How to Write an Effective Real Estate Prospecting Letter

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

The impression you make with potential listing clients has always been important - and in this market, it is vital.

When you mail a prospecting letter it may be the only impression your prospect has of you before making a decision. So...Your letters need to convey the message that you are the top agent in your niche and you will make things happen for them.

One way to show them how you can market their homes well is by proving your marketing expertise via marketing yourself well. Think about that for a minute.

Why should a seller trust you to market his or her house if all you can do for yourself is send an "I'm here, hire me" letter?

The letter you send is worth your time and attention. Probably more time and attention than you expect. But it's worth it to write a good, concise letter that shows your prospects exactly what benefits they'll enjoy when they list with you.

The first step, as in ANY business letter, is to focus on your reader. If you're tempted to begin that first sentence with an "I" or a "we" then immediately put down your pen or take your hands from the keyboard and slap them silly!

Once you have your focus straight, you can go on...

One important detail is to switch to gender-neutral pronouns, so that you don't offend anyone by assuming your reader is male or female. Today with so many names that could be either, guessing is not a good idea. People don't think "Oh, they just didn't know." They think "This person has no idea who I am." And then they toss the letter. I speak from experience on that one, because my name is often mistaken for a man's name, and I have a son named Chris - who gets letters addressed to Ms. So avoid saying something like "An informed woman like you knows..." And of course, don't address a letter to Mr., Mrs. or Ms unless you know you're correct.

Next, tighten your message. Use your software's "find" function to ferret out all words you tend to over-use - such as there or just. Most of the time you can delete them with no change in your meaning. So do it.Then re-read and take out any sentences or phrases that are redundant. And for heaven's sake - don't ramble!

As you write, do away with generalities and get specific. If you're a top agent, show them why. If you're a new agent, show them why your attention and enthusiasm will get the job done. Instead of "I sold more homes in October than any other agent," say "During the month of October I closed transactions on 6 homes, while the average number of closings for agents in our MLS was 2.5."

You can do that to emphasize any part of your service. For instance, you can tell them how many photos of their home you'll put on your website or how many various websites will show their ads. These desperate sellers are looking for some concrete indication that you can pull off the miracle that their last agent (or 4 agents) could not. Generalities won't convey that message.

Avoid industry jargon - especially the "designation alphabet." Clients don't know or care about GRI or ABR or any of the others. If you want to mention your designations, talk about why you took the trouble to get them and what that extra education means to them.

PROOFREAD!

Now... you've written a message that conveys why you're the agent to choose. You've tightened it up by getting rid of overused words, The next step is to proofread in search of typos, misspellings, misused words, and sentences that don't flow.

If you can, get a new set of eyes to read your letter. If that won't work, read it aloud to yourself. Then read it backwards. This is important, because when you "know" what a sentence says it's easy to miss errors such as missing or doubled words - or missing letters. (There's a big difference in meaning between know and now.)

Watch for incomplete changes...

Be on the lookout for places where you made incomplete changes. It's easy to delete most, but not all, of a sentence - and end up with a word combination that makes no sense at all.For instance, had I been changing the previous sentence and "missed something" it could read "- and end wind up with a word... "

And check for misused words...

Misused words can also trip you up. Even when you know that you intended to say meet - not meat - sometimes your mind wanders while your fingers are working. And errors like that tell your prospects that you don't pay attention to details. Be sure to watch for errors in usage of words like there, their, and they're; here and hear; your and you're; and our and are.

If you aren't sure which to use (and many brilliant sales people do not), look it up or ask someone who loves words.This is one of those times when not knowing that you don't know can come back and bite you.

Read aloud to check the flow...

Next, check the flow. Flow is important if you want your prospect to read and understand your whole message. Any spot that makes him or her stumble can send your letter to the round file. So read it, and read it again. Read it aloud and read it to someone. If there's a "stumbling spot," re-write it.

Since you know what you mean, your message may make sense to you even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else - so do try to get another person or two to read the letter. Ask them to tell you if anything is unclear. Then watch their faces as they read - if you see a frown or a puzzled look, find out what caused it. Then correct it.

Include a call to action in your letter. Ask for a phone call, an e-mail, or a visit to your website to get a complimentary report. And make it easy for your prospect to take that action. Rather than expecting readers to search for your phone number, say "Call me at 123-4567 today." Direct them to your website or email in a similar fashion.

Finally, once they respond and you have that phone number or email address, follow-up regularly. These folks may have been with an agent who ignored them during the listing period, so show them that you won't ignore them!

You most definitely can prosper in a down market - but it does require more effort!

I love helping Real estate professionals prosper, and guess I also love nagging them about it just a little bit. If you'd benefit from a little nagging, just subscribe to this blog!

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  1. Will Curry 01/28/2010 06:28 PM
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Show All Comments
Rainer
179,085
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Whew.  That was a lot of information to digest at once.  I think reading the letter aloud is very beneficial.  If you stumble over your own words, it becomes easy to see how your intended reader would do the same.

May 14, 2009 11:15 PM #4
Rainer
1,394
Michele Woodward
The Wells Team at Keller Williams Augusta Partners - Evans, GA

Just trying different phone prospecting conversions can make a difference so I know I could use great letters too. Sample please.

May 14, 2009 11:37 PM #5
Rainmaker
827,963
Marc Swartz
Toronto, ON
CPA, CA - Toronto, Durham & York Regions, Ontario

A lot of excellent information for those people who prefer not to buy a pre-written newsletter.

May 14, 2009 11:57 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,345,674
Vickie Nagy
Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate Realty ONE Group BMC Associates | BRE#01363932 - San Ramon, CA
Broker for San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton

Thanks for this well-written post. I plan to use it with training my new partner.

May 14, 2009 11:59 PM #7
Rainmaker
101,809
Kim Darling
Keller Williams Westland Realty - Fresno, CA
GRI, "Your Home Team" Fresno/Clovis Real Estate

Great advice, thank you.  I always like these types of suggestions, I appreciate you sharing them with everyone.  Next letter I write, I will surely use some of those tools.  You are so right about names, don't assume, you know what they say about assuming :)  Have a great day.

 

Cheers,

Kim Darling

May 15, 2009 12:17 AM #8
Anonymous
Anonymous
Tricia Young

Great information.  I too think a sample would benefit most.

May 15, 2009 12:30 PM #9
Rainmaker
823,152
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Thanks all, for your comments. I'm working on a deadline today, but will work on getting a sample for you in the next few days.

I'm curious about which kinds of prospecting letters you write most often.

Do you write to cold prospects because they're in your niche area, or are most of your letters going to warm prospects who have responded to something on your site and offered you their contact information?

Are most of your letters going through the postal mail, or has e-mail taken over?

Most of the people I know recieve NO prospecting letters from Realtors any more.

Give me a hint about what kind of sample letter you'd most like to see...

And have a fantastic week-end!

Marte

May 15, 2009 01:44 PM #10
Ambassador
393,711
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
Realtor - Charlottesville Virginia Homes and Horse Farms

Marte - You are absolutely right that the letter needs to focus on them and the benefits that you will bring to them.  I write expired letters almost daily.

May 15, 2009 10:07 PM #11
Rainer
67,493
Renee Marrs Caperton
Century 21 Marrs & Associates - Corsicana, TX
Realtor - Corsicana Texas Real Estate

Thanks for sharing the information. Nice post.

May 16, 2009 04:37 AM #12
Rainmaker
101,432
Matthew Naumann
Exit Realty Charleston Group - Goose Creek, SC
Goose Creek, SC Real Estate Agent

Marte,

Great Post.  Lots of great information.  I agree a sample would be great.

Thanks again,

Matt Naumann

May 16, 2009 08:10 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,420,566
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Coldwell Banker Stuart & Watts Real Estate - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV Real Estate, Greenbrier County

Marte, great information on how to write a well written prospecting letter. I've bookmarked for a reference. Thanks,

May 16, 2009 03:12 PM #14
Rainmaker
648,431
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

What I'd like to see is an example of a prospecting letter that would definitely grab the attention of an expired listing and one that would drive a FSBO to use a realtor.

May 17, 2009 08:26 AM #15
Rainmaker
913,096
Tony Marriott
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Associate Broker, REALTOR

Lead generation is the fuel for the engine and Prospecting is a key ingredient in Lead Generation!

Dec 04, 2010 11:31 AM #16
Rainmaker
823,152
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Tony & Suzanne - It sure is. And what we all do now will determine our First Quarter 2011 earnings!

Dec 04, 2010 11:55 AM #17
Anonymous
Anonymous
Timu

Marte, 

Great posting, thank you for sharing with us.

Any chance you posted a sample letter. I would like to see one intial intro, and one for a drip campaign. 

 

Timu

http://miamiluxuryhomes.org

 

 

Jun 21, 2011 02:47 AM #18
Rainmaker
823,152
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Timu - Boy, you found an old blog post!

I don't have an introduction letter to show you, because those are all specific to one person, but there are some other samples out there you can view.

Here's letter #3 in my "Default with Equity" set: http://www.copybymarte.com/pro/equity3.pdf

Then, on this page: www.copybymarte.com/pro/freebies.html you'll find an offer of two free letters you're welcome to use.

There's a free first time buyer letter at www.copybymarte.com/pro/freefirsttimebuyerletter.html

and #5 in the Letters to Sellers set is at www.copybymarte.comk/pro/SellerLetterSample5.html

Best success!

Marte

Jun 21, 2011 03:07 AM #19
Rainer
333,112
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo
 

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Mar 03, 2012 06:50 AM #20
Rainmaker
823,152
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Hi Paul,

You certainly found an old post! You're right about Active Rain - it's a great place for all of us to learn from each other.

Mar 03, 2012 08:40 AM #21
Rainmaker
334,299
Inna Ivchenko
Mannis Real Estate Group - Calabasas, CA
Los Angeles / Valley Homes

Marte,

you are so generous with sharing your knowledge and advice.

Thank you so much!

 

 

Jun 25, 2014 01:30 AM #22
Rainmaker
823,152
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Hi Inna - You found an "oldie," which goes to show that what we write on line just lasts and lasts.

Thanks for your support!

Jun 25, 2014 12:52 PM #23
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Rainmaker
823,152

Marte Cliff

your real estate writer
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