We’re remodeling our offices at the Gooder Group (fresh paint, desks in new places, VOIP phones, art on the outer walls because we have an open floor plan with no interior walls). Weeding my file cabinet, I came across a favorite marketing quote from Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive (Harvey Mackay, Collins Business, 2005).

Find out “how the big fish got that way and how you can be one too.”

One way the Big Fish got that way is by eating more Small Fish…which for some reason connected in my mind to a marketing technique we are hearing more about these days: hydroponic farming. In a nutshell, hydroponic farming is prospecting that is not connected to the land (geographic farm). In other words, targeting prospects that are not neighbors and not grouped by a common interest such as golf or PTA or profession (demographic farm) and not generated from the blogosphere or Internet (virtual farm or e-farm).

Orphans are a great example of a hydroponic farm.

As you know many REALTORS have left the business – or stopped marketing which leads to the same result – and they have abandoned their past clients and contacts. These “orphans” offer an incredible opportunity today for Rainmakers to become a Big Fish. The secret is to work those old accounts, especially the homeowners who bought prior to 2005. Not only are these owners most likely to have equity (rather than a short sale), but also they represent the simmering pent-up demand of the new move-up market. Just like the first-time buyers who are flocking to distressed properties, these soon-to-be sellers are ripe for an “orphan” marketing campaign.

Get every former colleague’s database orphans or research old case files.

You may pay a referral fee or need your broker/manager’s permission. Concentrate on transaction dates between 5-10 years ago. (Rainmakers call this is a “goldilocks” list…not too old, not too young, just right.) Build an address list of all former properties who were clients (sellers or buyers) of agents no longer with the company or in the business and where the orphan has not been reassigned to another active agent.

Did you see the most recent census figures?

In 2008, 65% of households moved within the same county and 18% of households moved to a different county within the same state. (Rainmakers call this “localism.”) That means orphans watch the local market and are waiting to sell and buy. Work these local orphans with direct mail, phone, visits, invitations, client events (“House Party” that celebrates their properties and how to maximize property value in today’s market), just listed/just sold postcards, newsletters, etc. Celebrate them in your blogs. Exhibit your local market knowledge.

Focus on the fact that the next transaction of all your hydroponic orphans is to sell their house. Who sold their house last time (listed or found buyer) but your colleague or your company! To re-activate the account all Rainmakers do is simply put their name on the sellers “must call list.” Which brings me to another favorite Harvey Mackay quote: “If you’re standing second in line in enough lines, sooner or later you’ll move up to #1.”

You’ll be harvesting more listings like the Big Fish in no time.

Dan Richard

Emeritus at Gooder Group
Dan is the Founder of the Gooder Group and the author of a series of successful Real Estate books: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Gooder-Richard/e/B000APPTQK/.

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