The Difference in Prospecting a Geographic Territory

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

When you set out to prospect FSBO's or Expireds or potential short sale clients, you have a target audience with a known need to sell. You're looking for a response – soon.

When you begin prospecting a geographic territory, it would be nice if some of those folks were in need of your services immediately, but knowing that most of them don't need you just yet, you have a long term goal. You want to become known as "their" agent – the one they think of any time someone mentions real estate. You definitely want to gain their trust (and possibly even a sort of affection) so they wouldn't think of calling anyone else when they start to think of selling.

Thus – when you set out to create your own territory, your message needs to be a bit softer.Not for sale yet, but maybe later

I (almost) had a client who is planning to use the Postal Service's "Every Door Direct" to prospect for new listings. He's going to go with the Jay Abraham "assumptive approach." So his letter will begin with "I know you're thinking of selling." It will continue with a list of other "I know..." statements. 

When I mentioned that he doesn't know that, he said it didn't matter. People who are thinking of selling will wonder how he knew – and if they aren't thinking that way they wouldn't read the letter anyway.

In my opinion, that's short term thinking.

He's not going to establish himself as the expert in the neighborhood. People aren't going to think of him first when they think of real estate. In fact if I got that letter I'd think "Who does this arrogant jerk think he is?" right before I tossed the letter.

I've written before about beginning any letter with "I." Most people's initial reaction is "I don't know you and I don't care." 

It could work - sort of. 


Everyone is different, so I'm sure his approach will work for some. And I did consider writing those letters just the way he wanted them, because I generally do what my clients want done. When I decided to bow out was when he started telling me how much he'd spent for this and that seminar and how much the graphic designer was going to cost – and how I should cut my fees in half because he's going to have plenty of work for me.

Ummm… sorry. I don't want a little work at half price let alone a lot of it.  I also don't want to work with a client who doesn't value either my time or the copy.

So - just as you sometimes turn down a grossly overpriced listing or "fire" a buyer client when they insist on making half price offers, I made the decision not to work with this person. 


My idea about geographic territory farming does include making one assumption – that people are curious about the market in their neighborhood. So my pre-written letters include an offer to send a market report - and an offer to answer their questions if they perhaps want to know what the house down the street sold for.

I really believe my Geographic Territory Prospecting letter set (or anything you write yourself) should be used in conjunction with some in-person activity – things like attending neighborhood events, shopping or eating at neighborhood businesses, stopping by to say hello now and then, etc.

Creating and "owning" a territory is a long term project – and I think it calls for a softer approach.



Comments (7)

Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

I totally agree. as a subscriber to your newsletter I saw where you wrote about geographic areas. This is something I have wanted to do for well I can not count the number of years. It is all about offering something of value to them and of showing ones expertise and caring. You were smart to say no to that agent. As for me?? I would be smart to order your letter set. :)

Nov 22, 2013 05:40 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Martha - You made me giggle - thanks! And... thanks for being a subscriber! I appreciate your support. 

Nov 22, 2013 07:42 AM
Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate
RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales - Anacortes, WA
Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties

Marte, The letter set sounds like the ticket for geo marketing. Not sure about the pushy guy and his tactics. They would turn me off as well.


Nov 22, 2013 08:12 AM
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Yes, you do need to think abt the long term.  Only a small percent want to sell now.  A much larger % will want to sell over the next 10 yrs.

Nov 22, 2013 07:45 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Helen & Larry - That was a pretty common tactic 20 years or so ago, but now... I think consumers are a little more sensitive to that sort of thing. 

Debbie - If the statistics are true and people move on average every 7 years, it will take about that long to go through the whole area - and then of course you can get started on the ones who moved in the first year... a continuing cycle if you play your cards correctly. 

Nov 23, 2013 10:31 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

I think it all comes down to knowing yourself and your clients when you choose an approach - and choose one with proven results!

Nov 23, 2013 03:23 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michelle - You do need to go with your own personality, but whatever you do in a geographic territory needs to be for long term results. 

Nov 23, 2013 05:25 PM

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