What’s behind this agency’s successful farming strategy? Relationship building

Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, Staten Island, New York

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 an eight-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—it’s here they work on building relationships with homeowners and shopkeepers in the area. Each agent, according to Chesnoff, plays a critical role in the pursuit she calls “our newest challenge.”

Antoinette is accompanied by Frank, a techie who loves data; and Harold, 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:

Frank, 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, Frank 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, Antoinette and Harold 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 Antoinette after a brief introduction.

Harold 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.”


  • Broker/Owner at Claire Properties

  • 2016 President, Staten Island Board of Realtors

  • Highly trained and experienced REALTOR®

  • Member, Council of Residential Specialists, (CRS)

  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)

  • Past President and Vice President, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Business Guild 1

“Arming yourself with tools like RPR, exuding confidence, and putting yourself out there, is what makes or breaks a great agent.”

Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, Broker/Owner at Claire Properties

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One Comment

  1. Tom Davis November 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Very basic, but obviously brought to greater effectiveness with today’s technology. And the team approach goes a long way toward eliminating anxiety and reluctance on the part of the associates. I am curious and would appreciate more detailed comments from Ms. Chesnoff regarding the “ineffectiveness” of telephone prospecting. As an agent who has made thousands of cold prospecting calls, I agree with her but would be interested in her observations on the dynamics at work. Is it “do not call” rules? Is it the proliferation of cord-cutting and cell phones, or just plain resistance to the perceived intrusion?

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