How to you ensure the BEST and FASTEST results when pursuing geographic farming? Listen to this question and answer session with marketing expert Beatty Carmichael and one of his clients. Learn the nuances that make geographic farming most profitable.
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Beatty: This is the Get Sellers Calling You marketing podcast for real estate agents and I’m Beatty Carmichael. For simple to do proven marketing strategies focus exclusively on finding sellers and getting more listings, visit our website at GetSellersCallingYou.com. And now, let’s begin our next session of Get Sellers Calling You.
Caller: I’m very eager to start getting listings in an area and maybe make a name for myself in that area as well. Is there anything you would recommend that I do to get the ball rolling faster?
Beatty: Absolutely. So, tell me which city and state you are in.
Caller: I’m in Pasadena, California.
Beatty: Great. The most important thing, when we do geographic farming, especially out in California and in those areas where you have a lot of transplants (people who move into the area as opposed to grew up there). Let me give you background of where I am coming from. I don’t care to bore you too much with detail but I think the more you understand why the better.
Beatty: What we found through testing and through—we actually engaged an MBA university and their marketing research class to do an analysis for us with what we were seeing. What we were seeing is that some farms produce great results right off the bat. Other farms produced poor results all the way down to no results. We were trying to understand what the difference was. What caused those farms to differ? The final analysis has to do with what we call a trusting community. A trusting community as it is defined in context of what we’ve identified and validated that is the key factor is a community that trusts the agent already. There are two ways that that happens. Either they are like, if you recall the Andy Griffith Show many years back. No one locked their doors because everyone trusted everyone. When you get into those communities where everyone grew up there, they live there, they have their kids there, and their kids grow up there and live there. Then everyone knows everyone and it’s a trusting community. What you have in California is you don’t have that feature. People didn’t grow up there; they grew up somewhere else and they moved there, even if it’s moving across town, they are still in foreign area in terms of people they grew up with. So, as a result, it creates a psychological barrier that they are not as trusting as you are in the other environment. So, they way that you have to build trust is you have to always be there and you build up, not only a name recognition, but you build up an expertise recognition. So this is the focus of what our cards do, but there are some things you can do that will dramatically impact it and make it more productive for you. The most important thing is for you to get out and actually meet those people. When we created your list, when we ran it through data analytics to identify those home most likely to sell, we should have sent you a copy of that list as well. Did we do that?
Caller: I do have a list.
Beatty: Okay, perfect. So what I want you to do, I want you to do a number of things. But the most important is going to be door knocking. And next week’s call on my podcast call, which is Wednesdays at 11:00 am central / 9:00 am pacific. We are actually going through 10 low cost things you can do to build up a farm, to do touches, that I would like you to start focusing on, or at least take those things out of the list that are applicable to you. But the most important thing is to door knock and actually meet people. So that means that typically it’s going to be a weekend activity, like a Saturday morning / late Sunday afternoon, when people are typically back home. You are probably going to have to do it a few times to make it work. Door knocking is going to be the most impactful thing you can do.
Here is another study that has been corroborated through data points. And that is, once they have met you, the likelihood that they’ll do business with you increases between 8 and 10 times. So, if you want to get off the ground in that area and get quicker results soon and more powerful results that are consistent, the number one thing that is going to be the most impactful is that you meet them. They get to put a face and a voice and a personality. When you go out to door knock is not to try to get a listing appointment or try to get a referral, all that will come later. The most important thing is to say, “Hey, I’m out. I’m a real estate agent in the area. I’m just trying to introduce myself to people. I just want to say, hello, how are you?” Okay? Just engage in that small-talk concept. But I would also have two things, Dixie can give you the first one and it’s what we call a pre-marketing pack. A pre-marketing pack is a package of information—don’t let the page count scare you—but it’s like 43-45 pages long—but what does is it has big print and big pictures and stuff. And it walks through, and you can trim it down to things that are only specific for you, but it gives you a chance to give that homeowner something in their hand that they can read about you. And the whole thing about this premarketing pack is it sells you as an expert agent. When we’ve used this, and we’ve had clients using it for years, the typically thing that happens is two things. First, we use it when we identify seller leads, so that’s the self-selection cards. When that package is given to someone, what happens is, that agent usually gets the listing when it comes on the market and the average listing appointment goes from about 2 to 2.5 hours down to about 30 – 45 minutes because most of that listing appointment is the presentation, trying to sell why they should choose you. But this packet does such a good job, that when we are using it with seller leads, it kind of pre-sells you and they’ve already bought in so it eliminates all that.
I’ve got to tell you another story because it is a powerful piece of information. Another one of our clients up in Washington state, when he started with us, had just updated his packet and he gets a phone call from one of his referral sources that says, “Julie Smith at this address is thinking about selling her home, you ought to give her a phone call.” So Ed calls her up and introduces himself. She says, “Yes, we are playing to sell. But, I am already planning to use another agent. Thanks for calling.” He said, “Are you under contract yet?” She said, “No.” He said, “Great, can I email you some information about me first.” She responds, “Sure, I’ll be happy to review it.” So he emails the information. She calls him back the next day and says, “Ed, I got your information. I read it. I want you to sell my house. I’ve already cancelled my appointment with the other agent. Can you meet me tomorrow at 2:00?” And it was a $700,000 listing. It’s real powerful.
As you are door knocking, you want to have a stack of those and hand them to everyone you meet as simply a way to introduce yourself. Okay?
Beatty: The second thing I want you to do is, I want you to create a free report of some sort. The focus of this free report is, if I were to ask you and say, “Stephen, what is, in your mind, if I’m going to put my home on the market, what are the most important things I need to be concentrating on right now to get it ready to go on the market so it shows its best, sells at the highest price and gets the offer as quickly as possible.
Caller: Right now I have that on my website and on YouTube. Also I do a market update every single month on video as well. Will that help my cause?
Beatty: Not on what I’m doing right now. It will help your cause as you continue to touch your people, touch that list in addition to our touches, but for where I’m going on this, it’s not going to be helpful because you’ll find out in my next sentence. Now that you’ve got it, put it on paper. Okay? Something that they can hold. Make sure that that paper is branded to you and keep that in your car. So then, when you are talking to that person, you door knocked, you are meeting them, you are giving them some information and you are just building a relationship. You are not asking, “Hey, are you guys thinking about selling? Do you know anyone who is? Can you refer me?” You don’t want to do anything like because that is going to be pushy. Now, if it comes out naturally in the conversation, that is okay, but build the relationship first. Then here is what I suggest. On the way out, you shake their hand and say, “It’s so nice to meet you. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend.” You turn around. They haven’t closed the door yet. And you go, “One last thing” as if it was an aside. “One last thing. I don’t know if you guys are planning to sell your home anytime in the next six of twelve months, but if you are, I’ve got some information that I actually put together for another client of mine. I have an extra packet in the car of things you can do to get the most money for your home in terms of what you need to be focusing on first in terms of getting it prepared. Would you guys have any interest in that because I have an extra copy? Now, what happens is that it comes across as an aside. You built a relationship; they kind of trust you. You are not asking, “Are you planning to sell because I wanted to get your listing.” You are offering them, “Hey, if you are thinking about listing your home, I have something for you.” What that’s going to do is, if they ask for it, is let you know that they are most likely thinking about selling because that is why they are asking you for it. So you’ll go get it from the car and then you make a note when you get back into the car after you give it to them. Note who they are and any information about them. Once you give it back to them, “If you guys are thinking about selling, what type of timeframe? There may be some other strategic things you can do depending on how far out you are thinking.” So get some information that you can follow up with. And then you write them a personal note, a handwritten letter or a handwritten card that day and then you drop it into the mail. You get them on additional postcard mailings from you. Now you start to touch them more specifically. Does that make sense, what I’m doing?
Caller: Yes. I should put together a “How to prepare your home to sell” mini-brochure?
Beatty: That’s right. What you are looking for is anything that will guide that homeowner that you can give them as a value-added gift and you keep it in the car and you make them request it. Because by virtue of requesting it, now they are basically identifying themselves as thinking about selling. So you can start to nurture that relationship more.
Caller: I do like your marketing cards because they pull on heart strings and I think that is very important. I finished my “What you may not know about me” card and I talk about my grandfather who was a broker and he molded my way of what you think of the customer and I think that will help people get to know me that way.
Beatty: That’s the whole purpose of this. The whole idea is this. Trust is built on three things. If they trust you, they will do business with you. First trust is have they met you? That’s why the most important thing you can do is door know and keep door knocking until you have met up to 100% of everyone on your list. Okay? The second thing of trust is, do they know that you are constantly selling? That’s why our cards are going to show off a sale every single time. The third part of trust is, do they know that you have the expertise to get them the most money. And that is where the rest of cards come in and that is where this pre-marking pack comes in. That’s where this free report that you are going to do comes in. All of these things are you showing off your expertise so they trust you. They are all hitting the same point.
Beatty: There are some other things you can do, but these are the most important. If you can door knock, have a pre-marketing pack and have that free report that you create that you can give them upon request at the end of your visit then you pretty much have it made.
Caller: You know, I’m of the opinion, wrongly, that let’s say I didn’t want to bother people. I would touch them maybe 2 – 3 times a year which is way too low. I would definitely lose business that way. I mean, I would get business but I would also lose business as well. Recently, I sent out to my top 25%, a $5.00 gift certificate to Starbucks and that turned out to be pretty good because I would say 70 – 80% of them called me or emailed me thanking me for that. So, that’s something that I think I want to do maybe once a year. What do you think about something like that?
Beatty: I love it. One of the things that we request, in fact, for our guarantee, we require is that you personally touch your list twice a year. So, sending out a gift card like that, just a handwritten note, a phone call, a face visit, anything that you can do that is a personal touch is huge. Typically the large chain restaurants, like maybe Longhorn Steakhouse, I’m not sure.
Caller: Like maybe IHOP.
Beatty: Yeah, IHOP, anything like that. Many times you can get a 2 for 1 coupon and especially if you called their corporate office and say that I want something to promote to my list, can you send me some 2 for 1 coupons or anything like that that I can give my people value and it gives them a discount coming to your location? They jump on that. They will do anything to get business. That won’t cost you anything.
Beatty: So you won’t have to buy gift certificates because they will give them to you for free.
Caller: 2 for 1 discounts, right? Are you saying like a discount card or a discount coupon or something like that?
Beatty: Yeah, it’s probably a coupon. I don’t know if you’re familiar with coupon books.
Caller: Oh, yeah.
Beatty: Sometimes organizations will sell coupon books as a fund raiser. What happens is that restaurant or that store will pay money to put that coupon in the book so they can get more business. If you find one of those coupon books and literally go through it and call those stores up personally. Just say, hey, I see that you’ve got the coupon in here. I have a list of people I want to give a benefit. Can you give me a bunch of coupons that I can give out for free? They will give you the same coupons that they pay to put in that book and give it to you for free. All you want to do is make it special and personal, so it doesn’t look like you just ripped it out of a book, but do something so it sounds like I arranged for you to have a 2 for 1 dinner over at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and here’s a card or here’s a coupon for that will bless you on it. I know that over at Fleming’s Steakhouse, I don’t know if you have Fleming’s over there.
Caller: We do.
Beatty: It’s a high end steakhouse and they have internally gift cards that they will give out on a birthday or because they want to reward some sort of a client. It’s like a $25 gift card. It can only be used there and typically because all of the entrées are much more expensive than $25, they know that they will make money on it. You could go to even Fleming’s and suggest, hey, here’s what I want to do. Can you give me any gift cards so I can give out and promote you to my list? A lot of these places will jump on the opportunity to do that.
Caller: I love it. I never thought of it, but now I will.
Beatty: Yes. Those are just some things you can do as additional touches. Back to what can you do. The most important thing in your farm is you’ve got to be there and let me also suggest you need to be there ideally more frequently that just our postcards. Okay?
Beatty: If you have another thing that you can mail quarterly or every other month, then that’s going to add even more value and then if you door knock and then if you get them on an address list and then you can mail them personally a handwritten not. Hey, I enjoyed meeting you. By the way, here’s a $25 gift certificate to Fleming’s that I got for you. I hope you enjoy it. Anything like that. Now, you’re adding value and they appreciate you and you’re touching them more and that’s how you’re going to win that business.
Caller: I love it. I’ll do it. We do have a Fleming’s and we do have a Ruth’s Chris in town in Pasadena. Pasadena is very restaurant heavy.
Caller: There’s a lot of restaurants.
Beatty: So that means that there’s a lot of competition and if you just spend a little bit of time, or get an assistant to spend some time, and tell them what’s going on. Tell them how big your list is. Just tell them that I’ve got a list of 500 people that I want to or whatever your list is, that I want to promote something special. Do you have a gift card that will give them a discount or give them any sort of benefit that I can give to them as a special gift?
Caller: I will.
Beatty: You will find that many of them will do it.
Caller: I hit on that.
Beatty: Well, on the geo farm, let me set expectations. You will get quicker results with your sphere than you will the geo farm. The geo farm, the first stages of the geo farm is simply to get them to recognize you and start to remember you and then to start to trust you. That’s where the additional touches that you do will greatly enhance it and that additional effort, the face visit, will take it through the roof. Let me share a story of another client of ours over in California.
Beatty: Near Los Angeles. When he started working with us, he was targeting a 1200 home farm, 1500 home, excuse me. He was a nobody there in terms of market share. In 18 months, he was controlling 22% of the listings, outselling the number 2 agent by 7 times. What happened was he door knocked that area three times a year. We were mailing, at that time, either 8 or 12 times a year, I don’t recall and that community was also, there’s a Facebook community page for it because it was a large subdivision.
Caller: Uh huh.
Beatty: He got involved with the Facebook community page and just became a very active participant. Every listing he did, he would market it three or four times. Coming Soon, Just Listed, Open House, Under Contract, Just Sold so people saw his activity. He would post on people’s post and comment on things. He was there as an individual and also there as a realtor. Any time someone joined the Facebook community page, he would personally welcome them. He became an Admin person on the community page. He would welcome them personally and add them to his personal Facebook page. What happened was that between our mailings, his door knocking and Facebook, he was always there and always as a professional agent. So, 18 months, 22% of the farm. 2 years later, 50% of the farm market share. I mean, he’s just killing it. So, it’s all about always being there in some form and capacity. If you keep that focus with this list that we’re doing, then you’ll win.
Caller: Yeah, yeah. It certainly should. Again, Beatty, thank you for your time. This has been insightful and it’s a matter of me getting out there and implementing.
Beatty: Well, very good. I wish you great success. If you have any questions, let me know.
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