Choose your target, then market consistently.
Over the years I’ve met agents who mistakenly felt that direct mail for real estate prospecting was the same as direct response marketing. They thought they “should” get results from just one mailing.
Unfortunately, marketing studies show that if they have the right list they might get a 1% response.
Real estate prospecting is not at all the same as direct response marketing.
Direct response marketing fits into the “instant gratification” category. You’re selling a product and people either want it or don’t want it. They order today or possibly tomorrow, and that’s that. Quite often, the purchase is made on impulse.
I do know someone who purchased a house on impulse - but it wasn't from a marketing piece. He viewed it with friends who were looking for a home. They didn't want it, but he did. He's my favorite neighbor, so I'm glad he was impulsive.
Marketing your services as a real estate professional via direct mail prospecting calls for “Drip Marketing” through multiple mailings.
When you’re offering your services as a real estate professional, only a small percentage of the people will want or need what you offer today. Another percentage may be thinking about it, and a greater percentage isn’t going to need you for quite some time.
In any case, none of them are going to see your mailing and think “Oh, that’s just what I need. I think I’ll order one.” Hiring a real estate agent is rarely, if ever, an impulsive action. After all, deciding to enter into one of the largest transactions in a lifetime is quite different from spending $39.95 on a Widget.
The purpose of your real estate prospecting letters is twofold.
First, you want to come to the attention of those people who need you today.
Thus you need to say something that distinguishes you from the crowd. You can do that by offering information rather than an ad for your services. And of course, different prospects need different information.
What you’ll say to someone who needs to short sell is different from what you’ll say to a FSBO or the owner of a vacation home. That’s why my collection of real estate prospecting letters consists of more than 40 different sets of letters.
Next, you want to establish yourself as a trusted resource in the minds of those individuals who are just beginning to think of selling or who won’t be ready for quite some time.
You want your name and your face to become familiar to them, and you want them to begin thinking of you as someone they can trust.
One letter simply can’t do that job. In fact, while different studies agree on the optimum number of “touches,” none recommends fewer than 5. Many studies say you need a dozen for maximum impact. And of course, once a prospect has indicated an interest in your service, it’s a smart idea to keep on sending them something until they either take action or tell you to stop.
Again, your letters need to be tailored to the audience. Agents who send the “One size fits all” letters saying “I’m wonderful, hire me” are destined for failure.
What about your niche?
If you haven’t gotten a response by the time you’ve mailed your series of prospecting letters, simply stay in touch. Send them periodic market reports, news about the neighborhood, or tidbits about real estate.
If a bit of light-heartedness fits your personality, use my 26-letter “Staying in touch” set. That set can keep you in front of those folks for two full years.
Keep building your business by never letting your prospective clients forget about you – and by continuing to send letters that will inform or amuse. When you can be counted on for something worth reading, they’ll eagerly open your mail.
One more thing…
What is a “touch?” It’s a message – sent either by postal mail or email. It’s also a phone call or a personal visit.
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