The idea here is that when you meet people, you should intentionally work towards getting their information and asking about putting them on your special VIP client list. This way, you can earn the right to their business, as well as to their referrals. This is not going to happen without a prospecting-based, marketing-enhanced, stay-in-touch system.

The first part of this prospecting-based, marketing-enhanced, stay-in-touch system is called an 8x8. Put simply, the 8x8 system is where you complete eight touches in eight weeks. It’s used to cement in the client’s mind that you are their real estate agent of choice as you begin the process of forming a relationship with them.

Now, the 8x8 system means literally eight touches in eight weeks—not six touches in eight weeks, and not eight touches in 10 weeks. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the psychology of how this system works.

The human mind is under a constant bombardment of advertising and marketing. Over time, it becomes saturated. Realize that every day, we’re being bombarded with 5,000 or more marketing messages, but the mind can only hold a finite amount of information at any one time.

According to the National Association of Realtors research, 76% of all sellers had only contacted one agent before listing their home, and 16% had contacted just two agents. For buyers, 59% had interviewed just one agent, and 22% interviewed only two agents.

“If you’re not No. 1, you’d better be No. 2, and if you’re not No. 2, you simply don’t exist.”

There are tons of agents out there who are all vying for buyers’ and sellers’ attention. People have a limit to what they’re going to be able to remember, but remember this: If you’re not No. 1, you’d better be No. 2, and if you’re not No. 2, you simply don’t exist.

The question is: How do you win that mindshare? Has there ever been a time when you thought you owned a buyer’s or a seller’s mindshare, only to find out that you didn’t? As Seth Godin says, “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.” Generating leads and building relationships will take a wide variety of marketing and prospecting tactics.

Prospecting is a proactive and direct approach—making contact through phone calls and personal visits to ask for business. By the way, telemarketing and face-to-face visits are the most effective methods of prospecting, not to mention the least expensive.

Marketing is proactive and indirect. You attract clients, and they find you. This can be done with letters, postcards, newsletters, emails, personal notes, market reports, social media, etc. These will need to be purposeful and systematic in order to establish the customer’s mindshare. Think of it as diversifying your lead generation portfolio—the multiple methods and sources will not only bring you more business in prosperous times, but they will also help diversify and protect you during uncertain times, like during a market shift.

Your focus should be to feed your database. But, just adding people to your database with no focused plan of action simply isn’t going to do the job.

So, for each week of our 8x8 plan, here’s what we do:

  1. Write a thank you note and drop it off in person or send it in the mail.
  2. Contact an individual by phone to follow them up.
  3. Send or drop off an item of value, like a branded coffee mug or a real estate market report.
  4. Contact an individual by phone to follow them up.
  5. Send or drop off an item of value, like a refrigerator calendar or a market evaluation for their property.
  6. Send an email with industry knowledge that is useful to the client.
  7. Send or drop off another item of value.
  8. Give them a phone call.

Once a client has gone through this system, you’ve cemented your name in their mind. When they think of real estate, they should be thinking of you.

When they’re finished with the 8x8, you should then add them into a 36-touch maintenance program, which is, by the way, where those people will stay until they die, or you do. In my next installment in this series, I’ll go into much more detail about this 36-touch program.

If you have any questions in the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’d love to open up a discussion about the 8x8 system and tactics on how to cement yourself in the minds of your clients.