Real Estate Farming with a Twist
By Sadiya Anjum
Farming is a common term heard in real estate. It refers to branding yourself to a segment of the population, usually based on geographical areas. Farming methods include phone calls, mailers, door to door marketing, brochures etc. But today’s market is so flooded that farming seems pretty hopeless. The methods are time consuming and it is a costly affair; the results of farming are seen in the long run. But it is important to know that farming is necessary to generate leads.
Branding yourself and farming in a saturated area may only be a waste of time and energy, especially if the results are minimal. Today’s agents must step aside and add a twist to real estate farming. Targeting geographical locations may not be as successful but targeting niche segments of the population may be. Agent’s must recognize a small specific population instead of a general large audience.
You can narrow down your segment as much as possible. It is better that you target a tiny segment and obtain results instead of farming to a larger segment with little or no results. People are smarter today and are wary of those who blow their own trumpets. Your general mailer has a very high chance of visiting the trash bag. If you focus on a small population and cater to their needs, the chances of success are higher.
Farming is a way of ensuring that your name pops up first in a person’s mind when they think ‘real estate professional’. To be able to do this, you need to study your target group thoroughly. Understand their behavior, what they need, where they come from, income, family status, spending patterns etc. Analyzing your focus group will help you identify what kind of information will stir a genuine interest in them.
Remember that when branding yourself, the needs of your target group may differ from another group. But everyone is looking for an agent’s reliability and job performance - someone they can count on. Through your targeted farming, you need to establish your credibility. A simple way of doing this is to deliver your best during a job; the word of mouth method will bring in other clients.
As far as your farming methods go, think out of the box. You can still utilize mailers and other traditional methods but complement this with other approaches. The information in your mailers should also be specific and useful to your audience. Compromise on quality and you compromise on your reputation. Keep it honest, simple and don’t talk about yourself.
Make sure you also study the possible location your group may like. Collect as much information as possible and create portfolios on listed homes that your group may be interested in. Some of this may even be offered to your target group. Frequency is also important when it comes to farming. After a first great impression, you need to follow up with your group. You need to decide how often you will contact them and by which method. While you must be frequent enough, do not go overboard.
An effective tool for farming is the internet. It is cost-effective and time saving provided you know how to utilize this medium effectively. Since you may not farm geographically, this medium will help you reach your focus group easily. A website must be designed to cater to your target group, keywords must be included for better SEO ratings, etc. An online newsletter or mailer can be creative and interactive. But know the realities and power of the ‘delete’ key – so be creative, smart and do not spam.
When you receive feedback, you can make it more fun and interactive. Bring in an element of transparency in your services. Establish a relationship – you would rather buy the same reliable brand your mum bought instead of the flashy new one which may not live up in quality. Building a relationship like this takes time and genuine effort. If you do not deliver after creating a great image on paper, your focus group will abandon you. Be consistent, innovative and keep it simple when farming to niche segments. You will reap the benefits sooner or later.
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