What’s the difference between prospecting and farming?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting
https://staging.activerain.com/droplet/5cdg

While the two terms are usually used interchangeably, and my Prospecting Letters page really contains more farming than prospecting letters, there really is a difference.

Think about it.

A prospector goes out into the hills, the desert, or the river beds in search of gems, gold, or other precious metals. He (or she, of course) sifts through tons of rock, sand, or dirt in search of the prize. If the prospector is lucky and has chosen the right place to prospect, he hits pay dirt.

It’s a whole lot like fishing, where you cast the line out into the water and hope a fish will see it and be interested enough to bite.

If the prospector doesn’t find a nugget and the fisherman doesn’t get a bite, he’ll move along, trying another spot and another spot.

A farmer prepares the soil, plants the seeds, prays for rain and sunshine in appropriate amounts, and nurtures and protects the growing plants until harvest time. Sometimes he must defend them from insects, birds, and animals who would eat or kill them.

When you prospect for real estate clients, you’re essentially searching for those few people in a given area or niche who are ready to become your golden nugget – or the fish who takes the bait. If that area doesn’t produce, you might move on – or you might decide to farm that area or niche.

row cropsWhen you farm, you stake out an area or a group of people, plant the seeds that will attract them to you, and begin nurturing and protecting them. You patiently wait until they’re ready to take advantage of your services.

So where should you limit your activity to prospecting – and where should you farm?

Assuming that you’ve chosen a territory or a niche that you want to pursue, in most cases it’s wise to begin with prospecting and move on to farming.

Start with thinking about a geographic neighborhood. Before you choose, do the research so you’ll know that a sufficient number of homeowners (historically) move each year. If it’s a neighborhood you want to “own” because you like the houses and the people, first prospect to find the “now” people and then move on to farming so you’ll be “top of mind” when others need an agent.

The same would apply to a niche market, such as snowbirds, waterfront property owners, senior citizens, owners of vacant properties, and rental owners. On the buyer side, prospect, then farm apartment dwellers.

People in certain niches such as short sales and those who have received a notice of default have to act quickly or not at all. The same is true for buyers relocating to take a job in your area. If they don’t respond after a couple of months, it likely won’t be worth your time and money to pursue them. They aren't good candidates for farming.

What about FSBO’s and Expired Listings?

These could be worth adding to your farm. They obviously want to sell. The FSBO’s may eventually get tired of trying on their own, and those with expired listings may not be ready to start over immediately when their listings expire. In fact, I have an “Old Expireds” letter set written specifically for those who decided to take a breather.

Mail or email?

Studies show that direct mail still outperforms email, but yes, it is expensive. So why notdrip marketing with email combine the two?

Begin your prospecting with postal mail. Then, as you develop a relationship and your prospects begin to recognize your name and know that you’re sending information of value, switch to email.

Of course, those who contacted you via a capture form on your website will expect email only, so use it, and use it well!

And speaking of mailing…

Make sure that you are sending something of interest and value. If you send nothing but promotions, both postal mail and email will quickly find their way to the trash.

Send market reports. Send good advice for buyers or sellers. Send news about the latest trends or colors in decorating. Send information about the community. And of course, always remind them that they can call on you to answer questions, even if they don’t need to buy or sell at the moment.

Remember that your past clients and your sphere are fertile fields your farm.

These are people who know and trust you – and who will either come back to you again and again, or send their friends and family to you, or both. They can become your ever-bearing perennial crop – as long as you nurture them and protect them from those pesky critters who would swoop in and steal them from you.

You do that by staying in touch; by becoming their resource for all things real estate; and by letting them know that they are more to you than a potential paycheck. Sure, you could still lose a few who feel an obligation to use their newly licensed brother-in-law – or who decide to become licensed themselves. But for the most part, your nurturing will keep them close.

Get Personal...

If you’re writing to past clients and your sphere, share a bit of personal information – tellThe new puppy them about the new designation you just earned, and why you bothered to get it.

Tell them about your new puppy.

Tell them about a new baby in the family or a child going off to college.

Tell them why you’re enthused about a new restaurant you tried.

If you and the folks on your list have a sense of the silly, use my event-themed keeping in touch letters. Written just for fun, they impart such important knowledge as where and when to attend a watermelon seed spitting contest and how and when to celebrate “Frugal Fun Day.”

 

The most important thing to remember: Consistency is vital.

Neither prospecting nor farming will do you much good if you only do it once in a while. So create systems for making sure it gets done.

 

 

Miner Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Row crops courtesy of Morgue File
Email Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Puppy image courtesy of my Katie - who is now a 90# lap dog.

close

Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 05/13/2018 05:00 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
Real Estate Rookie
Almost Anything Goes
EXPRESS WITH WORDS AT ACTIVERAIN
Blogs Happen...
Tags:
real estate farming
real estate prospecting
real estate self promotion

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
245,830
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Both strategies are essential. Building that important list is the key. Segment that list and know your avatar of each person.

May 11, 2018 06:39 AM #19
Rainmaker
2,258,101
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I can see myself ages ago with two mules traveling along the areas prospecting Real Estate clients or more currently traveling around with my cell & laptop. One thing is for sure an agent should be available and approachable

May 11, 2018 07:09 AM #20
Rainmaker
926,052
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

I have so much from clients recently about emails becoming a big issue. So much delivered so little read. Text messaging is taking over. As for direct mail, I have always said put whatever you are sending in an envelope, it's going to get inside the house and chances are will be read. Postcards just get dumped.

May 11, 2018 08:39 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573 - Yes, they grow potatoes in southern Idaho. Unfortunately, I have no success with them in my N. Idaho garden. The underground critters eat them!

Dorie Dillard - Yes, I think they go together. If all you do is prospect, you'll be forever searching for new nuggets of gold. Combine it with farming and the crop will keep growing.

May 11, 2018 09:17 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Marney Kirk - I think most of us use the terms interchangeably, even though they're different.

James Grant - Yes, education is a way of nurturing our whole lives.

John Wiley - a focused approach is always easier, yet not always easy to implement. If that makes sense.

 

May 11, 2018 09:20 AM #23
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! - Consistency is always a vital ingredient.

Ron Aguilar - Yes, segmenting the list is all important. You don't want to send a first time buyer information on downsizing!

 

May 11, 2018 09:23 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Richie Alan Naggar - Thanks for that "mind photo." I'm now seeing you with the mules... Instead of picks hanging on their packs, they've got your laptop and perhaps a printer and some real estate forms. The phone, of course, is clipped to your belt.

 

May 11, 2018 09:25 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Corinne Guest, Managing Broker - I'm really sorry that texts have taken over communication. I fear that our younger generations will completely forget that spelling and grammar are important.

Meanwhile... your take on envelopes vs. postcards is intereresting. I often hear the opposite, as in: "They at least glance at the postcard before it hits the trash."

Personally, I think a mix of the two is a good idea.

May 11, 2018 09:27 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,158,482
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

These are good tips, and a great explanation of the difference between farming and prospecting.

May 11, 2018 09:36 AM #27
Ambassador
3,267,365
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Marte- love your explanation!  Both can take time. And there's no reason why an agent can't do both as long as they know the difference. Farming can take time and consistency but can prove to be worth several bountiful harvests. 

May 11, 2018 10:56 AM #28
Rainer
436,260
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I've learned that using postcards and text to get attention then redirects to your website and ultimately conversion works best, yet, it's all about being persistent and consistent to achieve success regardless of the campaign, doesn't it?

May 11, 2018 11:18 AM #29
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Thanks Kat Palmiotti - I appreciate you stopping by!

Kathy Streib - Yes, I think an agent needs to do both. One to keep getting new prospects and the other to nurture and hang on to old prospects, past clients, and their sphere.

 

May 11, 2018 12:20 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Kimo Jarrett - Yes, it's all about consistency, and about using your various marketing methods together. Pull everyone to your website, then Wow them!

May 11, 2018 12:21 PM #31
Rainer
45,367
HOMEiZ.COM HOMEiZGROUP
HOMEiZ.COM - Los Angeles, CA
THE REAL ESTATE SOCIAL NETWORK-COMING SOON

A good experienced fisherman knows that patience pays off.

May 11, 2018 04:36 PM #32
Ambassador
3,627,665
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

This is a great explanation on the differences. We all should prospect daily but farming has to be repetitive and valuable.

May 11, 2018 10:04 PM #33
Rainmaker
115,210
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

Great explanation Marte Cliff , even though I knew the difference. Your way of explaining it made me think about the differences even more. I do both but I need to pay more attention to my farms to yield even higher harvests!

May 12, 2018 07:26 AM #34
Rainmaker
435,654
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

The 'get personal' suggestion is important--if a prospective client feels they 'know' you or can identify with similar interests, they are more likely to call you!

May 12, 2018 08:23 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

That's true, HOMEiZ.COM HOMEiZGROUP - fishing is a lot like prospecting.

Debbie Reynolds - Unfortunately, if you let up on either one, you'll pay the price later.

Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson - are you saying you need to apply more fertilizer?

I agree, Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR - that's why I recommend including something personal in agent bios.

May 12, 2018 09:51 PM #36
Rainmaker
47,726
Khash Saghafi
Liberty Home Mortgage Corporation - Cleveland, OH
Mortgage Loan Officer, Cleveland Ohio

Debbie Reynolds had re-blogged this Marte and holy smokes am I thankful that she did, because this is GREAT information.  Thank you for posting!!

May 13, 2018 05:31 AM #37
Rainmaker
1,465,419
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Hi Marte, this is a good explanation of the difference between prospecting and farming.

May 13, 2018 02:37 PM #38
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
1,379,304

Marte Cliff

your real estate writer
Do you have a question about real estate copywriting? Just ask!
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention