17 August 2018
If you’re like most agents, you fall into one of two camps. Either you have a thriving geographic farm that consistently generates real estate leads for you. Or you see other agents with successful geo farms and wish you were one of them!
Well, there’s good news…
You can be that agent with a thriving real estate geographic farm. You just need to make the right moves.
So with that in mind, here is a “baker’s dozen” of proven techniques for getting results from a geographic farm, whether you’re just starting out or already targeting an area.
- Choose wisely It’s important to pick the right farm for your business and goals. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending months climbing the wrong ladder! Everything else being equal, your real estate geo farm should have an average turnover rate of at least 3% during a balanced market. Check back at least three years. Your farm should also be conveniently located. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so you don’t want it to be a two-hour commute!
- Keep in touch once a month Staying in touch is key to a successful geographic farm. Our decades of experience working with clients confirms that the ideal frequency is once a month. If you scrimp on that, you’ll lose the relationship-building momentum. When you touch base with residents once a month, they become more familiar with you. Eventually, they grow to like and trust you — and see you as their go-to agent.
- Use direct mail The best way to connect (keep in touch) with residents of an area is with an excellent geographic farming newsletter. Direct mail is proven to be effective at making a lasting impact. Recipients perceive your printed newsletter as inherently more valuable than email. Direct mail is tangible and interactive. They read it while holding it in their hands. A good geographic farming newsletter is a loyalty-builder!
- Always be adding value Every time you make contact with residents of your geographic farm, add value rather than merely asking, “Are you thinking of selling?” That approach is far more likely to get you real estate leads. Your geographic farming newsletter, for example, should be packed with helpful articles, tips and updates. When you call or visit a resident, think of some way to make that interaction valuable to them. One way is to offer to be a resource for news and advice on the local real estate scene.
- Visit residents In addition to sending a monthly geographic farming newsletter, try to see residents at least once a year (when it’s safe to do so.) For prospects, schedule a visit or catch-up phone call. For other homeowners, look for ways to touch base with them, such as door-knocking when you’re in the area. Always be looking for ways to make that personal connection.
- Spread your news and successes A very effective way to establish yourself in a geographic farm is to share news and successes with the community. For example, if you recently sold a home, include that news in your geo farming newsletter or send a Just Sold If a client has raved about how fantastic your services are, ask her for a video testimonial and share it on social media. Always be looking for ways to show the community how you can serve them.
- Connect with the community These days, many communities have a Facebook Group where they share news and conversation. Find out if your geographic farm has one and, if so, ask to join. There may also be community groups that meet in-person or online that you could become active in. A big part of geographic farming success is to show residents that you’re invested in the community. You’re part of it.
- Host an event Organizing a community event can very quickly get you known to, and appreciated by, many residents. When the pandemic is finally behind us, you can host a community picnic, BBQ or baseball game. As an alternative, you can also organize an online event, such as a Scrabble club on Facebook. Such events tend to make a splash and show residents that you’re the type of agent that gets involved and cares — the kind of agent to call when moving.
- Consider a sponsorship Chances are, there are sports teams, dance groups, bowling clubs and more in the geographic farm you’re targeting. Find out about sponsorship opportunities. Depending on the cost, getting your name on the back of uniforms or listed on a club website can further position you as the real estate agent for that community.
- Be visible The last thing you want is to be the best-kept secret in a community. You want to be well-known. It should be evident to everyone that you’re the agent who helps homeowners in the community. So take every opportunity to promote your positioning as the go-to agent in your geographic farm. Make it obvious in your signage, on your website, and in your marketing materials. You might even want to incorporate it into your tagline or slogan.
- Don’t do all the work yourself If you try to do all the work yourself in staying in touch with residents in your geographic farm, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and may even give up. That would be disappointing. Take your geographic farming newsletter, for example. You can’t do that all on your own. What you want is the writing, design, printing and mailing done for you, professionally, by a real estate marketing company you can trust.
- Get a proven system You don’t want to pull together everything you need for your geographic farm piecemeal, with design from one vendor, mailing from another, etc. That approach typically ends up messy, costly and ineffective. To truly succeed in real estate geographic farming, you need a cohesive marketing system with all the components working together like a well-oiled machine. Remember tip #3: The best geographic farming system will have direct mail as its core communications engine.
- Start today The worse mistake you can make is putting off geographic farming. If you do that, you risk losing good opportunities. Look at it this way: There is probably a geo farm right now that is ideal for you and, if you do the right things, is likely to be a lead-generating asset for your business. But if you don’t jump in now, some other agent might establish themselves in that area. Ouch! So pick your farm, sign up for a great geographic farming system, and go for it.
Follow these tips and, in as early as a few months, you could be well on you’re way to having a thriving geographic farm that other agents envy.
If you have questions about geographic farming, contact us.