Five common mistakes agents make when farming — and how you can avoid making them

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When it comes to farming a local market area, are you doing everything you can to drive in real estate seller leads? Here are five common mistakes real estate agents make when farming.

Mistake #1: Agents tend to “stick to what they know”

It takes time to build a brand via farming techniques, and agents are often unlikely to select a new farm outside their usual market area. Sometimes, this means that agents stick to areas with homes that earn them smaller commissions, even though nearby areas may have higher turnover or more expensive homes (or both).

Advice: If you’re already farming a local market area and you’re not seeing great results, don’t start over. Do some research and find a small pocket of high turnover or high commission homes. Expand your farming efforts to that mini-farm to see if you can land your first listing there. Then, use a “Just Listed/Just sold campaign” to entice additional homeowners to hire you based on your local market success.

Mistake #2: Agents don’t include calls to action on their mailers and campaigns

When asked if they have a call to action on their recipe cards, refrigerator magnets or postcards, agents often point to their phone number and email. Offering your contact information is different than offering a specific service — and consumers won’t always make the jump on their own.

Advice: Before you design or send any campaign, ask yourself how you can tie the marketing piece back to one of your specialties or services. Then, add a specific call to action to everything you send out. Ask your targets to fill out a short form on your website or affiliated marketing site in exchange for something they get in return. For sellers, offer an automated CMA, a market update report or a staging and selling guide. For buyers, offer an online pre-approval with an affiliated lender. Track your follow-up success, and change your CTAs if you’re not seeing any results.

Remember, you should never send your contacts to a general “contact me” form.

Mistake #3: Agents retarget people who just bought or sold from them

Most agents hope for referrals after they have worked with a buyer or seller but many times, they don’t have separate campaigns for this segment of their sphere. The result? Some agents without targeted marketing may send postcards saying “It’s a great time to sell!” to a homeowner who just closed with them six weeks ago.

Think of how much time you spend reviewing marketing pieces before you toss them in the garbage. It’s very unlikely that a past client will see a seller-targeted piece and think about referring their friends as a result.

Advice: If you want referrals, it’s better to ask for them outright. Send a quick note (after the closing and any potential issues have been resolved) saying that you enjoyed working with them, and that you’d be thrilled if they would keep you in mind when their friends/family are in need of a real estate agent.

You’ll save money on mailers that aren’t getting you any results, and you’ll know for certain that your past clients understand you would be grateful for any referrals sent your way.

Mistake #4: Sending the same postcard or campaign to everyone

Does the couple in the rambler on the main drag just have their third child? Did the single woman in the condo development just get engaged? Did the retirement-age couple in the McMansion send their last kid off to college? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then you can’t possibly be targeting each homeowner with messages and campaigns that resonate.

We live in a world where Facebook can target you with concerts or products you’ll love, and Amazon’s “People also bought” carousel drives in a reported 30% of their total sales. Consumers are too smart for one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns, and that goes double for your real estate seller leads.

Advice: To get the response you’re looking for, you need to segment homeowners in your farm by their propensity to move up or down, and target them with marketing campaigns that resonate deeply and have a clear call to action.

Mistake #5: Not being ready with a response — whether it be an 8 x 8 campaign or a door knocking script!

Most agents spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to drive in new real estate sellers leads through their farming efforts. And when those leads arrive, they realize they don’t have a coordinated follow-up plan ready. Yikes!

Advice: Unless you already have a follow-up plan that works, we recommend following up in kind to any leads. If you get a real estate seller lead via email, follow up via email. If you miss a phone call, return it as soon as you can. You can also drop off a small Wow Package that offers a peek into you and your business. If you want to doorknock or door drop but don’t have a full Wow Package, here are three outside the box ideas you can implement.

Remember, the key is to plan your follow-up even before you get an inbound lead. When you use the same techniques, you’ll be able to measure how well your plan is converting your real estate seller leads and tweak your follow-up to get the best results possible.

For more helpful tips, visit the SmartZip blog.

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