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Want to get a jump on the competition before the new year? Start planning now for the goals you want to accomplish and exactly how you’re going to make that happen.

The two paths to hitting goals involve prospecting (now business) and farming (future business). Prospecting is a must-do, not a should-do—especially for newer agents who don’t have marketing budgets. Picking up the phone and talking to FSBOs, expireds and your sphere of influence with the right training, dialogue and mindset (service, not selling) is a no-cost way to land listing appointments and referrals without busting the bank.

Farming is also a powerful tool to drive listing leads, but it takes time. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), it takes—on average—five or six “touches” for someone to associate your name with your business and begin to establish the comfort level needed to say, “Hey, I want to do business with that person.”

That’s where consistency comes in. That one-and-done stuff isn’t going to cut it. If you’re taking the DMA’s recommendation, that means it’ll take at least six months in order to create traction.

Bottom line, farming is a numbers game—the bigger the farm, the more likely you are to get business. Many agents start out with 100-250 people in their farm, because that number is manageable for them financially. It’s also manageable in terms of follow-up. More experienced agents can have farms of 1,000 or more because they have the budget and the team to support it.

Just getting started or restarted? Consider these three factors when choosing your farm area:

  1. Is it a home price range that makes sense for your goals? The amount of work and time to build top-of-mind awareness is the same whether you’re working $50,000 homes or $250,000-plus homes.
  1. Does it already have another agent with more than a 20 percent marketshare? That’s just swimming upstream. If another agent has already established marketshare, choose an area with less agent presence to get results faster.
  1. Is it a number you can comfortably afford to reach out to for at least six months? What that usually looks like for top agents is a combination of letters, flyers, postcards, pop-bys and follow-up calls.

Next, try Facebook farming or actively participating on the Facebook page of your farm area. Become a resource for people by answering recommendations, offering helpful information or even asking what you can do for someone who has lost a pet. Be present in the group, with a focus on service rather than sales, and you’ll soon become a trusted connection people turn to. A good rule is for every 10 service-related posts, you can share a real estate offering, such as a Neighborhood Market Report or MLS stat.

Be patient and plant those “seeds” for future clients consistently, and you’ll reap the rewards in time. If you’re interested, I’m happy to share my free Farming Field Guide for Today’s REALTORS®, along with my recent webinar on demand featuring the dos and don’ts of successful real estate farming. Find both here.

Darryl Davis has trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals globally, is a best-selling author for McGraw-Hill, and his book “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate” is Amazon’s most-sold book to real estate agents. His training and marketing system, The Power Program®, helps agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, please visit

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