Technology has changed the way we do business and prospect for new clients. Does “Farming” still work?

Asked by Jowita, Arlington County, VA Wed Jan 28, 2009

How many times on average does one have to farm before getting a return on investment? I’m farming and farming but nothing, could it be my message?

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Viviana Katz, Agent, Altamonte Springs, FL
Wed Jan 28, 2009
The technological age now drives our marketing ... just like 80% of buyers start searching online, i think that at least half as many sellers experiment with online marketing. I see many established professionals who continue to farm & just as many, like myself, who choose technological & personal networking in lieu of direct mail ~ i do believe that personally addressed mail carries much more weight than a list-propelled label. So when i choose to farm a defined area, i make sure my first piece is hand-written and addressed & that the second is at least 1 of those.
1 vote
Heidi Everett, Agent, Oklahoma City, OK
Thu Jan 29, 2009
Everyone knows that technology is the wave of the future and where we will spend large amounts of our marketing budgets. I do not believe direct mail works as a means to creat steady and sustainable business, however, there are other forms of farming that do work. I have watched many many many sales associates flounder and then quit because they believed if they had a website and marketed on sites like etc. they would have all the business they could ever want. Here is the truth you need all those site, all of them, be every where youcan it makes your sellers happy you will find some buyers that way but do not believe the lie that a technology based business is all you need. While it is true that most buyers and sellers begin thier search for a home or an associate online they go with the associate that makes them feel something. You have to be personable not just knowledgable. Get away from your computer a while and go to community events, knock on doors(following city guidlines), shake hands and introduce yourself.
when people know and like you they will use you and you can ask those people for refferals. I had an associate tell me that was old school but you will notice us old school guys are still working strong and hard. Mix the old and the new and gain longevity.
0 votes
Dp2, , Virginia
Thu Jan 29, 2009
I agree with the previous posters.

I also checked out your profile and website to see what kinds of properties you're marketing. I noticed you've listed only 1 property (a 5/5 for $750K [basically a luxury home]); its DOM/DOMP is 23/241 days respectively. I suspect you already know that the median sales price (MSP) was $320K in December. Similarly, I suspect you also know that roughly 80% of the sales transact within +/- 20% of the MSP (in most markets).

Perhaps, you might want to re-examine your marketing plan.
0 votes
Delaine Camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Wed Jan 28, 2009
Farming via direct mail proven statistically and through my experience is a waste of money. Getting business comes from asking people you know for referals and keeping yourself in front of people you know. Sometimes, they know of someone buying or selling, but don't think to "call you" and really it's not their responsibility to do that. However, it is your job to keep cards in their wallets and to call them often enough so that they pass names to you. I know agents that have farmed for 5 years and have never received one lead out of it. However, they have been complimented on the nice quality of their mailings. Personally, I'd rather see an agent spend money on a good quality headset that is connected to the database on their computer, so that contact list can be run down, automatically dialed, and connections made with people on the end of the phone.

Sending cards on holidays with a business card is appropriate and ask for the referal. I also send a token or two (item of value) 2x a year. That's mostly to say thank you for your business and for whatever referals you give me. It's not get to them to give them to me. We have to remember that people are busy and they don't have a tendancy (or responsibility to us) to pickup the phone and call every time they hear of someone that is buying or selling. So timing is everything and being there on the phone with them, when that happens, is what brings new business. In the meantime, if you have a good relationship with your customers and friends and family they will normally call you when they are ready to buy or sell..I would hope.

Delaine Campbell, REALTOR
Long and Foster Historic Old Town Office
CRS, ABR, e-Pro
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