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How to Pick a Geographic Farm for Postcard Marketing

May 27 2015

la how to pick geo farm postcard mktgIf you ask any agent why they got into real estate, you are bound to get quite a variety of answers. Some want to help people, some are doing it because it's "the family business," others may even like the flexibility and independence the job allows. No your reasoning, nobody can deny that one reason that makes becoming a RealtorĀ® worthwhile is that if you work hard and do things the right way, you can make a lot of money.

One important step to building your presence in a geographic area and getting on your way to success and fortune is having a successful farming program. Farming is a very interesting thing. As we've written before, Direct Mail Is Alive And Kicking, even in today's electronic and social media driven age. The interesting thing about it is the fact that most agents start out completely on the wrong foot, spend tons of money getting zero results, and risk putting themselves out of business before they ever get a chance to make things happen. We've not only seen this occur with brand new agents, but seasoned vets as well.

Picking "the right" geographic real estate farm is CRITICAL to the success of your real estate practice. Over the course of your career, if you are truly following best practices and consistently sending postcards to your geographic farm area, you are going to spend thousands and thousands of dollars of your hard earned money. With such an expensive initiative, you HAVE TO carefully consider the area you are going to be marketing to in order to ensure you end up being as successful as possible.

Today I'll share with you a few things you should consider when picking the perfect real estate geographic farm area for your marketing campaigns:

1) Make sure your eyes aren't bigger than your stomach

This is possibly THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in picking a farm area. Every single meeting I do with a prospective client has a moment or two when they pause and look at me like I am a crazy person. They are doing this not because I am giving them crazy advice or acting erratic; they are doing this because I am suggesting that they actually choose a smaller sub-section of their geographic farm rather than the entire area.

As a business owner and salesperson, they believe my job is to sell them as many postcards as I can possibly get them to buy so I make the most money possible. This isn't how it works, though, and is not in our company culture or philosophy. You see, we aren't in this game for the short term gains. We want to get you up and running in a farm area, have some sales and commissions coming in, and then methodically and systematically grow your farm area.

Simply put, we know that the more we can help you succeed, the more you are going to want to reinvest in what we are doing for you, and therefore the more we will succeed. No matter who you work with, if they ever try to get you to buy more cards than you can comfortably afford, or try to get you to believe that geographic farming is an exercise in anything other than relentless consistency, FIRE THEM. They are not looking out for your best interests and you should not spend your hard earned money on them.

2) Competition is not always a bad thing

Many times, when meeting with new clients about their marketing needs, we find that they do actually have a farm area they are in love with, that they would love to market to, BUT there is an agent in the area that dominates it and they don't think they have what it takes to go up against that agent.

I actually believe the exact opposite. If I was looking at a farm area and it appeared that one or two agents were doing the lion's share of the transactions in the area, that is the area I would be most interested in.

I'm guessing your next question is, "But what if those agents are super well known and top producing agents?"

It doesn't matter. The reason it doesn't matter is very simple: real estate is a personal business. The personal nature of real estate dictates then that not every homeowner will get along with and choose to work with a certain agent in the area. As they say, there are all kinds of people in the world and everybody gets along with and responds to people differently.

So in the case of your farming, if there is just one or two agents that are doing most of the deals in a farm area you are interested in, it's the perfect place for you to start marketing to. The law of averages states that there are many homeowners that are listing with that agent, not because they like them, but simply because there is no other alternative. Throw your hat in the ring and be that alternative they can gravitate towards.

3) Work where you love

Have you heard the old saying, "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life"? The same holds true for your geographic farm area.

By nature, if you love the neighborhood you are working in--the homes, the people that live there, etc.--this will be very evident to the people that live there. The enthusiasm and love you have will make them think of you as "part of the community" and naturally be drawn to you.

Too many times we meet with agents and start asking questions about the farm area they have selected, only to find out that they picked it simply because it's a popular area, or their broker suggested they target the area, or it was close to their office.

While none of these are necessarily bad things, upon further discussion, we find out that the agent actually has no interest at all in the area, but was simply planning to go with it because, "They need a farm area, so why not?" Remember, this is your hard earned money we are talking about.

3) How Much Activity Is There?

Even though you want to work where you love, you have to be realistic and take a long hard look at how many homes are selling in the area you are considering. Is there a 5 percent turnover? Fantastic! If there isn't though, you need to take some things into consideration.

Areas with low turnover rates will take a much, much longer time to gain traction. This means you will be spending a much larger sum of money farming in order to see results and start getting listings. If you are a seasoned agent with a big budget that can afford to wait, you are basically making this farm area a passion project. There is no problem with that.

BUT, if you are a new agent, or an agent that needs to watch their budget and wants to get results as fast as possible, you probably should consider picking a different farm area with a higher turnover rate. You can always go back to the other area once you've established yourself and built up some reserves.

A lot goes into picking a geographic area and planning a successful marketing campaign. These three steps will help set you on the right path and help you get started.

To view the original article, visit the Leading Agent blogLeading Agent blog.