Never let people forget
An incredible prospecting program
With Adam Joske, Belle Property
After 23 years with Gary Peer & Associates, one of Victoria’s top agents, Adam Joske now leads Belle Property’s growth into the Victorian real estate market. Working in the leafy suburb of Elsternwick in Melbourne’s inner south-east, Adam has worked with 30 hot leads at any given time and completed around 100 transactions a year.
Adam’s commitment to structure and organisation means that has never let people forget him. He takes us inside his incredible prospecting program. He says, “I believe in what I do and I know it works. Everything I say – I’ve done. It’s not theoretical and it’s not textbook stuff. I’ve beaten the pavement and done it, and some stuff hasn’t worked and I’ve changed it, and I’ve now got to a point where I think I’ve got to down pat to an extent.”
“I like things that just keep giving and giving and giving.”
1. Set up structures, systems and processes now
Wishing that he’d done it earlier, Adam advises taking the time in setting up your farm area. It will take a couple of months to really identify dwellings and people who own them but it will set up your whole career. He says, “Find out everything you can about your area – literally every individual property and person. The good news is that once that’s done, it’s done forever.”
With help, Adam entered ever property in his farm area over a number of months – house by house, from one corner to the opposite corner – and identified the size of the land, whether it was a period home, modern or, whether it was weatherboard or brick. He says, “If I sell a semi-detached home in Elsternwick, I will send a letter saying I’ve just sold a semi-detached home in Elsternwick, but I will only send it to people in Elsternwick who have got semi-detached, solid brick homes – I won’t send it to people who’ve got apartments, I won’t send it to people who’ve got mansions, so it’s very targeted.”
2. Use your database and keep the data clean
Everyone you meet put into the database and try to make the data clean. Adam says, “I have a farm area of 4000, but I’ve got a database of 6000. My database is probably 90% clean, and when I say clean data, if they’re a doctor, address them as Dr, so the envelope says Dr rather than Mr or Mrs. I try and work it to 90% clean data, which I generally do.”
3. Categorise properties and relationships
The key to prospecting is communicating with highly targeted data. Adam says, “One of my biggest regrets is that I wasn’t as targeted as I should have been when I started.” When inputting data, classify clients. Adam explains, “I categorise all my 4000 people as Advocates, Triple As, Double As or Single As. An advocate might be someone I’m particularly close with. Now out of my 4000 people, only 50 of those people are advocates. These are people who I know are proactively pushing me. People who, if I have a function, they’re the first ones who are going to be invited.”
He adds, “My Triple As are people who I’ve had multiple transactions with. I might have a coffee with them or what have you, so they’re people who are pretty close. They are people of influence and have generally more than one transaction, so I’ve sold numerous properties for them. A Double-A is someone who I might have had one transaction with, so I haven’t really got that close relationship with them, and then a Single A is someone who I’ve just entered into the database. There’s no relationship, we wouldn’t recognise each other in the street, but they’re getting my stuff and I hope that one day I’ll do an appraisal or whatever, and they’ll escalate to a Double-A.”
Adam also identifies each client as a hot, warm or cold prospect. He says, “This is not negotiable – this is on every person I enter in. For instance, if in the supermarket, I get speaking to this guy and he says, ‘I’m looking at selling my house tomorrow. Come over’, I’ll go back, I’ll put into my database the categories – I’ll be putting him in as a hot prospect, but in terms of my relationship, he’s only an A.
He’s not a Triple-A client, he’s only an A client because I haven’t built that relationship. I’m not running back all excited, putting him in, oh my god, he’s a Triple-A! He’s not a Triple-A, he’s only an A.”
4. Deliver high impact and targeted marketing
Adam advises marketing to clients by dwelling and his relationship. He says, “Find a way of communicating with your market regularly with relevant, targeted information, not generic information that’s going to bore them, where they will ultimately unsubscribe. If I’m doing a mail-out, I can’t do a mail-out to everyone. I can’t sustain that. It’s a very expensive way of running a business. I might mail an article or mail something out to my Advocates and Triple As, but I might do it via email to the Double As and Single As.”
Some effective hooks and events
a) Movie night before Christmas
Adam says, “I do a movie night before Christmas every year. I will do that by post and I will post out invitations to everyone in zone 14, because I want to target that area, plus I will invite all of my Advocates. If there are leftover tickets because there are 280 seats in the cinema, then I will go to my Triple As. if there are leftover tickets, which there usually aren’t by then, then I would theoretically go to my Double As.”
b) Election day
On an Election Day, Adam lets everyone within his service area know where the nearest polling booth is because a lot of people don’t know. He says, “It’s not very well advertised. A lot of people don’t know that they can vote early and where and what dates and what have you. Again it’s very targeted because I will only send it to people in a specific location. That’s one of the things I get the best feedback from.”
c) Special promotions for target markets
He says, “I did a promotion with City of Glen Eira last spring, where I said to the City of Glen Eira, ‘I’m going to do a search in zone 14 for Elsternwick’s best garden. I’m going to send an application to everyone, where they take some photos of their garden, and what I’d like you to do is in the newsletter, promote them if they’re the winner.’
“They said, ‘No problem’. I gave two Gold Class tickets and a bottle of champagne for the winner. Ninety per cent of the applicants were probably over 70 years old, but it was a really good way to get that market. I did that by post as well, because I realise with a lot of the older people, I’m lacking email addresses. If I do it by post and you’ve got to respond by email, then I’m going to compile a few more addresses.”
Another example of a special campaign was when Adam sold six double-fronted weatherboards in the area in a month last year. Adam says, “We did search the category of Advocates, Triple As, Double As, Single As, everyone in zones 14 and 15 – we wanted to go a little bit wider – but only those who have got a weatherboard home. Then we wrote a letter saying, ‘We need weatherboards. These are the ones that have sold in the last month. We know you’ve got one, not if you’ve got one, we know you’ve got one, if you’d consider selling it at any price, let us know’. We got two calls. Not much, but it’s not about that. I don’t really care if I get the calls or not. It’s not about me getting a listing out of this, it’s about me being in their face again and again and again, with relevant information, so that when they’re going to call, they’re going to think of me and no one else.”
d) Before school starts, and half-yearly and end of the year.
Working in an area with many prestige schools and childcare centres, and lots of school-age children, Adam creates campaigns specifically for the back to school market. With shoe shops that have school shoes, Adam says, ”I try to get help paying for my newsletters, so we’ll say to them, ‘Look, do you want to throw in $1000? We will advertise your shoe shop to every single person in Elsternwick. For you to just do it yourself it’s probably going to be a $5000 exercise, including the letter dropping. I will do it for $1000, and be a part of sponsoring the newsletter’.”
5. Nurture personal relationships
Adam says, “Automated stuff never will replace the phone, and you’ve got to be on the phone, you’ve got to be building relationships and you’ve got to have face-tofaces. I see all this other stuff, and this massive amount of communication with each individual person, as bonus stuff, but it doesn’t replace that relationship building that you’re only going to get by personal relationship.”
He adds, “I try to do 100 calls a day. Now I’ll have people making a lot of these calls for me. I’ll still call the Advocates and a lot of the Triple As, but the Double As I’ll get my staff to do for me. Now I’m probably on 20 or 30 calls a day, but they’re different calls. They’re quality calls.”
6. The gift of giving
Adam sees gifts as things that keep giving. He says, “I’ve got gift vouchers with all sorts of people. Just for example, my handyman. I might meet someone who needs a TV put up, so I’ll say, “You know what? Have my handyman.
Give him a call, he’ll pop round free and he’ll do it for you for free. It’s on me.”
Now people say to me, ‘Well how can you afford to do that?’ I say, ‘Don’t worry about it’, but the truth is I’ve never had anyone use a handyman for an hour, so my handyman will go in there, he’ll spend an hour putting up the TV, which is free, and he’ll end up staying for 4 hours, so it’s worth him doing it. He’s building a relationship. Whether he puts up his rates a little bit after that, I don’t know, I’m not really concerned about it, that’s his issues, but for him it’s fantastic. He builds up his own network, and the client just sees me sending them a handyman for an hour. I do this with gardeners, painters, all sorts of people.”
He also likes to give subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. He says, “It’s a very cheap thing to do. The reason I love magazine subscriptions and newspapers, is they are a gift that keeps giving, so every week or every month, they’re getting a reminder of me again. I don’t do a lot of perishable gifts. I don’t like bottles of wine, hampers, champagne. May do occasionally, but not often, because once it’s consumed, it’s gone, you’re forgotten. I like things that just keep giving and giving and giving.”
He also provides mouse pads, personalised pens and fridge magnets. He says, “One thing I do with fridge magnets is have a notepad attached to it with be my branding. So they take the notepad, and when they’ve finished, they’ll just throw it out or whatever, or keep the magnet there as a magnet.”
Through his structures, systems and processes, and clever targeted marketing, Adam has certainly perfected the art of encouraging the people of Elsternwick to think of him and no one else when it comes to real estate.