Learn the real estate farming ideas that Marc and Amber Olson have implemented to become the highest producing real estate team in their county by treating their city as their geographic farming area.
Let’s talk about real estate farming ideas for an entire city. I had the opportunity to talk to two of the best in the business – Icenhower Coaching and Consulting clients, Marc and Amber Olson. They have been our coaching clients for several years, and they are in Nevada, Iowa. Last year they sold 161 homes – ranking them as the number one team in their MLS, city, county … you name it. A lot of that is because of how much they do for the community. That’s what a good real estate farmer does – they add value to their community, and they come from contribution.
Real Estate Farming Ideas to Farm an Entire City
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, Marc and Amber Olson have the unique opportunity to step up as leaders of their community. They started out 2020 at the top of their game, higher numbers than ever. “2019 was by far the best year we’ve ever experienced,” Marc noted. “Before COVID-19 hit, 2020 was off to a great start. And even with everything going on now, we’re still putting quite a few deals together. It’s been a great start to the year real estate wise.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, as real estate agents, we’re much more limited on what we can do. Home buyers and sellers are a lot less active. We are all staying in our houses, and the community is facing a huge disruption. Families are at home together 24/7, which has been challenging for everyone.
This challenging time has provided an opportunity for those who are up to the task. Our communities need leadership and support. That’s what Marc and Amber Olson have done, and it’s what you can do, too.
Reach out to your community
1. Make it positive. More than ever, people need to be encouraged and supported. Your SOI needs you to help them feel less helpless. In reaching out to your community, be positive and uplifting. Put a smile on their faces.
2. Use social media. People are at home right now and more than ever, people are on social media. Even those who did not get on before are using it to feel connected to others during this time of isolation. You must get comfortable with using social media right now!
3. Use video. Some advice I heard at a conference really stuck with me. “If you don’t like the way that you look on video, or if you don’t like the way that you sound on video, get over it. Because that’s really how you look and sound.” Work on getting comfortable. And if you can’t get comfortable, you need to just accept it and be okay with being uncomfortable.
4. Provide useful information. Be a resource to your community. Think about ways that you can help. Focus on taking care of your people. A lot of these people you are reaching out to on social media are in your sphere of influence. Your SOI is where 80% of your business will come from throughout your career. Be there for these folks during this time.
5. Come from contribution. This is not the time for a sales pitch. As you provide helpful resources to your SOI via social media, do so with a giving spirit. You are doing your part as a leader of the community to help those that need you. Come from a place of desiring to contribute to your community.
Real estate farming ideas without face-to-face contact
A lot of these activities that you are doing to reach out to your community are designed to be run over social media. All of a sudden, farming your community/city/town needs to be done without face-to-face contact. You must be able to do it over social media. The good news is that social media makes these efforts more cost effective and it gets the word out in a hurry.
Generate original and engaging real estate farming ideas
Marc and Amber shared a few ideas that they have taken their real estate farming to the next level. Here are a few of their ideas that you can use to come from contribution in your community.
Delivery of essential goods
Partner with a local store and offer to pick up any necessities for them and deliver to their doorstep. You can set it up so that they can place a call-in order to the store, and your team can pick up their order and deliver for them. This is especially helpful for high-risk groups like the elderly, who may not want to venture out to still get what they need.
You can promote this easily on social media by posting quick videos about what you are doing. You promote it on your social media channels and your SOI sees you doing this service. Include other people too! In this case, involve the store employees that help you. Get them in the video, too. This is great because it helps put a face to these local establishments in the community as well. Your people might see a grocery store worker they know personally, and that makes the connection even stronger.
Beyond helping the specific people who need essential goods delivered, you’re also helping the local business. You are potentially reaching more people now because you are also engaging an audience that loves the local store. Now these people may become big fans of your real estate team, too.
Support local restaurants and small businesses
Have a weekly giveaway with gift cards to support local restaurants and small businesses. This is a great real estate farming idea that you can do completely over social media. Marc and Amber Olson designed their giveaway so that every Thursday, they make a Facebook post about their “COVID-19 Giveaway.” They give away a $19 gift card to support a local restaurant or small business. Each week, the Olsons’ team posts the name of a local business. To enter the contest, community members must like their Facebook page and comment on what they enjoy the most about that place of business.
Not only will you get a lot of entries, you will get to see all the comments that people make about the local business. Some comments will be very heartfelt and you will find that people will share personal, heart-warming memories. This is great not only for community morale, but also for the small business. It’s free advertising for them, and they will be so grateful, especially during this time.
Because of social distancing practices, many have missed birthday celebrations. A birthday parade is a cheap and easy way to support and celebrate community members and make them feel special in a time when they might be feeling sad and isolated.
Plan to meet at a certain place and then caravan by the house. This can be planned via social media for a large effort or be done on a more personal, small-scale basis. Some community fire departments are participating in these, as well. The fire department can send their fire engines out if you can call ahead of time before the birthday and set up a time. The fire engines drive past the house and light up their lights and ring the sirens. You can plan your parade to come in behind the fire trucks – that’s quite an entrance! You can also put up a sign in the person’s yard – “Happy Birthday NAME” or “It’s my birthday today!”
Virtual Easter egg hunt
This is a great seasonal real estate farming idea, and it can be edited to be used throughout the year. For the Easter egg hunt, a week or so before Easter, ask the community to create a homemade Easter egg. You can provide them with downloadable templates, or print them off yourself and drop them off contact-free. Then, instruct them to hang up their Easter egg in front of their house.
Set a date to have them done and displayed by – in this case, the day before Easter. Then, at that time, the hunt begins! Post to your community via social media to engage in a virtual Easter Egg Hunt. Instruct them to walk around their neighborhood and count how many Easter eggs they could find. The winner is the person who counts the most eggs. It is a fun way to pull the community together and give the kids something fun to do.
Easter bunny on parade
Marc and Amber Olson took celebrating Easter a step further, and you can apply this parade idea to any holiday. They hired an Easter bunny to ride on a fire truck and ride around town on Easter. By posting the “Easter bunny’s route” to Facebook, they alerted their community to when they could step outside their door and wave to the holiday figure from the comfort of their home. You can even post to social media as you make your rounds through the neighborhoods… a sort of “Easter bunny tracker” so people know when you are getting close!
This is more than just real estate farming – ideas like this provide fun activities and events for your community. And, you’re also building relationships with local volunteer clubs and your local police and fire departments. This is great for relationship building in your community, for now and the future.
Special days to celebrate
You can find any special days to celebrate throughout your community. In the past, that might have meant hand delivering treats to local teachers on National Teacher Day, for example. Now, this might look a little different with social distancing.
The Marc and Amber Olson team took advantage of National Doctor’s Day recently, and it’s something you can easily do. The Olsons organized a group of local kids to do chalk drawings on the sidewalk where the doctors enter the hospital. They wrote encouraging messages and notes of appreciation. It can be so simple!
Through real estate farming ideas like this one, you are able to build up a relationship with local professionals in your community. In this particular example, Marc and Amber built a relationship with the local health professionals. Later, they reached out and asked if the Olsons could get the word out about their need for more elastic bands to make masks. So, they created a post on their Facebook page and asked for donations, and it was amazing how fast those donations came in though.
Interactions like this will open the door for you to create these relationships that will last long into the future. This is a great example of how real estate agents really can be pillars in the community, and help with so much more than real estate.
Create a community Facebook group
You may find that a lot of people are active on Facebook right now, and there are a lot of questions circulating. People are looking for information. Is a certain store open? Is this restaurant delivering? What are their hours? And, there are also community members posting information about their own small business, trying to get the word out to keep their doors open during this time.
Creating a Facebook group for your community is easy, and it’s a wonderful way to bring community members together and provide one central location to post all of this information and share helpful links and community-related notifications. People can go straight to this Facebook page and find all this information. Local businesses can join, too, and share their business information onto that page.
Real estate farming ideas that will make your community take notice
When you do positive, uplifting things to help your community, people will take notice. News organizations will take notice. Radio stations will take notice. “Nevada real estate team works to keep community going strong” was the response Marc and Amber got from their local news outlet, Nevada Journal.
It’s a good idea to put out a press release whenever you’re doing something in the community. News outlets are looking for positive stories right now. It’s an easy way to help promote your cause for free, and it usually stimulates a greater reach and pushes more members of the community to get involved. And, of course, it builds your SOI and promotes your business by coming from contribution, which is the ultimate goal. You don’t even need to sell yourself or give a sales pitch. Your good work in your community will do all the talking.