Effective tips to help you build a pipeline in any market
In the age of social media, digital tools and buying leads, the strategy for many agents is to wait downstream for business to come to them. However, it’s equally important to go upstream to fish where others aren’t, planting seeds that, with a little nurturing, will turn into business later. Yet, many agents have never learned effective prospecting skills. It’s easy to be successful at real estate when the market is hot, but are your sales skills up to the task, when the market shifts? Having a good business plan for prospecting will help keep your pipeline full in between referrals. It can take time and patience to see the fruits of your labor, but many realtors will tell you it’s worth it. The customer you acquire from real estate farming can turn into a lasting, trusted relationship.
Just like many people use the SMART acronym to set goals, you can use the FARMING acronym to help you map out your prospecting plan.
“F” is for focus
The first step toward effective farming is to take time to focus on the opportunities right in your own backyard, literally. How can you position yourself, or strengthen your position, as the local expert?
For example, focus on the town you live in. This can add instant credibility to your brand because you’re not just a realtor, but also a resident. Potential customers will see the value you bring in being an expert on things like the schools, shopping centers, and places of worship.
You can also focus on places where you may have other roots, such as where your office is or where you’ve sold a lot of homes. Start with a specific area, such as a town, neighborhood, micro-neighborhood or zip code.
Use the following questions to help you focus on your farm area:
- Where do I have contacts and connections within the community?What location can I get to easily?Which of my sellers would champion me to other people in their neighborhood?
“A” is for analyze
Before you start to farm, run some numbers. Dig for data that will confirm your farm area is a viable place to target. The National Association of Realtors offers helpful resources to assist you.
When analyzing data for a farm area, look at:
- Number of homesNumber of homes sold in the last 12 monthsAverage selling priceTotal sales for the yearMarket share/competition
To garner insights about market share, you can also journey through the neighborhood as a resident would. Go to the shopping centers, sports fields, local eateries, and look for billboards, ads, and flyers. Canvas the area in search of “for sale” signs. Is there an agent that keeps popping up again and again? Is there the power of a national brand that is blanketing the area?
This type of local detective work can also help you unearth other aspects of your farm area. For example, are there a handful of dog parks? A slew of preschools? These are clues to help you learn more about the demographics of your potential customers. You can use these clues when it’s time for marketing.
“R” is for realistic
The beauty of farming is that you’re making a strategic choice to not cast a wide net or market with an abundance mindset, but rather to “think local.” Quality over quantity.
Be realistic about costs, time, and resources that you may need to farm effectively. Set a budget in advance and market only to as many homes as your budget will allow.
You can also be realistic, as in truthful, in your messaging to your future customers. There’s a lot of information out there—and misinformation—for buyers and sellers to latch onto. Be a source for what’s really happening in the world of real estate.
“M” is for marketing
As you may have already experienced, there are many marketing tools and tactics for prospecting. Some might argue too many, which can make it difficult to decide where to put your efforts and dollars. To help you decide, ask yourself:
- What do I know about my target audience?
- Are they parents with young children?Empty nesters?How can I reach them?
- Are they likely using social media?How might they feel about me knocking on their door?How can I maximize my visibility?
- Would sponsoring a local sports team make an impact?Would people come to the library if I gave a workshop on “how to prepare your empty nest to sell”?What is my monthly budget?
Marketing tactics can include direct mail (such as postcards and flyers), emails, and Facebook ads targeting specific ZIP codes. And yes, you can even knock on doors. There are templates and scripts you can leverage to help get you started.
“I” is for impact
As you begin to promote your brand around town, be sure to track results. This is the only way you’ll know what’s making an impact. Which posts on your Instagram account got the most likes? How many new leads have you generated so far from your postcard mailer? Keep checking results to ensure that your efforts are moving forward, but remember farming takes time.
“N” is for neighborly
In addition to telling prospects about how you can serve them as a realtor, keep your “neighborly” hat on throughout your communications. Use your social media platforms to talk about a great new restaurant in town or to share the name of a reliable plumber you’ve worked with for years.
And remember to incorporate the clues you gathered about your farm area, such as dog parks. So, if you host an ice-cream social for the kids in town, be sure to include a treat for the local pups.
“G” is for (on)going
As the name farming implies, this prospecting strategy is meant to be nurtured over time. Keep planting seeds to grow future business. Continue to cultivate connections, relationships, and community involvement so that you are the first person a potential client thinks of when it’s time to sell or buy.
Put it all together and you’re sure to see how farming can be an effective, fulfilling strategy for your business. The Weichert team has all the resources and tools you and your agents need to farm like a pro. Reach out to us to start a conversation.