Special offer

[RECAP] ActiveRain Challenge - My Best Farming Technique (Hosted by SmartZip)

Services for Real Estate Pros with ActiveRain

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there and we often hear tales of woe from agents who gave up and quit because they didn't know how to generate more business, if they even get any at all. There are also those that refuse to share their trade secrets because they fear that the competition may outshine them. Luckily for us, we have the ActiveRain Community! A network of real estate professionals who willingly share their "secret sauce" and continue to build the wealth of real estate knowledge so that their peers may learn from their experience and thrive in the industry! So we wanted to start this post off with a thank you to everyone who participated in the contest and those that continue to participate in the Rain!



Last month we held a challenge, sponsored by SmartZip, where we asked Rainers to share with us, in a blog post, one technique that they use to connect with local people in their geographic (or their niche) farm.  We received a lot of amazing responses; some were techniques we already all knew but had their own special twist to it, some traditional techniques refined to amazing levels, and some that were truly unique and gave us our own "Aha!" moments!

So without further ado, here are the top 10 posts from the challenge and may they give you as many lightbulb moments as they gave us and help you develop your own farming strategy! 


Debe Maxwell :  Farming from A to Z

Sometimes when you go fishing you catch a boot and other times you land a whale. This challenge landed us Debe Maxwell who went all out and shared everything in her repetoire. In her entry she shared everything there is to know about establishing a solid real estate business based on referrals. From establishing and marketing to her own sphere to marketing to strangers and landing  new clients. We asked for an example or two, Debe, not all!

Kidding aside,   She created an in-depth guide that will definitely help anyone, newbie or veteran alike, to set-up or improve how they market to their sphere. According to Debe "Farming to your sphere is the single most important thing that you can do for your business...It takes SO little time to reach out to our sphere, in person, on a quarterly basis. A FORD call (asking about their Family, Occupation,Recreation & Dreams) goes a long way to maintaining client loyalty."

Read Debe's full entry here 

Sally K. & David L. Hanson: Having Your Newsletters Down to a Science

Although technology and social media has dominated the marketing landscape in recent years, it doesn't mean that that's the only way to go! They say nothing beats the classics, we wholeheartedly agree, but only if you keep working on it! Sally and David show us just how effective it can be if you put in the work. They have practically gotten their monthly snail mail purple envelope marketing program down to a science. Each mailer that goes out is crafted specifically for their target audience with the intention of delivering value and "news they can use" to stay in front of referral sources. It's not just about the newsletter either, it's also in how they fine tune their list, updating it regularly and ensuring the right people get their mailers.  

Read Sally and David's full entry here 


Barbara Todaro: Pushing the Envelope of Direct Mail Marketing

There's a reason why a lot of members in the Rain closely follow the blog of Barbara Todaro, and in her entry she again reminded us why. She shared how her broker discouraged her from mailing postcards because networking was the method of choice at the time. After all who doesn't want to get business for free right? Instead of listening she went against the grain and good thing she did! Today, she continues to prove her broker wrong by sending thousands of postcards each month  throughout her entire area, with a free market analysis along with "Just Listed", "Sale Pending" and "Sold Another One" postcards. By doing this she managed to generate tons of business through the years even when the market crashed.  As she so succintly puts it "The key to success with this method of marketing is consistency. It’s not a “one shot deal.

Read Barbara's full entry here

John Anderson: People Buy From People They Trust

With the digital landscape being what it is, a lot of agents are opting to keep their marketing online, considering the reach and ease at which it can be done, who can blame them? Then there are agents like John Anderson who continue to and succeed at door knocking.  While time consuming, John shared just how beneficial walking through the neighborhood is and getting to actually know it. Walking through the community allows you to notice small details that you would normally miss when just driving through, details that could be important to your clients. By establishing a physical presence in the community and solving small problems for residents he becomes valuable. John's mindset is "While out in the neighborhood I do not try to "sell" anything. I am just trying to be friendly and meet people while on a fact-finding mission." A great way to look at it and in the end when the residents do decide to sell or refer a friend who will they trust? The agent on the computer screen or the one that they know personally? 

Read John's full entry here


 Fred Griffin: Become the President of Your Homeowner's Association

Agents already have a minefield of obstacles and tasks they need to go through on a daily basis, adding another extra responsibility, such as being the president of your neighborhood's HOA,  to your plate may just be straw that breaks the camel's back OR it could be what brings you more business. Instead of seeing it as  a tedious responsibility, Fred saw an opportunity and he ran with it. Being an important figure in his community meant that people knew him and  keeping him top of mind as the go-to real estate resource. Members of the community consistently sought his advice and that "At one point, I had five (5) yard signs in 5 different yards on the same street!". He noted that it does have a downside but the benefits are more than worth the time required and the responsibility. 

Read Fred's full entry here

JL Boney, III: Get Active in an Active Community

Not everybody can be the president of the HOA or part of the board, but that isn't the only way you can become an important member of the community. JL Boney, III, shared how he farms his large subdivision of Lake Carolina, Columbia, SC. Despite being a large area with about 31 individual communities within it, he still finds the time to walk around the different communities to establish his physical presence. As he puts it "I know that sounds simple and believe me it's part of the long game, but having your face seen through the neighborhood is a good thing.  Just don't go out there the first time thinking that someone is going to grab you up and ask you to list their house immediately."

JL also notes that an active community presents a great opportunity for him to sponsor community and school events to further get his name out there. It also provides opportunities for him to host his own events and spend quality time with past clients and neighbors. Technology is not without a place in JL's strategy, he supplements his strong community presence by writing market reports and sharing them throughout social media, sellers love them and so does Google! He's also created his own Facebook page and group for the community as additional means of staying in front of potential sellers and providing market reports

Read JL Boney, III's full entry here

Nina Hollander:  Working by Referrals

Every agent dreams of working completely by referral; after all, who doesn't want business to come to you? The problem is people don't know how to do it or even where to start. In her entry Nina Hollander shared that 75% in the past 15 years came by referral and building a business by refferal starts with one's mind set. "Wrap your brain around the fact that everyone you work with is a potential "referrer" of business or a repeat client " Moreover, she likes to think that each person in her database is worth five referrals over time and those five, worth another five each for 25 and so on. This mind set is important because it ensures that you will always treat and service your clients in a way that will ensure referrals and repeat business!  Outside of the mind setting, she mentions that regularly grooming and touching your database is of prime importance. Finding any "excuse" to touch your database ensures that  you're always on the top of their minds. 

Read Nina's full entry here 


Debbie Reynolds: Farming Methods of the 21st Century

While the concept of farming never changes, technology has made it a lot easier to reach more people with a lot less effort than ever before. What separates veteran agents from the rest is their ability to see these kinds of trends and make them work in their favor. Debbie Reynolds' lengthy tenure in the real estate industry shows us just how veterans adapt to change. In her entry Debbie shared her insights on how people's busy lives and increased need for security caused her to change her approach to marketing.  By carefully researching subdivisions and neighborhoods she was able to build community pages that consistently generates business for her. She reinforces these community pages with mailouts into the neighborhood to cement herself as the go-to local real estate expert. Debbie phrases it best "The new way of doing business and farming is to provide information when needed and to carve out a niche being the expert in the neighborhood.  I throw out the hooks and the customers and clients come to me." 

Read Debbie's full entry here


Lisa Von Domek: Combining Interests/Passion with Networking 

Farming is all about generating business but it doesn't have to feel like work all the time! Lisa Von Domek shared just how fun farming can be! By combining her passion for shopping and networking she found a fun and innovative way of connecting with her colleagues, friends and family! How easy it is to stay top of mind with your sphere when all they need to do is reach for their favorite handbag and be reminded of their incredibly resourceful agent! Outside the passion for helping out people, we're sure you have other interests, use them! It may just be what you need to take your business up a notch! 

Read Lisa's full entry here


Dorie Dillard: Clients for Life Program

It bears repeating that to succeed in real estate you need to continuously refine your marketing strategy as you go along. In her entry Dorie Dillard showed us how her farming strategy evolved throughout her 20+ year career. From sending out postcards, creating a website that featured her community, and adding an e-newsletter, she continued to develop her marketing toolbox and applied them consistently. What caught our attention was her latest addition, the Clients for Life program. Every month she sends out an email to her database that gives them the chance to register for free tickets to something fun in Austin, TX. Her clients win something of value, she gets registrations to her database, and at the same time the extra touch keeps her in front of her clients consistently. WIN-WIN. 

Read Dorie's full entry here

Just because we picked these posts doesn't mean that there are no golden nuggets to learn from in the other entries, it was definitely a tough ask to choose among the entries so we suggest you go into the comments section of the contest post to ensure you don't miss out on all the awesome farming strategies shared by your fellow Rainers! 

On Tuesday,  July 31, 2018. We'll be hosting a webinar where we'll share all the strategies above along with others that really piqued our interest. We won't only share each tactic, they will each have a roadmap for you to execute on that particular strategy.  We'll also be announcing which Rainer won the ticket to any Ben Kinney Training event in the future!  We look forward to seeing you there and hopefully you'll leave the webinar with actionable insights that you can put into play in your business right away! 


Posted by


Keep Up In the Rain!
ActiveRain FacebookActiveRain TwitterActiveRain YouTubeActiveRain Google+ActiveRain LinkedIn

Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Well what a stellar group of Active Rain members, Congratulations to the winners!, Endre

Jul 21, 2018 10:07 PM
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

Love this! I will go back and read all of these entries-all by great AR bloggers.

Jul 21, 2018 10:39 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

What a great compilation of Top Notch Real Estate Experts! It is amazing the the members of Active Rain who are so willing to share their experience & knowledge! 

Jul 22, 2018 12:23 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Gathering of Eagles...

Jul 22, 2018 05:50 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Thank you so much for selecting my post...it's an honor to be included with such an exclusive group.... I'm humbled....thank you, again, to the host, SmartZip.

Jul 23, 2018 05:19 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’ve heard good things about SmartZip! Good luck to everyone and may the best post win!

Jul 23, 2018 10:56 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Barbara Todaro Congratulations on being selected! If feels good every time and never really gets old at all!

Jul 23, 2018 10:57 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Well, wow! I had no idea I was included on this stellar list! Very proud to be associated with all these great Rainers. Thanks for the recognition.

Jul 24, 2018 12:20 PM
Jose Guevarra
FIRE Investments/Acropolis Developments - Mira Mesa, CA
Commercial and Multifamily Investments

I have a lot of reading to do. Thanks!

Jul 24, 2018 08:08 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Thanks for including me and I am honored to share what is and has been working for me.

Jul 25, 2018 06:03 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing this summary report on some of our outstanding members.

Jul 26, 2018 05:03 AM
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

Congratulations to the winners of this challenge. Everyone had great tips on farming techniques and maximizing the output from those techniques. Thank you all for sharing.

Jul 26, 2018 10:38 AM
SmartZip Analytics
SmartZip - Pleasanton, CA
Data-Driven Marketing & Referral Solutions

Thank you to all who submitted your ideas, strategies and practices. All great! We learn from each of you everyday!

Jul 30, 2018 04:19 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Congratulations to those who participated and shared their expertise. Nice.

Jul 30, 2018 06:24 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Congrats to all who participated and to all who made it to the top 10 winner's circle! A huge thanks as well for putting farming ideas out there to inform and possibly inspire other professionals to be their best!

Jul 30, 2018 06:25 PM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

ActiveRain Contests I am so honored to be included in the Top 10 list for this SmartZip contest, Thank You!

And, Thank You to everyone that shared their fabulous marketing ideas and strategies!

Jul 30, 2018 07:26 PM
Samson Properties - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

I am going to have to take my time this week to read through all 10 of these blogs. I know for a fact that there are going to be some great tips shared here. Thank you very much for sharing. 

Feb 25, 2019 05:52 PM
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

Hi there, when will the July 2019 ActiveRain contests be posted and shared here?

Jul 01, 2019 07:32 PM
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

Thanks for this recap, I just went through and re-read all of the winners.

Jul 01, 2019 07:59 PM
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

ActiveRain University 

Oct 17, 2023 02:19 PM