The Pros and Cons of Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Letters

Today we find a great change in communications away from traditional direct mail to that of the internet and the mobile telephone.  The question then arises as to whether letters and particularly prospecting letters have a role to play in marketing and real estate.

Here are some facts worth thinking about as part of this question:

  1. There is a ‘cost versus value’ equation to consider.  It costs more to send a letter today than ever before.  If you are going to send out letters it is wise to track the results that you get.
  2. There is a time component to sending a letter.  It can take a few days to a week or more for the letter to reach its destination.  Will that time frame suit your marketing efforts?
  3. There is no point sending a letter if you cannot or will not follow it up.  If you are going to spend the money on postage, then a follow-up call is required to check its impact on the person you have sent the letter to.
  4. Prospecting letters are part of a larger marketing effort; they are not the only part, and they do have a valuable role to play in spreading the required message to targeted people.
  5.  If you are going to send a letter to selected people in your database, have a specific reason for doing so.  Keep the letter short and direct.  If possible use ‘dot points’ to help the reader understand what the key issues are.
  6. As a general rule keep the attachments and enclosures in your letter to a minimum.  Always enclose your business card with every letter.
  7. The letter process is more personal than an email or brochure.   Sign your letters personally and do so in blue ink so the reader can see that the letter is genuine.
  8. Keep your letter formats to a few paragraphs and a single A4 page of letterhead.
  9. To help strengthen and target the message in your letter, get a few books on writing advertising and marketing copy.  One of the best is ‘Phrases that Sell’ and it is readily available on the internet or in any good bookstore.  A draft letter can be strengthened with a few good ‘phrases’ that match the property, the market, or the message.

So let’s go back to the initial question.  Are prospecting letters valuable to the real estate process?  The basic answer is ‘yes’, providing you take the steps to target the reader and clearly send the right message.

The letter process can help you ‘open the door’ to a telephone call or a meeting that you need with a particular person; that is why all letters should be followed up.   Don’t spend money on postage unless you are prepared to make the follow-up telephone calls.

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