Rule #1 in Writing Real Estate Prospecting Letters

Have you heard that there’s a rule #1 in writing real estate prospecting letters? There is, and it is this:

Never, ever, ever begin a prospecting letter with the words “I” or “We.”

The same rule, by the way, holds true for any type of business correspondence.

Why? Because using those words is a sure way to get your letter sent straight to the trash basket or your email sent to the trash file.

Your prospects don’t CARE about who you are, what you want, what you think, or what you know. They care about what THEY want. So – when youprospecting letters rule #1 - no I-itis begin a correspondence with things like “I want you to know,” or “I want to talk with you about…” their first reaction will be “I don’t care.”

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever use those words in your correspondence and it doesn’t mean you can’t say “I think” when commenting on a blog post. It simply means you must use them later on – after you’ve demonstrated that you’re interested in your reader and what he or she wants, needs, thinks, or knows.

Then you can use I and we as you explain how you’re going to help them solve a problem, achieve a goal, etc.

Another rule says that you must use a form of “you” three times as often as you use a form of “I.” So go ahead, count them. If you find that you’ve got the balance wrong, re-write. There’s almost always a way to turn a sentence upside down and begin with the reader rather than the writer.

About those blog post comments: “I” is appropriate here, because the person who wrote the blog post wants you to respond and give your thoughts.

How can you begin with the reader? Here are a few examples:

  • Did you know that…
  • You already know that…
  • Are you thinking of (downsizing, selling your home, moving from an apartment into a home you own, purchasing a vacation home)
  • Is it time for YOU to make a move?
  • If you’ve been thinking of…
  • Are you curious about…
  • Are you still using that vacation home?
  • Are you tired of being a landlord?
  • Are warmer climates calling to you?
  • If your current home is becoming cramped…

Writing to real estate prospects. How much is enough – or too much?

This question comes to me with regularity, and while I’d love to answer with a hard and fast rule, there isn’t one.
There’s one marketer who emails me at least once a day – sometimes 2 or 3 times. I think that’s too much!
On the other hand, there’s at least one who writes daily and it’s fine, because what they send is interesting and often useful.
How often is “just right” depends upon your target audience.
If you’re writing to your geographic area or a niche market such as absentee owners, every 3 or 4 weeks is probably fine – although you should send a “just listed,” “under contract,” and “just sold” card every time you have such news.When should you be in their mailbox?
If you’re sending one of my “I have a buyer” sets and your buyer is getting anxious, it might be good to write every couple of days.
Past clients and those in your sphere of influence should hear from you monthly. If you can’t manage that, at least write them quarterly at a bare minimum.
If you’re writing to people who have received a notice of default and need to get busy making a decision, then you need to contact them more often. I’d say every 2 to 4 days for the first two weeks, then switch to every 5 or 6 days.
What if you’re courting a FSBO or the owner of an expired listing? My advice would be to contact them twice a week for 2 or 3 weeks, then switch to once a week.
How about buyers? If they opted in on your website to get information, they may be getting ready to find a home. First, contact them immediately – new studies show that calling within 5 minutes yields the best results. If you can’t do that because you’re busy with other clients, call just as soon as possible.
After that, write them or call them twice a week.
 
So the answer is: Think about the people and their situation. Are they on the verge of choosing an agent, or do you simply need to make sure they don’t forget about you? The more urgent their need, the more often you should be in touch.
Remember: “Contact” doesn’t necessarily mean “send a letter.”
If you have a phone number, give them a call once in a while. If they’re in your territory, stop in now and then. If you have both an email and a postal address for them, switch back and forth between methods of contact.
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If You Want to Keep Selling Homes Through the Holidays…

The Holiday Listing Letters

Are you fed up with experiencing a “slow market” in November and December?

 christmasgifts

Does your real estate practice experience holiday doldrums because people put off listing?

Does that translate into too few closings in January in February?

Give your listing prospects 5 good reasons to list now. The holiday listing letter set consists of 5 letters, each offering another reason why now is a good time to act. Send them to listing prospects you’ve already met, or prospects who are already hearing from you. You could also post them on your blog, or include their information in your newsletter.

  • #1 points out the fact that buyers who are looking during the holidays are serious. Otherwise, they’d be spending their time in other pursuits.
  • #2 reminds people that seldom are their homes more beautiful and “homey” than when spruced up for the holidays.
  • #3 explains that there is less competition, because some sellers elect to go off the market at this time of year.
  • #4 States the importance of listing with an agent who will actually be working. Sales are lost when buyers can’t get appointments to see homes because the listing agent is taking time off.
  • #5 says “Wouldn’t a signed-around purchase agreement be a wonderful gift?”

Short and to the point, they’ll encourage serious sellers to list now – and to call you, rather than some competitor who may or may not actually be working in December. OK, so what do they cost? Because notice of this page is only being sent to agents who are already using my prospecting letters, and since they’re only useful for about 2 months out of the year, they’re yours for a very special price.  (They’re also available on my other site, but without the discount.)

As my thank you for using my letters, these 5 letters are yours for only $7.50.

Buy Now

So get yours today; personalize them; send them; and get your listings on the market while those holiday buyers are searching.

Professionally Written Real Estate Letters Keep You “Employed”

Professionally written Real Estate Letters, set up to be delivered on autopilot, will solve the problem of a “roller coaster” income and prevent those periods of unemployment.

Writing your own letters is a good idea – but only if you have:

  • Plenty of time to write, re-write, edit, and proofread each letter.
  • Knowledge of the psychology of marketing.
  • Good grammar, spelling, and word usage skills.

Your franchise or your template website may offer you letters. Unfortunately, many of those letters were written by someone with no knowledge of real estate and no training in the psychology of marketing. Thus, their approach is both backward and ineffective.

Our Real Estate Letters are written by real estate copywriter Marte Cliff – who not only knows marketing, but knows real estate as well. She left a successful 19 year career in real estate sales when she turned to writing full time. Now she writes custom copy for successful agents across the U.S. and in several other countries.

The Real Estate Letters began as a small project – with the two initial sets written to help out an agent who needed to prospect but didn’t have the funds available for custom letters.

Now they’re used not just by agents on a limited budget – but by agents who don’t like to write, don’t write well, and/or who know their time would be better spent meeting face to face with clients and following up on leads generated by their letters.

The Real Estate Letters save you time, save you money, present you as a professional, and keep you in touch with those all important people – your prospects.

Many use them in email auto responders – as follow-up pieces to buyers or sellers who have opted in to receive information. Others use them in direct mail, and some even post them on their blogs.

The collection includes letters for a variety of purposes, so browse the tabs to see the variety available to save you time and money.

Do Your Marketing Pieces Tell this “Lazy Lie?”

You can’t be all things to all people.

You know it and your clients know it, so if your marketing claims you can, what does Choose good marketing over badit say about you?

What the heck am I talking about?

I’m talking about the mistake I see both online and in print ads: The habit of writing “Call on me for all your real estate needs.”

Both you and your prospects know that you cannot fulfill everyone’s real estate “needs” any more than I could provide good copy for every business in the universe. Some areas of real estate require specialized knowledge, as do many areas of marketing.

Since it’s unlikely that any one agent will possess specialized knowledge in every area of real estate, to say that you can fulfill all of anyone’s “needs” is simply a “lazy lie.”

Telling this lie is a way to avoid taking the time to reveal what you actually do.

So don’t do it. Instead, get specific. Focus in on the segment of real estate that you do know, and market yourself in that segment. You can do it even if you haven’t developed a specific niche. (Which you should do.)

For instance: If you sell homes, but not specific homes, you could say “Your guide to homes in …” and name your City or general territory.

At least then you wouldn’t be claiming to handle commercial development properties, multi-family properties, farmland, leasing, or any other specialty for which you don’t have expertise.

Think about what you offer, then take the time to write ad copy promoting your true services.

Don’t tell a lazy lie by claiming to be able to handle all of anyone’s real estate “needs.”

<em>Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</em>

3 Ways to Make Your Real Estate Prospecting Letters Stand Out in the Mailbox

make your real estate letters stand out

Use an unusual sized mailer.

Print your message on an odd-sized postcard. If  you prefer to use envelopes, mail it in something other than a #10 business envelope. Greeting-card size usually evokes curiosity, especially if you’ve hand-written the address.

You might also try an 8 ½ X 11 mailer to look somewhat “official.”

Use a teaser.

Offer a hint of what’s inside on the outside of the envelope.

This won’t work if your prospecting letter is of the “Here I am, I’m wonderful, hire me” variety. But hopefully you would never do that. You’re sending good, useful information.  So give a hint of that “good stuff” they’re going to find inside.

Maybe it’s a market report. You could say “What are homes like yours selling for this month? Get the full report inside.”

If it’s a report you’re sending to expireds on “Why it didn’t sell,” you could say: “Inside – the 3 primary reasons why homes expire off the market unsold.”

If it’s going to FSBO’s you might say “Things to consider when selling on your own.” Then tell them about some of the pitfalls to watch out for.

Maybe you’re writing to residents of an apartment complex. Your teaser could say “Purchasing a home without a buyer’s agent could cost you thousands. Look inside for the reason why.”

Go lumpy.

message in a bottle

Who could resist opening this mailer?

Few people can resist opening an envelope if it’s lumpy. You just never know what you might find inside, and we humans are almost as curious as cats.

A few years ago I wrote a promotion for a new agent who was establishing a territory in her own neighborhood. Her mailing contained a quarter, along with the message: “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.” (In case you don’t remember, that’s a line from a Country-Western song that was popular at the time.)

Of course, the promotion went on to talk about her love for the neighborhood and that SHE was the one who cared.

Your lumpy object could be all sorts of things – pens, notepads, a packet of garden seeds, or even a wooden “round tuit.”

Use your imagination and match “the lump” to the neighborhood, the clients, or the season.

Mailbox graphic courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FSBO Sellers Don’t know what they don’t know…

Fifty years ago selling your own home or property without an agent might have made sense. In those days we weren’t bogged down with rules and regulations like we are today.

In addition, most people went along with the idea that “What you see is what you get” and “buyer beware.” You weren’t apt to be sued if you failed to disclose that the roof leaked last year.

The way people search for homes has changed, too. Instead of driving around the neighborhood and checking the classified ads in the newspaper, 90% of potential buyers go on line to search. And individual homeowners can’t begin to place their homes in the number of places that a well-connected agent can.

And then there’s that all-important pricing. Homeowners without access to actual sold statistics and with no way to accurately compare their homes with the competition can only guess.

But the thing is… most consumers don’t know that that the advertised price of the home next door wasn’t necessarily the selling price. They don’t know that their real estate agent is going to protect them from liability – or that their agent is working hard behind the scenes to put their home in front of every possibly buyer prospect.

Our FSBO letters let them know – gently. For instance, they offer ways that the homeowner can more accurately determine the right price for their home (it’s a lot of work). They talk about the forms they need to find (perhaps at a stationers?) and give warnings about failure to disclose. They also talk about the need to be careful when speaking with buyers and precautions they should take to keep themselves, their families, and their belongings safe.

In other words, they give a lot of good advice, while planting the thought that selling without an agent is a huge undertaking.

Learn more about the For Sale by Owner Letters that will add listings to your portfolio right here.

Farming Your Geographic Territory

Farming is just a bit different from prospecting.

When you prospect, you’re searching for those gems that you can cash in on right now. In other words, someone who wants to list and sell today – not next year.

When you farm, you do what farmers do. You plant the seeds, then nurture them while your “crop” grows to maturity.

The letters you write, the calls you make, the advice you give – all are the sunshine, water, and fertilizer that make your crops grow. And then, year after year, as you establish yourself as your territory’s most knowledgeable, trusted agent, more of those homes will become your listings.

So get the Geographic Prospecting Letters and use them… but don’t stop there.

(Get the letters here: Buy Now)

Instead, make yourself visible…

  • Stop by now and then to say hello and offer to answer questions.
  • Attend their yard sales.
  • Cheer for their team at sports events at their schools.
  • Have coffee at the neighborhood shop.
  • Attend HOA and other community meetings.
  • When you get a listing, send a just listed card, then invite the neighbors to the open house.
  • When you have a closing, send them a card.


In other words, make yourself a recognized name and face in the community.

Here Today – Gone in January: The Holiday Listing Letters

Want to add a sale or two to December?

Or maybe have a jump start on 2014 with new listings other agents didn’t think to pursue because “Nobody lists during the holidays?”XmasOrnament

Get the Holiday Listing Letters and start using them today.

This set of 5 letters explain why being on the market through the holidays is a very good idea – as long as you have an agent who is working through the holidays. Not everyone does, so if you do, that alone sets you apart from the crowd.

Because these letters are for such limited use, they’re priced accordingly: Only $15 for the set of 5.

Can you write a good letter in $3 worth of your time? If not, click here to learn more and order your letters.

The Danger of Waiting for Foreclosure

Discouraged homeowners across the U.S. are simply doing nothing, waiting for a notice of foreclosure.

That’s a sad situation, because the damage to their financial futures will be great. But it could mean more than the loss of credit, the loss of a job that requires security clearance, and the inability to purchase cell phone service.

avoid foreclosure, avoid a tax debtIf the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expires on schedule on December 31, 2013, it could mean a tax headache that few are prepared to face.

The Act expired on December 31, 2012, but on January 1, 2013 was extended for one more year. Lawmakers could extend it again, but there is no guarantee. If they do not, homeowners who are foreclosed upon or who enter into a short sale after this year could owe income tax on all that “forgiven” debt.

The only escape (under today’s tax laws) is to prove that they were insolvent at the time. That the law will remain the same is also no guarantee.

The safest course of action is to do a short sale – and to get it closed before December 31. Waiting for the bank to foreclose might save the homeowner money in the short run – but could prove disastrous in the long run.

Use our Short Sale Real Estate Prospecting Letters to help homeowners avoid foreclosure – and get on with living.