Does Farming Actually Work In Real Estate?

In my pre-licensing classes at Demetree School of Real Estate, farm area is probably the first vocabulary word I teach.  On day one, within the first hour of class, they learn that a farm area has nothing to do with agricultural.  Rather, it is a residential prospecting technique where the real estate agent specializes in a particular neighborhood.  I give an example, and the students usually chuckle in disbelief.  Someone always asks, “Does that actually work?”

It works like a charm.  It’s not exactly the fast path to success, but there is no such thing as a fast path to success. 

I have several Realtors who farm my neighborhood.  I probably get half a dozen postcards a week from different real estate agents.  I get Just Listed postcards, Just Sold cards, football schedules, soccer schedule, you name it.  I usually give it a quick glance, then because I’m a real estate instructor, I put it in a folder to use in class.  If I weren’t an instructor, I’m sure I would toss them.

The front and back of a farming postcard I received. It includes the name, phone, email or the real estate agent plus a customized link for me to get more information.

So the other day, our local Realtors Association sent out the ballots for the board of directors.  I recognized one name, not because he was student, not because I’ve done a deal with him, not even because I’ve ever met him in person.  I recognized him because I’ve been getting postcards from him. 

I haven’t voted yet, but in elections, whether it is for the local Realtor Association or United States Congress, the biggest hurdle is getting people to recognize your name. This guy that has been sending me postcards for a year has overcome that hurdle.

So yes, farming absolutely works. But just like farming the land, it’s not a quick fix. It takes a while.

To Get Good At Real Estate Sales, Get Good At Scripts

I love scripts.  You might be thinking, “Scripts just sound canned.  I want to sound natural.”  But hear me out.  Does your favorite actor sound canned when they are acting in a movie?  No, they sound natural.  The reason they sound natural is they have practiced the script, and embraced it so it sounds natural.  So if the script sounds canned, it’s probably not the script.  It’s the actor.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that a sales person should be an actor playing a role. You can be yourself. Fortunately, in real estate sales, we are not given a script and told we have to say it word-for-word.  We get to write out own scripts.  You don’t have to play a part in a movie.  I’m suggesting you should prepare what you are going to say and practice it until you can deliver it naturally.

You might be saying, “But it’s a live presentation.  I don’t know what the prospect is going to say.”  Let me ask you this… when a stranger says, “How are you?”  Do you pause, think about it, and then answer?  Or do you say, “I’m fine.  How are you?”  I’m betting you follow the script.  Now you might not say those exact words.  You might have a different script that you follow.  You might say, “I’m great.  Thanks for asking.”  My point is that you took a script that you were probably taught at a very early age, modified it to fit your personality, and have been using it so long that it sounds natural and just rolls off your tongue.  When someone says, “How are you?” you don’t even need to think about how you are going to respond.

I’ve done several types of sales.  Usually after about 5-10 presentations, you have heard all of the objections.  Every once in a while, you hear a new one.  But most fields have a handful of objections that you hear all the time. 

Let’s say the customer says, “Mr. Agent, your commission is too high.”  When is the best time to come up with an answer to that?  Right now when you are sitting in her living room?  Or last week, when you had a few minutes to think about it, write it down, and practice it so it would just roll off your tongue. 

If you work in timeshare, they might say, “We are planning to buy a house soon.”  Is today the first time you’ve ever heard that objection?

If you don’t have a script for an objection, a good place to start is the training your company offers*.  If your company doesn’t offer training, ask the other people in your office how they answer it.  I take that back, don’t ask everyone in your office – ask the best agents.  You don’t need to mimic mediocrity.

Write down what people say.  Try using their script, modify it until it works for you, then stick with it.  Practice it enough with other people until you can say it as smoothly as you can say, “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine.  How about you?”

*If your company doesn’t offer training, you might be at the wrong company. Call me.