Don’t just prospect for new real estate clients, start farming as well.
Instead of searching here, there, and everywhere for your next client, choose a geographic area, then farm it well. As you tend and nurture your “crops” one bit of “produce” at a time will mature and ripen.
The first step is to choose your area. Do some research first, because the area you choose will make all the difference. Ideally, you’ll find an area with at least 200 homes that is located not too far from your own home or office. Your own neighborhood is the obvious first choice, but do the other research before making a decision.
Your farm should be in an area where homes sell in a reasonable amount of time. Generally, that will be an upper-middle class neighborhood. One that’s affordable for average working people.
Unless you’re concentrating your efforts on retirees or singles, it should be a neighborhood in a desirable school district, with amenities such as parks that will appeal to families with children.
The homes should be well-kept, with a minimum of vacancies/bank owned homes – making the area attractive to new buyers.
Ideally, you’ll choose a farm area that no one else is actively working. But even if someone else has “claimed” the neighborhood, don’t be discouraged. Instead, read what top agent Chris Ann Cleland had to say about her experiences as a new agent.
Next, plan your marketing strategy. Remember that the reason they call it farming is that it is similar to planting a crop. Your farm area needs to be tended and nurtured just as growing crops need sun, rain, fertilizer, and cultivation.
You can start with a door-to-door introduction if you’re really ambitious, but starting with a well-written letter is more practical for most busy agents.
But don’t send just any letter – make it a letter that will actually interest the homeowners.
Instead of starting out with an introduction that says “Here I am, I’m wonderful, hire me,” focus on the homeowners. Never begin your letter with any form of “I” or “we.”
In addition, never let your letter sound as if you’re addressing a group of people. One person at a time will read that letter, so write to one person.
So what can you say? Address an issue that will interest them. Talk to them about the fact that real estate is local, not national, and mention how their neighborhood is like or unlike the real estate stories on the evening news. Offer to send them information on listings or sales in the neighborhood. Invite them to an open house if you have a listing in the area.
If you don’t know what to say, get my geographic prospecting letters, and USE them.
In addition to letters you can send postcards, newsletters, market reports, and of course cards announcing new listings or sales in the neighborhood.
But if you’re serious about claiming this neighborhood as your own, don’t stop with correspondence. Get out and get involved.
If there are stores or restaurants in the area, frequent them, and introduce yourself when you do. If there are neighborhood events such as giant yard sales, go to them, and buy something. If the community hosts Easter Egg hunts or Halloween spook houses, volunteer to help out with them.
Walk around the neighborhood on days when residents are outdoors – and stop to chat.
And of course, stay abreast of everything that affects the neighborhood. Attend neighborhood meetings, and keep up with new businesses coming in and old businesses going out. Be able to answer if someone asks you what they’re building down there on the corner.
Become the expert who knows all about the schools and nearby recreational facilities. Be able to answer questions about the bus service and the mail delivery and garbage pick up. Know the property tax rates and what kind of Internet service is available.
In short, learn the neighborhood inside out, so that no matter what kind of question a buyer asks, you can answer. (Within legal boundaries, of course.)
Finally, promote the neighborhood by including a community page on your website, then posting stories and photos on your personal blog, and in your Active Rain posts.
It may take a few months of hard work, but with persistence, your crop will ripen. You will become the agent that homeowners turn to when they’re ready to list their homes.