Are you an undercover agent in your farm? Do you even have a farm?
What is a Real Estate Farm?
Before I move on to farming strategies, I want to make clear the two types of real estate farms you can have: geographical farm and a demographic farm.
Geographical farm. You choose a neighborhood and focus your marketing efforts within it, targeting a set amount of addresses who’ll regularly receive marketing pieces from you. For example, you form a list of 200 homes in one community you’ve identified as your farm because they’ve owned their homes for 3-7 years, are in a price range you want to target and perhaps have another feature you want to target, such as golf course lots or they’re zoned to a specific elementary school. Your own neighborhood is typically the best area to farm since you’re already physically involved in it due to proximity.
Demographic farm. You target a group of people that have similar passions or backgrounds as you. For example, if you were a teacher in your previous career, you target the teacher demographic in your city. Or, if you play in a softball league, you target other people in your league. The possibilities are endless, yet should be something you’re passionate about or identify with.
Consistency is Key in Real Estate
With both groups, the key is consistency. You can’t expect to drop off a flyer at each teacher’s lounge on September 1st, then forget about them the rest of the year. You may as well have thrown those flyers in a bucket of gasoline and dropped a match. Likewise, you can’t send one postcard to your geographic farm and expect to get a response out of it. Your money on stamps and the onetime postcards is an utter waste.
Instead, you must amp up your farming with a committed and well-planned strategy. The good news: with consistency you can get immediate results from your farm that will continue to compound upon itself.
If you want to be unforgettable in your farm, you must:
- Build relationships within your farm. This is by far the most important element. Get to know the people in your farm. Network with them; be present in the activities they attend. Let them get to know you. If your farm doesn’t know you, then you can’t build trust with them—which means you’re just another face on a postcard or flyer.
- This second point expands upon the first. Be present in your farm. If there are event sponsorship opportunities, sign up. Create a budget for your farm and how much money you’re willing to invest each year with sponsorships and involvement. Spend wisely—if an event doesn’t give you much of a branding opportunity and expects you to be more of a secret sponsor, skip it. Does your farm lack events? Then create some! An agent on my team recently created a community block party in a neighborhood without an HOA/any planned events. Her event was a success and she built relationships with many people in her farm. They were grateful to her for creating a community-building event.
- Consistently mail to your farm. You can’t meet everyone at the community events, so make sure they also receive something from you on a consistent basis. A branded monthly postcard with valuable information, just listed/just sold cards and open house invites showing you’re an active agent in the neighborhood are great examples. Just don’t send something once or twice and give up. Your commitment to your farm is long-term.
- Presence in other advertising tools that are seen by your farm, such as ads in the monthly newsletter, is a crucial piece of becoming unforgettable. If they aren’t seeing you at the community events or receiving a postcard from you, then the ad won’t have much of an impact. Use this strategy in conjunction with the above. The idea is to saturate your market with your information so you’re top of mind when people need a real estate agent.
Use This Solid System to Build Your Farm
Being in front of your farm makes you memorable and provides opportunities to build relationships and trust. But, it takes more than showing up and throwing money at events and marketing material. You need a solid system to incorporate your farm into your business.
I go into great depth on this subject in my book, Prospecting with Purpose. In it, I show agents how the six main prospecting legs of their business work together to build a stronger business. One of those components is your farm and here is how it integrates with the other five:
- Buyers and Sellers – these are the people you’re already working with. Create happy clients and you’ll receive a lifetime of referrals. Don’t sit back and expect them to do all the work for you. Get video testimonies from clients, be a marketing guru for your listings. If people know their neighbors loved their experiences with you, they’ll be excited to work with you, too!
- Database – move people from your farm into your database and make sure they hear from you consistently. This means handwritten notes, coffee dates and pop-bys. Rank the people in your farm in your database based on if you’ve actually met them, have an online connection with them or if they’re still strangers. Spend more time on the people you’ve already met and begun to build a relationship with, since it’s harder to build trust with strangers.
- Social Media/Internet – Create or be active on the Facebook group pages for that specific farm. Nextdoor is great for geographic farms. Post videos of activities going on in your farm, and of open houses, new listings, and just out-and-about in the community videos (parks, amenities, etc). If someone asks for a referral for another service in your farm, chime in with names and places that can help them. Have an active blog that updates regularly with fresh content about your farm.
- Open Houses – I believe in this strongly and go into great depth on this subject in my book, Your Key to Open House Success: only hold open houses in your farm. This will be trickier in non-geographic farms, but not impossible (think, near the sports complex if you’re farming the softball league, or near schools if teachers are your farm). If your farm drives by your branded open house signs every weekend and are receiving your open house invites every week, you will become the go-to neighborhood expert in their minds. This also creates an opportunity to build relationships through the neighbors you meet at the open houses (even If they just seem like nosey neighbors at the time).
- FSBOs/Expireds – There shouldn’t be a FSBO or expired listing in your farm that hasn’t heard from you. (With non-geographic farms, you should know if someone in your farm has listed their home either by themselves or has a recent expired, too.) You have a warm “in” with these sellers when you’re actively working your farm because your farming efforts give high probability you’ll have a buyer for them soon. Build from that standpoint and follow up with your marketing material and other useful information.
Let all of your marketing efforts combine and create a super-agent persona amongst the people in your farm. The FSBOs will be more likely to open their door for you because they’ve seen you at events and holding all the other homes on their street open. Your Facebook page for the neighborhood won’t fall flat because you’re consistently posting about events, listings, open houses and general neighborhood news and videos.
Stick to your farm for the long haul and never go missing, even for short periods of time. For this reason, it’s important to choose a farm you are passionate about and physically near on most days. Chose wisely and then start implementing the strategies above today. Once your farm gets to know you and know you’re not a one-and-done kind of agent, you’ll start seeing results pour in from your farm.
Want more in-depth strategy for your farm and for building a solid real estate career? Check out Prospecting with Purpose.