Prospecting for Real Estate Clients is Not a Short-term Activity

by Marte Cliff - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 688 Share This!

Have you ever mailed a prospecting letter to 100 or even 500 homeowners in your neighborhood, waited for the return, and… nothing.

What happened?

"Normal" happened. Your prospecting letter was your introduction to these homeowners, and merely the first step in building a relationship. Most will need to hear from you several more times before they feel that they know you.

In fact, self-promotion expert Ilise Benum says that when prospecting, you should expect to contact a prospective client 5 to 9 times before they'll take action. These contacts can be by mail, by email, or by phone.

Secondly, unless you have a targeted list of homeowners who are ready to list, many of your cards or letters reached people who don't need your services - yet. But that's not a reason to drop them from your list.

Statistics show that Americans move, on average, every 5 to 7 years. Since you and I both know people who are still living in the home where they grew up, that means some people move a lot more often than every 5 to 7 years.

When you send well-written marketing materials you begin to build a relationship with people who will need you in the future. So unless you're planning a short-term career, you're wise to develop long-term contacts.

I believe strongly in sending a newsletter at least every quarter, if not monthly. A newsletter offers people something - rather than merely asking for their business. If you include articles of interest to the community, people are apt to discuss them with friends and family - and tell them where they got the information.

You can also send free reports that homeowners can use to solve a problem. Maybe prepare a list of all the heating contractors in the area and remind them to have their furnace checked before winter. Maybe give tips for safely hanging Christmas lights. Maybe cleaning, or yard care, or gardening tips. Anything you can send that is of value will be kept for future reference… with your name and your photo there to remind them where they got it.

You might end up in the "junk drawer" with a lot of other things, but that's good too! Every time they dig through that drawer hunting for a screwdriver or a paper clip, they'll see you and be reminded. And since they'll be familiar with your face, when they see you in person (like in the grocery store or the post office) they'll be pleased to recognize you. They may even stop you to ask a question or make a comment on the real estate market. This is your chance to show how warm and wonderful you are in person!

I actually had one person in a grocery store holler at me: "Hey, you're Marte! I recognize you!" It startled me, but resulted in a nice conversation.

Take the time and make the effort to build a relationship with the people in your target market. It won't explode your business overnight, but it will ensure a strong and steady growth. It is another way to raise yourself head and shoulders above your competition and ensure that you become THE agent to call in your target market.

Most other agents will mail once and give up. Or they'll mail twice a year and give up. Or they'll mail a card with just one specific listing and forget to suggest that they have others you might want to see.

Or, worse yet, they'll send a poorly written letter telling how wonderful and professional they are - and forgetting to suggest how that might benefit a buyer or a seller.

If the #1 mistake is failing to prospect, the #2 mistake most marketers make is in focusing on themselves and their business instead of focusing on the prospect and what he or she wants. It's the surest way to see a letter go from their hand to the trash in 2 seconds flat. The #3 mistake is sending letters filled with typos, mis-spellings, and mis-used words. If writing isn't your cup of tea, hire an expert.

Other agents are making silly mistakes and failing to put thought and planning into their real estate marketing efforts. Do the opposite.

Related Tags: real estate marketing, prospecting for clients, communicating with prospects, farming for clients

Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter and former real estate broker who specializes in writing for real estate and related industries.

Marte's e-book, Getting Clients, is a step by step guide to creating a marketing niche and developing it into a satisfying career. While written for real estate, the principles will work just as well for other sales careers. Learn more about Getting Clients at

Her second e-book, The Land Buyer's Survival Guide, is a resource for both land buyers and beginning real estate sales people - offering a guide to the questions that must be answered before it's safe to close on a land purchase. Learn more about the Guide at

Marte offers a weekly ezine for real estate professionals and others with an interest in marketing. Subscribe by sending a blank e-mail to and you'll immediately receive a copy of her real estate ad writing report.

Visit her at or contact her at:

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