If you want to list expired listings, think of all the possible reasons why the home didn’t sell.
If you’re a buyer’s agent, think of all the ways you can help buyers be ready to make a winning offer on a home.
That list could go on and on, but the point is that no matter what kind of buyers or sellers you’re after, you have plenty of useful information to impart. Show your prospects that you know how to assist them, one point at a time.
Let each prospecting letter build upon the last to position you as the agent with the knowledge, the skill, and the desire to help them.
It doesn’t hurt to mention your experience and track record, but…
Don’t make yourself the focus of the letters. Instead, focus on your prospect’s concerns and desires. They really don’t care about you – except in how you can help them achieve their goals.
The same is true for your agent bio. Yes, you need to include your expertise, but only in the context of how it will benefit your prospective clients.
One more thing…
In addition to your prospecting letters, send those potential clients your “just listed” and “just sold” notices. These reinforce the fact that you’re out there, getting things done for your clients.
Unhappy agent Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net