What’s behind this agency’s successful farming strategy? Relationship building
Belly-to-belly are some of the wisest words ever spoken about real estate marketing strategy, according to broker Claire Bisignano Chesnoff. A master salesperson, broker/owner, and founder of a ten-agent operation based in Staten Island, NY, Chesnoff says one of her most successful strategies for earning new business is farming neighborhoods. Her technique is succinct, safe, and proven.
Dominating much of the Staten Island market, Claire Properties, LLC is now setting its sights on opportunities in Brooklyn. Their farming strategy includes identifying potential neighborhoods and then sending a team of up to three agents to go, as Chesnoff says, “belly to belly” with homeowners.
“Telephone solicitations are no longer effective,” claims Chesnoff. “And marketing pieces, such as postcards, can be valuable, but our greatest reward comes from establishing relationships in neighborhoods, by meeting people on their sidewalks and in their living rooms.”
In this instance, a team of three agents descends upon a potential market area—a neighborhood known for its rich Italian heritage. The area is chosen specifically to take advantage of Santina’s bilingual skills. She is a Realtor®, fluent in Italian, who has built relationships with homeowners and shopkeepers in the area. Yet, each agent, according to Chesnoff, plays a critical role in the pursuit she calls “our newest challenge.”
Santina is accompanied by Raymond, a techie who loves data; and Frank, a people person whose presence also provides a sense of security for both the agents and homeowners.
And their secret weapon? Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®).
Their farming strategy is executed as planned:
Raymond, equipped with the RPR app on his phone, stays at the sidewalk, pulling up data on the home and its owner. Armed with accurate data, he is able to speak intelligently, with a top-to-bottom view, as Chesnoff describes. With RPR, Raymond accesses the home’s estimated value, property facts, and mortgage and tax information, as well as the owner’s contact info. And as the conversation between agents and the homeowner ensues, he can add notes to the property details page.
Meanwhile, Santina and Frank engage the homeowner who, in this case, is outside working on his property. “We’d like to let you know what your home might be worth based on recent sales in the area,” says Santina after a brief introduction.
Frank delivers an RPR Market Activity Report to the homeowner, and asks, “Do you know anyone in the area who is thinking of moving or needing a place to rent? We can help.”
Turns out, he does. “I’ve been trying for a while to find a waterfront property in Staten Island but haven’t had any luck,” said the homeowner. “And I’ve got a house in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn to sell.”
Right there, the team is able to tell their new client what his Bay Ridge home is worth and search for properties in his desired location … by accessing the anytime, anywhere, RPR data platform.
“Of course, we first determine whether the buyer or seller is under contract with another agent,” says Chesnoff. “In this case, he wasn’t, and we were able to list his property as well as represent him during the purchase of his Staten Island home.”
Chesnoff and her agents also rely on referral generation while farming neighborhoods. Many times a homeowner will share what kind of activity is going on in the area, such as a couple divorcing who may need to sell, or an adult child whose mother has passed and she needs to sell the mom’s home.
“It’s really all about courage,” concludes Chesnoff. “Arming yourself with tools like RPR, exuding confidence, and putting yourself out there, is what makes or breaks a great agent.”