Real Estate Prospecting is not a one-shot project.
Real estate prospecting requires persistence. In fact, if you plan to mail just one letter and no more, you shouldn’t bother getting a list or spending your time and money on a mailing. There’s a remote chance that if your letter is absolute dynamite and it happens to arrive at exactly the right time, that one letter will cause someone to call you.
But it isn’t very likely to happen that way. Writing a first prospecting letter is about the same as making a cold phone call. The people weren’t expecting to hear from you. They don’t know you. They have no idea whether you’re a good agent or just someone who wants to list the house and forget about them.
But… when you want and need new listings and your referral sources and /or your geographic farm areas aren’t bringing in enough business, it’s time to go prospecting.
You can expand your farm area, or you can target a specific type of property or seller demographic. Be sure to choose people, places, or property types you really like, then get a list and start mailing.
What should you send, and how many times should you write?
First, do NOT send letter that says you’re wonderful and you want to list their house. Instead, send letters that let them know you’re there to help when and if they want to sell. Give them useful information and invite them to call with questions – whether or not they’re planning to sell.
You can use one of my 40+ pre-written letter sets or write your own – just be sure every letter is focused on the homeowner and his or her wants, needs, and interests. The worst thing you could do is to write a letter that says “Hi, my name is Joe and I want…” Believe me – strangers do not care what you want. A letter that begins with “I” in any way is destined for a quick trip to the trash.
Be prepared to keep mailing.
One letter seldom brings results. Real estate prospecting requires persistence for several reasons.
First, you are merely another stranger who has invaded their mailbox.
In addition to that, your message might arrive on a day when the homeowner is far too busy to open any mail that looks like advertising. It might arrive when the homeowner is angry at real estate agents in general. It might arrive when they’re out of town. It might arrive when they’re in bed with the flu. It might arrive when they’re just not interested.
Persistence will make you stand out from the crowd.
Most agents don’t understand that prospecting requires persistence, so they only write once. That means that the next time homeowners see a letter from you they’ll know you’re just a little bit different from the others, and they might take the time to read that letter to find out why.
By the time the third letter arrives, they’ll be wondering “Who is this person who is so persistent?” and they might just want to know more. Then when the 4th or 5th or 6th letter comes they’ll feel like they “know you.” If they really are in the market for a real estate agent, they’re very likely to call.
How long should you keep it up? Until they either take action or ask you to stop.
What else can you / should you send?
- Just listed, under contract, and just sold cards
- Open house invitations
- Market reports
- Your newsletter
- Copies of articles with news that affects their neighborhood or situation
- News about a celebrity or historic home that has been offered for sale or sold
- Invitations to entertaining fund raising events for a non-profit you support
- Of course news about your move from one agency to another – or news of opening your own agency
When you add these other items of interest to your prospecting letters, you’ll have a reason to be in front of those homeowners every 1 to 4 weeks. It won’t be long before you become known as THE agent in your chosen niche.
Once you’ve become so well established that you’re dominating the neighborhood, you can probably cut back to mailing just listed, under contract, and just sold cards – but if people have gotten used to getting market reports you may want to continue, just to keep them happy.
About those market reports: They don’t need to be dull …
While some people, like me, enjoy reading graphs and charts and statistics, others don’t. They look at all that and set it aside as too much work – even though they might want to know what their local market is doing.
Is it OK to save money and prospect by email?
Yes, but only if the prospect has given you permission. Emailing without permission is called spamming – and it won’t win you any friends.
When you write you can tell your prospects that you have a lot more to send them and ask if they’d rather receive it via email. If they’ve decided that what you write is worth reading, those who like email will say yes.
Remember that some people don’t use email at all, while others only check their mail occasionally, and others only open a message if it’s from a friend or family member. Also remember that while people over 70 or 80 are less likely to use email, some love it. And while those under 40 probably do use it – some prefer not to. So don’t make assumptions based on age.