It’s a question that every Agent has asked himself, or herself, at some point in his, or her, career.
Is it actually worth the time?
My take is this: there’s no universally right or wrong answer to that question. “It Depends” is the closest to a two-word summary.
Let’s look at some of the factors that may help you decide whether it’s worth your energy to farm, or not.
Are you following a short-term or long-term strategy?
This is probably the most important factor in determining whether you should be farming, or not. Farming is a long-term investment. But lots of Agents–far too many–following short-term strategies.
Fundamentally, “how can I make money in 4 years?” is a question that implies very different answers than “how can I make money in six months?”
And we all know the Marshmellow Experiment: for many, it often makes sense to Play The Long Term Game. But it’s hard, because there are lots of reasons why lots why so many think in the short term. It’s easier, and who wouldn’t mind a quick buck? I wouldn’t! But playing a long-term game is a serious strategic decision that, should you make it, suddenly and powerfully justifies farming.
Why? Because farming pays massive returns–but on the multi-year timescale. It’s a game of patience and focus above much else.
They say that targets need to be exposed to your brand at least 7 times before knowing it. And it’s as true for real estate agents as it is true for any other brand out there. Real estate agents aren’t exempt from the laws of marketing.
(Corollary: learn the laws of marketing!)
Does your strategy focus on brand recognition or not?
A second factor to take into account is whether your strategy revolves around building brand recognition out, or not.
If you want people in your neighborhood–for example–to know your name, farming is a tried-and-true way.
But that’s not the only way. Lots of other strategies work as well–have you tried paid ads, for example? Those sometimes work, sometimes don’t.
But whether they work or not–it’s a different strategy.
Note that this article isn’t about which strategy is right for you–that’s a much deeper conversation, but one that we’ll probably get into, in future articles. Rather, the point here is that this decision needs to be consistent with your strategy.
Are you branding yourself in a way so that you’re memorable to your target market?
A third issue to take into account is that if your messages and your branding is generic, then farming would be largely wasted. You’ll feel and sound just like everyone else–so the efforts will be wasted.
You know when you get six fliers from pizzerias in your door, and they all look, feel, and sound identical? Yup, that’s how you will likely come off.
Unless–of course–you prioritize differentiating yourself in a meaningful way. Few do that because it’s hard to do than just sending out a flier.
What all three variables have in common is this: they build up to my argument here, which is that you should Always Be Strategic. Forget the ABCs (the alphabet or Always Be Closing) but instead ABS, Always Be Strategic. (It’s useful that could also mean “Always Be Selling”–also great advice for Agents!).
A bad strategy is 100x better than no strategy. So define your strategy and run with it.
Now, you must be wondering, why is a bad strategy better than now strategy? The answer was best said in the words of the ancient Roman Stoics, paraphrased because I’ve long forgotten my Latin:
If you don’t know which port you want your ship to sail to… then the wind will never be blowing in the right direction.
In other words, to go anywhere, and to let the universe help you get there, the first step is to decide where you want to go, and how you want to get there. Your strategy towards your objectives, in more prosaic business language. Not as fun as Latin poetry but easier to remember!