Whether you’re delivering your message by postal mail or email; when you’re writing to real estate prospects, past clients, or those in your sphere, remember this:
Each person on your list is an individual – not a crowd.
When you write a real estate prospecting letter, you’ll probably send it to at least a few dozen people, if not a few hundred or even a few thousand.
That makes it easy to forget that your real estate prospects are individuals – not simply members of a crowd.
The real estate prospects on each of your lists will share some common traits. They may reside in the same neighborhood or condo. They may be of the same general economic group or age. They may have homes that are similar – such as starter homes, townhomes, historic homes, or waterfront homes.
Because of those similarities, they may have some similar goals or reasons for buying or selling.
However, only one person at a time will read your card or letter.
More importantly, that one person wants to be thought of as an individual. I cringe when I see marketing messages addressed to “You guys,” or “All of you” or “Homeowners like you.”
Prospective clients are all tuned into station WIFM (what’s in it for me). They don’t care what you want, and they don’t care what other people in their age group, neighborhood, etc. want.
Always remember that you’re writing to individual real estate prospects – not to a group.
As we discussed last week, please don’t fall into the trap of assuming that everyone of a certain generational group is alike. It isn’t true, and making that kind of assumption can do you more harm than good.
Instead do your best to segment your lists so each list consists of people with some things in common, such as a geographic area, a type of home, or an event in life – such as marriage, the birth of a new baby, an empty nest, a snowbird lifestyle, divorce, or a pending foreclosure.
When you’re writing to real estate prospects, it’s important to address them by name, AND it’s important to avoid making assumptions that might eliminate (or insult) some of the people on your list.
How could you insult them? You could, for instance, assume that a Baby Boomer is retiring or wants to downsize. Remember that some Boomers are 72 but not retiring, and others are only 55 years old. If you’re writing to Millennials you could assume that they’re interested in a zero down mortgage loan.
Why is a personal message to each of your real estate prospects important?
Because it makes the recipient feel important. No one wants to feel like part of a herd.
Additionally, a personal message is more likely to be read and more likely to produce a response. Think about yourself. When you find an advertisement in your mailbox and it is addressed to “occupant,” do you feel that you must read it? How about when you find a letter addressed specifically to you – especially if the address is hand-written?
How do you react when you receive an email that looks like this: “Dear <insert name here.>”? I’ve seen and deleted a few of those lately.
Instead of making assumptions, ask questions or suggest reasons…
Here’s a “for instance:”
My Senior Relocation letters offer many reasons why a retired person may be thinking of selling.
After an introductory paragraph that asks if they’ve considered selling, the first letter says: “Perhaps you’re tied to yard work and household chores when you’d rather spend time traveling or just out having fun in your own community. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps you’re living with a tiny yard and now that you have time to pursue your own interests, you’d appreciate enough space to plant a garden.”
From there it offers other reasons to move, then goes into “Whatever the reason, if…”
Before you begin writing to real estate prospects, do this visualization.
Before you begin to write, consider who will read your letter. Instead of picturing a group of people, visualize one person who fits the general description of your prospect. Perhaps you already know him or her – or them, if most of your clients are couples. Your “model prospect” may be a past client, a friend or neighbor, or someone in your own family.
Next, think about his or her possible fears, worries, dreams, and goals. While no two people are exactly alike, we all share similar interests and concerns at different stages in life.
If it helps, go ahead and put that person’s name after “Dear.” You can go back later and fix it so your mailing system will insert the right name.
Think about the person you’ve visualized and write directly to him or her.
Your goal (aside from gaining a new client) is to make each one of your real estate prospects feel as if your letter was meant exclusively for them. They may know better, but if written correctly, there will be nothing in your letter to indicate that it isn’t a personal message.
A second benefit to writing to one person: Your writing will probably be more conversational when you feel like you’re talking to someone specific.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base,
you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.”
Ann Handley, head of content at MarketingProfs
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”
Tom Fishburne, “marketoonist”
With the picture of your model real estate prospect firmly in mind, begin writing.
Hopefully you always remember rule #1: Never begin a marketing letter with “I” or “We.” Instead, begin with “You.” The word “You” doesn’t have to be the first word in the sentence, but the intent must be there.
You can ask a question, such as “Have you been dreaming of moving to a different home?” You could also ask “Does your current home still suit you?” Or, if you’re writing to real estate prospects in an apartment building, it might be “Is it time for you to transition from tenant to homeowner?”
More examples: “Did you notice? A home in your neighborhood just came on the market.” How about “Prices here in (city) have been rising. Does that make you wonder about your own home’s current market value?”
You can also make a statement. For instance:
- “Home prices are on the rise.”
- “Interest rates are still at historical lows.”
- “Three homes in your neighborhood sold last month.”
- “Your neighbors just listed their home.”
The question or the statement will depend upon the real estate prospects you’re targeting.
That’s why you need different prospecting letters for different groups. The executor of an estate has far different concerns than a divorcing couple or someone who is relocating due to a job transfer.
Is there ever a time to write to your real estate prospects as a crowd?
Yes, if you’re distributing an announcement-type flyer to a specific group, such as the members of a homeowner’s association.
Even then, your message would be more well-received you approached it from the standpoint of “As a resident of _____,” It simply sounds more personal than “All of you who reside…”
The same is true for your real estate newsletters.
Your recipients know that you distribute that newsletter to a large number of people, but when the words say “you,” they still feel like you’re writing to them. I know – that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we are humans after all. We often don’t make sense.
When I wrote newsletters for my real estate agency, I left a small blank space on each, so we could write a personal note to each of the recipients. It was anything from “Hope the garden is doing well,” to “I saw you in the newspaper – congratulations on the award!”
That would be difficult if you have thousands on your list, but if it’s only a few hundred, and you actually know the people, it can be done.
Hopefully, you ARE writing to your real estate prospects, past clients, and those in your sphere.
You’re writing your own letters, using some of the letters I offer, or sending plenty of postcards. If not, I hope you’ll begin. It could be the most important thing you do for your real estate career – ever.
“A year from now, you’ll wish you’d have started today.”
Karen Lamb, Author
Man reading Image courtesy of Searick1 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Couple in the kitchen Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
targeted person Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Dreaming of a home Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net