One of the first bits of advice you may have heard as a new agent was to choose and work a geographic real estate territory – otherwise known as a farm area.
The idea is to become so well-known to the residents that they naturally think of you first when the topic of real estate comes up. It’s a long-term marketing plan that works.
What if more than one agent wants the same real estate territory?
There are two players in this battle:
- The agent who has become established
- The agent who wants that territory
(Of course, there are variations and there may be more than one agent on either side, but let’s keep it simple.)
What can you do to keep or gain this real estate territory?
The first impulse might be to “go political” and tear down the competition – but that would not be wise.
Years ago, market researchers learned that naming your competition in an ad brought an unwanted result. It made people remember the competition instead of the advertiser!
In addition – when you tear down someone else, it makes you look bad. So forget that idea.
Instead, market like you mean it. (Thanks to Barbara Todaro for coining that phrase.)
How can you market like you mean it?
Stay in front of your prospective clients. Don’t let them forget you for even one month.
Send them prospecting letters, just listed, under contract, and just sold cards, and free market analysis invitations. When you have a new listing, invite near neighbors to your open house events. Include your photo in your mailings, so when residents see you, they’ll know who you are.
If you can get permission to email them, send market updates, news about the area, and interesting trivia that they’ll enjoy sharing with friends.
Consider starting a monthly neighborhood newsletter, and ask residents to submit news to you.
In your prospecting letters, tastefully toot your own horn!
Talk about your personal service or your extensive marketing techniques. If you’ve got good statistics to brag about, give your days on the market or your list-to-sell ratios as compared to the average. If you live in the neighborhood, or if you’ve been selling homes there for a good number of years, mention the fact.
Note that you don’t need to include all of that in any one letter. Keep sprinkling it in – like spices when you’re cooking.
And of course, every time you contact them by mail or email, invite them to visit your website and your blog.
Fill your website and your blog with things the homeowners care about.
Community pages can keep homeowners in your real estate territory informed about area developments, and advice pages can alert potential sellers to steps they should take before listing their homes. Information pages can provide contact information for schools and local services.
Blog posts about local attractions, restaurants, stores, etc. will show that yes, you do know the area. Posts about neighborhood events such as yard sales, fund-raisers, or block parties will take that a step farther.
Get in front of them in person.
Visit local stores and coffee shops, attend neighborhood yard sales, and cheer for local kids at school sports events. Participate in local fund-raising events.
Take a walk through the neighborhoods on a nice day and talk with the people you meet. If it’s in your nature, knock on doors, just to say hello and perhaps drop off a small, branded gift. You could also leave copies of your neighborhood market report.
Attend neighborhood or HOA meetings – and talk with people.
I read about one agent who delivers a house-warming gift – a set of fluffy towels – to all new residents, whether or not he was their agent. He calls it a “welcome to the neighborhood” gift. Of course he asks permission to add those folks to his mailing list. Since most agents don’t stay in touch with past clients, who do you suppose they call when it is time to sell?
As I said before – prospecting a geographic real estate territory is a long-term endeavor. They call it farming because it is just like farming. You plant the seeds, then consistently tend the plants and wait for the harvest.
Use social media.
Join neighborhood groups and participate, or start one of your own. Invite residents to post their own news on your neighborhood page. In other words, act like a member of the community.
Use your social media site to showcase listings and to invite readers to informative posts on your blog.
Consistency is the key.
Plenty of agents try something once or twice, then fade away when they don’t get instant results. Don’t be one of those agents. Instead, build your real estate territory step by step, knowing that it’s a long-term project and persistence will pay.
Of course, there’s one more thing…
Do such a good job with every listing that your sellers also become your raving fans. Even if they move away, they’ll probably stay in touch with a few others in the neighborhood. Make sure they sing your praises to all of them.