Residential real estate farming consists largely of cold calling and can be difficult work. You need to target part of your geographical area and cover homes in that area.
If you call at homes in person, be prepared for a fair amount of rejection. Most people are not sitting in their living room waiting for an agent to arrive and ask them if and when they are going to sell their home.
Telephone contacts are more efficient except rapport may be harder to establish during a telephone call than if you are face-to-face with someone. On the telephone, the main rule is to be relaxed.
I used to make telephone survey interviews for a major consulting firm and most of the time could develop rapport with whomever I was talking in a rather short time. I am not sure I could provide you with the formula for how I did it. I do know that I clearly introduced myself at the start of the call and explained why I was calling. Often at that point, the party broke contact, but that was OK—you do not want to waste the time of someone who does not want to talk with you, and you certainly do not want to waste your own time. If after my introduction the other person was still talking to me, I would try to rephrase the questions that had been supplied to me in my own language, so I was comfortable with how they sounded. People can tell on the telephone if you are reading from a script. You need to be natural. I always had notes but I did not read from them—I used them only to remind me of the key points I wanted to make and the key questions I needed to ask.
Whether in-person or on the telephone, you need a short explanation as to why the person might want to have you represent them. If they demur, then you might try again later but this is not the time for a hard sell. It is too easy for someone who is annoyed to close the door or just hang up.
You can focus your farming efforts by checking the newspapers for wedding announcements, birth announcements, and obituaries. Changes in life often result in changes in homes. Dan Hamilton, a very successful real estate agent, also suggests stopping at garage sales and asking if they are just cleaning house or planning to sell their home. Often people hold garage sales before they move.10
You are hoping to find some prospects who are interested in working with you right now. However, keep in mind that much of this effort is to establish your name and contact information in the minds of potential clients who may contact you at some later time.
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