5 Rules for Writing Real Estate Prospecting Letters

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Your real estate prospecting letters can bring good results, or they can do nothing at all. It all depends upon whether you follow these five rules.

1 – Never, ever begin with “I” or “We.”

It’s your prospecting letter, but if you want your potential client to read it and respond, it haschoose success or failure to be about his or her wants/needs/interests/problems/worries.

“I want” is an absolutely sure turn-off. They don’t care what you want.

Of course you’ll introduce your services, but do it in a way that says “Here’s how I can help you,” not “I want your listing.”

This rule, by the way, applies to any kind of letter writing. Unless you’re writing to someone near and dear and are saying “I love you,” or perhaps "I miss you," don’t start with “I.”

2 – Consider your audience.

The first step is to think about the people who will receive your letter.

  • Are they in a bind and need to sell quickly to avoid foreclosure?
  • Are they unhappy because their home didn’t sell after being listed for months?
  • Do they need to sell due to divorce?
  • Have they been trying to sell by owner?
  • Do they need to sell a vacant house during or after probate?
  • If they’re thinking of downsizing, are they putting it off due to the work involved in disposing of a lifetime’s worth of possessions?

Or – are they folks who may or may not have a desire to sell?

3 – Focus on being understanding, helpful, and informative.

Once you understand who they are, think about how you can help them right now.

  • It might be with the information you offer in your letters.
  • It might be by offering to introduce them to other professionals and service providers, such as tax consultants, handyman services, home stagers, or people who organize and run moving sales.
  • It might be by offering to let them know the current value of their home.
  • It might be by providing a checklist of things to do to get a home ready for market.
  • And of course, it might by getting that house on the market and sold in record time.

4 – Don’t tell everything you know.

Yes, you’re giving good information, but for the most part, make it in the form of what needs to be done, rather than the specifics of how to do it.

5 – Don’t be pushy.

Remember the old adage about the folly of asking someone to marry you on the first date.

Give them good information, show them how you can help, and offer to do so, but don’t annoy your readers by being pushy.

Use drip marketing to get acquainted and build a level of trust, so that when they do call, they’ll already have decided that they need you.

If you don’t have time or don’t like to write, remember that I’ve done it for you.

Come to Copy by Marte to find more than 40 sets of real estate prospecting letters, just waiting for you to download, personalize, and send.

 Graphic courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net

Originally posted at https://copybymarte.com/5-rules-for-writing-prospecting-letters-to-homeowners/


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  1. Peter Mohylsky, SoWal Is HOME. 06/13/2018 09:22 AM
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Greg Mona
Faira Homes Corp - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate in the 21st Century!

This is wonderful advice Marte Cliff. People, in general, don't really care about your accomplishments or how "great" you are; they want to know what you are going to do for them. Coincidentally we have been on a prospecting letter campaign to a specific audience. Right after I post this I am going to read that letter over again. I suspect there may be some changes coming to it! 

Jun 13, 2018 07:30 AM #23
Marc St Martin
United Real Estate Infinity - Cape Coral, FL
Your friend in the business!

Great advice!  Thanks!

Jun 13, 2018 09:03 AM #24
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Very Nice Marte, we do a lot of direct mail... and it can get stale. It's easy to lose focus, and do the same tired post card or direct mail piece. Thanks for the fresh take.

Jun 13, 2018 10:56 AM #25
Renée Fishman
Halstead Real Estate - New York, NY
Create Space For Your Best Work.

Really appreciate this advice for all writing — even blog posts. I have not done much letter writing but I think it could be a valuable tool if done well.

One challenge with postal mailing is that when you send a letter through postal mail you don’t know who read it unless they call you. In NYC I have the benefit of seeing the trash bin in the mail room, and it is filled with real estate post cards. What a waste!

Following on the tip to not share everything you know at once, here is a tip from my file of “ideas I give other people but don’t implement myself”:

Step up your offline marketing by offering a free report or other resource that you make available at a dedicated landing page. To receive the resource, the person must provide their basic contact info.

Many people won’t call until they are ready to buy or sell. But you can begin building relationships with them earlier in their process when you know who they are and what interests them.

This is a great way to build your email list with real potential clients (vs “buying leads”). It also helps you see what interests people. Instead of mailing a 5-part drip mail campaign on a topic nobody cares about, you can see whether the topic resonates by offering part 2 online. This puts you back in the drivers seat.

A great way to marry online and offline marketing.

If you already do this (or if you try it), I would love to hear how it works for you.

Jun 13, 2018 11:06 AM #26
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Steve Loynd - It's always good to send fresh information - especially if you can build a momentum that makes people want to see the latest you have to offer.

Renée Fishman -Offering what we call a "bait piece" is a beautiful way to connect with people who are interested in buying or selling. I advise using more than one, especially if you serve a niche market that has specialized interests.

So - instead of advising others to do it - why not do it yourself??

Jun 13, 2018 11:27 AM #27
Ben Yost - 303-587-4297
First Time Home Buyer, Mortgage Rates, Pre-Approval - Denver, CO
FHA, VA, Conventional - Mortgage Loans in De

Good Stuff!

Jun 13, 2018 12:07 PM #28
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Marte, thanks you for the great tips!

Jun 13, 2018 12:37 PM #29
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Monique Ting - and thank YOU for reading them.

Jun 13, 2018 01:43 PM #30
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent as usual.  Focusing on how you can help someone else eliminates the "I" and "we" out of every sentence :)  

Jun 13, 2018 09:29 PM #31
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

So true, Jan Green - you have a whole different tone and attitude when you're thinking "How can I help you" instead of "how can you help me."

Jun 13, 2018 09:43 PM #32
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I use postcards instead of letters. The postcard 's message is visible, so, how do you get the recipients to open a letter? 

Jun 14, 2018 01:21 AM #33
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Marte, you put the entire focus of your post on the recipient. You are so right.

People want to know how to deal with their problem, they want to sell or buy.

It is all about THEM!!

Thanks for sharing.

Jun 14, 2018 06:57 AM #34
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kimo Jarrett - one way to get people to open a letter is to hand-write the address. Others use colored envelopes or teaser copy on the outside.

John Wiley - that's right. It's all about them. The hard truth is, they don't care about you and me.

Jun 14, 2018 07:58 AM #35
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

A very good article Marte Cliff .  These writing skill were taught in 9th grade writing and communicating class.

Jun 14, 2018 08:06 AM #36
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bruce Hicks - You went to a better school than I did. I didn't learn anything about business writing until college. I always say the most important things I got out of those 4 years were:

  • Never begin a business letter with the word "I."
  • Always learn the person's name - don't write "Dear Sir."
  • Always spell the name correctly.

From my Mother I learned never to assume it's fine to use a person's first name - always use Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. unless you've been given permission. This has fallen a lot by the wayside with the Internet, but I still think it's more polite - and almost mandatory if you're writing to someone elderly.

The psychology parts came later, from studying copywriting.

Jun 15, 2018 11:33 AM #37
lenay wilson
James and Lee Realty - Virginia Beach, VA

Looking forward to using your products

Jun 15, 2018 10:58 PM #38
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

It's been a while since I've used prospecting letters, but you've given excellent tips for writing to prospects. We can all use a reminder to make it about "them" and not ourselves.

Jul 18, 2018 02:36 PM #40
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

lenay wilson - Thank you!

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty - That's it. They aren't really interested unless it's about them. "I want" has to be the world's worst way to begin a marketing letter, but a whole lot of business people keep writing it.

Jul 18, 2018 03:51 PM #41
Luis Owen
Union - Autaugaville, AL

If you want to make your client happy and charge the good amount of money, then follow the rules from this site and show them into the writing process. 

Aug 01, 2018 09:58 AM #42
Freda Dingle
MFO - Sunset Point, AB

You can read this article as well to improve your writing skills!

Oct 30, 2018 05:54 AM #43
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