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.
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.