This is the first episode in our new two-part series covering how to successfully convert a set of neighborhoods into a vibrant collective of owners branded to a dedicated agent through an ongoing and diligent FARMing campaign.

Choose your brand

In the real estate profession, image is everything. How potential clients see you determines whether or not they will want to hire you – and if they will remember you and your office when their need for a real estate service arises.

In marketing yourself and your agents, set yourself apart from competitors in your area, without becoming so specific that you cut out a large segment of the market. For instance, branding yourself as simply “the short sale expert” is great for a few potential clients, but not for most.

One direct way to do this is to brand yourself as the neighborhood expert. This works for buyers and sellers of all home types in the neighborhood, and is easily customizable for each neighborhood you may market to, called your FARM.

Be truthful when choosing your brand. If you’ve never worked with seniors before, don’t tout yourself as a specialist in senior living.

Likewise, if your marketing materials are to include a headshot, don’t use a picture taken twenty years ago. If you choose to include your picture, have a professional photo taken every two or three years. A current picture avoids awkwardness or confusion when a client finally meets you.

FARMing: cultivating new leads then harvesting


is a business event undertaken to convert a set of neighborhoods into a vibrant collective of owners, branded to turn to the dedicated agent. This creation of yourself as the “go to agent” can be fully accomplished within two years through dedicated and consistent FARMing.

Step 1: Find a mentor

Tag along (or team up) with an experienced agent who is a long-time FARMer. Observe the agent’s strategies and scripts. Ask questions. Likely, they will be happy to show you the ropes. Since your chosen FARM will not overlap with their area, you will not present direct competition.

Step 2: Choose your FARM

Choose the neighborhood or community you will FARM. The first choice is one you know well already. Acquire a map of the area — city planning is most helpful for this — and decide on boundaries and routes.

Create a FARMing goal based on:

  • how many doors you can realistically knock on per day; and
  • how many deals you need to make in a year to meet your financial goals. [See RPI Form 504]

Related article:

Interviewing an Agent

Consider the fee you receive per transaction as it varies based on the area you FARM. If you live in a neighborhood with little annual turnover or low-tier home prices, consider commuting to a more profitable center.

Start by knocking on 50 doors a day — an amount likely to require two hours at most and provide 20 contacts. If you need to close more transactions each year, increase the investment of your time door knocking.

Once familiar with your chosen FARM, catalog the status of individual properties on a spreadsheet (distressed appearance, negative or positive equity, length of ownership, price paid, current value, tenant occupied, etc.). This knowledge enables you to adjust your marketing strategy for each category of home.

Step 3: Prepare a script

An effective script includes:

  • a proper greeting;
  • a brief introduction of yourself and your business;
  • opening questions to the potential client;
  • answers to their common questions; and
  • a closing.

Devote time to practicing your script every day to help you internalize the script and make it your own. Most importantly, listen to the homeowner. Don’t get caught up in the script to the point of reciting or lecturing.

Step 4: Craft your FARM materials

Create a flyer or handout appropriate to your area so homeowners have something by which to remember you. The best flyer brags about your recent sales, but you may also include:

  • sales made within your office;
  • local market activity; or
  • various tips for homeowners.

A creative personal style helps you stand out from the competition. Alternatively, magnetized notepads or schedules that can be affixed to a refrigerator ensure your name stays fresh in their minds.

Each time you make a contact, harvest their email address. Always ask for the names and emails of three people they know who are interested in buying or selling, and not just within the FARM. Set up an email database and send out a drip letter once a month. This email newsletter may contain your recent sales, local market activity or an adapted FARM letter.

Expect to spend $3,000-$6,000 a year on mailings and handouts — one deal from the effort will make up for the investment.

Editor’s note – Download and use any of our free 300+ FARM Letter templates as part of your marketing strategy to reach potential clients in your target community.

Step 5: FARM past clients

Keep in touch with previous clients and people who have befriended you. They are your best source of business. Make a database of past clients and friends with their particular holidays, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Send cards on these special days, and consider sending a bulk email to past clients each time you close a listing. This lets them know you remain successful and willing to help in their next move or acquisition.

Consider (or reconsider) a catchy slogan

While you want clients to remember your name, you certainly don’t want them to roll their eyes when they think of it.

Stay away from cringe-worthy slogans, especially ones that are inappropriate — even if you think it’s funny, it won’t be the case for your whole client base. You will also want to ensure the pictures or graphics you use to depict your business are family-friendly.

However, if you come up with a catchy slogan that’s fun, inoffensive and helps clients remember your name, then go for it. This also works well for agents who don’t yet have a specialty. Instead, they can let potential clients know what other advantage working with them offers.

Choose the characteristic you want to highlight, like honest, friendly or speedy.

However, don’t be generic when branding your business. Fit your chosen brand characteristics to your specific talents and personality. Start by including your name in the slogan: “Betty Brown, the speedy agent.”

Better yet, make it rhyme so your potential clients can easily remember you: “Don’t clown around, sell it fast with Betty Brown.”

You can also use your slogan to highlight your real estate specialty: “The South Bakersfield Expert,” or “Selling South Bakersfield since 1988.”